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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from February 2004

The Self-Made Man Who Adores His Creator by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 1, 2004

Bishop Pat Buckley is an Irish businessman with a vision. Once a Catholic priest, he saw the light in 1986 and renounced papistry, bought himself a high-class bishopric, and wrote his own creed -- from which it's clear that Bishop Pat Buckley worships a God made in the image and likeness of ......

inclusiver than thou by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 2, 2004

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI, doesn't like labels: God's house has many rooms, just as truth lies in many places, and God's consolation and challenge is always somewhat colored by the biases of those who bring the good news: liberals, conservatives, feminists, Protestants, Roman Catholics, Hindus,...

...and to file jointly as long as you both shall live? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 2, 2004

George Weigel seconds Maggie Gallagher on the fight for the survival of marriage: When gay activists talk about the "benefits" of marriage, they're talking about entitlements granted by the state. When advocates of "marriage" rightly understood talk about the "benefits" of marriage, we mean, at...

never mind... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 2, 2004

Rebecca, the blogger at Journey to Vatican III, attended a lecture at Gonzaga University by Fr. J. Bryan Hehir, formerly dean of Harvard Divinity School and until recently head of Catholic Charities USA. All in all Hehir's talk was thought-provoking and filled with hope. About the abuse...

The February issue of Catholic World Report is out by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Feb 2, 2004

The February issue of Catholic World Report is now available on newsstands and here's what you'll find inside:Evangelizing Hollywood: Christian Themes In Current Films: In a survey of contemporary films, John B. Allen judges Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ against the aesthetic standards of...

semantics and the soft sciences by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 3, 2004

In the current America, Sr. Katarina Schuth reviews Evolving Visions of the Priesthood, a new book by sociologists Dean Hoge and Jacqueline Wenger, who report on a survey of American priests conducted in 2001 and who "communicate and interpret extensive data about generational changes in the...

from the Restoring Trust department by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 3, 2004

The Diocese of Cheyenne announces a reassuring advance report on its clergy abuse audit: Fourteen "credible" allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors were lodged against nine Roman Catholic priests in Wyoming over the past 53 years, Bishop David Ricken said Monday, citing results of an...

triumph by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 3, 2004

He was a Jesuit priest and a Democrat. His example led me to think for the first time of becoming a Jesuit and coming to Washington. I was 13. He was instantly my hero. Thirty years later, he still is. For the identity of the mystery hero, go here. For an alternative assessment of his...

Get uncomfortable by Leila in "Off the Record" - Feb 3, 2004

Our friend Claire, a senior at Harvard, reports some surprising discussions in her ethics class last semester. Fellow students challenged her to clear up some perceived anomalies in the Catholic approach to bioethics. I found their interest completely contrary to what we might suppose, and our...

College More Catholic Than Ever, Exec Claims by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 3, 2004

BETHESDA (CWN) "Claver College's Catholic identity has never been stronger!" boasted Public Relation's dean Rev. Buck Shotwell, as he sat in his office overlooking the shady Claver campus. "Of course, you'll always have a few malcontent alums who cry wolf at any changes," he conceded, "but they...

going, going by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 4, 2004

"We're going to tell all those white boys who run the Republican Party to stay out of our bedrooms!" That's Howard Dean, addressing supporters in Seattle earlier this week. The Seattle Times reporter claims the line provoked one of the biggest ovations of the evening. I live a much more...

them & us by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 4, 2004

The Washington Post's Anne Applebaum has a fine article on the selectivity of our self-righteousness, and how it helps us to downplay reports of gas chambers in North Korea. Worth a read. In recent years a plethora of respectable institutions -- the Vatican, the U.S. government, the...

compassion by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 4, 2004

Just in case you should hear anything to the contrary. That stand was controversial. Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, NY said the policy is "not consistent with who we are as a faith community, which believes in forgiveness, compassion and reconciliation." He noted the bishops issued a pastoral...

The Passion: anti-Semitism & violence by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Feb 4, 2004

The daughter of Holocaust survivors is the actress who portrayed Mary in The Passion. She says there is nothing anti-semitic in the film. "If there is a message, it's more about how people can be manipulated by their leaders, Maia Morgenstern said." Meanwhile, Barbara Nicolosi discusses the...

