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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from March 2009

bonding by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 2, 2009

It's Religious Ed Congress time again in LA, at which Cardinal Mahony hosts his customary Internet chat-room to let the faithful put their questions to him. As often, His Eminence deals with uncertainties by means of answers that would not occur to Ratzinger. Or Charles Borromeo. Troubled: Our...

me & my shadow by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 2, 2009

In the course of a hosted dinner-discussion on privacy issues and their implications, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin makes an interesting admission (at about 12:45 minutes into this video). He's responding to the question -- obviously put to him in jest -- "You told us that you had two...

How Catholics do the pro-aborts’ work for them by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 2, 2009

Today CWN reports that President Obama is proposing to rescind the Bush administration’s "conscience clause" for health care workers. The conscience clause, established by an executive order last December, protected those doctors, nurses, and others who might refuse to be involved...

the sorcerer's apprentice by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 3, 2009

In the course of a somewhat rambling blog-entry on the Washington Post religion site, a Catholic priest reveals some of the sordid origins of Catholic doctrine: The Pauline analogy of husbands mirroring Christ and wives mirroring the church has within it the seeds of much in theology and church...

unclear on the concept by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 3, 2009

Ecumenists, like liturgists, should never be left unsupervised with sharp tools in reach. Bad things will happen. Case in point: some Aussie ecumenists thought it'd be a great idea to throw a joint Anglican-Catholic Confirmation service this May. It seems not to have occurred to the organizers...

Freedom from Illusion by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 3, 2009

In a fine recent article in First Things entitled “The Freedom of Heaven & the Freedom of Hell”, Anthony Esolen mines Dante’s Divine Comedy to give us a striking image of what it means to be free. To be truly free, Esolen says, we must first free ourselves from the illusion...

Why would a Catholic agency ask for involvement with the abortion industry? by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Mar 4, 2009

Why is a Catholic health-care agency actively seeking involvement in a program that would involve abortion referrals? Caritas Christi, the health-care arm of the Boston archdiocese, is assuring the public that Catholic hospitals would not perform abortions, nor even make abortion referrals....

what's missing from this picture? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 5, 2009

Catholic Relief Services now has available a 28-page brochure detailing the agency's relief efforts during the past calendar year. 2008 CR Highlights: The Year in Review presents a truly impressive collection of stories about humanitarian work in impoverished countries. It's wonderful work,...

The Other Side of Traditionalism by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Mar 5, 2009

I have made no secret of my disagreement with the Traditionalist rejection of the Second Vatican Council or the movement’s refusal to be obedient to papal authority. Since Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of the four bishops who preside over the Society of St. Pius X, I have reiterated...

lost in translation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 5, 2009

In his internet chat during the annual Religious Education Congress-- you know, that one-- Cardinal Roger Mahony was asked for his thoughts on the Tridentine Mass. His answer: Ann: The Tridentine Mass was meant for those who could not make the transition from Latin to English [or other...

The Numbers Game by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 6, 2009

Here are some interesting numbers for you, taken from Newsweek back in January, and presented after sitting at the bottom of a pile on my desk for more than a month. The statistics come variously from the Pew Research Center, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the United States Elections...

Rex Mottram, model for the Catholic laity by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 6, 2009

In Brideshead Revisited, Rex Mottram is determined to become a Catholic-- for reasons that have nothing to do with faith. Actually Rex has no interest whatsoever in questions of faith, and consequently he is quite happy to profess whatever beliefs are required of him. So the priest giving Rex his...

Two-Way Communication, Redux by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 10, 2009

I’m catching my breath after writing email replies for nearly the entire day yesterday. This is the risk one incurs for a Monday if one happens to write a provocative commentary on a Friday. There will always be many thoughtful responses, including scores of correspondents who really should...

Why Be Catholic? 1: Revelation by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 10, 2009

There are plenty of reasons to be a Catholic, and the mix of motivations can have as many variations as there are people. For me, however, the very first reason that comes to mind is that Catholicism is the only religion in the entire world that has a logical and consistent approach to the problem...

The Lean Clean Culture Machine by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Mar 13, 2009

Perhaps the most obvious mark of a Catholic who does not take his Faith seriously enough is his use of the mass media. If this use differs very little from that of the general population, there is some degree of lukewarmness at work. Today’s mass media have a powerful impact on the formation of...

the sales pitch by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 13, 2009

 Teresa Kettelkamp, the child-protection czar of the US bishops'

The magisterium: not frozen in time by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 13, 2009

 In his letter to the world's bishops the decision to lift the excommunication of four SSPX bishops, Pope Benedict makes it abundantly clear that he does not intend to renounce the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. This should be no surprise; the Holy Father has been as clear in...

