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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from December 2009

for I was naked and you clothed me ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 1, 2009

… I was hungry, and you protected me from trans fat. New York's patricians update the Let Them Eat Cake mentality. From the Metro (via James Taranto): When a small church comes to the Bowery Mission bearing fried chicken with trans fat, unwittingly breaking the law, they’re told...

false alarm by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 1, 2009

OK, I admit it. I was wrong. Contrary to my prediction, Patrick Kennedy did not launch another attack on Bishop Tobin yesterday. He says that his relationship with the Catholic Church is a private matter, and he doesn't want to talk about it. There things stand, as long as Kennedy can resist the...

nothing to hide by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 1, 2009

The Diocese of Bridgeport spent 8 years fighting to prevent the release of records involving sex-abuse cases. Dozens of pleas and motions in state courts. Two trips to the Connecticut Supreme Court. Three efforts at the US Supreme Court. All to no avail. Today, in compliance with a...

The Divorce Myth by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 1, 2009

Children are happier if their parents are happier; they are better off growing up in an environment free from bickering; they are resilient enough that family upheavals do not negatively affect them over the long-term. Few would argue with these statements, but there is at least one scenario in...

paying the climate-change piper by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 1, 2009

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens makes a very sensible practical point about research into climate change. Supply, as we know, creates its own demand. So for every additional billion in government-funded grants (or the tens of millions supplied by foundations like the Pew...

Dublin's sex-abuse scandal: variations on the American theme by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 1, 2009

For anyone who has followed the sex-abuse scandal in the American Catholic Church, the report of the Murphy Commission on sexual abuse in the Dublin archdiocese tells a painfully familiar story. With a haunting sense of déjà vu, one reads about the innocent boys who were violated, the concerned...

Keep Those Lamps Lit by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 2, 2009

At midnight there was a cry, “Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise replied, “Perhaps there will not...

Vatican news for 2010 could include a consistory, few changes in the Curia by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 2, 2009

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, celebrated his 75th birthday today. Canon law now requires him to submit his resignation to the Pope, although there is virtually no chance at all that the Holy Father will choose to accept that resignation anytime soon. Cardinal Bertone...

Borking the Kennedy succession by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 2, 2009

We’re back in the back alleys. Remember the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s savage attack on Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork? Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could...

Seriously: Save Your Kid from College by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 2, 2009

I’m moved once again, by the latest dormitory antics on the part of a growing number of colleges and universities, to remind parents not to take their children’s college years for granted. Where your child goes to college is an extremely important issue, quite possibly a salvational...

an Irish archbishop doing what no American bishop has done by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 2, 2009

What would happen, do you think, if one American bishop had challenged his brothers to admit their culpability for the sex-abuse scandal? Would the sky have fallen in, if one determined bishop had stood up at that June 2002 meeting in Dallas, and said in public that some of his colleagues were...

wouldn't join any heaven that would accept him as a member by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 3, 2009

Cardinal Lozano Barragan said that active homosexuals will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and his remarks were reproduced—often in sensationalized form—in hundreds of media outlets. This remark, on the other hand, was not widely reproduced: Barragan's remarks drew a prompt...

collegiality in action by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 3, 2009

While Phil Lawler waits and waits for Patrick Kennedy's next public slap at Bishop Tobin, your Uncle Di is drumming his fingers on the desktop and waiting for something else: a show of support for Bishop Tobin from his brother bishops.  Literally thousands of editorial columns have appeared...

as he says, not as he does by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 3, 2009

David Clohessy, the director of the sex-abuse victims’ group SNAP, welcomes the release of files showing how the Bridgeport, Connecticut diocese handled complaints. “We hope that Catholics will read the documents themselves,” he says. Has Clohessy read the documents, then? Well,...

Some Statistics on Women Religious by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 3, 2009

During this time of the Apostolic Visitation of American female religious (Women Religious: Few Options Left), you may have missed some saliant facts about religious life throughout the world. First, just in case you’ve been living in a cave and haven’t noticed the decline in female...

