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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from May 2003

Don't trade in your old Bible by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 1, 2003

Floating around the Internet recently is a so-called "Lord's Prayer based on Peshitta Gospels/Aramaic Texts," which is advertised as "translated by Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz." Here is the version as it came to me: Father-Mother! Birther and Breath of All, Create a space inside us and fill it...

Pop Quiz by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 1, 2003

Father Wayne Ball was celebrating diversity in a parked car last December, was arrested by the Norfolk Police, and "pled guilty to lewd behavior." You're his bishop. What do you do to him? a. Defrock him.b. Suspend him indefinitely.c. Demand a couple years' penance.d. Require counseling and...

gay marriage and by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 1, 2003

Richard Cohen takes a shot at Rick Santorum. And misses. In advancing religious arguments for public policy, Santorum and others foreclose both debate and compromise -- the basic ingredients of democracy. If you think, simply as a matter of faith, that homosexual sex ought to be a crime, then...

Arguing from faith by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 1, 2003

All perfectly true; Santorum did not make a "religious" argument. But just for the sake of the discussion, suppose someone did introduce a political argument based solely on religious belief. Why should such an argument be excluded from public debates? We accept arguments based on...

useful idiots? by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 1, 2003

I don't think Cohen has a consistent political philosophy of which Santorum fell afoul; as the article's title ("Intolerance Swaddled in Faith") suggests, he is using the "faith = intolerance" equation to alarm those who are programmed to feel alarm at the loss of their sexual liberties -- far and...

Enforced optimism by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 1, 2003

Check out today's story from Rome. Cardinal Sodano hopes that Fidel Castro will "lead his people toward democracy." What is the basis for this hope? Well, now that you mention it, there isn't any. In fact Castro has just finished rounding up his political opponents, sentencing some to long...

Celebrating the Diocesan Heritage by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 1, 2003

If you're looking for Steve Brady tonight, my bet is that you'll find him on the sidewalk outside the Springfield IL Cathedral. This is from a press release from the Catholic Citizens of Illinois http://catholiccitizens.org/press/pressview.asp?c=5542 "Local Springfield, Illinois Catholics are...

Day Three by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 1, 2003

From Thomas Day, Where Have You Gone, Michelangelo? (Crossroad, 1993): A surprising new trend: the glorification of the priest's throne. At the very center (the heart?) of so many newer or renovated liturgical environments -- especially those stark, science-fiction architectural spaces -- is...

Who's running this circus, anyway?? by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 1, 2003

Interesting, from the Star Ledger of New Jersey. Archbishop Myers is troubled by Kathleen McChesney's work. People have commented on the composition of the bishops' sexual abuse review board, often in puzzlement. It looks very clear to me that the members of the USCCB are far from being on the...

Coffee Klatsch by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 2, 2003

"...of course we hardly could have expected anything else from him with that dreadful woman he married and he always wears the most appalling shirts I can't think why she lets him out of the house that way but as I was saying I think Sissie will be brought down a peg after the elections and oh I...

Defeat in Dallas by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 2, 2003

"It appears that I will probably be moved ... For the good of the diocese, I would like to see this situation resolved. I would expect Bishop Grahmann to feel the same way." Today's Dallas Morning News carries an extraordinary article about the impasse in the Diocese of Dallas between...

Stiff-necked conservatives and the NCR by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 2, 2003

I do not object to bishops being the ones who ordain, if it is understood that they represent the local as well as the universal church. I believe the validity of their act of ordaining is rooted in this relation to the church. It does not flow literally from an apostolic secession that imagines...

Non sequitur by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 2, 2003

Anyone looking for sequential logic in the editorials of the Boston Globe is bound to be disappointed, but the Globe's (curiously belated) editorial response to the Santorum ruckus is curious: For one thing, Santorum blamed declining moral standards for the child abuse scandal in the Catholic...

globotomy by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 2, 2003

Phil, I think the most dishonest line in that ediorial is the following: Santorum should take a tour of Pennsylvania, his home state, and see how many adoptive, blended, multiracial, second, and, yes, gay families he is insulting. The Globe insinuates that Santorum sees interracial marriage...

Dallas: a test case by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 2, 2003

Bishop Galante has now confirmed what everyone knew: that he was sent to Dallas 3+ years ago to replace Bishop Grahmann (the latter being eased out because of his appalling handling of the sex-abuse scandal). But Bishop Grahmann decided not to be eased out. Now what? This is a test case....

A coup for NCR's Allen by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 2, 2003

John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter gets a big score for this week's column, which includes an exclusive interview with the outgoing Israeli ambassador to the Holy See. The ambassador, Yosef Lamdan, has fascinating insights and opinions on last year's "siege" at the Nativity basilica in...

Day Four -- why you can't negotiate with a liturgist by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 2, 2003

From Thomas Day, Where Have You Gone, Michelangelo? (Crossroad, 1993): I wanted to buy a new tie."Need some help?" asked the salesman (a semi-retired gentleman I know)."Yes," I replied, "I was thinking of something in a solid color," and then I showed him a few possibilities I had picked...

"Sister, may I please go to the bathroom?" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 2, 2003

Not a parody. The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary opened their newly renovated 376,000-square-foot motherhouse on Earth Day, April 22. The $56 million, two-and-a-half-year project included tapping into a geothermal well for heating and cooling, installing a gray-water system...