The Massachusetts disease by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Feb 4, 2004

I've always had a soft spot for Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne. Although I don't generally agree with him, I find him a very personable guy. Maybe that's because we are both natives of Massachusetts. In a column that appeared yesterday, Dionne said that Republican strategists are wrong...

PRO-ACTIVE VOCATION RECRUITING by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Feb 5, 2004

I have developed a new, pro-active vocation recruiting strategy. It involves carefully reading through the news each day, identifying certain potential candidates and properly placing them according to their gifts. This guy gets to be the next Bishop of Phoenix. Anyone have the phone number of...

The camel's nose... by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Feb 5, 2004

Food for thought: The Massachusetts constitution expressly states that the courts should not be involved in marriage issues. So how does a court now have the right to define marriage? It turns out, we let the courts into the game years ago, when the legislature gave them power to handle...

The only good Catholic is a bad Catholic by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 5, 2004

Q: When does the Boston Globe set up a pro-life legislator as a model of integrity? A: When she lashes out at the Catholic Church. Q: When does the Globe give favorable mention to a legislator's Catholic faith? A: When she's about to betray that faith. Q: After 16 years in Catholic...

"Miffed" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 5, 2004

A spokesman for Bishop Howard Hubbard says that his boss is "miffed." I suppose I'd be "miffed," too, is someone accused me of having an illicit and possibly affair, which ended in a suicide. But I think I'd use a stronger term. Maybe, for example, say that the charge was "outrageous,...

The Pakistani shuffle by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 6, 2004

If you believe everything that Pakistan's President Musharraf says, then you believe:Pakistan didn't export nuclear-weapons technology Oh, wait, Pakistan did export nuclear-weapons technology, but it was done by a single individual, whose actions were not approved by the government, even though...

Ponder this by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Feb 8, 2004

The Diocese of Cleveland issues a warning to Catholic parishes that seeing a movie, The Passion of the Christ, which illustrates the events of the Gospels, may lead to the rise of anti-Semitism in churchgoing Catholics. Meanwhile, a local Catholic university allows the production of the "Vagina...

All on the same page by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 9, 2004

The Boston archdioces has thrown its full support behind a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in Massachusetts. So we can safely assume that no pastor in the Boston archdiocese would use his pulpit to oppose that amendment. Can't...

Boston's rally in defense of marriage by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Feb 9, 2004

I attended the rally yesterday afternoon on Boston Common to defend marriage and to demand the state government allow the citizens to vote on it, rather than have it imposed from above by unelected judges. I've posted my own reflections and some photos on my web site. I have a feeling that you'll...

Silence of the bishops by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Feb 9, 2004

Fr. Rob Johansen discusses whether there is a "different 'level of communication'" among priests, as alleged by Amy Welborn. I think he misunderstands what Amy is talking about, but his response does include some very important truths. Regarding the former, having lived with priests, I can...

Caution: Bishop at work by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 10, 2004

Maybe now we can gain some insight as to why bishops never alerted police when they learned that priests had molested children. Maybe "the thought never occurred" that felonies should be reported to police. Or maybe they did think about calling police, but since they didn't know the names...

"Funerals with a Custom Fit..." by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 11, 2004

That headline isn't mine; it comes right off today's story in the New York Times. We're talking about these new-fangled, silly funerals-- er, "celebrations of life"-- replete with posters and videos of the deceased, where people get themselves cremated and their ashes are put into a ring for...

Still waiting to hear from Abraham Foxman by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 11, 2004

If we are all agreed that the media should not stir up hatred and contempt against any religious group, is it safe to assume that the AJC will take a few moments off from their campaign against Mel Gibson to comment on...

The defense rests by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 11, 2004

Things don't look so good for Bishop O'Brien. It looks as if his defense team proved that the fatal hit-and-run accident happened very quickly, while the prosecution proved that the bishop left the scene. And that's what he's on trial for: leaving the scene. So the only question, really, is...

Talking tough to the Russian Orthodox by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Feb 11, 2004

In last week's National Catholic Reporter, John Allen outdoes himself. His column is always worth reading; his sources in Rome are excellent, and he doesn't let his opinions interfere with his strong factual reporting. It isn't often that you find someone at the Vatican who will speak...