Christmas party soon? No thanks by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 4, 2009

Are you planning a Christmas party sometime in the next 3 weeks? If you are, and you’re thinking of inviting me, I can save you the cost of a postage stamp. Thanks, but I won’t be attending.  This year I’ve made a small resolution: I’m not attending any Christmas...

rembert the ripper by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 4, 2009

Newly released depositions reveal that Nantucket's naughtiest nightowl, when he was an eminent pastor of souls, had an effective method for dealing with embarrassing documentation. He shredded it. Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland routinely shredded copies of weekly reports about...

obfuscation hurts the innocent by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 4, 2009

Archbishop Kevin McDonald of Southwark, in England, has stepped down. Since he is only 62—13 years short of the normal retirement age for bishops—his resignation calls for an explanation. But none is forthcoming from Rome. The wording of the Vatican announcement is familiar: The...

Sending Your Kid to College: My Top Ten Tips by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 4, 2009

As a follow-up to Wednesday’s On the Culture item on the severe problem posed by higher education for your children (Seriously: Save Your Kid from College), let me offer some more advice. I am just young enough to have gone through college and graduate school after the moral life of academia had...

thanking god for condoms by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 5, 2009

On the Washington Post's On Faith page, Methodist AIDS maven Donald Messer titles his contribution Thanking God for Condoms. It isn't clear from his essay which deity his gratitude is addressed to. The religion he finds fault with, however, is orthodox Christianity. Messer is a man of his...

the shot heard 'round disney world by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 7, 2009

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles just elected a lesbian suffragan bishop. The Archbishop of Canterbury, thoughtfully stroking his chin, ponders the ecclesiological implications: The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious...

The Demonic Religion of Abortion by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 7, 2009

It’s getting more and more obvious. Last week, in two separate incidents, those favoring abortion set forth their goals and services in religious language. During a December 2nd “Stop Pitts” rally in Washington and in new video advertisements for a Michigan abortuary religious...

Fasting in Ramadan: Come Again? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 8, 2009

Last Friday, Cardinal John Foley addressed a conference on “The Exodus of Christians from the Holy Land: A Challenge for a Sustainable Peace”. His thesis was that Christians in the Holy Land need to be willing to give up their ties to Western and ethnic ways in order to be perceived as...

so sioux me by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 9, 2009

The New York Times uneasily reports on the late-dawning revelation that college students do not choose mascots and nicknames meant to disparage themselves. The Fighting Sioux of the University of North Dakota were in line for the usual ethnic cleansing when someone had the poor manners to...

Time is on Our Side by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 9, 2009

Those of us who oppose Federal control of health care—and especially Federal financial support of abortion as part of health care—seem to have time on our side. As the Obama Administration spends more and more money with less and less long term effect, and as unemployment...

that's so gay by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 10, 2009

The website bears the aptly unwieldy name Think before you speak. Don't say "That's so gay." A project of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, the campaign employs posters, print ads and videos with the aim of curbing an element of teen slang that gay ideologues find particularly...

proper liturgical gunplay by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 10, 2009

His What Does the Prayer Really Say blog is always useful, but Father Z has outdone himself with a thoughtful answer to a question that is surely uppermost on the mind of most Catholics: “What rubrics to follow at Mass in case of gunfire?” Father Z’s treatment of the question is...

Kids and College: A Question of Money by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 10, 2009

I received a number of Sound Off! comments on my In Depth Analysis about choosing a college for your children (see Sending Your Kid to College: My Top Ten Tips). Some of them raise important questions that merit a follow-up. For example, Gairdog asks, “What about us poor slobs with big...

Value Propositions for Life by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Dec 10, 2009

In my business we talk a lot about “value propositions”. Essentially, a value proposition is a quantifiable truth that helps to build the business case for a particular course of action. For example, if I was asserting that a client should launch a magazine advertising campaign, I...

