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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from December 2007

the escher effect by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 1, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, speaks about the Church and HIV infection. In brief, he's against the spread of AIDS. I found the following archepiscopism particularly telling: "We have to acknowledge that there are aspects of our language and our practice that have...

fundies by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 1, 2007

A former adviser to Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor has an article in The Tablet deploring the moral absolutism of our Church. Conventionally independent of mind, he takes issue with the Catholic stance on gay adoption, gay access to IVF, abortion, and contraception. The author concludes that the...

inward ho! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 2, 2007

The Yahoo News photo above, one of several hundred on the site purporting to illustrate World AIDS Day, was accompanied by the following caption-text: A female sex worker makes AIDS symbols with ribbons during an AIDS awareness campaign ahead of World AIDS Day at a red-light area in the...

the dog that didn't bark by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 3, 2007

On a second reading of the Pope's new encyclical, I thought it was worth noticing this fact about the single quotation from the documents of Vatican II in the course of Spe Salvi: There isn't...

False Prophets by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 3, 2007

From the beginning of my work as a Catholic apologist way back in 1966 I have always been most interested in defending the Church against those among her leaders and teachers who are unfaithful. I have had a special horror of all those who, in the name of the Church, preach and teach their own...

a-traction by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 4, 2007

You're hopelessly stuck in the scandal rut when, five years after Dallas, and four years after the first National Review Board report, you get your own three-link section in today's Drudge Report.... G) L.A. Cardinal Assaulted on Street over Church Abuse... a)

community service by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 5, 2007

Father Michael Jude Fay, the Connecticut priest who pinched $1.3 million from his wealthy parish, is going to jail. When Fay reported that he is suffering from cancer, Federal Judge Janet Bond Arterton was properly sympathetic. But she was apparently not impressed by his argument that he...

Saved by Hope by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 5, 2007

Having just finished my first reading of Pope Benedict’s second encyclical, Saved by Hope (Spe Salvi), I can pass along a summary of its riches, without obscuring them through excessive personal commentary. As the title indicates, this encyclical is devoted to the signal importance of hope to...

unsolved mystery by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 7, 2007

There were no witnesses. He didn't file a police report. In fact Cardinal Mahony didn't tell anyone that he had been physically assaulted until months after the fact. Now the trail is cold, and unless they somehow gain more evidence, police are unlikely to find the perp. Does that seem...

Government and Same-Sex Marriage: Why? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 7, 2007

Irish justice minister Brian Lenihan has a plan to support same-sex couples. Speaking last Tuesday to the Gay Lesbian Equality Network, Lenihan said the administration of Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has committed itself to introducing new supportive legislation in March of 2008. Lenihan pointed...

on voting for heretics by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 7, 2007

Leaving aside Phil's argument that Mitt Romney's speech will have a generally positive effect, let me ask a separate question: Why is it that in assessing the speech, political analysts invariably say that Romney was trying to quiet the fears of Evangelical voters who believe that Mormonism is...

usurped by choice by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 9, 2007

Mark Steyn, always an interesting commentator on public affairs, has his own unusual insight on the Romney speech. (Scroll down a bit, past his comments on the housing market-- although they're good, too.) Steyn picks up on Romney's reference to the great European cathedrals: "so inspired......

No, really, don't see this movie. by Leila in "Off the Record" - Dec 10, 2007

Why does the US Conference of Bishops have an Office for Film and Broadcast? What is the point? Since Harry Forbes, director of that office, and John Mulderig, staff member, with combined forces, cannot muster up a review that gives parents even the remotest idea of the danger of The Golden...

In Praise of Monday Mornings by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 10, 2007

Here we go again. The alarm goes off. I stagger out of bed in the gray funk of Monday morning depression. The weekend was, as usual, less refreshing than it should have been. Now it’s time to go around one more time, the same as last week. In Pooh’s immortal words: Oh help. Oh bother. When...

The Uniqueness and Universality of Fr. Peter Phan by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 11, 2007

The Doctrine Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has released a statement criticizing a book by Fr. Peter Phan, chairman of the theology department at Georgetown University. The book, Being Religious Interreligiously: Asian Perspectives on Interfaith Dialogue, casts doubt...

the limited-access ramp by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 11, 2007

What price Christian unity? Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, told The Catholic Herald: "It's not our policy to bring that many Anglicans to Rome." How many Anglicans would be too many? Would it be OK if they entered the Catholic Church...

