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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from December 2003

Tiff by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 1, 2003

The U.K. Telegraph reports that the Holy See has decided that the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) is a dead end. Top level unity talks between the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches have collapsed after the consecration of Anglicanism's first openly homosexual...

Nothing forgotten, nothing learned by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 1, 2003

The Boston Globe is running a three-part series on the prison career of the Archdiocesan pedophile priest John Geoghan -- a career that ended with his murder by another inmate. The Globe seems to want to shock us with a new scandal, centering on Geoghan's mistreatment, but the protagonist...

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

The December issue of Catholic World Report is now and newsstands and here's what you will find inside:The Coming Conclave: What to expect from the next papal election. CWR examines the powers and personalities, voting blocs and individual prelates who could shape discussions at the next conclave....

Around the blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Dec 1, 2003

Here's what's new and interesting on Catholic blogs today: Mark Shea notes that while the creators of the Lord of Rings movies have created what many call a masterpiece adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's book, they reveal themselves to completely misunderstand his beliefs by concluding that the...

the choices we make by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 2, 2003

In Scotland's Sunday Herald, Muriel Gray pooh-poohs the fears of eugenic selection prompted by the abortion of a late-term baby because of her cleft palate: This case is about the rule and practice of law, and not about what lies ahead for humanity. As a species, we have always controlled...

The other shoe drops by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 2, 2003

You knew it was going to happen-- at least you should have known-- and now it has. In Utah, an avowed polygamist has cited the Supreme Court ruling in the Lawrence case in defense of his "lifestyle choice." There's a compelling argument against him. You know it; I know it. But you won't...

Two in a row... by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 2, 2003

Bishop Raymond Burke of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, has been named the next Archbishop of St. Louis. This is good news for the faithful in St. Louis. And last week we had distinctly good news for the Catholic people of Phoenix. It's too early to say that we're seeing a trend, but it's not too...

Foster care by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 2, 2003

For more than a year the Boston Herald's Robin Washington has had his teeth into one of the strangest of Boston's strange stories of clerical sex abuse. It seems that the game is finally playing out to a stalemate: More than a year after the Archdiocese of Boston twice dismissed Paul Edwards'...

Still hoping for the best by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Dec 2, 2003

Just received word that the first Talking about Touching review meeting for the Archdiocese of Boston will take place tomorrow. (In case you hadn't heard, Archbishop Sean O'Malley has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Richard Malone to form a committee to review the program, a committee that will include...

DUE PROCESS IN DALLAS by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 2, 2003

Michael Rose's CruxNews has just posted an overviiew of Fr Paul Weinberger's plight, which I think you'll find interesting. On a canon law blogsite recently, a canonist made a very sensible comment in reply to another who had contended that a diocesan bishop, being responsible for worship,...

Keeping Children Safe by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 3, 2003

One notes with interest that the St. Luke Institute lists a certified psychodramatist on its staff. It feels so much better to know he's...

Certifiable by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 3, 2003

Do they have anyone certified in aversion...

Even better than marriage by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 3, 2003

The Boston Globe, already breathless with anticipation of same-sex "marriage" in Massachusetts, have managed to find another argument in favor of that move-- and I'm guessing that most readers hadn't thought of this one. I don't want to give it all away; you really should read the whole...

HOPEFUL SIGN? by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 3, 2003

Unfortunately it is not (yet) online, something I'll look into to see if it can be done, but in the Nov 20th Wanderer Paul Likoudis has an interesting and hopeful article on the November bishops' meeting. "The Conference," he writes, "is clearly seeking to repair the damages the Church in the...

A WHOLE DIOCESE ASKING TO ENTER THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?? by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 3, 2003

Here's a fascinating tidbit -- has an Episcopal Diocese made overtures abour being received into the full Communion of the Catholic...

ANGLICAN UPDATE by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 3, 2003

The preceding entry reminds me that we haven't done an update on the Anglican situation in the wake of the consecration of openly homosexual (and divorced with two daughters but living with his guy) Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. For observers, this has been an impressive disaster of...