Is the health-care reform bill unconstitutional? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 10, 2009

The Heritage Foundation has released a legal analysis arguing that the health-care reform legislation backed by President Obama is unconstitutional, because it requires every American to carry health insurance. The question is not whether individuals should have health insurance. The question is...

and we'll have no back-talk from the likes of you ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 11, 2009

Britain's national weather service -- The Met Office -- is scrambling in damage-control mode in the wake of the Cooked Climatology Capers. The Times of London reports: The Met Office has embarked on an urgent exercise to bolster the reputation of climate-change science after the furore over...

The Value of Catholic Professional Societies by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 11, 2009

In leafing almost at random through the 2009 Catholic Social Science Review, I was struck again by what wonderful things are the new truly Catholic professional associations. I suspect this holds true for many parts of the world, but I know the situation in the United States best. We do have older...

actually it's golden by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 11, 2009

Irish singer Sinead O’Connor has demanded that Pope Benedict XVI resign because of his “contemptible silence” on the sex-abuse scandal. Silence isn’t always contemptible, Sinead. Try...

a VOTF kind of hero by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 11, 2009

Voice of the Faithful has nominated Father Roy Bourgeois, for its “Priest of Integrity” award. The Vatican has nominated Father Bourgeois for excommunication. VOTF praises the Maryknoll priest for his “dedication to changing structures that are...

tone deaf by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 11, 2009

In a short op-ed piece distributed this week, Sister Mary Ann Walsh, who heads the PR efforts for the US bishops’ conference, set out to justify the American bishops’ involvement in the debate over health-care reform. Instead I think she illustrates what has been wrong—in this...

a return to penal times? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 12, 2009

The CNS reports that an antidiscrimination statute under consideration in Britain could make it unlawful for the Catholic Church to require that her priests be male and celibate. The Catholic bishops of England and Wales said they could be at risk of prosecution under a proposed law unless they...

an easter people by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 13, 2009

If you can read this NSW Premier Kristina Keneally is in ‘utter agreement’ with the teachings of the Catholic Church but wants female priests, the vow of celibacy relaxed and supports abortion. thank a...

nussbaum & the wisdom of solomon by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 14, 2009

You have to hand it to Deborah Solomon, the NYT Magazine's ace slow-pitch southpaw: her cheerful groveling has the invariable (if unintended) effect of letting lions turn themselves into asses. Ass of the Week is professional thinkeress Martha Nussbaum. Some highlights from the interview: DS:...

Medjugorje rumblings? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 14, 2009

Back in October, Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo was quoted as saying that the Vatican was likely to release an important pastoral statement on “the Medjugorje phenomenon” by the end of this calendar year. With the days of 2009 winding down, on Saturday Cardinal Puljic was in Rome...

the eccentric by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 14, 2009

The Archbishop of Canterbury is annoyed with England’s Labour government, and particularly with the way the government treats religions: as if “it’s an eccentricity, it’s practised by oddities, foreigners and minorities.” Yet Dr. Rowan Williams takes a similar...

most unfortunate by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 14, 2009

Hey folks, do your acquaintances include any consequentialist Safe-Sin ethicians of the type who argue that the Church is proved wrong by AIDS infection rates in Africa? Well round them up to take a look at this BBC report on field-testing their moral theology: A major trial of a vaginal...

What? Maternal Health not Improved by Abortion? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 14, 2009

Pro-abortion advocates frequently cite abortion as essential to maternal health, and I suppose that’s true if you regard conception as a disease that needs to be cured. But it's apparently not true in any other sense. A recent report released by the World Economic Forum shows that nations...

Starting Life in Debt: The Graduate’s Dilemma by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 14, 2009

A nod to Corey Huber of The Fund for Vocations for calling attention to important research on the impact of college debt on marriage and family life. This research was actually summarized several years ago by Allan Carlson in a presentation to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington....

the adultery lobby by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 14, 2009

There are only so many hours in a day. Most of us don’t accomplish nearly as much as we set out to do. Consequently, most of us learn to put the most important projects at the top of our to-do lists. Or to put it differently, when you see someone doing X, it’s reasonable to infer that...

