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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from April 2007

Albany Bishop Joins Roman Catholic Church by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 1, 2007

April Fool! Headlines can be cruelly deceptive, Amanda. It wasn't that Albany bishop. Still, nothing prevents us from praying for a twofer. "Would that mean I'd have to, like, worship statues 'n stuff...

another stem-cell breakthrough by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 2, 2007

Scientists report growing human heart valves from stem cells. That's a potentially important breakthrough, with very promising implications for the millions of people who face heart disease. The news will no doubt prompt more loud calls for tax funding of embryonic stem-cell research. Most...

free for the taking by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 2, 2007

Greek-themed liturgy at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, San Francisco. If you make it your project to emancipate liturgy from the organism out of which it grew, by some iron law of fate it will end up in the hands of those persons most convinced they have a special gift for ceremony,...

shanked by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 2, 2007

"Despite their shrill voices, the majority of Catholics support access to safe, legal abortion and family planning services." That's the new president of Catholics for a Free Choice, Jon O'Brien, urging Amnesty International to shift from a neutral to a pro-abortion stance. It's not much more...

instructions to voters by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 3, 2007

New York Post columnist John Podhoretz thinks that Rudy Giuliani stumbled in his early presidential campaign by talking about how much influence his (latest) wife could have in the White House. It was a rare mistake, Podhoretz observes: Until that moment, he had handled his presidential bid as...

lies, damned lies, and the bishops by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 3, 2007

"Insulting to all Catholics," protests the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, in reference to a tendentious and theologically leaky article in the LA Times. The story in question centered around a tort lawyer's claim that Catholics believe the notion of "mental reservation" permits them to lie under...

Anglican Orders on Demand by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 3, 2007

When I wrote my last column on the importance of taking Holy Week seriously, I used the conversion of Episcopal Bishop Daniel Herzog as an occasion to consider how much we Catholics take things for granted. Many readers appreciated the point, but there were a few who thought I was either...

the amends corner by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 4, 2007

So what's it going to be: an act of penitent moral resolve, or a self-gratifying publicity stunt? You make the call: Institutions such as the Church of England which profited from the slave trade should consider making amends in some form, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.Dr Rowan...

bad advice by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 5, 2007

A momentous personal decision gone wrong: An 18-year-old pleaded guilty to trying to hire a hit man to kill his ex-girlfriend's nearly full-term fetus and was sentenced to more than six years in prison.[chop]Prosecutors allege Young, then 17, offered an undercover officer posing as a hit man...

diverse by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 6, 2007

Students at a Jesuit college in Philadelphia ridiculed Catholic sexual teaching in a manner that drew objections. A student newspaper at a Catholic university drew a rebuke from school officials for its April Fool's edition, which called Philadelphia's cardinal gay and included a mock ad in...

vestment & divestment by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 6, 2007

At yesterday's Chrism Mass, Pope Benedict made use of liturgical vestments as catechetical tools to remind priests of the meaning of their vocation: In administering the sacraments, the pope said, the priest "no longer represents himself and no longer expresses himself," but speaks and acts for...

the alternative magisterium by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 6, 2007

The latest edition of In the Vineyard, the emailed newsletter of Voice of the Faithful, includes one "quote for our time." It's from Sister Theresa Kane, lecturing Pope John Paul II during his 1979 visit to the US: Our contemplation leads us to state that the church in its struggle to be...

fashionably unwelcome by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 6, 2007

The Anglican archbishop of Wales has something on his mind. The Anglican church in Wales' leader warned the church has become a place where gay people feel marginalised and women do not have equality with men. Hmm. Where I live, homosexual Anglicans are about as marginal as a keg at a frat...

The NY Times profiles the Pope,... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 8, 2007

... on Easter Sunday, yet, and as Amy Welborn points out, you shudder when you see the cover story of the Sunday magazine. Actually, Amy says the article isn't too bad. (Which is, really the best you could hope for, right?) I haven't read it, and probably won't. But I have read her excellent...

A Day in the Life by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 10, 2007

Here’s a snippet from real life for you. My wife, my youngest son Thomas, and I all flew south from Washington, DC to Texas to spend Easter with my oldest son Christopher, who is a philosophy professor at the University of Dallas. We were happy to escape the unseasonably cold temperatures forecast...

yet another stem-cell breakthrough by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 11, 2007

Here's a new game: Find an article on a reported breakthrough in medical treatment using stem cells. Beginning at the top of the article, count down the paragraphs until you find a plug for embryonic stem-cell research. (In this case it's paragraph #9.) Keep counting-- it's probably...