More on the Monroe IHM's by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 2, 2003

Well, the environmentally correct Motherhouse of the IHM Sisters of Monroe MI is edifying indeed.A visit to their website is also illuminating. The website is well designed; I was looking for the Novitiate section and can only find one young ladyprofiled. You'd expect this of any...

physician, heal thyself by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 3, 2003

Lesley Payne's 1997 article quotes a therapist at the St. Luke Institute: The bishops were in constant contact with St. Luke's, and were running the show. [Father Canice Connors, O.F.M.Cap.] did what the bishops wanted him to do. Many knew about [Father Curtis Bryant, S.J.]. Sometimes a...

new archbishop of Dublin by Jeff in "Off the Record" - May 3, 2003

The Holy Father this morning appointed Archbishop Diarmuid Martin as coadjutor archbishop of Dublin. Archbishop Martin, formerly secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, is now the Holy See's representative at UN offices in Geneva. He has represented the Holy See at various UN...

More on Dallas by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 3, 2003

Intrepid journalist Rod Dreher, formerly of National Review, now of the Dallas Morning News,weighs inon the situation in the Dallas chancery. He asks a good question: Who's looking out for the interests of the Catholics of...

Day Five by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 3, 2003

From Thomas Day, Where Have You Gone, Michelangelo? (Crossroad, 1993): In his cathedral, the bishop sat on an ornate throne that symbolized his authority in the diocese, but here again there were checks and balances. That episcopal chair (cathedra in Greek) was on the side, not at the center;...

On the Traditional Mass by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 3, 2003

From the Catholic Herald (U.K.) comes this interesting storyabout the traditional Mass. Pope prepares to lift restrictions on Tridentine Mass English bishops request secret report from Latin Mass Society By Simon Caldwell The Pope might soon allow the world's Catholic priests the right to...

by Antigone in "Off the Record" - May 3, 2003

Folks who tout population control as a cure for all ills havent thought through their logic. Not only are men and women more prone to cause mischief when they havent got a growing family to care for, thinking up all sorts of ideologies, perversions, and distractions for the rest of us, but...

in partibus infidelium by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 4, 2003

You know you're a Jadot bishop when ... Your favorite liturgical color is yellow.You dress MORE expensively than your secretary.Your feel-good homilies are taken from Peanuts cartoons, your cerebral homilies are taken from M*A*S*H.Your chancellor doesn't shave her legs, but your vicar general...

consequences by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 4, 2003

One summer Sunday in 1979: She stepped up to the makeshift altar, made a sign of the cross, and began to say the liturgy. She lifted bread and, for the first time in earnest, uttered the words, "This is my body." Afterward, the community's regular priest -- whom the Catholic Church had removed...

hone this by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 4, 2003

sacerdotes tui induentur iustitia "We need to hone our criteria for selecting candidates for the priesthood of Christ," Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Ill., said in an address Sept. 29 to the National Association of Diocesan Vocation Directors convention in Cincinnati. Asking whether...

Day Six by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 4, 2003

From Thomas Day, Where Have You Gone, Michelangelo? (Crossroad, 1993): If a priest tries to dispense with medieval tradition and, instead, substitute something else (such as "Good morning" or "Good evening" or "Hello Folks" or even warm, welcoming remarks), he might really be trying to say...

Hey, but who's counting? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 4, 2003

The Arizona Republic's analysis of Diocese of Phoenix documents reveals some interesting numbers: *Priests accused of sexual misconduct at some point during their careers were assigned to at least 42 of the 88 parishes in the Phoenix Diocese from 1970 to 2002.*At least three parochial schools...

"We don't do God." by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 5, 2003

Britain's Telegraph reports on the Labour Party's packaging crew. Alastair Campbell has banned Tony Blair from talking about God in public, according to two 50th birthday profiles of the Prime Minister. Downing Street's director of communications is afraid that Mr Blair could sound too much...

told you so by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 5, 2003

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Are you paying attention, ICEL fans? Smith College students earlier this month made a decision some might find mystifying: Although Smith is a women's college, the students voted to change the language of their student constitution so that the pronouns...

eyes left by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 5, 2003

Prof. Ronald Dworkin has an article in the New York Review of Books on the U. of Michigan affirmative action case before the Supreme Court that is curiously bashful of legal argument but full of heavy breathing on the political consequences. Right-thinking journalists and (law review editors) now...

by Cheshire in "Off the Record" - May 5, 2003

It is easy to counsel patience regarding the removal of a problem bishop, and it is reassuring to the pious to say that all will be well since the matter is in the Pope's "holy hands." This is bad theology. Infallibility and the "grace of state" do not ensure prudence in administrative matters,...

bishops by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 5, 2003

Chesire, I entirely agree with you - I think your point is exactly right. Weakland, for example -- even when he reached his 75th birthday the Holy See wasn't ready to replace him, and he'd likely still be in Milwaukee had he not gone down in (pardon the pun) flames. And the situation in Dallas...

Removing bishops by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - May 5, 2003

Good comments, Fr. Wilson and Cheshire, but I have a question. Can the Pope remove any bishop on any pretext if that bishop hasn't reached retirement age, isn't incapacitated, and hasn't violated canon law or Church doctrine? Can you recall any case in the modern era where that's happened? In...

bishops by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 5, 2003

I'm not a canonist, Domenico, but canon law explicitly gives the Pope full, universal, immediate ordinary jurisdiction over the whole Church. I do indeed believe that he has that authority (wasn't it Pius VI who exercised it back in Napoleon's day when he deposed the whole acien hierarchy of the...