Jesuits in 18th Century Tibet by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 14, 2009

I’ve just finished what is, for a work of modern scholarship, an unusually interesting book, Trent Pomplun’s Jesuit on the Roof of the World: Ippolito Desideri’s Mission to Tibet. Pomplun is Associate Professor of Theology at Loyola University Maryland. His book tells the story...

lahey in the dock by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 15, 2009

“Play the man!” Those words of encouragement (addressed to Nicholas Ridley before his burning at the stake) might be repeated with more propriety to Bishop Raymond Lahey before his court hearing tomorrow. Lahey’s manhood, to be blunt, is not much in evidence. Busted at the...

The Catholic case against health-care reform by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 15, 2009

President Obama’s crusade to enact health-care reform legislation is nearing its climactic battle in the US Senate. How should Catholic Americans look upon this legislative struggle? The US bishops have consistently voiced their support for health-care reform, while insisting that the...

A Barren Beach by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 15, 2009

I confess it: I just don’t see how it is possible for a good Catholic to favor the Federal takeover of health care. This is so obvious that we shouldn’t even have to be debating it. Completely apart from funding for abortion, each bishop in the United States should see the problem with...

and a 'happy holiday' to you, too by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 16, 2009

The office of Catholic Charities USA has unveiled a Holiday Gift catalog, which (among other things) will allow you to send Holiday eCards to your friends.  [emphasis added] You'll be happy to know that of the 14 eCards available for the Christmas/holiday season, 8-- that's a majority!--...

in the big leagues by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 16, 2009

The Catholic Theological Society of America, which reflects the mainstream professional theological academy in the U.S., has been the arena of dispute in recent weeks over the doctrinal reliability of its outgoing president. The controversy makes discouraging reading, not least because...

the wisdom of Solomon by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 16, 2009

Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was raised as a Catholic but now attends an Anglican church. So when he attended Mass at the chapel of Blessed Mary MacKillop in Sydney, the question arose: should he be allowed to receive Communion? Communion is, among other things, a sign of...

the posture imposture by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 16, 2009

Now here's a head-shaking story from the Chicago Sun-Times. A number of Chicago-area women report that, in a period from the 1940s until the 1960s while they were in public high schools, they were required to pose for photographs, completely undressed, as part of a study purportedly designed to...

a little boy's cry for help by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 16, 2009

Yesterday brought the news that an 8-year-old boy in Taunton, Massachusetts, had been sent home from school because he drew a picture of Christ on the cross. Today the Boston Globe reassures readers that really, the incident was nothing to worry about. “The report is totally...

The Fallacies of the Federal Box by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 16, 2009

One of the classic fallacies, used frequently in political discourse, is appeal to emotion. The idea is to appeal to an audience in a way that causes them to associate favorable emotions with the proposition you are putting before them. The fallacy consists in tricking the audience (or allowing...

Thoughts for Christmas by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Dec 17, 2009

We are approaching the fourth week of Advent faster than you can say “O Antiphon”—and after that, Christmas.  This time of year is bringing a lot of mixed emotions for many who are suffering from global economic woes. The national business atmosphere is admittedly tense. One...

Episcopal Clarity by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 17, 2009

Interesting episcopal news today: Irish bishop resigns under criticism for abuse cover-up Archbishop Milingo stripped of priestly status New Milwaukee archbishop condemns ‘Young Catholics for Choice’ All bad news,...

send the Pope a Christmas card by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 17, 2009

Did you leave someone important off your Christmas-card list? I'm talking about Pope Benedict XVI. The Pontifical Council for Social Communications has set up a web site that allows you to send your Christmas greetings to the Holy Father. You can even include your family photo.  So why...