Coincidences? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 12, 2004

Item: On January 20, the Diocese of Springfield (Massachusetts) announced the laicization of Richard Lavigne, whose priestly career had been dotted with sex-abuse charges. Lavigne is also the leading (and only) suspect in the murder of a local boy in 1972. Lavigne had hinted that the diocese...

TEAM PLAYERS by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Feb 12, 2004

Sigh. This is not being a good month for our bishops, including Murphy of Rockville Centre, sometime aide to Cardinal...

TEAM PLAYERS -2- by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Feb 12, 2004

Here is Newsday's report on Bishop Murphy. It has been pointed out that he had defended himself months ago in the furor over the Boston case by asserting that another priest named Murphy had been assigned to deal with sexual abuse allegations. If this Newsday report is correct, Laura Ahearn,...

Hmm. Newsday by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Feb 12, 2004

Don't know why that link did not work: trying again with backup...

Another (yawn!) bimbo eruption? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Feb 12, 2004

The Drudge Report says that a leading Democratic presidential candidate may have been involved in an extra-marital affair. With an intern. Maybe, with an eye to recent Democratic models, he was trying to act "presidential." BTW, I'm talking about the sexual-indiscretion rumors of 2004, as...

Homage to Old Mother Damnable, the CofE by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Feb 12, 2004

THE SONG OF THE MAGETTES With a deep bow to the Church of England – jfw “The Three Wise Men who brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the infant Jesus may not have been particularly wise and could have been women, the Church of England has ruled. We Dumb Chicks from Orient...

Our Lady's University by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Feb 12, 2004

Here you can read about the forthcoming Lesbian and Gay Film Festival at Notre Dame University, South Bend....

BISHOP MURPHY'S REPLY by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Feb 12, 2004

Bishop Murphy of Rockville Centre replies to Ms Ahearn in a statement asserting that she has consistently mixed him up with another Boston priest, Fr William Murphy. Newsday asserts that its examination of the Boston documents showed numerous cases in which Bishop Murphy, not his subordinate,...

Career-threatening ailments by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 13, 2004

The most Rev. Thomas L. Dupre ... abruptly resigned yesterday as bishop of the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese, citing health reasons. Outstanding. Bishop Dupre bails out of his bishopric five years ahead of the statutory retirement age of 75 under the rubric of Canon 401, paragraph 2,...

The wrong trail by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 13, 2004

Yesterday in this space I asked, rhetorically, why 20-year-old accusations against Bishop Dupre were suddenly coming to light. One priest of the Springfield diocese, the very talkative Father James Scahill, seems inclined to take credit. He blew the whistle, he told reporters, by calling the...

The Albany Protocol by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 13, 2004

Thomas à Kempis fans will remember Denise Brennan, the erstwhile Fr. Dennis Brennan of the Diocese of Albany, who in January 2000 wrote a circular letter to parishioners announcing that he had been diagnosed with "gender dysphoria," that he "had always been conscious of [his] inner female gender,"...

Election Time Again by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 14, 2004

Every four years the USCCB puts out a voting guide which, in nervous and indirect language, invites U.S. Catholics to wring their hands for ten minutes outside the polling booth before voting Democratic. Not surprisingly the guides tend to be light on theology and big on the importance of daily...

Guess who ain't coming to dinner? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 14, 2004

The Church of England isn't ready to let that Italian girl in the family. The Archbishop of Canterbury argues that her daddy's rich, and she just needs to learn better manners. Dr Williams told the Synod that papal infallibility raised grave misgivings, but these could dissolve if it were seen...

network news by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 14, 2004

The Bishop of Springfield, MA, resigned last week at the same time accusations of sexual abuse of minors made against him became public. The Diocese's interim administrator, Msgr. Richard Sniezyk, has made a very important admission regarding his brother churchmen's handling of abuse. The...

