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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from February 2007

the real thing by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 1, 2007

After a particularly disappointing morning at church you can cheer yourself up with a glance at Gumbleton's and Greeley's thoughts on the Gospel of the day, which will nearly always make the homily you just heard seem good by comparison. Partly they annoy by using the Gospel as a means in the...

rejoyce by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 2, 2007

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned: -- Good morning, everyone![Stuart Reid of the...

Out with the Old, In with Christ by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 3, 2007

At the end of January, I changed offices. We reorganized somewhat, and the shift in responsibilities led to a regrouping of personnel. So I set up all my furniture in the new location and began to move all my papers and files. One of my tasks was to increase my storage space for new project...

grace of state by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 6, 2007

The going-out-of-business sale continues in the Boston archdiocese, where Cardinal Sean O'Malley has announced plans to unload the Caritas Christi hospital chain. As the Boston Globe story explains, the archdiocese had been looking for a new executive to head Caritas Christi, but the search......

priestly insight by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 7, 2007

The Rev. Andrew Greeley does some electoral preemption for our benefit. The commentators who offer wisdom for the masses frequently predict outcomes on the basis of how much money a given candidate may have amassed before a campaign is announced, as in asserting that Sen. Hillary Clinton has...

a new saint in Boston by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 7, 2007

It's no secret that some Catholics in Boston are unhappy with rash of parish closings. But here's a new twist. In suburban Wellesley the Maffei family, which sold the land on which St. James parish is located, has joined in a lawsuit against the archdiocese, claiming that the terms of the sale are...

the wicked, chastised by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 9, 2007

"The software mogul Tim Gill has a mission: Stop the Rick Santorums of tomorrow before they get started. How a network of gay political donors is stealthily fighting sexual discrimination and reshaping American politics." That's the slughead to an article in the latest Atlantic that...

not my job description by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 9, 2007

The negation of leadership. Asked tough but timely questions about pro-abortion Catholic pols, San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer stammers, panics, and retreats into the high grass (from California Catholic Daily): Rebecca Corral: And if you're still having the conversation, and, and the...

not exactly a deal with the devil by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 9, 2007

Scientists agree that stem-cell research holds great promise for medical treatment of many different ailments. And there's nothing wrong with stem-cell research itself, provided that the stem cells are derived ethically-- that is, not harvested by killing human embryos. Trouble is, there's...

no offense taken: the edwards bloggers by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 10, 2007

The flash of pure hatred in his face, but hatred, as it were, crystallised so that it was no longer a passion, was like touching metal in the Arctic where metal burns.-- C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength. Bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan have long luxuriated in anti-Catholic...

hep by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 11, 2007

In the course of an e-mail singing the praises of blogger Kathy Shaidle, Mark Steyn nails the cringe-making futility of "pastorally innovative" condescension: It's interesting to me when I see these lame-o attempts by wimpy Anglican clerics to incorporate bits of pop culture to get the kids...

Laundry List Politics by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 12, 2007

One scarcely knows where to begin. How do we overcome the laundry list approach to politics which has so paralyzed the Catholic community since abortion became a major political issue? Millions of Catholics and their pastoral leaders justify voting pro-abortion because the pro-abortion party...

Clarifications from Fr. Couturier by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 12, 2007

Last September 6th, I wrote a column critiquing a new vision of religious life offered by Fr. David Couturier, OFM Cap. to the Conference of Major Superiors of Men the preceding month. The column was mildly sarcastic in tone, enough, surely, to provoke annoyance on the part of the one criticized....

