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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from April 2006

Buggery Board Commends Bruskewitz for Un-Boffed Boys by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 1, 2006

APRIL FOOL! Bishop Bruskewitz, on the contrary, was singled out for admonishment by the bishops' Office of Child & Youth Protection. Although the ratio of bloody underpants to active parishes in Lincoln is among the very lowest of all U.S. dioceses, it has "refused to participate" in the OCY's...

Benign Neglect -- or, Saved by the Bell by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 1, 2006

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the Pontifical Household, made this noteworthy observation in his first Lenten sermon two weeks ago (via Amy). It has been written that the Gospels are "accounts of the Passion preceded by a long Introduction." But sadly the latter, which is the...

blinding insights by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 1, 2006

Poring over the statistics on sexual abuse by US clergy, investigators from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice have come up with a blinding insight. …there are indications that those dioceses in which church leaders took prompt and decisive action had fewer reports of abuse and fewer...

Gospel according to the training manual by Leila in "Off the Record" - Apr 1, 2006

The bishops have handed over their commission to a commission. What does a bishop do if not teach, admonish, and lead out of sin? Where would an example of sin be if not in the sex abuse scandal? Not that sex abuse by clergy of youth is the only sin, but surely these acts aren’t somehow to be...

one tablet twice a month, with water by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 4, 2006

The Tablet is re-branding itself as the Protease Inhibitor of the English-speaking Church, viz., in its effort to keep the ailing Left alive. Check out this bit of papal biography offered in the current issue: Once installed in the Vatican, Cardinal Ratzinger set about deploying the full force...

Dash 2 Freedom by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 4, 2006

Bishop Anthony Pilla has taken the 401-§2 exit off the Cleveland expressway, according to this morning's Bulletin. Pilla was due to offer his resignation in November of 2007, but made a surprise request this past January that he be permitted to retire under the provision of the above-mentioned

Girls! Girls! Girls! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 4, 2006

Some people are silly. Some people are alarmists. Some people think like Chicken Little. Some people said, when American dioceses began allowing altar girls, that soon you'd have trouble finding any altar...

Will You Submit Catholic Leisure Articles? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 4, 2006

As you may have noticed, we now have five colorful, entertaining articles posted for our Catholic Leisure Project. In addition to being worthwhile in their own right, these articles are designed to serve as examples of the kind of material we’d like others to submit. The question is: Will we get...

Resurrection Theory I: Did the Disciples Steal the Body? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 5, 2006

Ever since Our Lord rose from the dead, special interest groups have attempted to convince Christians that He really didn’t. The Jewish leaders who had Christ put to death to protect their religious authority clearly had a vested interest in denying the Resurrection. All those who wish to decide...

Et tu, Jenkins? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 5, 2006

Well, it was a nice hope while it lasted. Declaring that Catholic teaching has nothing to fear from engaging the wider culture, the Rev. John I. Jenkins announced today that he will not ban future student performances of "The Vagina Monologues" at the University of Notre Dame. ...Jenkins...

The People vs. George Tiller by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 6, 2006

A Kansas petition drive to begin a grand jury investigation into the post-abortion death of a mentally defective girl has collected seven thousand signatures, according to LifeNews. As we mentioned earlier, Christin Gilbert, a pregnant 19-year-old with Down Syndrome, suffered a botched abortion...

academies of easy virtue by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 6, 2006

Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins has issued a statement regarding his decision to permit performances of the Vagina Monologues. Here's what I take to be the fulcrum of his argument: For these reasons, I am very determined that we not suppress speech on this campus. I am also determined...

meet your ancestor by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 6, 2006

Evolutionary biologists are calling it a "fish with fingers" or (far more picturesque) "a fish that could do pushups." Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Tiktaalik roseae, a fossil that is being touted as perhaps a missing link in the fossil record: a creature that might have moved out of the...

the pope who showed up by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 6, 2006

Sr. Mary Ann Hinsdale, I.H.M., associate professor of theology at Boston College, was part of a faculty panel of theologians evaluating the first year of Benedict XVI's pontificate: Hinsdale opened her segment by giving the pope a "C+++" as an overall grade. She explained that "a C is...

letting our imaginations be stretched by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 6, 2006

Log Cabin Dominican Timothy Radcliffe was the keynoter at Los Angeles' recent Kraft durch Freude Fest. A commenter on the L.A. Catholic blog, who claims to have been present at Radcliffe's address, provides the following quote (via Gerald Augustinus): "But I'm afraid I'm an old-fashioned...