Sure, blame the bishops. But don't just blame the bishops by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 17, 2009

If you know my work at all, you know that I’m not inclined to defend bishops who cover up for predatory priests. The bishops of Dublin have been under heavy critical fire in the past few weeks; they richly deserve the criticism. Bishop Donal Murray has been forced to resign, and that’s...

my body, my choice by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 18, 2009

A woman in Virginia suffocated her newborn last week. Because the mother and child were still connected by the umbilicus and placenta at the time the former dispatched the latter, the act is considered no different from clipping a toenail. You go, girl! Momma is free as the breeze: “In...

first things first by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 18, 2009

The Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray has resigned his post in the wake of Ireland's clerical abuse scandal. His sorrowfully lame resignation statement does not admit any failure on his part. He says rather that his continued presence in the job would create too many difficulties for too many...

you can let us beat you with a steel pipe by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 18, 2009

-- OR, you can watch this video to its...

2010 consistory watch by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 18, 2009

Cardinal Jozef Glemp, the retired Archbishop of Warsaw and Primate of Poland, celebrated his 80th birthday today, and thus became ineligible to participate in a future papal election. As I have mentioned here before, the time seems ripe for Pope Benedict to convene a consistory and elevate...

another obama victory! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 20, 2009

Faced with the debacle of the Copenhagen Accord, the New York Times strains to find silk-purse material: The accord is nonetheless significant in that it codifies the commitments of individual nations to act on their own to tackle global warming. The more carefully you re-read it, the...

on the laff track by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 20, 2009

Do you ever get the impression that somewhere around the mid-1980s the Church of England quietly repackaged itself as a BBC-TV comedy serial, without letting on to the laity? The increasingly farcical attempts to contrive a basis for “Anglican communion” succeed one another every five...

sharing & caring by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 21, 2009

Mark Steyn on the 30 trillion pieces of silver: You can't even dignify this squalid racket as bribery: If I try to buy a cop, I have to use my own money. But, when Harry Reid buys a senator, he uses my money, too. Don't forget, Mark: your children will have to kick in as...

the abortion distortion by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 21, 2009

There are dozens of good reasons to have strong opinions about the health-care legislation now pending in Congress. But the abortion issue has consumed the most attention-- just as the abortion issue can dominate debate in presidential and congressional election races, even when there is little...

we've waited too long already by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 21, 2009

As Catholics in the English-speaking world draws closer to an accurate translation of liturgical texts, the opponents of the new translations-- that is, the fans of the ungainly and inaccurate ICEL texts currently in use-- are begging the Vatican to hold off on implementation of the process. It's...

Concern for the Poor in Health Care by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 21, 2009

There’s a lot I’ve wanted to write about over the past several days, but I've been totally bogged down in snow removal and final fundraising activities for the year. Writing is more fun than either (and hopefully more ultimately useful). With both of these less-enjoyable...

where the bodies are buried by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 21, 2009

You're a promising young man. Your superiors are impressed with your performance, and you're promoted at an early age to a position of great responsibility. But once in that office, you start acting strange. Very strange. Rather than make a fuss, your bosses summon you to headquarters, where you...

the limits of tolerance by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 21, 2009

In Auckland, New Zealand, a blasphemous billboard was unveiled recently, insulting the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and the Holy Spirit. That the billboard was set up by an Anglican parish—evidently desperate for attention—makes the offense still more noisome. What do you do? You can...

Bringing Good out of Evil by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 21, 2009

Let’s talk about something that God can and always does do infallibly, and that Christians are enabled to do extremely well by His grace: Bringing good out of evil. What made me think of this is the recent announcement that the apostolic visitation of the Legion of Christ is expected to conclude...

a grave threat to democracy in Australia by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 22, 2009

Tony Abbott, the leader of Australia’s opposition Liberal party, believes that children in school should become familiar with the Bible and other “great texts that are at the core of our civilization.” Senator Kate Lundy is horrified. “Mr Abbott wants to take the choice...