Salvation for the Invalidly Married? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 12, 2007

In response to my recent column on marriage, a reader asked whether salvation was possible for those in invalid marriages. This presents an excellent opportunity to summarize the mind of the Church on a delicate subject. Under Church law, the first question for any marriage is whether it is...

the limits of academic freedom by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 12, 2007

In a front-page story on Darwinism in academe, the New York Times asks the question: May a secular university deny otherwise qualified students a degree because of their religion? The answer looks obvious: No. But wait: After adding a few more rhetorical questions, the Times turns to a...

their purity, our defilement by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 13, 2007

John Edwards's hired blogger Amanda Marcotte resigned from his campaign staff yesterday. The AP hack helpfully spins the story in Edwards's favor by making out the aggressor to be Bill Donohue: Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, demanded last week...

dis-staffed by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 14, 2007

Edwards's other staffer, the exquisite Melissa McEwan, has announced that she's quitting the campaign trail: There will be some who clamor to claim victory for my resignation, but I caution them that in doing so, they are tacitly accepting responsibility for those who have deluged my blog and...

the iron fist of liberalism by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 14, 2007

The UK Tablet continues its crusade for Brokeback Montanism, most recently by means of a curiously argued essay urging the Church toward a Vichy-style capitulation that acknowledges the de facto coercive power of sexual Leftism: Liberal society is leavened through with toughness: it has plenty...

impaired communion by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 15, 2007

Anglican primates, each with one hand on the Browning in his holster, are holding a tense meeting in Tanzania. The conservatives have also drawn up a blueprint for a new parallel "ecclesial body" to accommodate conservative American Anglicans who reject the leadership of their liberal...

a moment of silence by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 16, 2007

The always formidable Mary Eberstadt has some pointed remarks on the Land of Amanda and the red states it needs to cajole: Sophisticates and secularists have always titillated themselves by despising the Bible Belt. But professional Christian-bashers have never been as "embedded" in the liberal...

ashamed of the son of man? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 16, 2007

Hearing today's gospel (Mark 8:34ff), the following hard words of Jesus hit home: For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. For many...

Abortion, War and Capital Punishment: One of These Things… by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 16, 2007

I frequently receive email asking how we can call ourselves pro-life while turning a blind eye to the horrors of war and capital punishment. This is an important question. It has an equally important answer. The question reminds me of the sets of pictures on intelligence tests (or in children’s...

brush back by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 17, 2007

But this is an illusion. Life is a never-ending tsunami of "if onlys" for those who opt to not step up to the plate of life in the Spirit at the one time it matters. Dropping back in the pocket of pastoral theology to attempt the screen play of scriptural exegesis, our hero fakes to the...

when charity begins at home by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 18, 2007

Anthony Pilla, the former bishop of Cleveland, had been less-than-forthcoming on questions pertaining to molestor priests. Last year's Dash-2 hop into...

Ideology Kills Truth, and Literature by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 18, 2007

In the wake of the good news that no academic department will sponsor The Vagina Monologues at Notre Dame this year, we learn that the play was performed on campus last year only because it was sponsored by the English and Sociology departments. This fact speaks volumes about the inadequacies of...

the shifting center of gravity by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 19, 2007

David Warren compares the pop makeover of science "in the public interest" to that of his own field, journalism. Once upon a time, there were two modes of journalism, called tabloid and broadsheet. The distinction was clear. The first (tabloid), aimed at the more ignorant and credulous section...

bromides by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 19, 2007

The Diocese of San Diego is considering bankruptcy, for the usual reasons. Bishop Robert Brom has issued a Pastoral Statement that was distributed last weekend. It's not wrong in any obvious way, but exasperatingly tone-deaf. The following is from the part Brom addressed to his...

united, almost by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 20, 2007

"Let's see, what can we give our little man to play with so he won't end up hurting himself or somebody else ...? Wooden toys are out. Toys with sharp edges are out. Barbie's OK unless he throws her and catches someone in the eye with her foot. Hey, I've got it: ecumenism!" It...