Readers weigh in on the latest Boston controversy by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 13, 2009

For this week's Mailbag, I'm taking just a representative sampling of the messages we received in response to my Commentary essay, Why would a Catholic agency ask for involvement with the abortion industry? Elaine Suhre wrote: This sickens me. This past election has shown me how weak many of the...

When everybody's Irish, nobody's Irish by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 17, 2009

Everybody's Irish on St. Patrick's Day. I'm equally Irish the other 364 days of the year. My mother's family (Collins) is Irish to the core.  My father's family is also Irish, with just enough German ancestors tossed in to make things interesting. There's no need to put an "O" in...

onward Christian facilitators by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 18, 2009

 We sang "Lift High the Cross" at Mass on Sunday. Unless I'm mistaken, the "hosts of God" who once combined in "conquering ranks" have now become "glorious ranks." No doubt that is to reassure everyone that we Christians aren't in the conquering...

condomolatry at the London Times by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 18, 2009

 The London Times, always unreliable in its coverage of things Catholic, lost its editorial senses entirely yesterday when Pope Benedict suggested that giving out condoms might not be the most effective way to fight the spread of AIDS.  So today the Times has posted four separate pieces...

no defense intended by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 18, 2009

OK, so why did Madison's Bishop Robert Morlino pick a PR fight he will certainly lose, and which he must have known at the outset he would certainly lose? Well folks, you won't find out from the NCR article. Headlined, "Wisconsin parish worker fired for feminist views: Allowed no...

Why Be Catholic? 2: Freedom by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 18, 2009

Among the great issues addressed by Christianity, two generally strike each of us as more than merely academic. These are the issues of suffering and freedom, which touch us so very personally. Many would give the issue of suffering the first place. After all, suffering is a profound riddle...

african wife-beaters urged to practice "safe-sox" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 18, 2009

The Association of Compassionate Christian Caregivers today severely criticized traditional Catholic teaching on marital "love" and called upon the churches to encourage wife-beating Africans to take the "prudent, practical steps" to reduce the risk of HIV infection when...

hypocrisy? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 19, 2009

In the current NCR, two officials of the Women's Ordination Conference condemn Pope Benedict's recent remarks urging respect for the dignity of every woman as "egregious hypocrisy." Why hypocrisy? Because women are not ordained priests. Conventional secular wisdom, today, calls for...

On supporting the Church-- and not her enemies by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 19, 2009

 The precepts of the Church remind us that Catholics have a moral obligation to "contribute to the support of the Church." The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2043), in affirming this precept, cites #222 of the Code of Canon Law, which explains that the faithful must offer that...

The mounting campaign to silence the Pope by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Mar 19, 2009

The lords of the mass media are spouting their outrage at the Pope—again. This time the Pontiff's alleged offense is his failure to believe that condoms provide the world's best hope against the AIDS epidemic. Pope Benedict dared to voice a few simple truths—that chastity is foolproof, and...

exclusive company by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 20, 2009

 Father Peter Kennedy, the scourge of the Brisbane archdiocese, educates an Australian television audience: "I think the Church is so wrong about its teaching on sex, because women are excluded." That's backwards, isn't it? When honest Catholic laymen engage in sexual activity,...

What 'everybody knows'-- but it's wrong by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 20, 2009

The fashionable world "knows" that the Pope is wrong about AIDS and condoms. Pundits assure us, again and again, that the Pope is simply, flat-out wrong about the facts. Condoms do prevent the spread of AIDS, they tell us; it's an established scientific fact. Curious, isn't it, that the...

A Catholic “Climate Justice” Campaign? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Mar 20, 2009

I was amused by the news that the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) has launched a campaign for “climate justice”. CAFOD is the official overseas relief agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. CAFOD director Chris Bain stated that “Many of the world’s poorest are already...

Feedback: the campaign to silence the Pope by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 20, 2009

 Every week one Commentary essay sparks the greatest number of messages from our readers. This week it was my piece, "The Mounting Campaign to Silence the Pope." I was pleased to note that most readers (but certainly not all) agreed with the main thrust of my argument, and many...

a firm grasp of the blatantly obvious by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 22, 2009

 The London Times, whose coverage of Catholic affairs is consistently flavored by bias and sensationalism, has cooked up a special treat for weekend readers. Religion correspondent Ruth Gledhill speculates about the appointment of a new Archbishop of Westminster, and the headline reads:...

The fight has not been kept far from the walls. The fight is inside the house. by Leila in "Off the Record" - Mar 22, 2009

Let’s take a moment to try to understand what’s going on in Boston, shall we? To recap: Caritas Christi, the health-care agency administered by the Archdiocese of Boston, has joined in a successful bid for a government contract to provide health services for low-income clients. The...

madison hatter by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 23, 2009

Two weeks ago Madison Bishop Robert Morlino made the news for firing a parish pastoral associate. Predictably, the media storyline was Institutional Goliath Squashes Plucky Feminist David. Ruth Kolpack, the associate in question, claimed to be blindsided by the firing and suggested it was...

blacklisted by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 23, 2009

Now here's a good sign. The newly-named Bishop of Oakland is Salvatore Cordileone, presently auxiliary of San Diego. An OTR reader points out that Cordileone also enjoys the distinction of having made the Anti-Gay Blacklist as well. Because he took a baseball bat to an unarmed flight...