The Anger of the Elephants by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 22, 2009

It’s a once in a lifetime story, though our news department ranks it among the least important stories, so it appears only at the very end of yesterday’s daily news list. I refer, of course, to the Avenging Elephants of Orissa. It seems that exactly one year after the Hindu rioting...

uncommon wisdom by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 22, 2009

Responding to climate change is the moral imperative of our time, and people of spirit and faith can play a vital role in helping us make this crucial transition. God, Goddess, Allah, Jehovah, Buddha, Krishna and the Great Spirit know that the politicians aren't doing it! Watching the...

timing is everything by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 22, 2009

Suppose you had to reveal some embarrassing news: something that showed you in a very unfavorable light; something that would disappoint your friends. Let’s say you couldn’t keep this news quiet; it was bound to come out. But you could control the timing. You’d want to choose a...

the man who never was by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 23, 2009

A CNA story reports that the Legionaries are prepping their number for bad news to come by revealing that at least some of the writings of the late Marcial Maciel were cribbed: In an effort to distance itself from the wrongdoings of its founder, the Legion of Christ has recently circulated an...

In the Jesuit Tradition by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 23, 2009

Catholic World News has been highlighting recently those colleges and universities which claim the Catholic name but recommend positions with Planned Parenthood to students as a career option. If you haven’t been watching this stream of stories closely, you may have missed the fact that the...

Maybe the Irish bishops 'get it' by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 23, 2009

Less than a month after the first major public report on the sex-abuse scandal in Dublin, two bishops have resigned.  More than a decade after the first major public report on the sex-abuse scandal in the United States, one bishop has resigned. (Here we refer not to bishops who resigned...

a picture worth 0 words by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 23, 2009

You’ve probably seen the picture hundreds of times. On the cover of John Cornwell’s book, Hitler’s Pope, the photo seems to show Pope Pius XII in full regalia. We are led to believe that he is leaving Hitler’s headquarters, and the uniformed men flanking him are Nazi...

College Education: Catholic vs. Secular by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 23, 2009

If you thought I’d finished waxing eloquent on the key considerations to keep in mind as you send your kids off to college, you’re doomed to disappointment. There are several further points to address, not the least of which is whether you should prefer a Catholic or a secular...

D'oh! by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 23, 2009

 Did they break out the Yuletide quaffs a bit early at the editorial offices of L’Osservatore Romano? No, that can’t be the explanation, because this has been going on all year. Along with its more serious offenses—such as proclaiming that President Obama does not favor...

The unexpected revival of the cause for beatification of Pius XII by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 23, 2009

Virtually no one saw it coming. No one predicted that Pope Benedict would advance the cause for beatification of Pope Pius XII last Saturday. There had been plenty of speculation about other candidates for beatification. A week ago we passed along the report that at the ordinary consistory...

néw yórk néw yórk by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 24, 2009

Odd. The locale generally known to the anglophone world as Guantanamo now appears in the New York Times as Guantánamo. Is the added accent, one wonders, intended as a pronunciation aid to readers? Is it meant to disambiguate the site of the U.S. military installation from other Latin...

the episcopal Catch-22 by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 24, 2009

Having tendered his resignation, Bishop James Moriarty issued a public statement pointing out that he did not set sex-abuse policies for the Dublin archdiocese during the period covered by the Murphy Commission report. Fair enough. He went on: "However, with the benefit of hindsight, I...

problem solvers by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 24, 2009

Catholics and Methodists agree: don't litter. As leaders of nations and scientists were gathering in Copenhagen to figure out ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions that have been linked to global warming, representatives from the United Methodist Church (UMC) and the United States...

in the bleak midwinter by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 24, 2009

At this time of year I enjoy re-reading John Henry Newman's sermon on the Nativity, delivered in Oxford at the university church of Saint Mary the Virgin: As Al Gore put it in 1997, “two thousand years ago a homeless woman gave birth to a homeless child.” For pete’s sake, they...

Why Be Catholic? 8: Incarnation by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 26, 2009

There is, in the Catholic vision of reality, a profound understanding of the impenetration of matter by grace which we call the Incarnational principle. The Incarnation of God the Son as Jesus Christ is the bedrock which underlies the Christian vision of the relationship between God and man. In...

stirring controversy by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 28, 2009

The New York Times reports that the Catholic Health Association and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious think the Senate got it right: In an apparent split with Roman Catholic bishops over the abortion-financing provisions of the proposed health care overhaul, the nation’s...