ONE BISHOP TO ANOTHER by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 3, 2003

Here's an example of Bishop Frank Griswold's mailbag. It's really a lovely, grace-filled and charitable letter, and I found its witness to the Lord Jesus quite moving, and reminding me of what I was privileged to see of Anglicanism at its best. November 12, 2003-12-03 The Most Revd Frank T....

Lose a few, lose a few by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 4, 2003

When it comes to icy exasperation at leftist goalpost-moving, nobody comes closer to 3 degrees Kelvin than Ann Coulter: The first killing of an abortion doctor by an anti-abortion activist happened in 1993. Since then, six more people have been killed in attacks on abortion clinics, which is...

some enchanted evening -- or, None Dare Call it Kishka by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 4, 2003

On March 9th, 2001, Arnim Meiwes killed, cooked, and ate his chum Bernd Jürgen Brandes. Shocked? You should be. After all, it was a Friday in Lent. But at least the relationship of diner to dined-upon was consensual -- and isn't that what true love is all about? The court heard how...

St. Thomas More might disagree by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 4, 2003

Seattle's Archbishop Alexander Brunett, the co-chairman of ARCIC, spoke to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about the fallout from the ordination of a gay Anglican bishop: "I can't tell you how much anger I hear from Anglican bishops around the world," Brunett said. "It puts us on the spot,"...

Dancing in the streets by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 4, 2003

Friends of OTR are stilll dancing in the streets in St. Louis, and if you want to know why, read...

Now where does it hurt? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 4, 2003

Pastoral outreach in Dallas may seem conditional: Before his diocese suspension, Father Lucio had been restricted to nonparish work for most of the last 15 years, initially because of allegations that he pressured young immigrant men for sex. The diocese has said the allegations could not be...

MORE ON THE RUMOR by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 4, 2003

On the Archbishop of Seattle's comment that an Episcopal diocese is looking to enter the Catholic Church, Auburn Traycik, editor of the Christian Challenge, says this: This morning, I queried FIF-NA President, Fr. David Moyer, and with FIF-UK Director Stephen Parkinson, about the following...

Keep telling yourself: lust is good by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Dec 4, 2003

When you define away traditional morality, there usually comes a point when you just start calling a sin a virtue. That's what happened in this guest editorial in a Seattle newspaper.Responsible lust is healthy and normal, providing the driving force for passionate love and joy. Rather than...

by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 4, 2003

The Church of England Newspaoer discloses something which has been going on for quite some time now: quiet conversations between the Holy See, the Anglican traditionalist movement Forward in Faith, and the leadership of the international "Traditional Anglican Communion," a fellowship of churches...

Around the blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Dec 4, 2003

Here's what's new and interesting on Catholic blogs today: Mark Shea expounds on his belief that Israel is not above criticism for some of the ways it has dealt with Palestinians and that not all Palestinians are evil fanatical Muslims bent on murdering Israelis. He also gives his take on the...

The Deplorable Diocese of Dallas by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 4, 2003

This is an excerpt from a letter written by a layman to Deacon Bronson Havard, spokesman of the Bishop of Dallas. It is a letter following up a phone conversation of Wednesday. The layman had read my article on the plight of Father Paul Weinberger and phoned Deacon Havard to inquire as to why Fr...

glass houses by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Dec 4, 2003

In a 2000 arbitration case (State Fair of Texas v. State Fair Guides), retired Judge James Carmody ruled that Bronson Havard, doing business as State Fair Guides, showed "bad faith" in his registration and use of the domain names StateFairofTexas.com and TexasStateFair.com. Carmody ordered that...

Planned Parenthood: moms are not welcome -- I by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 5, 2003

Michelle Malkin reports on Planned Parenthood's online offering to teenagers: Called "Teenwire.com," the Planned Parenthood site is chock-full of colorful graphics, hip jargon, voluminous health advice, and lots of exclamation points. Surely the "planning" element in Planned Parenthood...

Planned Priesthood: moms are not welcome -- II by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 5, 2003

Jason Berry relates one woman's glimpse of priests in the making at the Diocese of San Diego's St. Francis Seminary [Lead Us Not Into Temptation, p. 246]: Mary Jones's first inkling that something was amiss came in autumn, 1980. She left a check for her son Bob at the seminary, and looked in...

art for art's sake by Leila in "Off the Record" - Dec 5, 2003

The New York Times has no problem with scripts for students involving sex with dead people (Diogenes, call your office). However weakly, NYU refuses to...