Higher Thought from the Bay Area by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 15, 2004

My local supermarket no longer displays Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits in the check-out racks, so I was especially pleased to see it's now available on-line. The latest number features an essay by University of San Francisco artist Fr. Thomas Lucas, S.J., which expounds the value of...

in touch with his feelings by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 15, 2004

Ex-Bishop Thomas Dupre is quoted in today's Springfield Republican on a subject of contemporary relevance. The cite comes from back when he was still carrying forward The Healing Process. "As a newly ordained priest in my first parish, I learned that an older priest whom I respected a great...

Peace, peace! But there is no peace. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 15, 2004

When two men began handing out fliers at St. Paul Church in Harvard Square recently, they had a message that probably would not have raised an eyebrow in most Catholic parishes: Stop same-sex marriage. But St. Paul, the Catholic church affiliated with Harvard University, serves an academic...

bishops & us by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 16, 2004

It's always sad, in Barnes & Noble, to see a thirty-year-old propped against the stacks while leafing through a book on How to Make Friends. If you need to ask, as the saying goes, you won't understand the answer. C.S. Lewis wrote, "That is why those pathetic people who simply 'want friends' can...

Gruesome details by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 16, 2004

USA Today has won the race and set the tone. Without waiting to see the US bishops' full report on sexual abuse-- which won't be out until next week-- the newspaper has published the first critical editorial-- beginning what we have no doubt will be barrage of critical editorials, mostly on...

Los Angeles Connections by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 16, 2004

Remember the confidential e-mails between Cardinal Roger Mahony and his half-dozen closest chancery aides that discussed how to stymie the press and brush-back the sheriff's office that were hacked around Easter of 2002? Remember that one of this inner ring, who helped lay down smoke and whose...

Subject: Storm on the horizon by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 16, 2004

Back in December a suit filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court alleged that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles colluded with abusers to protect and promote them. Spokesman Tod Tamberg dismissed the accusation as "preposterous." Well, now it turns out that one of the Cardinal's closest aides,...

a libertarian own-goal? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 16, 2004

An interesting take in soft-Lefty William Saletan's new book, which bears the (regrettably) unconvincing sub-title, How Conservatives Won the Abortion War. The book reads as a pretty straight narrative that, in large part, tells the story of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action...

panis vitae vitam praestans homini by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 16, 2004

Elected silence still attracts: "It is such a privilege to make the bread of life," said Sister Anne Marie, who is in charge of the bakery. Thumbs up to Jeff...

Quality control by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 17, 2004

Say you run a donut shop. You produce thousands of donuts every day. Mostly, they taste good. Every once in a while, a customer charges that one of the donuts made him sick. How often would this have to happen, before you realize that you have a serious problem on your hands? Suppose 1...

4,450 -- but, hey, who's counting? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 17, 2004

The BishopAccountability.org website posts a PDF file of the survey forms the U.S. dioceses were asked to complete for the John Jay study, including detailed instructions. It's interesting that the manuscript itself appears to be a copy faxed from Stephen Brady's Roman Catholic...

A Question of Character by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 18, 2004

From a news story on Bishop O'Brien's conviction for hit-and-run: In a news conference after the trial, jurors said they believed the bishop did not act reasonably when he drove away from the accident, which shattered his windshield. "This was obviously not just a little bird flying into the...

Very curious indeed: 78% of the alleged victims were age 11 to 17 by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 18, 2004

The Rev. Carl Anthony Schipper, academic dean at St. Patrick Seminary, Menlo Park, for the past eight years, has been arrested on charges apparently related to child pornography and sexual abuse. "What I'm afraid of is we're going into this witch hunt for gays,'' said the Rev. Stephen Rossetti,...

Odder: 78% of the alleged victims were age 11 to 17 by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 18, 2004

He said his molestation had occurred in the rectory of Corpus Christi Church in 1971, when he was 12 years old. It followed "an insidious grooming process" over several months, when Clark would admire the young boy's developing body, urging him to take off his shirt. "It began with him touching my...

Odd: 78% of the alleged victims were age 11 to 17 by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 18, 2004

Just two months after he became dean of St. John's undergraduate college, the Rev. George C. Berthold was accused of making improper advances toward a freshman seminarian, including kissing him on the lips. "What I'm afraid of is we're going into this witch hunt for gays,'' said the Rev....