Moral Hazard by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 23, 2009

When Benedict XVI commented that the massive distribution of condoms is not a solution to the AIDS epidemic, but in fact makes it worse, several European leaders and the Western press denounced him. They said that he had the facts wrong and that his position is dangerous because it threatens...

And speaking of dogma, ... by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 25, 2009

 Two weeks ago the world's opinion-makers were smug and secure in their belief that the best way to fight AIDS is by distributing condoms. It was as established tenet of secular belief: a matter of dogma.  So naturally, when Pope Benedict had the temerity to question that dogma, the...

Speeding through Time by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 25, 2009

Now in my early sixties, I don’t work as hard as I did ten or twenty or thirty years ago. Gone is the ability to do repeated late nights with only four or five hours of sleep. I spent much of the first twenty-five years of my working life on that sort of schedule, mostly in connection with...

South Bend on the Land O’Lakes—or, it’s in the fine print. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 25, 2009

Notre Dame University’s invitation to honor President Obama at this year’s graduation ceremony has caused quite a roil among conservative Catholics and the pro-life community. Your Uncle Di was certainly in a tiff when he first learned about it. George Weigel called it a “very...

A story not worth covering by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 26, 2009

 If you spend a good deal of time on the internet, browsing Catholic blogs and news sites, you might have noticed a story that was prominently featured elsewhere yesterday, and completely ignored on our site. It wasn't an oversight.  The story involved a press conference in Washington...

Indulgences and the nature of the Church by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 26, 2009

 "Indulgences-- a rite in the Roman Catholic Church that harkens back to the Middle Ages and the Reformation-- are making a return." That's the teaser for a news story that appeared earlier this week in the Minnesota Star Tribune. The article itself is so thoroughly ridden with...

simon says, the pope distorts science by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 27, 2009

The Lancet blows a gasket, and the BBC's on the case: One of the world's most prestigious medical journals, the Lancet, has accused Pope Benedict XVI of distorting science in his remarks on condom use. It said the Pope's recent comments that condoms exacerbated the problem of HIV/Aids were wildly...

Friendly Persuasion by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Mar 27, 2009

Over the years, I’ve been fairly heavily involved in apologetics. During my professorial years, I developed the apologetics program at Christendom College and taught the core apologetics course there for six years. I also edited and co-authored an apologetics text (Reasons for Hope, Christendom...

unum baptisma by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 30, 2009

Here's a new twist: atheists resurrecting an Anabaptist sacramental theology in order to apostasize. More than 100,000 Britons have recently downloaded "certificates of de-baptism" from the Internet to renounce their Christian faith.   The initiative launched by a group called...

the notre dame commencement: who's smiling? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 30, 2009

If you were a committed pro-abort who wanted to extend and perpetuate abortion-on-demand, would you be dismayed by the honorary degree offered Obama by Notre Dame? Would you be alarmed at the prospect of the "dialogue" which Notre Dame (not Obama) assures us will...

Notre Dame: Shaking the Foundations by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 30, 2009

When the President of Notre Dame decided to invite President Obama to give this year's commencement speech and to receive an honorary degree, a number of student organizations banded together to make their moral opposition clear. Perhaps their most telling objection was stated thus: Fr. Jenkins...

The revelation that isn't by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 31, 2009

 It's big news. It's in the headlines. It's a hot topic. It's a major revelation. Or is it? In correspondence recently unearthed as the result of a court order, Father Gerald Fitzgerald, the founder of the Servants of the Paraclete, offers his opinion that priests who abuse children should...

right from the beginning by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Mar 31, 2009

The NCR makes available some correspondence of Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, founder of the Servants of the Paraclete, who was able to call a spade a spade even without the benefit of post-graduate research in the human sciences. As early as the mid-1950s, decades before the clergy sexual-abuse crisis...

When bishops disagree: on withholding the Eucharist by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 31, 2009

 In the Code of Canon Law, #916 obligates the faithful to determine for themselves whether they are prepared to receive Communion (that is, in a state of grace), and act accordingly. Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington has cited Canon 916 to explain why he will not deny the Eucharist to a...

Why Be Catholic? 3: Suffering by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 31, 2009

The oldest and most painful riddle of human existence is the riddle of suffering. In every time and place, man has sought an answer. Yet apart from Judeo-Christian Revelation, man has had very little to say. Stoic fortitude, Epicurean pleasure-seeking, Buddhist negation, the Utilitarian calculus...

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