Grossly offensive by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 5, 2003

The Georgetown Voice, a weekly publication of greater Washington's Jesuit university, keeps us up-to-date on the implementation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae. It seems that some students not affiliated with Georgetown recently entered Red Square (the campus's "designated free speech zone" -- named by...

many a tear has to fall by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 5, 2003

John Allen's Word from Rome contains some helpful clarifications of the extent of the rupture in Anglican-Catholic dialogue, but also introduces a few new puzzles, including this one: Even though both sides appear determined to keep talking, Anglicans should be under no illusion about the depth...

ONTOLOGICALLY NICKLE-AND-DIME-ING IT by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 5, 2003

The Diocese of Dallas' Answer to the Cappadocian Fathers calls for renewal of Seminary Formation. The Following was taken from the Texas Catholic, Dallas, TX Date of the edition in which this piece ran: March 15, 2002 Page 8, in the section known as: Opinions Editorial "Another...

NO DOG IN THIS FIGHT by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 6, 2003

Okay. Now, I'm not planning to conduct a whole campaign on this blog, honestly. But my email box is flooded with letters from good, faithful people especially from Dallas -- older folk for whom Blessed Sacrament Church is a joy, young parents who delight in bringing kids there. But I especially...

The Low Countries by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 6, 2003

Amy Welborn links an article from Commonweal by Fr. Willard Jabusch, in which he finds the breath of the Spirit blowing over the ruins of the Dutch Church: Today's young Catholics in Zevenbergen should be forgiven if they seem to have forgotten the centrality of [the priesthood and the Mass],...

a complex issue by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Dec 6, 2003

From today's Wichita Eagle: Bishop George Fitzsimons of the Diocese of Salina said he thinks Catholic politicians in his diocese are following church teachings for the most part. "It does become a complex issue," he said. "On one hand, someone may be against abortion, the killing of an...

a simple issue by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Dec 6, 2003

From today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: In a letter obtained by the Journal Sentinel, [Archbishop-elect Raymond] Burke told ministry coordinator Marge Schumann that her organization should no longer participate in the [AIDS] walk because two other groups that benefit from it ... promote...

November issue of Catholic World Report is now online by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Dec 6, 2003

The November issue of Catholic World Report is now available on the CWN web site. Articles include a look at the Pope's 25th anniversary, the 30 new cardinals, Terri Schiavo's case, an examination of the new National Adult Catechism, a story of a US bishop who left the priesthood, and two views of...

on the difference between abortion and capital punishment by Leila in "Off the Record" - Dec 6, 2003

I recall Cong. Henry Hyde speaking at Georgetown University -- I think it was 1980 -- saying something along these lines: Show me an unborn child who's been tried and convicted by a jury of his peers and he's all...

newspaper editorial on Bishop Trautman by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Dec 7, 2003

From today's Erie Times-News: If you haven't noticed, the bishop is mad at us. Bishop Donald Trautman of the Catholic Diocese of Erie doesn't like it when the newspaper reports on stories that reflect badly on the Catholic Church or on him. He would prefer that we forget the sexual abuse...

what a difference four days makes by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Dec 7, 2003

The opening paragraph of an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 2 ("New archbishop is called smart, kind, not flashy"): He is a Wisconsin dairy farm boy who served as a lawyer to the Roman Catholic Church's highest court in Rome. He is a passionate defender of family farms, an...

We're not dreaming... by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 8, 2003

...of a white Christmas. Some parts of Massachusetts got 3 feet of snow this weekend; the whole state is covered by at least a foot. It was the biggest December storm on record. Last year, we set a record for snowfall over the course of a winter. We're ahead of that pace now. Oh, sorry;...

The truth will out by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 8, 2003

Howard Dean is now a fulll-time politician, but he was once a full-time physiican. The leading Democratic presidential candidate served an internship with Planned Parenthood, but insists that he never actually performed an abortion. "I did not perform abortions, I'm a medical doctor," Dean...