78% of the alleged victims were age 11 to 17 by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 18, 2004

Two mentally disabled men who live and work at a Jesuit retreat were sexually abused by members of the clergy for at least five years, according to court records and interviews. "What I'm afraid of is we're going into this witch hunt for gays,'' said the Rev. Stephen Rossetti, a psychologist...

The teflon cardinal by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 18, 2004

For months reporters in Los Angeles have been looking for clear evidence that Cardinal Mahony was guilty of misfeasance of malfeasance of the sort that drove Cardinal Law into premature retirement. So far they haven't found the proverbial smoking gun. But as this op-ed in the LA Times shows,...

Your American bishops today by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Feb 18, 2004

Today's headlines in the secular press inform us that: 1 American bishop has been convicted of a felony 1 American bishop has been implicated in a suicide (for the second time in recent weeks), amid charges that he forced a priest to lie 1 American bishop has

Flashback to June: Amy Welborn on O'Brien (and us) by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 19, 2004

Back in June, when the news was just breaking that Bishop Thomas O'Brien had been taken into police custody, Amy Welborn posted a striking reflection on her (now retired) In Between Naps blog -- striking at the time it was written for its trenchancy and all the more striking today for its...

The essentials by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 19, 2004

In a somewhat rambling, inconclusive analysis of the mysterious death of Father John Minkler, and the implications for Bishop Howard Hubbard, an Albany, NY columnist closes with this gem: Hubbard, in the midst of the most serious crisis in his 27 years as bishop, said the church's work is still...

The Essentials, II by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Feb 19, 2004

Bishop Hubbard recently listed (below) the primary works of the Church: educating children, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless. Compare his thoughts with this recent statement by Chicago's Cardinal George: One religious response to this kind of culture is to institutionalize schools and...

Wishing You Comfort in this Time of Grief by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 19, 2004

Writing to a friend, Flannery O'Connor once remarked about a distant relative: She always leaves me with a warm feeling -- as if I had just been promoted to the fourth grade after having stayed in the third grade two years. O'Connor exactly describes my own invariable reaction to Bishop...

no comment at this time by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 19, 2004

Because of illness or some other grave reason: Former Bishop Thomas L. Dupre has hired a prominent criminal defense lawyer, who said he advised his client against responding to allegations that he sexually abused two boys more than two decades ago. Your honor, my client does not have a...

"Catholic" weekly endorse same-sex unions by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Feb 19, 2004

The National Catholic Reporter has come out with an editorial in favor of the Massachusetts court ruling calling for legal recognition of same-sex "marriage." The Reporter sees this decision as a "beneficial step along the path of human understanding and human rights." If you look beyond the...

women beware women by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 19, 2004

Anglican Mary Wakefield takes an unfriendly (and somewhat feline?) look at her ordained co-religionists. In the crypt, an hour before the grand celebration of the tenth anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood, there were women priests of every description: fifty-something...

the personal equation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 20, 2004

Commenter Marie at Mark Shea's blog has an interesting post prompted by Prof James Hitchcock's deadly accurate article Conservative Bishops, Liberal Results. As Hitchcock writes: When they (bishops) acknowledge the obvious evidence that Catholics reject official teachings on a large scale,...

Defending the Pharisees by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 20, 2004

It ain't easy to defend the Pharisees. But somehow we always knew that, if it was going to be done at all, it would be done by an employee of the US bishops' conference. The only role the Bible says the Pharisees have in the passion of Jesus is, in one case they try to warn him that there's...

leadership by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 20, 2004

When the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court gave the green light to gay marriage, everyone, pro and con, realized that the Catholic Church was the only institution in the Commonwealth with a chance of mobilizing sufficient opposition to force a parlay. Lay Catholics instantly threw themselves...

The bishop as teacher by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 20, 2004

Just in case you've heard anything different-- Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men,...

A Thought Experiment by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 21, 2004

Imagine a large suburban high school whose faculty and administration (considered a unity for present purposes) devises a series of programs to deal with the problem of student drug dealers. After some months of very mixed results it happens that a faculty member himself is arrested for selling...