Re: removing bishops by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - May 5, 2003

Valid examples, Fr. Wilson, but Lefebrve violated canon law and the others presumably acceded to the request to resign their sees. But what about the bishop who does not violate canon law and only shows incompetence or negligence, yet will not step down? I'm thinking of the Dallas case where a...

a history lesson by Jeff in "Off the Record" - May 5, 2003

December 9, 1989: Bishop Thomas Tschoepe, age 73, receives a coadjutor bishop. July 14, 1990: Bishop Tschoepe retires and is succeeded by his coadjutor. The name of his see? Dallas. The name of his coadjutor? Bishop Charles...

more to the history by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 5, 2003

Yes, but there is even more to the history than that, I think, Jeff. It was always our understanding that for much of Tschoepe's reign, whole areas of administration had been removed from his purview and given to the Vicar General, Robert Rehkemper. That was how they got around the delicate...

The Masonic Governor by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 5, 2003

Anyone see the Wanderer this week? Paul Likoudis reports that Governor Patacki of New York is being honored with induction into the Grand Lodge of the State of New York as a Master Mason. Trouble is, of course, he's a Catholic. Oddly enough, Paul couldn't get comments or clarification from the...

hubris by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 6, 2003

Bronson Havard, editor of the newspaper of the Dallas Diocese, has explained that Rod Dreher's Dallas Morning News column of last Friday on the situation in the chancery office was motivated by the racism and xenophobiaMr Dreher shares with the Dallas Morning News. Bishop Grahmann is to be...

hubris -2- by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 6, 2003

Deacon Havard complains that Bishop Grahmann receives no credit from the Dallas Morning News for his skillful settlement of the judgment against the diocese resulting from the Kos trial. Inexplicably, there are Catholics in the diocese who seem to remember things quite differently -- they seem to...

Catholic clergy attack marriage by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 6, 2003

Last week the Massachusetts legislature held hearings on a bill that would define marriage as a bond between a man and a woman-- an effort to stop the movement toward recognition of same-sex "marriages." Four Catholic priests testified at the hearings. All four opposed the bill, arguing in...

Re: Pope's authority to remove bishops by Cheshire in "Off the Record" - May 6, 2003

The Pope has universal and immediate jurisidiction over all the dioceses of the world, as explained in the Code of Canon of Law and encoded by General Councils, the most recent example being "Christus Dominus" of Vatican II. No bishop serves without Papal appointment, and as he is himself the...

papal authority & its exercise -- or, what he said by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 6, 2003

For a balanced, shrewd, insightful, and eminently well-informed appraisal of Pope John Paul II -- including a judicious look at his conduct of office -- check out Prof. Ralph McInerny's essay amid the picturesque ruins of Catholic Dossier. (A suggestion: once you find the site, copy the text...

Praise by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 6, 2003

Thanks for the head's-up, Fr. Wilson. A bright tear coursed down my cheek in reading Bronson Havard's defense of Bishop Grahmann: But for whatever motive, The Morning News and some of its columnists don't want to give an ounce of credit to Bishop Grahmann for settling, within 11 months, the...

Havard on Grahmann, continued by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 6, 2003

And today [Grahmann] is the Christian leader most often seen in dialogue and fellowship with Muslim leaders, building a bridge of good will and friendship between peoples. Ah, that's where it comes...

Bronson Havard and bad faith by Jeff in "Off the Record" - May 6, 2003

In a 2000 arbitration case (State Fair of Texas v. State Fair Guides), retired Judge James Carmody ruled that Bronson Havard, doing business as State Fair Guides, showed "bad faith" in registering the domain names StateFairofTexas.com and TexasStateFair.com. Carmody ordered that the domain names...

"some have been alarmed..." by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 6, 2003

The Jesuit Urban Center won the coveted "Best Place to Meet a Mate -- Gay" award bestowed by Boston Magazine some years ago. Yet those who worship there will find not only romance but cutting-edge scriptural exegesis, as evidenced by this Palm Sunday homily delivered by the Rev. Tom Carroll,...

millstones are forever by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 6, 2003

The South Bend Tribune recounts a now-familiar tale of betrayal, followed by betrayal, followed by betrayal. In 1980, Salveson wrote a letter to Bishop John R. McGann, bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, reporting that when he was in high school Huneke had sexually molested him. He urged...

Amusing Dallas by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 7, 2003

Dallas is getting much more amusing now that Rod Dreher has crashed on the town (at least, more amusing than it was when I lived there eighteen years ago!). Here's a tidbit posted by publisher Wick Allison on the "D" Magazine blogsite. It is accompanied there by a picture of Baghdad Bob, Saddam's...

Sam is a girl by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 7, 2003

The Archdiocese of Boston has bought into a child protection program called Talking About Touching (mandatory for its personnel who have contact with children). I feel better already. Sam is a girl who likes to sing -- her lively, original songs teach children a set of simple touching safety...

what problem? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 7, 2003

A six-month old Boston Globe article surfaces points of current interest: As a student at Harvard and then Yale, where different lifestyles mix uneventfully, Gavan Meehan found it easy and comfortable to be publicly gay. But after an inner tug to the priesthood drew him last year to St. John's...

Re: Mass. bishops and marriage by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 7, 2003

A fellow blogger has taken me to task, understandably, for saying that the bishops of Massachusetts did not weigh in on a bill to define marriage as an alliance between a man and a woman. The Pro Dei et Patria blog notes that the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the official policy arm of the...

Talking About Touching by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 7, 2003

As it happens, the lead article in The Wanderer this week is a report by Paul Likoudis on the stirrings of parental discontent over the imposition of Talking About Touching in Boston archdiocesan schools. An interesting article. The Archdiocese does not want to permit parents to opt their own...

