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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from April 2010

The New York Times has apologized for... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 1, 2010

      ... April...

Easter: not as the world sees... by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 1, 2010

For the past several years, the approach of Easter has brought out stories about the "Jesus Seminar." The unorthodox scholars affiliated with that project tell the world that the Church had had things all wrong for 2,000 years, that the "historical Jesus" (who is nowhere...

Unless a Seed Falls . . . by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 1, 2010

On many occasions Our Lord expressed the paradox that death is necessary for life. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies it remains alone,” He said. “But if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24). Even more paradoxically, “He who finds his life will...

Sexual Abuse: Not Insanely Bogged Down by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 5, 2010

One has a tendency, after the long and busy Paschal liturgical cycle, to race through one’s email hoping to find nothing, the better to collect one’s thoughts for Whatever Comes Next. What awaited me, however, was an email asserting not only that making celibacy optional would...

The Advertising Culture by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 6, 2010

There is much that can be said about contemporary culture being essentially an “advertising culture”, a culture that prefers promotional images of one kind or another to the messy reality such images are meant to hide. I am reminded of Chesterton’s famous observation on the...

Vatican II on Ecumenism: Principles by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 6, 2010

Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio) was issued on November 21, 1964, the same day as the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church and the Decree on the Catholic Eastern Churches, for the three documents are closely connected. Unitatis Redintegratio is divided into three...

You're a murderer. (No offense intended.) by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 7, 2010

In a "news" story greeting the appointment of the city's coadjutor, Archbishop José Goméz, the Los Angeles Times provides some background on the prelate's membership in Opus Dei:  Opus Dei was founded by Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer in Spain in 1928. Escriva...

Rev. Barbie Doll by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 7, 2010

The public has a right to know, and Religious News Service provides the facts: With her careers as veterinarian, astronaut and U.S. president behind her, Barbie has at last found her true calling: as a second-career Episcopal priest.  The Rev. Barbie-- complete with appropriate...

thank you, Betty Friedan by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 9, 2010

Father Timothy Radcliffe, the former worldwide head of the Dominican order, tells us What We Have Learned from the sex-abuse scandal, and explains why we shouldn't blame those who were in authority (you know, like diocesan bishops, or heads of religious orders): It is unjust to project...

love and hate by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 9, 2010

Do you remember Father Michael Pfleger? In 2007 the radical Chicago priest issued a public threat to a gun-store owner, saying that: "We're going to find you and snuff you out." That earned him a rebuke from the chancery. In 2008 he was at it again, with some over-the-top mockery of...

dancing in the end zone by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 9, 2010

Simply put, what Rome says no longer matters. Boston Globe editorials have been making that argument for decades. But now the Globe has found a new mouthpiece: an ordinarily intelligent Boston University professor, Andrew Bacevich, who specializes in international relations. It shows: If...

priests don't count? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 10, 2010

The US Census Bureau computer won't mail a form to a "business address," so priests who list the parish church as their residence aren't receiving forms.  (The Census Bureau regards a parish as a "business." There's a lot they don't know.)  BTW the Census computer...

Journalists abandon standards to attack the Pope by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 10, 2010

We're off and running once again, with another completely phony story that purports to implicate Pope Benedict XVI in the protection of abusive priests. The "exclusive" story released by AP yesterday, which has been dutifully passed along now by scores of major media outlets, would...

trade proposal by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 11, 2010

Maureen Dowd has written another wearisome diatribe against the Church (if you really must read it, look here, and don't blame me; I warned you), comparing the Catholic hierarchy to the Saudi government.  There is a similarity: both systems are all-male. Got that, Maureen. Thanks for the...

not with the program by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 12, 2010

 Pope offers condolences to Poland, dodges scandal That's the headline on an AP story about the Holy Father's public statement of condolences for the airplane crash that killed Poland's President Lech Kaczynski. What was noteworthy about the Pope's brief message, AP tells us, is that he...

oh, NOW I get it! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 12, 2010

The Vatican has for the first time made it clear that bishops and other high-ranking clergy should report clerical sex abuse to police. That's the lede in an AP account of the Vatican's public summary of Church guidelines for handling sex-abuse complaints. The message, as delivered by AP, is...