Jerome Lejeune by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Feb 21, 2004

This week, as the Pontifical Academy for Life met in Rome, one prelate raised the issue of beatification for the Academy's first president, the great French geneticist Jerome Lejeune. For readers who would like to learn more about this extraordinary man, there's a lovely biography available: ...

but seriously, folks ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 22, 2004

First gerbil:   Weren't you running on that wheel last February?Second gerbil:   We're on a learning curve...

note to self by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 23, 2004

Remember Bishop Joseph "Put in that I laughed" Imesch? Roman Catholic Faithful posts a memo circulated by his Chancery administrator. Diocese of Joliet Chancery 425 Summit St. Joliet, IL 60435December 11, 2003To: All Diocesan EmployeesRe: Internet UseThe computers provided by the Diocese...

doctrine by lottery: you can't win if you don't play by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 23, 2004

Herewith a locally enacted statute: The City of Cincinnati and its various Boards and Commissions may not enact, adopt, enforce or administer any ordinance, regulation, rule or policy which provides that homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation, status, conduct, or relationship constitutes,...

Painful Contradictions by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 23, 2004

Remember the parable of the good Samaritan? The one where the Samaritan finds the guy beaten by robbers and trots off to lobby for tetrarchy-funded health care? Check out the U.S. Catholic: U.S. health care is a study in painful contradictions, according to Father Michael Place, president of...

Sharing his gifts by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 23, 2004

I admit to verging on the censorious in earlier posts regarding the conduct of former Phoenix Bishop Thomas O'Brien. By way of restoring balance, I recommend a perusal of this judicious assessment by Andrew Peyton Thomas. O'Brien was driving home from a church function when an intoxicated...

They Did Good Ministry by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Feb 23, 2004

I can only think that the Boston Globe is misrepresenting the views of the new administrator of the Springfield Diocese. If that is not the case -- if, in his position, in that diocese, at this time, he really said this... well, I can hardly say, "we're really in trouble," can I? We knew it...

Discerning the spirits by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 23, 2004

Oh good. The priests of Springfield now recognize that sexual activity between men and young boys is wrong, because psychiatrists have reached that conclusion. And you wonder why nobody goes to Confession anymore....

just innocent fun by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 23, 2004

The NCR's John Allen reminisces about South African Bishop Denis Hurley, who died February 13 at age 88. My first contacts with Hurley concerned ICEL, when I was reporting on the "liturgy wars" in the late 1990s. He and I spoke on the telephone and exchanged e-mails many times. I met him in...

to the rescue by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 23, 2004

In 1994, the burghers of Cincinnati enacted a law which denied homosexuals "any claim of minority or protected status, quota preference or other preferential treatment." Remember the random lynchings of gays this provoked? The limbs lost to frostbite after spinsters were summarily turned out of...

oops! by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Feb 23, 2004

It's Shrove Tuesday --do you know where your pastor is? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 24, 2004

Twelve years ago the NCR ran a disjointed "open letter to the Holy Father" written by an anonymous and clearly agitated gay priest who, by way of rebuking the Pope, wished to show the harm inflicted on closeted priests of his acquaintance by Catholic doctrine. Perhaps because of the unusually...

An obstacle to ecumenism? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 24, 2004

From The Tablet: The screening that made Gibson most anxious was at Fulco’s university in Los Angeles, where Jesuits watched it during a gathering at Loyola Marymount. Gibson explained to Boyer why he and Lauer were so nervous: “We’re Catholics, right? We’re scared of the Jesuits. Every good...

An End to Ensler by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 24, 2004

It's become quasi-liturgical in its ritual predictability. A Catholic college announces it will stage Eve Ensler's V Monologues. Outraged alumni write Father President demanding action. Father President replies with the standard two paragraphs of clichés on the need to raise consciousness about...

lux in tenebris by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 25, 2004

Yet another example of the secular media displaying, albeit somewhat shame-facedly, a fascination with contemplative monasticism -- this time concerning Pluscarden Abbey in Scotland: The men's voices start up next, low and harmonious, the Gregorian chant reverberating around the stone walls, up...

Hints from Heloise? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 25, 2004

We have all been enlightened. Zero tolerance "does not function to prevent these crimes," Hans-Ludwig Kroeber, director of Berlin's Institute of Forensic Psychiatry, said at the symposium. "It is better to domesticate the dragon. If all you do is cut off its head, it will grow...