Elizabeth Anscombe: lest we forget by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 7, 2003

Elizabeth Anscombe, professor of philosophy at Cambridge and unquestionably one of the premier English philosophers of the late 20th century, died in January of 2001. An unflinchingly orthodox Catholic (and the mother of seven), her work deserves to be better known, especially among Catholics....

Pilot error by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 7, 2003

Boston's archdiocesan newspaper, the Pilot, has been a staunch defender of the bishops' conduct in the sex-abuse scandal, and a vociferous critic of the bishops' critics. Fair enough. But when a Pilot editorial suggests that other American institution need to learn from the bishops' example,...

Master Mason by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 7, 2003

If confirmation were needed, here it is: Governor George Patacki of New York will indeed be received as a Freemason despite the ban on Catholics joining Masonry. Interesting site with info on how Masons are promoting their order in NYS; scroll down for the news on the...

Re: Master Mason by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 7, 2003

You're right of course, Fr. Wilson; a Catholic politician should not be a Mason. He also should not vote to legalize abortion, require hospitals to cover contraception, allow sterilization, provide funding for Planned Parenthood, authorize cloning, accept euthanasia, tolerate divorce,...

What happened. by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 7, 2003

Check out this marvelous article from The American Spectator on tracing the footprints of a baleful cultural shift in the Church....

Smooth talker by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 8, 2003

Donna Morrissey, who handled public relations for the Boston archdiocese through the darkest days of the sex-abuse scandal, has left that post. Naturally, reporters are asking: Did she jump or was she pushed? The Rev. Christopher Coyne, who has replaced Morrissey on an interim basis, would not...

A further note on the removal of bishops by Cheshire in "Off the Record" - May 8, 2003

Canon 401.2 describes the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff by virtue of his universal and immediate jurisdiction, to remove a bishop for reason of illness or some other grave reason which makes him unsuitable for the fulfillment of his office. The Pope has full, ultimate and sovereign authority...

Are you a body part? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 8, 2003

Under US law, a pregnant woman can procure an abortion regardless of the father's wishes. But what if the father wants the abortion, and the woman resists? That's where the law gets complicated. For a classic example, look at the gymnastic feats performed by Connecticut's Supreme Court, in a...

Defective record keeping, anyone? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 8, 2003

The Arizona Republic carries a bruising editorial on the Diocese of Phoenix's kid-glove treatment of child abusing priests. Some excerpts: An infamous history. A history of shame. But only now, decades later, as a local prosecutor digs into mountains of testimony, can we appreciate the...

Chilling news by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 8, 2003

There are now 400,000 human beings-- unused embryos-- sitting on freezer shelves across the US. See the Washington Post story, notice the language and moral logic of the people involved in the fertility business, and see if you don't feel a chill yourself....

Yet more on removing bishops by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - May 8, 2003

Cheshire, a canonist friend sent this along as well:Dom, basically, the more likely possibility would be that Rome appoint a co-adjutor or apostolic administrator, and give him full administrative power. This would then have the effect of making the diocese more or less ungovernable for the bishop...

Icy Timelessness by Antigone in "Off the Record" - May 8, 2003

More than anything, experts said, the large number of embryos being preserved in icy timelessness is an indicator of the ambivalence many couples feel as they consider what to do with their hard-won but unneeded potential offspring. Yes, Phil, chilling. How many Catholic couples are parents of...

Phoenix by Cheshire in "Off the Record" - May 8, 2003

Several years ago an international Catholic lay organization, highly commended by the Pope, held a convention in Phoenix attended by a Cardinal, a prominent Archbishop, and numerous other prelates, all of whom are flawlessly obedient to the Holy See. One does not imagine that life in Phoenix is...

The Perfect Donor by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 9, 2003

Why do orthodox alumni of Catholic colleges continue to give financial support to institutions that help undermine the Church? Deal Hudson's column in the May Crisis explains it by means of a peculiar symbiosis: we'll pretend to be Catholic if you pretend to take us at our word. By staying in...

Oopsy! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 9, 2003

A grisly account of the exercise of 14th Amendment rights in Massachusetts: The nightmarish $500 abortion procedures -- which placed the woman in grave risk of hemorrhaging and death -- took place in Dr. Jian Yu's one-room, nonsterile office in Malden, with no assistant or emergency equipment...

name that tune by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 9, 2003

The church certainly has enormous wisdom to impart on matters of moral human behavior. At the same time, church teaching on an array of issues having to do with sexuality and sexual expression is too often based on ancient misunderstandings of human nature and human behavior. It is woefully...

Talking About Touching by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 9, 2003

The Likoudis article on the reaction among some Boston parents to the imposition of a mandatory program on sexual abuse for students is now online. Apparently the story about "Talking About Touching" is developing and follow-ups are...

Goodbye, St. Paul. Hello, Mr. Yuck. by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 9, 2003

Thanks for the Talking About Touching, link, Fr. W. Two aspects grate on me. First, there's the implicit notion that, in the clergy abuse crisis, the failure rests -- even in part -- with the children. Think of a corrupt police force that shakes down innocent motorists and then, in response to...

Parents' rights by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 9, 2003

To my mind, the most outrageous aspect of the Boston archdiocesan program is that it is mandatory. Parochial-school parents do not have any say as to whether or not their children will be involved. This is a clear and direct violation of Church teachings that the parents should be the primary...

by Antigone in "Off the Record" - May 9, 2003

Phil, that what horrifies me in what you say is the idea that we can't trust those in charge of our Church. The Psalms say that even the swallows nest in His altars, but there is a growing sense among the laity that our children cannot be entrusted to the clergy, in mind or...