Divine Mercy Care Extends Its Reach by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 11, 2007

Today a fund-raising letter comes from John T. Bruchalski, MD, founder of the Tepeyac Family Center and chairman of the Divine Mercy Care foundation which funds TFC's ground-breaking pro-life medical work. Tepeyac is a non-profit pro-life medical facility specializing in obstetrics and gynecology....

but who audits the auditors? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 11, 2007

Nearly 5 years after the US bishops devised the "Dallas Charter" to address the sex-abuse scandal, the US bishops' conference is happy to announce that the system is working. How do we know that the program is working? We know because nearly every American diocese is following the procedures...

next Great Leap Forward: single-sex procreation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 13, 2007

A British scientist thinks that she can enable women to produce sperm, using stem cells drawn from their own bone marrow. The process-- which has already provided promising results in treating men with fertility problems-- could make it possible for lesbian couples to produce their own biological...

Daniel Maguire: A Baby Step by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 14, 2007

Daniel Maguire has finally been chastised by ecclesiastical authority. In March, the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved a statement by the Committee on Doctrine which detailed the ways in which Maguire’s theological positions deviate from the...

INCOMING!!!!! by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Apr 14, 2007

This (Saturday) morning, Pope Benedict called all the leaders of the Roman Curia together for a special meeting. This meeting had been previously unannounced, and the topic of the meeting has not been disclosed. It's possible that the Holy Father wanted to talk about the weather. But not...

prize winners by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 16, 2007

Back in 1999, Boston Magazine celebrated creation spirituality in its Best of Boston contest, giving the Best Place to Meet a Gay Mate award to The Jesuit Urban Center, South End. True, many happy couples found their love in the Ralph Lauren paint department of Homo Depot -- er, Home Depot....

Eliminating the God of the Gaps to Make Room for God Himself by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 16, 2007

In 2005, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn touched off a firestorm in a New York Times opinion piece which raised significant concerns about the relationship among science, reason and faith. That intervention was not as successful as it might have been because of the Cardinal’s assessment of...

in the safe embrace of the state by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 17, 2007

"What is needed, urgently, is stronger controls over the lethal weapons that cause such wasteful carnage and such unbearable loss." With pavlovian predictability, the better trained media have displayed the reflex reaction to homicidal madness: increase state control, curtail personal...

Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 17, 2007

... and he might be embarrassed to admit it, if scientists are right, and chimps are more highly evolved than humans. Now there's an angle that Darwinism hasn't covered. Notice that there is no case on record of a chimp endorsing the theory of evolution. Maybe they're trying to tell us...

the bad guy by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 18, 2007

Once again, the legacy of Pope Pius XII has become a subject of public controversy, this time because of the display at Israel's Yad Vashem Museum that makes him out to be culpably non-committal toward Nazis and Nazism. The evidence that Eugenio Pacelli, later Pius XII, was consistently anti-Nazi...

Five Years after the Scandal, I by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 18, 2007

Bishop Gregory Aymond of Austin is chairman of the USCCB Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People. On March 20th, he gave a speech at Georgetown University offering his personal view of the situation five years after the sex abuse scandal broke in early 2002. Here is a summary of...

Five Years after the Scandal, II by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 18, 2007

I won’t disguise a few concerns I have about Bishop Gregory Aymond’s personal reflections after five years of managing the sex abuse scandal. Though it may not be obvious in my bare summary of his main points (see Five Years after the Scandal, I), much of Bishop Aymond's presentation still...

a wobbly first step by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 19, 2007

I'd like to be able to rejoice more whole-heartedly in yesterday's Supreme Court decision in Gonzalez v Carhart. But the argument of NROs' Mark Levin strikes me as uncomfortably plausible. I don't understand what all the fuss is about. The fact is that Anthony Kennedy makes clear that he is...

central to womanhood by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 20, 2007

In her angry dissent in Gonzalez v. Carhart, Judge Ginsburg writes that the majority decision... … cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this Court-- and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives. Now...

where the worm dieth not by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 20, 2007

Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are the bed beneath you, and worms are your covering. ... Those who see you will stare at you, and ponder over you: Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a desert and overthrew...