A Mother’s Day Gift Book by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 12, 2010

With Mother’s Day coming up in a few weeks (it’s May 9th this year), you may be wondering what to get your mom or your wife that goes beyond the usual chocolate or flowers. How about a book with over 200 paintings (and other works of art) depicting motherhood from the great artists of...

Vatican II on Ecumenism: Practice by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 12, 2010

The remainder of the Decree on Ecumenism can be summarized more briefly. It consists of a chapter on “The Practice of Ecumenism” and a chapter on “Churches and Ecclesial Communities Separated from the Roman Apostolic See”. The second chapter covers ecumenical practice. The...

We’re on Facebook! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 13, 2010

Users have been asking us to develop a Facebook presence for some time, so yesterday we launched the CatholicCulture.org Facebook page. You can also find it by searching on Facebook for “Catholic Culture”. At present we’re using the page to post our commentary items on our...

graywash by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 13, 2010

When you paint a wall covered in tar with white paint you get a gray mess, but the wall will look less black. Now, take the brush with the gray mess, dip it into a bucket with white paint and then paint over a nice white door ... you get a graywash.  In essence, a graywash in reporting at...

The Lessons of the Scandal: Hypocrisy and Discipline by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 13, 2010

There are two important lessons to be drawn from the sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church. The first is often considered but seldom mentioned due to fear: It involves the hypocrisy of the secular attack on the Church. The second is seldom mentioned and perhaps seldom considered, though I...

the same old mistakes by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 13, 2010

In an op-ed column appearing  in USA Today (along with a contrasting view from our own Phil Lawler), Stephen Prothero of Boston University writes that Pope Benedict should confess his crimes-- whatever they might be. Frustrated by what he sees as mismanagement in Rome,...

CatholicCulture.org Boosters by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 14, 2010

For the past few months we’ve been working behind the scenes to form a highly-committed group of key supporters to assist CatholicCulture.org in fulfilling its mission. We’re following a common practice among other institutions and calling this group the CatholicCulture.org Boosters....

Don't Pass Me By. Don't Make Me Cry. On second thought.... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 14, 2010

L'Osservatore Romano is prepared to forgive the Beatles for their offenses against Christian morality, in light of their "magical mystery tour creative alchemy." This is exciting news for those who are still living in the early 1970s.  Beatle drummer Ringo Starr, who lives in 2002,...

L’Osservatore Romano leads the way by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 14, 2010

In order to keep up with that trendsetter of news sources, L’Osservatore Romano, I want to announce my own appreciation for those profound works of popular music which have done so much to improve our lives over the past fifty years or so. Personally, although I can enjoy the Beatles now,...

Catholic Social Teachings: Are the Bishops Fishing, Or Not? by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 14, 2010

I recently began reading Benedictine College School of Business’ Journal of International Business, starting with a complimentary issue received in the mail. So far, I enjoy reading the material that it presents (but haven’t yet read enough to make a recommendation). I do have...

gathering force-- slowly by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 15, 2010

In a typically sensationalized account of the sex-abuse scandal, the London Times breathlessly reports that the Pope has spoken of the need for penance "as calls for his removal gather force." What constitutes this mounting pressure for the Pope's resignation? First the Times cites a...

Homosexuality: 1. The Disorder Question by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 15, 2010

This is one of those blog entries one hates to write. I received an email yesterday (in response to The Lessons of the Scandal: Hypocrisy and Discipline) which began: “I am a practicing Catholic. I do not believe that homosexuality is a ‘disordered state’. Many gay people...

Homosexuality: 2. The Truth Question by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 15, 2010

If you read part one of this commentary (Homosexuality: 1. The Disorder Question), you’ll have noticed that my correspondent begins by asserting her “bona fides” through the statement: “I am a practicing Catholic.” She then goes on to reflect not Catholicism but the...

the controversialist by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 15, 2010

The ink was barely dry on the Lifetime Achievement Award that Cardinal George presented to Father Michael Pfleger, when the notorious Chicago priest was at in the news again-- this time, for a Sunday sermon in which he announced that "there should be women priests… women bishops, women...