Around the blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Dec 9, 2003

Here's what's new and interesting on Catholic blogs today: Mark Shea notes that Mary Magdalene has become this year's poster girl for everyone undermining the Church's Christology. Peter Vere finds a role model for a certain kind of Catholic politician in Pontius Pilate. Fr. Bryce Sibley...

Catalog of sins by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Dec 10, 2003

Abercrombie & Fitch is going to discontinue it's pornographic magazine disguised as a catalog. I wouldn't leap for joy thinking that this is a victory for decency and morality. It's more likely that it's no longer selling as well, that it has become too tame, it no longer shocks and titillates,...

When celibacy is the problem by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 10, 2003

John Gwillin, a priest of the Melbourne Archdiocese, pleaded guilty Monday to five counts of indecent assault and four counts of gross indecency. The Australian Herald Sun reports: The court heard Gwillim, who was the priest at St Peter's church in Keilor East between 1979 and 1999, approached...

tiny, tiny, tiny mortal sins by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 10, 2003

Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk said mass at the parish of the Rev. Thomas Feldhaus and addressed the parishioners about the charges that their pastor inappropriately touched a boy on two occasions in 1979. “As you all know by now, accusations of misbehavior have been brought forward...

Split Decision in 7-Round Bantamweight Bout by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 11, 2003

The Washington Post's Charles Lane reports on the Supreme Court's upholding of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, and gives us a fine specimen of hometown umpiring in the process. Rejecting opponents' claims that McCain-Feingold stifles free speech, a slender but emphatic five-justice...

Junk social science by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 11, 2003

The last Boston Globe story on same-sex marriage (scroll down toward the end) cites a few polls of Massachusetts residents. Polls, including one taken for the Globe and WBZ-TV after the court decision, show a majority backed the court's 4 to 3 decision. A University of Massachusetts poll taken...

Conflict of interest by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 11, 2003

Like Diogenes (see below), you may have noticed that most mass-media outlets are quite happy with the Supreme Court decision to uphold restrictions on campaign funding. Ordinarily you can count on the media to uphold free speech. Not this time. Wonder why? It's simple, really. If you're...

popcorn with that? by Leila in "Off the Record" - Dec 11, 2003

Now that advance tickets are on sale for Mel Gibson's Passion, my unease with the whole project -- and I'm not talking about antisemitism -- is becoming more palpable. I don't think I'm alone. I was excited to find out that a classmate of my daughter's (a junior in high school) is doing her...

more misbehavior by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 11, 2003

Two brothers are suing the Diocese of Oakland on the ground that Fr. James Clark, who died in 1989, molested them 30 years ago. Grim reading. [One alleged victim] said his molestation had occurred in the rectory of Corpus Christi Church in 1971, when he was 12 years old. It followed "an...

I'll take some popcorn by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Dec 11, 2003

Just a few thoughts in reply to Leila's comments about "The Passion." First, I don't think it's yet fair to question the content without having had the opportunity to see it. Will it be glorified violence a la Braveheart or will it just depict the violence done to the Lord as related by the...

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

Here's what's new and interesting on Catholic blogs today: Fr. Rob Johansen stays on the Terri Schiavo case, telling us that the Florida courts don't seem to care about the rules of evidence or of proper judicial behavior. He also notes a statement from Terri's family's lawyer on the...

The Shape of Things to Come by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 12, 2003

Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop John D'Arcy released a statement on his diocese's sex abuse audit. An excerpt: The diocese has not received a credible complaint involving an act of physical sexual abuse of a minor that was alleged to have occurred after 1987. The events complained of regarding...

wisdom & compassion by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 12, 2003

I suppose it's inevitable that some of the Pope's feel-good discourses required by the less important occasions in his travels will be composed by his hosts and simply pushed into his hands for him to read. The USCCB website includes this collector's item from John Paul II's first visit (as pope)...

maybe I am the only one by Leila in "Off the Record" - Dec 12, 2003

Most of the comments I've received, including Dom's, on my posting on the Passion, have been along the lines of "let's see the movie before we have this discussion." I think that's inconsistent and boring! Who among us saw The Last Temptation of Christ before rejecting the idea of a movie about...