Reporting for a Smile by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 13, 2007

If any news reporter makes it his vocation to report good news, I haven’t met him. Still, occasional good news does catch the eye. I’ve seen four such items in the past week. First, a giant statue of Jesus has been unveiled in Manado, Indonesia. The statue cost over a half-million dollars and...

noted by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 14, 2007

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued a "Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization" reminding us that evangelization is, contrary to rumor, good. A compilation of Summary Points is available on-line. Some excerpts: Today there is "a growing confusion" about the...

the caucus race by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 14, 2007

Our bishops are doing a wonderful job in fighting sexual abuse. The National Review Board is leading the cheers. Six million children enrolled in "safe touch" programs! Hooray! 1.6 million background checks on Church workers and employees! Rah! With the cheers ringing in your ears, you might...

missing persons report by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 14, 2007

Father Tom Euteneuer, the president of Human Life International, churns out good material for his "Spirit and Life" newsletter, and if you don't receive it regularly, you should. In his latest issue, Father Euteneuer explains why it's logical to estimate that in the years since Roe v. Wade,...

Plan B and the Case of Rape by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 14, 2007

Recently the bishops of Connecticut were faced with a new State law requiring that all hospitals (including Catholic hospitals) administer the drug known as Plan B to victims of rape, provided a pregnancy test is negative. Before the law was passed, the bishops stated that they could not comply if...

fabius maximus cunctator by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 15, 2007

"Ask Me About Gene!" crowed the lapel buttons worn by liberal delegates to the Episcopal Church's General Convention in August of 2003. The big issue of that Minneapolis meeting was whether to ratify the election of the Bishop of New Hampshire: the divorced, openly gay, and "partnered" Gene...

mahony gloriosus by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 17, 2007

His whole nature fails to persuade. That is because he has never remained silent about any of his good deeds. -- F. Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 1882 The unsinkable Cardinal Mahony continues to amaze and confound us with yet another escape from self-created calamity. The latest episode...

sweet nothings by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 18, 2007

"Confession -- as the saying goes -- is good for the soul and even better for the heart." That's Archbishop Wilton Gregory, alas, catechizing the Catholics of Atlantic on the Sacrament of Penance. I've never heard "the saying" before, and I doubt you have either. It belongs to that tin mine...

On a Slippery Slope in Spain by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 18, 2007

The political powers in Europe and America have recently prevented a bishop from relieving a priest of his parish assignment, stopped another bishop from ordering a priest not to write a certain book, compelled bishops to change the policies of Catholic hospitals, and generally meddled to their...

self-mutilating skepticism by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 18, 2007

Stumbled upon in Bertrand Russell's What I Believe, 1925. A drop of water is not immortal; it can be resolved into oxygen and hydrogen. If, therefore, a drop of water were to maintain that it had a quality of aqueousness which would survive its dissolution we should be inclined to be...

Beware the Secular Press by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 19, 2007

When Pope Benedict’s message for the World Day of Peace was released on December 11th, one of the first stories on it that we saw came from London’s Daily Mail. The headline was “The Pope Condemns the Climate Change Prophets of Doom”. The article by reporter Simon Caldwell stated that Pope...

Plan B: Not an Abortifacient? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 19, 2007

I am indebted to a reader knowledgeable in biology for sending me a study from the latest (Winter 2007) issue of The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly questioning whether Plan B is an abortifacient. This is an important follow-up to my recent column on Plan B and the Case of Rape. The...

Old Earl’s Christmas by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 21, 2007

I had known Earl for as long as I can remember, though he was my senior by thirty-seven years. He was a hard-working, reliable man, an excellent provider for his family, always responsible and deeply trustworthy. Born in 1911, he had already lived through the Great Depression and two world wars...

Tony Blair recants position on abortion! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 22, 2007

Well he did, didn't he? And somehow I just missed the headline? In order to be received into the Catholic Church, one must make a profession of faith, affirming that one believes all that the Church teaches. And the Church teaches that support for abortion is gravely wrong, and so now we...

Humbug! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 24, 2007

In this religiously contentious season,.... Huh? In my neighborhood strangers are smiling at each other as they pass on the street, wishing each other a Merry Christmas-- or maybe, if they're uncertain about the other's religious affiliation, a Happy Holiday. There's literally music in the air...

Last-minute gift idea by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Dec 24, 2007

Stumped? Still desperately looking for something? I have a suggestion-- to be filed under "shameless self-promotion." Even "the guy who has everything" doesn't yet have a copy of The Faithful Departed, my book about the demise of Catholic influence in Boston. Because, you see, the book...

full immersion by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 28, 2007

The Irish Jesuits have sold Sacred Heart church in Limerick, a landmark of Catholic architecture, to a developer who plans to convert the building into a health club. The scheme, if it gets the go-ahead from the local authority, will see the church transformed into a day spa featuring a...

the welcome mat by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 30, 2007

An English bishop is talking about the proper attitude toward immigrants. You already know what he's going to say, don't you? Immigrants should be welcomed. We should open our doors to them, greet them, make them feel accepted. Right. Wrong. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has a problem with...

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