'the system worked' by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 28, 2009

If not for a failed detonator, an airplane would have been destroyed and another 278 victims would have been added to the terrorists' tally. And the top security official in the federal government tells us that "the system worked." Can you imagine any equally inappropriate response to a...

St. Peter’s Advice by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 28, 2009

I freely admit that spiritual reading works best when we concentrate our attention on our own relationship with God, not somebody else’s. Still, it is difficult to avoid thinking of modern bishops, not just in America but throughout the West generally, when reading the third chapter of St....

priorities by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 28, 2009

On a quiet winter day, with no pressing work to do, a friend visited the site of the US bishops’ conference, and did a Google search restricted to English-language results on that site. He tried “transubstantiation” and the search returned 26 hits. Interesting. He...

On Elephants and Apparitions by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 28, 2009

With regard to my item on The Anger of the Elephants, a CatholicCulture.org supporter whose alias is kman wrote: Re: "Thus the story is rated at our lowest level of importance" Funny... I would have expected you to leave that to the readers to decide. Where would you rank a story about...

papal security: a few practical suggestions by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 28, 2009

Security is not nearly as tight at the Vatican as it is at the White House. I think most Catholics—certainly including the most recent Roman Pontiffs—prefer things that way. St. Peter’s is a church, not a fortress; the faithful must be allowed to enter for religious ceremonies....

more than a shred of difference by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 29, 2009

Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, sees “not a shred of disagreement” between the stand her organization has taken on the health-care reform bill and the stand taken by the US bishops’ conference. She has a point. CWN readers will recall that when...

wanted: priests to take internet survey by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 29, 2009

In a research project for the Year for Priests, the New Media in Education Lab is collecting information about how Catholic priests use the internet. The project is named PICTURE, which stands for “Priests’ Information and Communications Technology Use in their Religious...

Philosophical Humor? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 29, 2009

I’m not sure why I’m writing this, but for the first time I’ve taken a close look at a mug decorated with Shakespearian insults which was, I think, given to my wife (an English teacher) some years ago. I just happened to notice that the mug was created and sold by The Unemployed...

The 5 worst stories of 2009 by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 29, 2009

As we near the end of 2009, I’ve looked back over the year’s news coverage, and selected five important stories in each of three different categories: the five most discouraging developments of the year, the five most encouraging, and the five stories to watch for further developments in 2010....

Taking the Name of Jesus in Vain by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 30, 2009

Have you ever noticed the frequency with which those Catholics who reject the Magisterium of the Church insert the name of “Jesus” into every discussion in order to seize the moral high ground? Yes, I’m stating this pretty baldly, but it is a real pattern. If anybody insists on...

Nancy Pelosi, her archbishop, and her conscience by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 30, 2009

In an interview with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a sympathetic Eleanor Clift of Newsweek eventually gets around to the question of Catholicism: Clift: Is it difficult for you to reconcile your faith with the role you have in public life? Pelosi: You know, I have five children in six...

The 5 most positive developments of 2009 by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 30, 2009

In this space yesterday, I commented on the 5 most distressing news stories of 2009. Today, as promised, I turn to the five most encouraging news developments: 5. The Vatican investigation of American women’s religious communities. “For many years,” Cardinal Franc Rodé disclosed in...

The 5 stories to expect in 2010 by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 31, 2009

My lists of the five worst stories of 2009 and the year’s five most positive developments included dozens of links to our news coverage. Today’s rundown contains very few links, since I am engaged in speculation rather than reporting, trying to predict five important news stories that will break...

all these ridiculous distinctions by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Dec 31, 2009

Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., recently addressed a gathering of Dublin priests and shared some husky confidences on how the scandal of the clergy sex abuse crisis affected Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, O.P. Truth to tell, it nearly spoiled his entire weekend: Former Master General of the Dominican...

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