Twas 2 weeks before Christmas... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 12, 2003

Why is the Pope having a Christmas concert in the Vatican in the third week of Advent? In New York, St. Patrick's Cathedral had lighted Christmas trees at the front doors on Thanksgiving. Most parishes routinely have Christmas in Advent. It is bad enough that St. Patrick's "day" (which now...

Chaplaingate? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 13, 2003

Stars and Stripes has published a fascinating three-part article (go here, here, and here) discussing allegations of bias and corruption centered in the Navy Chaplain Corps. There are now five separate lawsuits -- including two class-action cases that are being heard together and represent...

School for Scandal by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 13, 2003

Chastity is the condition of being affectively present and available to all. When Catholics call for "education in sexuality" for priest candidates as part of the remedy for the clergy abuse crisis, do they have any idea of what, in concrete terms, is likely to be taught? The definition of...

Unpleasantness at the Vatican by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 15, 2003

"I'm not here to celebrate, like you, the birth of Christ, but to ask you why you are not in mourning for his death in this place. God has been a witness to the corruption of his leadership, of the exploitation and abuses by the clergy." That's hip-hop artist Lauryn Hill scolding the audience...

The responsible alternative to gay "marriage" by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 15, 2003

After several years of non-stop cheerleading for same-sex marriage, the Boston Globe has allowed its "independent" ombudsman to spend a few moments wondering whether the coverage has been fair. It's a fairly hilarious exercise. The bottom line: After some ritualistic head-scratching and...

retraction & correction by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 16, 2003

On November 13 the Erie Times-News cited a Knight-Ridder news story concerning the U.S. bishops' response to the role assigned the National Review Board in the abuse crisis; the story contained the following line: Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pa., bluntly told the board it would be better...

one for the files by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 16, 2003

The shifty phrase "sexual orientation" is an important obstacle to clear thinking. It spreads darkness over the law and popular discussions by hiding the distinction between emotional inclinations, dispositions, or interests and actual or conditional willingness. Willingness is, or results...

Finnis on The Fraud by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 16, 2003

You'll need patience, close attention, and a lot of time, but it's worth the effort. Prof. John Finnis's 1994 article from Academic Questions, "Shameless Acts in Colorado" is now available online. The essay concerns one of the most outrageous and important instances of scholarly fraud in...

Sympathy for the 'devil' by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Dec 16, 2003

A curial cardinal in Vatican didn't just plead for Saddam's life against the death penalty; he also castigated the US for its "mistreatment" of the Butcher of Baghdad. Cardinal Renato Martino called Saddam a tragic figure and criticized the videotaping of him by US forces.Cardinal Martino said on...

The self-inflicted wounds of Vatican diplomacy by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 16, 2003

When he made these comments, Cardinal Martino was supposed to be introducing the Pope's message for the World Day of Peace. Instead, reporters got him talking about Saddam Hussein. What he said was objectively loopy. It's one thing to oppose the death penalty; it's quite another to say that...

UNPACKING MARTINO'S COMMENTS by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 16, 2003

The best I've seen so far for thought-provoking assessments of the Cardinal's...

NETWORKING by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 16, 2003

Cardinal Martino's people need to call the Iraqi Foreign Minister's people....

Papabile? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 17, 2003

Just for the record: Cardinal Martino is eligible to be elected Pope-- as is every other bishop. But I have never seen his name on any list of papabili. It's bad enough that he'll have the opportunity to vote in a papal conclave. But let's not get carried away and suggest that he ever had a...

Our bunnies, ourselves by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 17, 2003

Enlightened social action in Boston: Animal rights advocates will single out small children at performances of "The Nutcracker" in the next few weeks by handing out fliers saying "Your Mommy Kills Animals" to youngsters whose mothers are wearing fur."Children can't look up to a mom in a...

"Preventing" pregnancy? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 17, 2003

The morning-after pill prevents pregnancy, the media keep telling us. But every now and then somebody varies from the prepared script and exposes the truth. Take today's New York Times, for example. The front-page story begins by saying that the morning-after pill is intended "to prevent...

Nothing that a smile can't cure... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 17, 2003

Let's see, the bishops can't excommunicate pro-gay and pro-abortion Catholics -- that would cause our pluralist democratic society to grind to a halt overnight -- so let's take the positive approach and have the religious orders honor pro-gay and pro-abortion anti-Catholics. This from Sen....