Or was it a self-inflicted reprimand? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 16, 2010

First Cardinal Bertone made the observation that homosexuality is a major factor in the sex-abuse crisis. Then the Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, issued a clarification, emphasizing that Cardinal Bertone was speaking only about the clerical-abuse situation, not making any broader...

How Pope Benedict handled abuse: 2 revealing case studies by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 17, 2010

How has Pope Benedict XVI reacted to reports of pedophile priests? We now have two revealing case studies. One case involves an otherwise ordinary parish priest who had a record of molesting children. The future Pope-- then Archbishop of Munich-- was never directly involved in his case, and...

Pro-life Pharmacy Closes – Business Reflections by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 17, 2010

DMC Pharmacy, part of Northern Virginia’s Divine Mercy Care’s (DMC) health care organization, closed last month after nearly two years in business. The pharmacy was the second major project of the organization, which also operates the successful Tepeyac Family Center (OB-GYN). I...

When Should a Bishop Expose a Priest to Civil Authority? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 20, 2010

I promised in a recent message to comment on the question of whether a bishop should turn a priest guilty of some offense over to the civil authorities. The most prominent case calling attention to this question right now is that of a pedophilic cleric in France who was not turned over to the...

Ecclesiastical Culture: Walking the Walk by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 22, 2010

In addition to raising questions about Church-State relations with respect to ecclesiastical persons who have committed crimes (see When Should a Bishop Expose a Priest to Civil Authority), the Castrillon Hoyos affair demonstrates the degree to which the episcopal culture around the world reflects...

no litmus tests-- except this one by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 22, 2010

Asked whether he would consider a Supreme Court candidate who did not support legal abortion, President Obama replied that "I don't have litmus tests around any of these issues." Good. So he might possibly nominate a pro-life jurist? No. Having expressed his distaste for litmus tests,...

Tim Tebow and the World of Endorsements by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 22, 2010

Tim Tebow is probably the highest profile athlete to be up for grabs in the 2010 National Football League draft which starts tonight. The star quarterback out of the University of Florida is not the most ready to play in the NFL, but he has enormous talent as both a quarterback and a running back,...

the Pope's track record on abuse: looking better and better by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 22, 2010

Last week I commented on the Pope's involvement (or lack of same) in two noted abuse cases. In Munich, a priest accused of molesting children might have escaped his attention in the early 1980s. But later, in Rome, the future Pope was aggressive in pursuing an investigation of Father Marcial...

the man, the motive, the media by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 22, 2010

Jeffrey Anderson is suing the Pope. It's an outlandish case-- not only because the facts don't support Anderson's claim that the Pope protected abusive priests, but also because the Roman Pontiff, as a sovereign head of state, is immune from lawsuits. Still, this isn't the first time that a...

the flaw in Anderson's logic by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 23, 2010

In his lawsuit blaming the Vatican for abuse in Milwaukee, Jeffrey Anderson argues that the Holy See carefully controls every aspect of Catholic life, right down to the parish level. The Vatican, he claims, implicitly approves of everything that is done by a bishop, pastor, or priest.  It...

citing the National Catholic Reporter by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 23, 2010

Several readers on the Catholic Culture site have protested our use of stories from the National Catholic Reporter, pointing out that newspaper's strong affiliation with radical Catholic dissidents. Their complaints deserve a response. The National Catholic Reporter-- which, I remind readers,...

a Vatican struggle over abuse policy by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 23, 2010

With the latest revelations by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, a clear picture begins to emerge from what had been a haze of confusion about the Vatican's approach to sex-abuse complaints. There was a conflict within the Roman Curia over how these complaints should be handled. That conflict apparently...

one born every minute by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 26, 2010

After scoring some nice publicity by convincing the Vatican to accept the donation of a newly planted forest in Hungary, a flamboyant American entrepreneur has gone out of business. No trees were ever planted, and the Vatican could not fulfill the goal of becoming the world's first carbon-neutral...

Piltdown Man demands Pope's resignation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 26, 2010

  The sign of a truly dedicated propagandist is the willingness to push ahead with an argument even when the facts don't support it. Newspaper readers in the Boston area are blessed with the work of two truly dedicated propagandists. The Boston Globe offers James Carroll, who has, over the...