The Ultimate Motherly Act by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 20, 2007

In her April 13th column in the London Times, Caitlin Moran argued that abortion is the “ultimate motherly act”. Moran’s column was written in response to a radical feminist who began to have doubts about abortion after experiencing the birth of her own child last year. Journalist Miranda...

the first liturgical reform by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 21, 2007

From today's 1st reading (Acts 6:7), with emphasis added: The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly;even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith. Even priests. (Well, a large group of them, anyway.) So you see, it...

successors by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 22, 2007

The photo above shows Rochester Bishop Matt Clark doing a Lenten dorm liturgy with the U of Rochester chaplain. Several blogs have already commented on the liberty Clark awarded himself respecting the rubrics -- see Rich Leonardi and Fr. Erik Richtsteig -- but my own thoughts were sidetracked...

keeping women safe to pay their obstetricians by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 22, 2007

Kenneth Edelin begins his Boston Globe op-ed in a very unusual way: By acknowledging that he was convicted of manslaughter 32 years ago after performing an abortion. Edelin does not provide details about the case. Suffice it to say that the unborn baby did not die on schedule, and thereafter...

easy street by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 23, 2007

Your Uncle Di is really behind the clerical fashion curve this days, only this morning made aware of WomenSpirit's Spring Robe Sale. There's something about a sleeveless clergy stock and non-committally stained glass that says the Summer Solstice, and the USG Sheetrock 400, are just around...

it's about time$ by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 23, 2007

The patience of catholic college faculty and administrators is nearly limitless. Indeed, how many times have your heard them complain about the lack of respect and understanding secularists display about the purpose and the methods of the catholic college? Your Uncle Di has been listening for 40...

man overboard by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 24, 2007

Excellent interview on Zenit today with Anthony Esolen. An excerpt: Zenit: In your recent articles you have discussed masculinity and manhood. How do you see your own understanding of these differ from the way others use these terms? Esolen: When a virtue falls by the wayside, when it is no...

remember that blind date? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 24, 2007

Have you ever wondered-- perhaps not altogether kindly-- what happened to your college classmate, who fixed you with Blind Date from Hell? I think I know. A group called Animal Defenders International has brought suit in European court, hoping for a ban on experiments using apes as...

Governmental Gay Hostility to the Church by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 24, 2007

In recent weeks Italian Christians have experienced an outbreak of gay hostility, including slogans urging death to Christians, because Church leaders have stood firm against the idea of same-sex civil unions. But this hostility has, at least, come from private citizens. In the United States, it...

The Children of Hurin by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 25, 2007

J.R.R. Tolkien’s new book, The Children of Hurin, was released in mid-April. It’s available in hardback for just over $15 (on Amazon), including illustrations by Tolkien artist Alan Lee. I’ve read about half of it so far. The story, which is very dark and definitely tragic, explores the impact...

no right or wrong by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 27, 2007

Lawmakers in Connecticut just don't understand why Catholic officials wouldn't want to dispense "emergency contraception" (which often means abortifacient) pills to rape victims in Church-administered hospitals. And politicians don't protect what they don't understand, so the state senate passed...

a huge fear for my children by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 27, 2007

When it comes to discussion of our contemporary ills, some people have the ability to look behind the shrieking headlines and see deeper causes that elude the rest of their fellow citizens. I found the following commentator particularly imaginative: As I read the paper and watch my TV, trying...

A Prophetic Voice for Catholic Colleges? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 27, 2007

The president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities says he hopes that “a more pronounced prophetic voice will become one of Catholic higher education’s distinctive contributions to the world.” In fact, he has outlined a twelve-point program to get us there. Speaking at...

revved by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 28, 2007

The Revd Professor Marilyn McCord Adams, Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University ... Having only read so far into this Church Times article, you know its author is enthusiastic about what Maid Marilyn has to say. Reverend Professors, like Reverend Doctors, are tags appropriate to...

a decent respect for tradition by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 28, 2007

An Anglican bishop warns that a colleague is threatening to break with "the ancient practice in most of the church." Another Anglican official warns against "things that violate longstanding practice." "This action would only serve to heighten current tensions," says the bishop who is defending...

comparative religion by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 30, 2007

The Washington Post reports-- and contributes to-- a lot of muttering about the fact the 5 Supreme Court justices who composed the majority in the partial-birth abortion case are all Catholics. Is it dangerous for public figures to bring their religious beliefs into public life? Much...

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