Incisive, David! by Leila in "Off the Record" - May 9, 2003

Our friend David Shnaider comments on Talking About Touching: How would the Archdiocese feel about it, if, instead of picturing relatives as the harmers of children, they pictured all the harmers as priests? Instead of parents being the ones who "sometimes don't know how to listen or how to...

The Bells of Saint Mary's by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 10, 2003

Catholic parents who look wistfully back at the days of Father O'Malley, who fondly recall the days when the Priest teaching Religion with chalk dust on his cassock was a staple of Catholic childhood, will be delighted to hear that Sinead O'Connor intends to study Theology and become a school...

Department of Icy Timelessness by Antigone in "Off the Record" - May 10, 2003

Reading another story about frozen embryos made me wonder a few more things about the current state of reproductive affairs. For instance, how many pastors realize, when they look out on their congregations, that every woman there who has a child has lain in her hospital bed after giving...

The myth of the myth of the Red Scare by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 10, 2003

"It was a damn near-run thing." So replied the Duke of Wellington to a civilian's ill-judged remark (made after the battle) to the effect that English victory at Waterloo was a foregone conclusion. Most Americans are unaware that the much-derided Red Scare was both redder and scarier than...

by Cheshire in "Off the Record" - May 10, 2003

The Vatican's official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano and the Secretary of State, Cardinal Sodano, got themselves embarrassing marks in the history books for their extreme denunciations of the Iraq War. Cardinal Sodano also made clear to U.S. diplomats his patronizing views of the United States....

coming soon to a pulpit near you by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 11, 2003

Call to Action listed the following presentation in the brochure for one of its national conferences: Jesus Christ as Cognitive Behavioral TherapistPatrick Brennan discusses how Jesus tried and tries to change how we think and feel, as well as how we act. Using scripture and the principles of...

mea culpa, sua culpa, tua maxima culpa by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 11, 2003

Today's New York Times carries a lengthy article reporting on an internal investigation into the scandal caused by dismissed reporter Jayson Blair. Here's the lead sentence: A staff reporter for The New York Times committed frequent acts of journalistic fraud while covering significant news...

Catholic in all but Catholicism by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 11, 2003

Boston-area Democrats feel widespread disaffection with the state and national Party leadership, according to a telephone poll conducted by the Boston Globe. 65 percent of local Democrats have voted exclusively or primarily for Republican candidates in the past four years, according to the poll...

Boston's cafeteria Catholics by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 11, 2003

The Globe poll confirms what we've always known: Most of the people in Boston identify themselves as Catholics, and that identification is about as far as they're willing to go to satisfy the demands of the faith. Most of these people don't frequent the sacraments, they don't believe what the...

Who Will Be the New Bishop? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 11, 2003

-- so Anthony Trollope titled the first chapter of Barchester Towers. The goods at stake in the Holy See's choice of a new Archbishop of Boston, however, go beyond sleepy Barchester's concern with Sunday traveling and marrying-off widows. The Globe interviews the usual suspects about candidates...

my Lord of Beantown by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 11, 2003

Actually, if nominations are open, I can think of someone who would be perfect for Boston, as far as I can see. One would like to see in the next Archbishop of Boston someone who is deeply devout and prayerful, humble; someone who lives simply and breathes a spirit of cordial respect for...

Trust us! by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 12, 2003

In response to parishioners' complaints about the "Talking about Touching" program, the spokesman for the Boston archdiocese provide a Globe reporter with this gem: But he said being in the system involves trusting administrators to make good decisions on curriculum, whether it's sex abuse...

A bishop faces prison? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 12, 2003

The lead item in today's News Bytes is a headline we've been expecting for months: A bishop is facing a jail term. But wait. This story isn't about the sex-abuse scandal. It's about drunk driving. Now drunk driving is not a good thing. But one line in the story caught our attention: " No...

Something to be afraid of... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 12, 2003

Phil, you may remember that Judy Thomas's articles in the Kansas City Star gave us good reason to believe these administrators are equally trustworthy in sex-ed and in Latin: The Rev. Harry Morrison entered the seminary in 1969 after graduating from college. Though older than many fellow...

Strange Bedfellows by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 12, 2003

Those who wonder at, or even dismiss, the concerns of parents and others over sex-education and related programs for youth offered under secular auspices or even (especially?) under the auspices of the Church but "guided" by expert advisors, might check out Paul Likoudis' latest on the questions...

dick's a-cold by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 12, 2003

You gotta love this: Richard "I have seen the future and it works" McBrien in the role the role of Lear, stumbling over the blasted heath and cursing his ingrate daughters. Nothing has been more frustrating for [my] generation than the various forms of retrenchment that have been occurring...

Age discrimination? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 12, 2003

McBrien advertises himself as a theology, not a mathemetician. So maybe he does not understand why it's difficult to find young priests who were present at Vatican II. Or maybe he objects to the appointment of younger bishops. Come to think of it, when you see those conventions of liberal...

On Lube-ing the Slippery Slope by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 13, 2003

After reading Andrew Sullivan's latest article on -- what else? -- Naval Operations in the Pacific Theater, 1941-1943, I was put in mind of the following somber but pointed reflections: To illustrate one aspect of this dialectic between the theoretical affirmation of human rights and their...

by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 13, 2003

Inside the Vatican Magazine claims to have an interesting scoop -- the forthcoming document on how the Liturgy is to be celebrated will, in addition to setting forth clear and strong directives for the Novus Ordo, call for a much wider use throughout the Church of the Tradition Mass of the Roman...