The amendment that doesn't by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Feb 26, 2004

In Massachusettss, Democrats are offering a "compromise amendment" to the state constitution. Since John Kerry endorses this "compromise," you know there's a catch. Sure enough: the amendment would call for "civil unions" for gay couples. Just a few weeks ago, defenders of marriage in...

art for art's sake by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 26, 2004

Should a film be used as the basis to retrieve the latent (as opposed to the overt) motives of a film-maker? Should the personal options, tastes, and flaws of the film-maker enter into our judgment of his film? For obvious reasons, these are hotly disputed questions these days. To film critic...

But hey, who's counting? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 26, 2004

The Boston archdiocese has disclosed that 162 Boston priests have been accused of sexual abuse since 1950. The attorney general of Massachusetts says that 237 priests from the Boston archdiocese have been accused of sexual abuse. Where did the AG get his statistics? From the Boston...

we're about healing here by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 26, 2004

Ripple effects in Alaska: A year after breaking the silence of his sexual abuse by a Catholic priest and exposing the shameful secrets of the Archdiocese of Anchorage [Alaska] in a dramatic television interview, Service High School principal Pat Podvin has apparently killed himself. Anchorage...

not a single expression of outrage by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Feb 27, 2004

"Both reports are highly critical of the bishops and church officials, and the Review Board's report singles out a few by name. Among them are Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who resigned his post as archbishop of Boston as a result of the scandal; Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York for failing in his...

Afraid of a Witch-Hunt? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 27, 2004

The review board's report mentions that more than 80 percent of the abuse at issue was of a homosexual nature. The report theorizes that the problem reflects a cohort of gay priests, based on their figures that the percentage of male victims rose from 64 percent in the 1950's, to 76 percent in the...

a day of news coverage by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Feb 27, 2004

I've watched several times today as Bishop Wilton Gregory boldly announced on TV that the release of these sexual abuse figures is a "benchmark' for our Church. One marvels at the performance. As he speaks, we're coming out of weeks of bad headlines about bishops. The Bishop of Albany is...

MOVE ON, FOLKS. NOTHING TO SEE HERE... by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Feb 28, 2004

Bishop Gregory announces that the Situation or Crisis or whatever is... over. He also seems to be announcing a new pogrom against selfish seminarians. Or something....

A Moment of Candor by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 28, 2004

At the press conference that followed yesterday's release of the John Jay Report on Sexual Abuse, EWTN's Ray Arroyo asked USCCB President Wilton Gregory whether the fact that the crimes were overwhelmingly homosexual in nature had implications for seminary recruitment and screening, etc....

How America's top papers are covering The Story by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Feb 28, 2004

From the top ten newspapers that publish Saturday editions, in order of circulation: Abuse Scandal Is Now 'History,' Top Bishop Says (New York Times) Mahony Criticized by National Review Panel (Los Angeles Times) 4% of Priests Were Accused Of Sex Abuse

The Fix Was In: the board rips the therapy scam by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 28, 2004

The report of the National Review Board contains some well-aimed criticisms of the part played by many bishops in the abuse crisis. Their final recommendations, by contrast, strike me as too vague to be useful. Yet the sentence quoted below (from p. 115 of the document) has the potential to...

credit where credit is due by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 29, 2004

As indicated in the post below, the findings of the National Review Board included scathing criticism of the principal "treatment centers" to which priests with sexual problems are typically sent. Leslie Payne deserves no small credit for having anticipated the National Review Board by seven...

transcript by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 29, 2004

24:01:44:02: Dallas, we have a problem.24:01:44:05: Go ahead, Fidelis.24:01:44:09: Dallas, we're showing an undervolt on main bishop B for Boston. We've got 5, no 7, ... make that 24 priests out of action. Over.24:01:44:16: Fidelis, we copy 24 priests. Suggest possible telemetry...

"It is history" by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Feb 29, 2004

Bishop Wilton Gregory said on Friday, as he released the study of the scope of the Scandal over the past 50 years, "The terrible history recorded here today is history." If ever there was a sign that the leaders among the US bishops don't get it, here it is. On the one hand, yes, it is history,...

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