Arizona, the Rest of Us, and the Futility of Hiding from Immigration by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 26, 2010

One can deplore or applaud Arizona’s new get-tough law cracking down on illegal immigrants, but rational debate is not served by Cardinal Mahony’s characterization of the new law as the kind of tactic used by Communists and Nazis. Nor is rational debate served by the Federal...

question for today by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 27, 2010

Why is it so terribly wrong to suggest that there might be a connection between sexual abuse and homosexuality, but perfectly acceptable to say that the sex-abuse crisis shows the need to reconsider clerical celibacy and other aspects of Church teaching regarding sexuality?  Or to put it...

Being Married to Your Customers by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 27, 2010

From my article appearing at Trincon.net: There is a good deal of “black humor” surrounding the analogy between sales work and dating, and between customer relationship management and a marriage. The joke that applies immediately after the marriage ceremony is this: “Now, a...

words on paper by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 27, 2010

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the PR voice of the US bishops' conference, has joined in the criticism of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos for his letter congratulating a French bishop for covering up priestly abuse. Here's her take on the notorious Castrillon missive: His view stood in contrast to that of...

a DC insider recalls the bishops' acumen by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 27, 2010

The story sounds implausible, frankly. In fact I'm inclined to believe it only because it's hard to imagine that anyone would make up such a tale. Looking forward to President Obama's first nomination of a Supreme Court justice, the Washington Post collected thoughts, insights, and memories from...

The Vatican Secret Archives—Revealed! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 27, 2010

The name of the Vatican Secret Archives suggests intrigue and adventure, and perhaps that’s not far off, considering the documents it houses. Fortunately, the Belgian publisher VdH has just released a rich coffee-table book on the Vatican Secret Archives in collaboration with Archivist...

and here's to you, Bishop Robinson by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 28, 2010

The irrepressible Bishop Geoffrey Robinson suggests a Church council to change teachings on sexuality, explaining that this is the only way to resolve the sex-abuse crisis. Hang on there. The priests who molested children were violating Church teachings. If we change the teachings (leaving aside...

when by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 28, 2010

I won't be surprised if it rains tomorrow. Did I just predict rain? No. I said it could rain. By the same token, a leading Vatican official has said that the Pope could issue an apology for sexual abuse during a...

the Culture Project in action by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 28, 2010

Hats off to Mike Puccetti of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who took up the challenge of our Culture Project 1: Defending the Pope. Mr. Puccetti began with a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, correcting some inaccuracies in an editorial that had criticized Pope Benedict. But after a bit of...

Marthe Robin: Modern Stigmatist, Mystic, and Foundress by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 28, 2010

When I encounter alleged mystics giving out directions from heaven, my first reaction is to run for cover. My negative reaction is even stronger if the person in question has devoted followers, and stronger still if he or she is physically handicapped, because such handicaps often incite a...

the shape of the Church to come by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 28, 2010

Take a moment, if you would, to look back at the top CWN headline stories from the past two days: Monday: Pope to establish new Council for New Evangelization?    Tuesday: Africa's Catholic population soaring since 2000

literature quiz by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 29, 2010

It's 2010. The first decade of the 21st century is over.  What is "the decade's one indispensable Catholic book"? Answer here (search down for the...

5 years later: I wish I had been wrong by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Apr 29, 2010

Exactly five years have passed since I originally posted the comment that is reproduced below. At the time, one reader (Gil125) commented:  Let's wait 5-10 years and see who's right, Weigel or Diogenes. If Benedict XVI proves to take his role as administrator of the Church, or PRIMUS...

wanna start a rumor? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 30, 2010

Hmmm.  VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.  What do you suppose they discussed? Cardinal Pell is the chairman of the Vox Clara committee, so maybe they were talking about the new...

Expecting Catholic Growth by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 30, 2010

In The shape of the Church to come, Phil Lawler suggests that the main difference between the explosion of Catholicism in Africa and its decline in Europe and North America is that “African Catholics expect the Church to grow, whereas European and American Catholics are just hoping to hold on to...

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