Quality. Not quantity. by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 14, 2003

If I were trying to raise a Catholic family in the Dallas diocese, I'd go mad very quickly. Just read this. ...

...from a program not used in the Boston archdiocese... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 14, 2003

Talking About Tapping (excerpt from the Empower Our Children Program (tm) All rights reserved.) Let's see how the girl in our story used the Two-Tap Rule. This is Caitlin. She likes to sing and to play in the wading pool when the weather is hot. One day Father Willie asked her to "play...

Capital punishment by Cheshire in "Off the Record" - May 14, 2003

The extreme positions of Vatican dicastery heads on the Iraq War - to the ultimate length of Archbishop Martino completely overhtrowing the just war tradition - parallels the absolutist position of recent Vatican commentary on capital punishment. One factor cited in abolishing capital...

Kudos to a competitor by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 14, 2003

Don't you just hate it when "the competition" scores a coup? But you've got to hand it to Inside the Vatican. In their online teaser for a coming story about a pending Vatican document on the liturgy, ITV supplies this priceless quote from Cardinal Arinze: You might sum up our document with...

by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 14, 2003

A friend with a background in canon law offered these encouraging reflections: It's worth remembering that the 1983 Code, as edited by John Paul II, includes the following canons. These were introduced to codify the provisions of Maxima Cura, an encyclical issued by Pope St. Pius X in 1910...

Trick questions by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 14, 2003

Cardinal Mahony's former flatmate Fr.Carl Sutphin is accused of abusing six boys in the 1960s and 1970s, according to a recent article: Attorneys for Sutphin argued that it is unfair and unconstitutional for the government to file sex abuse charges after so many years. "It is difficult for...

St. John Chrysostom on bishops by Jeff in "Off the Record" - May 14, 2003

The second reading in today's Office of Readings is a selection from St. John Chrysostom's third homily on Acts. The selection is a commentary on the choosing of St. Matthias; later in homily, St. John, himself a bishop, later turns to the episcopacy and episcopal ambition. Some excerpts: "I do...

Half of the lies they tell about me aren't true... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 15, 2003

You can trust Dallas Bishop Charles V. Grahmann in at least one respect: The man is reliably untrustworthy. So begins this morning's editorial in the Dallas Morning News. That's the good part. The editorial goes on -- with painfully well-aimed documentation -- to condemn the Diocese's "lies...

celebrating diversity by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 15, 2003

Rod Dreher discusses the New York Time's tardy dismissal of reporter and scam-artist Jayson Blair: The church scandal is not really about a relative few child-molesting clerics, but the reckless management of bishops. Similarly, while Mr. Blair, who is black, bears ultimate responsibility for...

Had me wondering there for a second by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 15, 2003

Question: Where do you find the following bit of catechesis?: All Christian communities can create their own creed, based on the foundations of the Christian faith and their experience of God. Here are some extracts from a Credo created from Hispanics during their Third Encuentro Nacional de...

A movie that WE can promote by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 15, 2003

We've mentioned this before, but it's worth a repeat. Leonardo Defilippis, a very talented and very Catholic filmmaker, has produced what will probably be remembered as his masterpiece: Therese-- a portrait of St. Therese of Lisieux. A friend recently attended an advance screening. His...

Does the Vatican really think that? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 15, 2003

Today's CWN lead story illustrates a very disturbing trend in Vatican diplomacy. Civilta Cattolica is generally seen as a semi-official organ of the Vatican Secretariat of State. So when that magazine publishes an editorial wildly critical of the US, it's not unreasonable to see it as an...

Inaccurate and extreme by Cheshire in "Off the Record" - May 15, 2003

Hoping against hope, the National Catholic Register (May 11-17) says apropos the bizarre statements on Iraq by authoritative Vatican sources: "...readers will have noted that they stopped several weeks ago. Only a few now speak for the Vatican on war questions, and we expect you will find them...

"background checking" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 15, 2003

Background checks have become a point of interest in light of the Dallas stories of late. A couple of pastors were removed in Dallas because they had not completed staff and volunteer background checks (in one case a priest neglected to have Mother Teresa's nuns fingerprinted). This latest story...

Please leave suggestions for dialogue on my secretary's voicemail by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 15, 2003

The National Catholic Reporter's Tom Roberts reflects on the low morale of priests and solicits the advice of Fr. Robert J. Silva, president of the National Federation of Priests Councils: How to get beyond this awful moment? In a conversation over breakfast, Silva said he believes that priests...

Warm that coffee up for you, sugar? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 16, 2003

D Magazine editor Wick Allison posts the following on the magazine's Front Burner blog: Mary Edlund is chancellor of the Diocese of Dallas and, some say, the real bishop of Dallas, in the sense that she's the only one over at the chancery who actually gets anything done. She wants to make sure...

God and the NY Times by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 16, 2003

My friend David Shnaider strikes again: Thought you might find this similarity in the wording of stated intent amusing. From The Washington Post May 15, 2003, report on a meeting where Executive Editor Howell Raines answered questions from NY Times employees: Asked by business reporter...

Cardinal Maida's smackdown by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - May 16, 2003

Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit, who has sometimes been whacked for not doing enough to combat heresy in his archdiocese, gets supreme kudos from me for his order to a pastor to cancel a lecture by a Call-to-Action, former priest type. The neo-"Spirit of Vatican II dissidents response is just...

seek ye the higher gifts by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 16, 2003

Blogger Amy Welborn raises a good point about the Diocese of Winona's response -- or non-response -- to the arrest of Fr. Edward McGrath for groping a policeman in a park. In a statement released Thursday, Bishop Bernard Harrington said he "is saddened by the news regarding the charges against...