weak bishops, trying times by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 7, 2006

Cardinal Roger Mahony responds to questioners in his on-line chat session: Joe: Hello Cardinal. With the growing interest in traditional worship of the Catholic Church are we going to see a more generous use of the Traditional Latin Mass? Cardinal Mahony: It is not correct to say...

a genuine fraud by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 7, 2006

The National Geographic Society has unveiled the "Gospel of Judas," and the New York Times reports that the ancient document "will set off years of study and debate." The story continues: The debate is not over whether the manuscript is genuine-- on this the scholars agree. Whoa! Hold on...

hurts, don't it? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 7, 2006

Another story that, for some reason, didn't make it to the front page of the New York Times this week. Premature babies feel pain. The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience by a team from University College London, analyzed brain scans taken on premature babies when blood was being...

imposing an agenda? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 8, 2006

John Allen interviews Bishop Donald Trautman on the new translation of the Mass: Further, the [proposed translation of the] First Eucharistic Prayer refers to a "precious chalice," not a "cup," an instance, Trautman argued, of "imposing an agenda" on what the Bible actually says. Accipiens...

Judas betrayed by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Apr 8, 2006

When the Dallas Morning News dove headlong into the publicity pool to tout "The Gospel of Judas," old friend Tom Pauken did some homework, and uncovered the dismissive comments that have already been made by serious scholars. "It is a rewriting of history by a heretical group," said one...

the root of all evil by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 8, 2006

Why is the Boston archdiocese such a mess? The New York Times reports: Efforts to change the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston in the aftermath of the crisis of sexual abuse by clergymen have been hampered by diminished resources, according to a report issued Friday. Oh that's the problem:...

New Gospel Discovered!! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 8, 2006

Newark, Apr. 8 (CWNews.com) - Archeological researchers in Ridgewood, New Jersey, have discovered an ancient Christian document that offers a radically new account of the founding of the Catholic Church. The newly discovered document, which scholars have named "The Gospel of Skip and Muffy,"...

imposing an agenda? (continued) by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 10, 2006

I want to elaborate on my objections below to Bishop Trautman's criticism of the proposed retranslation of the Mass. The text to be translated into English is the latest edition of the Missale Romanum, the approved Latin base text (editio typica), which is the official standard text of the...

Spiritual Reading for the Sacred Triduum and Easter by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 10, 2006

In addition to the excellent Liturgical Year resources we make available at this time of year, our users may benefit from some of the spiritual reading available in the Document Library. The following list begins with this year's message for Lent from Pope Benedict, and then lists appropriate...

can't we all just get along? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 11, 2006

One sure-fire hallmark of conservatives is their contempt for unity where inclusiveness might jeopardize doctrinal uniformity. They're always keen to exclude, right? Check out the language of this recent editorial: Though unity is always a good thing, it must not come at the expense of...

the Gettysburg Address, ICEL style by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 11, 2006

To be perfectly honest, the man didn't strike me as honest. When he told me that he had stolen the dynamic-equivalence machine from ICEL headquarters, I doubted him. But the price was reasonable-- even for hot merchandise. So I tested it on the Gettysburg Address, and here are the results: ...

the universal-indult watch by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Apr 11, 2006

The silence from Rome is getting downright noisy. The rumor mills have provided dozens of reports that Pope Benedict will soon issue a document regarding the Latin Mass. But the stories are invariably laced with words like "could" and "perhaps." There has been no confirmation from the Vatican,...

Resurrection Theory II: Did Our Lord Die or Swoon? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 12, 2006

In last week’s column, I noted that eighteenth century rationalists made a new effort to explain away the Resurrection while still accepting the fact that Christ’s tomb was empty after the third day. This alternative theory posits that Christ did not actually die on the Cross. Rather, he fainted...

from the original coptic by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 13, 2006

And when the hour was come, Jesus sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, Most earnestly have I desired to eat this passover with you. Then spake the son of Simon, and said, As the worship coordinator and minister of music, I must needs know of what manner of Passover...