"It is as it was" by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Dec 17, 2003

According to Catholic writer Peggy Noonan, Pope John Paul II has seen "The Passion of Jesus Christ" and given his approval. He relayed five words to the makers of the film: "It is as it was."John Paul II, who even with the challenges of his current illness has more good sense than many of his...

Cardinal Martino's critics inside the Vatican by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 17, 2003

In a column for National Review Online, Michael Novak brings the welcome news that there are Vatican officials, too, who are worried about the astonishing statements issued by Cardinal Martino. Novak's article begins: The Italian newspaper Il Foglio ran a piece Dec. 16 about the frustration...

Nutritionists and surgeons by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 18, 2003

Among orthodox Catholics concerned about reform one can identify two main approaches to the job: nutrition and surgery. Nutritionists believe that the Church's ills can be cured by fresh air, moderate exercise, and green leafy vegetables. Surgeons believe the patient has an aggressive cancer...

DIAGNOSIS by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 18, 2003

If wishful thinking had the power to transform reality into something more palatable than it often is, I suppose we'd all be grateful, Diogenes. But it doesn't. Some months ago, I recall a "parishioner of St Blogs" recounting how he had just returned from a church convocation. It was large,...

What a tangled web we weave ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 18, 2003

It seems that Phase Two of the crisis is in the forensic starting blocks. A suit filed against the Los Angeles Archdiocese points to networking and institutional acquiescence in sexual abuse: "The presence of such a high number of high-ranking child molester priests in the [Los Angeles]...

Preposterous by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 18, 2003

As noted below, the LA Times reports that a complaint has been filed alleging collusion among LA Archdiocesan priests in cover-uping sex crimes. [Archdiocesan spokesman Tod Tamberg] said the notion that there was an organized band of sexually abusive priests was preposterous. False, maybe,...

ANGLICAN UPDATE by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 18, 2003

I like the Anglican Bishops of Uganda. They know how to write a letter, like this one to USA Episcopal Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, written in the wake of his having consecrated an openly practicing, divorced, homosexual Bishop: "Considering those things, we were shocked to receive a letter...

Acting out by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Dec 18, 2003

Quoting Cardinal Mahony from Diogenes' post below:"Sometime in late 1986, Baker disclosed to me that he had problems in the past of acting out sexually with two minors. " Acting out. Not sexually molesting. Not engaging in fornication or, more generically, sexual sins. Acting out. That's the...

Yes, Minister -- or, Loyalty in Difficult Times by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 19, 2003

The Prime Minister's wife passes on the latest communications received from her Ouija board: Cherie Blair last night called for half the posts in the Vatican to be filled by women and criticised the Roman Catholic Church's record on human rights.In surprisingly outspoken comments for a Prime...

news from the Congregation of the Causes of Saints by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Dec 20, 2003

This morning, the congregation announced the approval of miracles attributed to four blesseds, clearing the way for their canonization. They are Bl. Giuseppe Manyanat y Vives (1833-1901), Bl. Nimatullah al-Hardani (1808-58), Bl. Paola Elisabetta (1816-65), and Bl. Gianna Molla (1922-62), the most...

adagio ma non troppo by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 21, 2003

The saga of the Erie Times-News, Erie Bishop Donald Trautman, and The Scandal takes us yet deeper into the tar pits. In his December 14 letter to the editor, Trautman complained of an article in which a corrections official deplored the diocese's lack of accountability: On September 14th, the...

A TIP OF THE BIRETTA by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 21, 2003

A most willing tip of the biretta to Joanna Jepson. She is a female priest of the Church of England -- which in and of itself, frankly, doesn't ordinarily elicit even a ruffling of my biretta pompon -- but she seems to be a thoroughly Good Thing and a lady of great integrity. Ms Jepson has...

Vatican policy debate confirmed by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 21, 2003

In his weekly column for the National Catholic Reporter, John Allen confirms that Cardinal Renato Martino makes other Vatican officials uneasy, because of his persistent anti-American comments. There are now at least 4 different reports-- from L'Espresso, CWNews, Il Foglio and the National...