Lavender revolt in Altoona-Johnstown by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - May 16, 2003

A group of anonymous, homosexual priests in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Penn., sent an open letter to their bishop demanding he immediately stop publicly defending the diocese against lawsuits and settle them all out of court. Are they afraid that such defense would be a further harm to...

Catholics at odds with the Church by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 16, 2003

The Boston Globe poll of local Catholics is imperfect in many ways; it's unscientific, and the questions frequently tilt toward a favored answer. Still, for all its weaknesses, that poll tells a frightening story. The full results of the Globe poll are worthy of notice. For instance, among...

Altoona-Johnstown: Maybe. Maybe not. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 16, 2003

Dom, I'm extremely skeptical about the authenticity of the letter you mention, and have to wonder whether it is what it purports to be (a manifesto of a clandestine group of homosexual priests), or whether it's the work of other folks who wish to jump-start the Adios to Adamec Campaign by stirring...

More on El Pointy Sombrero in Dallas by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 17, 2003

Well, God be praised, finally Bishop Grahmann's natural constituency, the 61% of the Diocese of Dallas who are Latino, are rallying. Of course, they're FURIOUS with him. People certainly get touchy nowadays over clergy assignments, have you noticed??...

more woes in Dallas by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 17, 2003

A popular priest was sent back to Colombia without an explanation to his Dallas parish. The diocese's chancellor, Mary Edlund, issued a brief written statement Friday saying that Father Beltran, "like all visiting priests, was asked to follow specific diocesan and parish standards. He violated...

Pope has Parkinson's by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - May 17, 2003

OK, that's not exactly news although this is the first time anyone at the Vatican has officially admitted it. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re confirmed that the Pope has Parkinson's to a reporter in a story on the Pope's 83rd birthday tomorrow. CWN should have more on this story on Monday as part...

Scandal: The Next Phase by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 18, 2003

Several news items have appeared in the past few weeks with this story-line: lawyers for priests accused of sexual abuse are playing hardball by impugning the alleged victims (here's an example from Boston, here's another from New Hampshire). Will most readers realize that the client defended...

Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 19, 2003

Once upon a time, boys and girls, there was an Irish priest whose name was Patrick J. Lynch. Fr. Pat worked in Dallas, Texas. Fr. Pat was sexually involved with several elementary school students over a period of thirty years. Fr. Pat's bishop sent him off for a rest, and a psychologist said he...

Is this torture? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 19, 2003

US interrogators are using some interesting methods to persuade Iraqi prisoners to tell all they know. It's an interesting concept. How many times do you think you could listen to "On Eagles' Wings" before you'd...

The Governor and Masonry by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 19, 2003

Interesting. It appears the Governor of New York has decided to decline the invitation to become a...

deny, deny, deny... by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 19, 2003

The current New York Review of Books carries a must-read: Joseph Lelyveld's devastatingly thorough autopsy on Sidney Blumenthal's stillborn memoir, The Clinton Wars. What is interesting is not so much Blumenthal's failure as an author, but Lelyveld's psychologically convincing portrait of an...

Boston settlement talks by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 19, 2003

Suppose you put your house on the market for $125,000, and I made an offer to purchase it at $25,000. Would you say we were close to an agreement? Would you say I was a motivated buyer? Right. And now you understand why lawyers for sex-abuse victims don't think the Boston archdiocese is ready...

a mote in the eye by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 19, 2003

The New York Daily News reports from the woodshed: About 80 reporters and editors sat in stunned silence Friday as Msgr. Francis Maniscalo began his scolding at the diocese's annual World Communications Day luncheon. "To agree the story was real and that the media made a contribution by...

Department of Icy Timelessness, Human Organ Division by Antigone in "Off the Record" - May 19, 2003

What strikes me about this couple is their intensely Catholic response to the medical monolith that swallowed their son's body. They don't see a person's body as full of "parts" to be harvested and used. They saw their son as a person, even after his death, and they wanted to bury him -- a work of...

Fierce Dignity by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 20, 2003

I've got just what you want for that hostile, confused, Walkman-wearing fifteen-year-old boy in your family: an ethics textbook for Catholic high school students authored by Fr. William J. O'Malley, S.J., and all-too-appropriately titled Building Your Own Conscience. A verbatim excerpt (page...

Another Olive Branch in the Eye by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 20, 2003

The National Catholic Reporter's John Allen gives us a head's-up on the latest speciment of In Yo Face liturgy: [The Austrian organization] We Are Church is back in the news for another reason. Despite John Paul's reaffirmation of church discipline on inter-communion in his recent encyclical...

A Vigorous Defense by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 20, 2003

Victims and their advocates are dismayed by the vigorous tactics employed by dioceses and their attorneys faced with lawsuits over clergy sexual abuse; defenders of the bishops say that this reaction is unreasonable....

A Magnum o'Pus from Bishop Grahmann by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 21, 2003

What could one possibly say that could be bad enough about this piece by Bishop Grahmann in the Dallas Morning News? The Bishop's decisions flowed from the purest evangelical motivations, but, sadly, are being obstructed by a mob of unconverted, judgmental, stone-lugging Laity. Not a WORD about...

lord of the flies by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 21, 2003

Mona Charen discusses Angela Bonavoglia's The Choices We Made, with special reference to the worldview of Whoopi Goldberg: At age 18, married, Whoopi had a daughter. But she was soon single again and somehow finding herself pregnant again. It's difficult to count, based on Whoopi's narrative,...