The protocols of the elders of Gnosticism by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 13, 2006

I am shocked-- shocked!-- to read in the New York Times that some people are questioning the legal shenanigans behind the unveiling of the "Gospel of Judas." Do they really mean to suggest that the shadowy antiquities dealer who could get $2 million in the deal, and the National Geographic...

still waiting... by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Apr 13, 2006

Night has fallen in Rome, with no announcement of a papal directive regarding the Latin Mass. That fact is causing some consternation among those who were sure the Pope would release his statement on Holy Thursday. CWN was never sold on that prediction. When you're trying to read tea-leaves,...

care of souls by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 14, 2006

There's a new Bishop of Autun. There's a checkered history of old ones. May he do the right thing by his...

the salient fact by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 14, 2006

Pope Benedict's homily on Holy Thursday was magnificent. The CWN story only scratches the surface, and the full text (when, at last, it's made available in English translation) will be worth the wait. There were many different profound themes in this homily. How do you choose which one to...

knox minor by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 18, 2006

In the sacristy of your parish you'll find an "ordo," an annually-issued liturgical almanac that lists the commemorations and readings of the day, and so forth. Only Ronald Knox could respond to his new ordo with a book review, and pull it off: The fabled clergyman who gave out from his...

Cardinal Mahony's quandary by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 19, 2006

Old friend Dom makes a good point about the Supreme Court decision requiring Cardinal Mahony to turn over priest-personnel files to the district attorney investigating sex-abuse claims. The cardinal, you may recall, argued that he could not relinquish the files, because they were protected by the...

Resurrection Theory III: Were the Disciples Seeing Things? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 20, 2006

To round out our consideration of the efforts to explain away the Resurrection, we must look at two modern theories. The first is the theory of general hallucination. On this view, the disciples thought Christ rose from the dead simply because their intense desires led them to see things that...

the non-vindictive Gospel by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 21, 2006

Cardinal Sean O'Malley tells the Boston Globe about his goals as the primary voice of Catholic teaching in a society once dominated by Catholicism: We're hoping that people will come to understand that the Church's teachings are not vindictive or mean-spirited. A modest ambition, that. A...

semi-sweet nothings by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 23, 2006

Yesterday, the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano celebrated Mass for a "pilgrimage" of Jesuits and Jesuit collaborators in St. Peter's Basilica. After the Mass [can you blame him?] Pope Benedict arrived and addressed the assembly in pointedly unpointed words of the kind used at...

Pagels by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Apr 24, 2006

In CWN's Forum, I explain why Professor Elaine Pagels should not be taken as a serious commenter on the Gospel or Judas, or 2nd century Gnosticism, or indeed on any subject in which historical accuracy is important. Simply put, she cooks her sources. Real scholars...

snake handling by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 25, 2006

After reading today's Gospel, especially Mark 16:18, you are probably wondering how many Church leaders are certified herpetologists. Offhand I can name one: Sister Fran Donnelly, BVM, the director of parish life for the Archdiocese of St. Paul, Minnesota. Sister Donnelly has come in for some...

The Monologues Revisited: Bishop D'Arcy and Notre Dame by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 25, 2006

In this space in February, I drew attention to the outstanding statement by Fr. Brian Shanley, OP, President of Providence College, in which he announced his decision to prohibit the production of The Vagina Monologues on campus. At the same time as Fr. Shanley was wrestling with his decision, the...

South African Catechism by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 26, 2006

South African Bishop Kevin Dowling was invited to Washington to discuss the use of condoms... ... and you can already see what's coming, can't you? You don't get invited to speak in Washington, and interviewed by the Washington Post, because you agree with traditional Catholic teaching....

Personal Limitations and the Trinity by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 27, 2006

Tuesday was one of those days. I performed an after-hours update on a server used by Catholic Distance University, and within minutes it became clear that this “innocent” update had destroyed CDU’s reporting service. There followed eight straight hours of testing, uninstalling, reinstalling,...

New Pope, new rules by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Apr 28, 2006

Ed Peters, who runs an informative blog on canon-law issues, thinks that yesterday's story, about Pope Benedict's new, tougher standards for beatification, is much more important than it might seem at first glance. I think he's right: Of those matters we know anything about (an important...

soft options by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 30, 2006

The Telegraph reports that most UK priests believe what they see on television: Two-thirds of Roman Catholic priests in England and Wales believe that the use of condoms could be acceptable. In a survey of clergy conducted by The Sunday Telegraph, 65 per cent of those questioned said that they...

guitar as liturgical abomination by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 30, 2006

Like many Catholics, I detest the use of a guitar at Mass. Yet my loathing is unconnected to strong feelings about the (extra-liturgical) instrument itself or to revulsion or attraction regarding the music actually performed. Perhaps I'm not alone in this either. What is it about the guitar...

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