Married Saints? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 20, 2007

Canonized saints who exemplify the vocation of marriage are hard to come by. There are two reasons for this, one intrinsic to the married state, the other political. These two reasons raise the question of whether those of us who are married require saints who were married to be our guides. The...

at the outset of lent by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 21, 2007

One can say: "I will, but my body does not obey me"; but not: "My will does not obey me." -- St....

sanitized for your protection by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 21, 2007

The Fathers of the Church got the idea into their heads that the psalms often spoke of Christ, and even saw foreshadowings of His crucifixion in the fate accorded the Just Man. How did that happen? In part, because the language of the Psalmist frequently made reference to a particular...

shake down the thunder by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 21, 2007

In his Ash Wednesday homily Archbishop Sean Brady of Armagh, the primate of All Ireland, asks: Has the time not come for us to ditch, once and for all, the caricature of the drunken Irish and to consign it to the realm of history along with the slur of the Fighting Irish? [emphasis...

dead-letter office by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 22, 2007

Let's see, now. When Father Nicolas Aguilar was accused of molesting about a dozen boys, the Los Angeles archdiocese refused to hand over a list of potential victims because the confessional seal must never be violated the chancery wanted to protect the anonymity of the victims the dog ate...

Fulfilling Righteousness by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 22, 2007

Although it is not among the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary, we do well in Lent to meditate on the baptism of Jesus. This event, offered to us in the Luminous Mysteries by John Paul II, manifests not only Jesus’ identity as the Messiah but also the Father’s plan of salvation. John the...

What's so extraordinary? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 23, 2007

There are roughly 900 priests in the Newark archdiocese. So in John Allen's NCR conversation with Archbishop John Myers, this line is striking: “For the most part, communion in this archdiocese is distributed by laypeople,” he...

Anxiety and Suffering: Enough for Today by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 25, 2007

A little rain fell into our lives this week and I have to confess that we didn’t like getting wet. Well, actually, it was mostly worrying about getting wet that we didn’t like. As C. S. Lewis pointed out in The Problem of Pain, anxiety is the great intensifier of human suffering. We...

impostors by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 26, 2007

In among the records smuggled out of Russia by KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin was a June 16th, 1980 communication from the KGB residency in Warsaw to Moscow Center. Cambridge scholar Christopher Andrew provides a translation: Our friends [the SB -- Polish Security Service] have serious...

The Tragedy of Broken Trust by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 26, 2007

The worst of it is, we don’t trust them. Catholic World News reported today the charges and counter-charges swirling around a case of abuse by Fr. Nicolas Aguilar in 1994. The alleged victim and his attorney are trying to establish that Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico City and Cardinal Roger...

gather us in by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 27, 2007

A recent lecture at St. Peter's College in Jersey City highlights long-standing tensions on matters liturgical within the Vatican: [Fr. Keith Pecklers, S.J.] mentioned Archbishop Piero Marini, the papal master of ceremonies, who for years stood by Pope John Paul II when he presided at Mass....

Proud to be RC by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 27, 2007

"I’m a member of the greatest religion in the world," says the woman who calls herself a Catholic. That's promising, right? But we're talking about abortion cheerleader Frances Kissling, as profiled by the New York Times, so you know things are going to be complicated. When the outgoing...

ever to excel by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 27, 2007

At the First Things blog, R.R. Reno reflects on the 20th anniversary of Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind, and has some well-targeted remarks on the moral incoherence of contemporary higher education. Some excerpts: Higher education has become, argued Bloom, the professional...

Catholic University of America Seeks Librarian in Religious Studies by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 27, 2007

Our good friend Tim Brown, a librarian at Catholic University of America, reports that CUA has a position open for a librarian in Religious Studies. Here is the job listing:Religious Studies Librarian Needed The Catholic University of America is inviting applications for the position of...

sign me up by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 28, 2007

Pallottine priest Fr. Greg Serwa is Stripes the Clown. And Stripes the Clown provides the cover-story for the Milwaukee Catholic Herald's special Vocations Supplement. "It's interesting being a clown because people don't know who you are necessarily," said Fr. Serwa, who continues to...

them changes by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 28, 2007

I've lost count of the number of news stories that, over the past decade, have breathlessly predicted the Holy See was on the verge of approving condoms. All were groundless. All served their purpose, though, inasmuch as they created a public expectation for the change their instigators wished...

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