The hand that feeds them by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 22, 2003

Suppose a salesman for Coca-Cola announced that the drink is "vile and toxic. Suppose that a manager for Hertz said the company's policies were "increasingly violent and abusive." Leave aside the fact that they'd be fired--and with good cause. How could you possibly respect someone who...

sounds so fine by Leila in "Off the Record" - Dec 22, 2003

Joan Malin, Chief Executive of Planned Parenthood of New York City, has a letter in today's New York Times that elegantly demonstrates the exquisite ability of that organization to hoodwink the honest but naive majority into letting them continue corrupting our youth. Also to twist any datum to...

A play on the cardinal's words by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Dec 22, 2003

A Chicago theater is producing a play based on the depositions of Cardinal Bernard Law. The repertory theater is presenting "Sin: A Cardinal Deposed," which features the depositions provided word for word."He's taken the deposition and laid it out in a theatrical format," said Bailiwick Artisitic...

text of the Chicago priests' letter by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Dec 22, 2003

The full text of the letter criticizing Catholic teaching on homosexuality (see Diogenes's post below) can be found here. The twenty-three signatories are...

FROM THE WEB-ELVES by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 22, 2003

I like the Web Elves a great deal. That's what the intrepid and unfailingly cheerful souls behind the CaNN, the "Classical Anglican Net News," call themselves. Weblogging out of Canada, they're a crew who have caught the joy of the Gospel and witness to orthodox Faith in a world that derides such...

LANGUAGE MATTERS by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 22, 2003

'The faith of Death Sentence is a sentence of two words: Language matters. Bear in mind, Watson writes, 'that if we deface the War Memorial or rampage through St Paul's with a sledgehammer we will be locked up as criminals or lunatics . . . Yet every day we vandalise the language, which is the...

Peace on earth by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 24, 2003

Just a quick reminder: Even before the US went to the "code orange" alert because of terrorist threats, Italian officials were warning about a possible terrorist strike against a target that symbolizes Christianity. What site in Italy symbolizes Christianity most prominently? Exactly....

Pope did not comment on Gibson's Passion by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 24, 2003

According to our collleagues at Catholic News Service, an informed Vatican official has denied reports that Pope John Paul commented favorably on Mel Gibson's film. The Pope watched the film, but made no comment at all, the official insists. Now here's what makes this particularly...

FAITH-BASED PRISON? by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 25, 2003

Well, here's a different idea: a faith-based penal institution, a prison to which convicts are transferred who want an environnment offering them opportunities to practice, study, strengthen their faith....

Incarnation by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 26, 2003

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt amongst...

Vatican terror threat thwarted? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 27, 2003

According to an AP story, Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has revealed that terrorists planned to crash a plane into the Vatican on Christmas Day. The story seems a bit fuzzy; Italian officials say that Berlusconi's statement was not official (whatever that means). But it matches what...

A direct challenge for Boston's archbishop by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 29, 2003

On the feast of the Holy Family, Father Walter Cuenin told his parishioners: "We should never think that there is a single Biblical model of family life." In his parish bulletin Father Cuenin-- one of Boston's most outspoken radical priests, who testified against a proposed state constitutional...

A LITTLE CHURCH THAT NEEDS A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Dec 29, 2003

Rod Dreher has a wonderful Sunday morning column in the Dallas Morning News about the plight of Father Paul Weinberger and the parish of Blessed Sacrament in Dallas. A bit more background on this frustrating situation comes out in comments made on Rod's article on Amy Welborn's blog. It is...

Life after 9-11 by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 29, 2003

The year is coming to an end, and your 2003 World Almanac will soon be outdated. But if you're in the habit of buying a new almanac every year, be forewarned that the FBI will view you with...

$10 hardcovers from Spence by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 29, 2003

Some bookstores offer "special sale" rates for the hardcover volumes that nobody wants. Spence Publishing is offer a year-end sale on all their hardcover books: just $10 apiece. And as I've commented here before, Spence puts out a lot of very good...

Religion as style by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 30, 2003

In a New York Times op-ed column, David Brooks points out that President Bush was once Episcopalian, then Presbyterian, now Methodist. Howard Dean was Catholic, then Episcopalian, now Congregationalist. Wesley Clark has identified with the Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, and now Presbyterian...

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