"I thank thee, Lord, that I am not as yon Pharisee..." by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 21, 2003

Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit: "Forgiveness," said Mr. Pecksniff, "entire and pure forgiveness is not incompatible with a wounded heart; perchance when the heart is wounded, it becomes a greater virtue. With my breast still wrung and grieved to its inmost core by the ingratitude of that...

Celebrating diversity by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 21, 2003

The Telegraph (U.K.) has this report on our (intermittently) separated brethren: One of the Church of England's most prominent advocates of gay rights, who has called for the ordination of practising homosexuals and blessings of gay marriages, has been appointed a bishop. In a development which...

Bastille Day by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 21, 2003

Andrew Sullivan calls attention to a Newsweek essay by Jonathan Alter: I hate to admit it, but Matt Drudge put it well a few weeks ago when he said: "The statue of Peter Jennings has been pulled down." The whole authority structure of mass media is being undermined by the ability of news...

Around the Blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - May 21, 2003

Here's a round-up of interesting posts on Catholic blogs today:Fr. Rob Johansen discusses the importance of a renewed Catholic culture to the reform of the Church. (The direct link to the first part of the blogpost is here, but may not work. Otherwise, click on the first link.) Mark Shea notes...

remarkable, when you think about it by Jeff in "Off the Record" - May 21, 2003

From the Albany Times Union: "A spokesman for the Diocese of Albany, Ken Goldfarb, said Bishop Howard Hubbard has 'never performed an exorcism, nor has he ever authorized nor been asked to authorize an exorcism for a victim of clergy sexual abuse, or for any other reason.'" ...

Ten Best Dressed by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 22, 2003

Many progressive priests have grown beyond cassock-and-biretta "Ghetto Catholicism": Just three years ago, John Furdek was preaching before a Villa Park congregation. Today, the former pastor of St. Alexander Catholic Church is in prison for using the Internet to arrange a drug deal and sexual...

Feel blessed, punk? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 22, 2003

When this boy passes the basket,...

THAT should teach 'em! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 22, 2003

Today's Boston Globe has an article with this lead... The Catholic bishop of Worcester said yesterday that he will not attend commencement tomorrow at the College of the Holy Cross because the Catholic university is awarding an honorary degree to a television talk-show host, Chris Matthews, who...

Are you SURE this how St. Isaac Jogues got started? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 22, 2003

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, obviously, but the St. Louis County Police must have mastered the interrogation techniques of the Lubyanka and the Hanoi Hilton: The Rev. Bryan Kuchar told a jury in St. Louis County Circuit Court that a 20-minute audiotaped confession he made on April...

Wait a minute! That's Catholic doctrine you're preaching! by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - May 22, 2003

Who would have thought that a cardinal proclaiming the Church's teachings on the family at a Catholic university's commencement would be controversial?Ed Ingebretsen, a professor of English at Georgetown and a priest in the American Catholic Church, said Wednesday that Arinze's remarks are in line...

Dallas, Dallas Everywhere by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 23, 2003

The Diocese of Dallas is starting to scare me. It's beginning to make the Archdiocese of Boston in the glory days of Cardinal Law look like Clairvaux under Saint Bernard. Deacon Bronson Havard, the editor of the Texas Catholic and de facto spokesman of the diocese, has graced us with an...

EarthSpirit by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 23, 2003

In our parish, we were going to have the Forty Hours Devotion, but that just seemed so, well, DONE, you know? And "forty," well, so limiting. Then we discovered the Earthspirit conference and we're sure this will be a MUCH more memorable occasion for us to invite Father Mankowski for his first...

Re: EarthSpirit by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - May 23, 2003

Father, in reading about Sister Miriam and her journeys to Ireland where she composed the bit about the waterfall, I noticed her disdain for the "commerical, industrial model" and wondered how she actually traveled to Ireland. Did she take a nice environmentally safe sailboat or one of those big...

Hey, he's on a learning curve too! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 23, 2003

Apologia pro vita sua: Assessing his work as a priest, Miller said: "I did a very excellent job, except for the damn...

gaudeamus igitur by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 23, 2003

Cardinal Arinze's graduation address at Georgetown reminded the audience that the Church invites sinners to "abandon the food of pigs, make a U-turn and return to the refreshing joy of their Father's house, like the prodigal son." His remarks gave rise to expressions of bafflement and...

Cardinal Arinze tells the truth. by Antigone in "Off the Record" - May 23, 2003

Cardinal Arinzes Georgetown speech will inevitably provoke a disingenous school-marm-goes-queer response. Homosexual activists try to suppress honest discussion by saying that expressing misgivings about homosexuality can lead to violence against gays  as in the well publicized case of...

The welcome message from Cardinal Arinze by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 23, 2003

What Cardinal Arinze said at Georgetown is simply what the Catholic Church teaches. Moreover, everybody knows that's what the Church teaches. Yet the moral teachings of the Church are proclaimed aloud so rarely that when we hear them-- especially at a Catholic university!-- it comes as a shock. (A...

The strong stuff, taken neat by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 23, 2003

If you've been reading this blog today, and you haven't yet read the full text of Cardinal Arinze's commencement speech at Georgetown, shame on you! But if you really need to be persuaded, how's this: In many parts of the world, the family is under siege. It is opposed by an anti-life...

Can I lend you a stamp? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 23, 2003

Remember Cardinal Ratzinger's 1988 Erasmus Lecture in the auditorium of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Manhattan? In the middle of his address (on biblical exegesis) gay agitators jumped to their feet and began shrieking "Nazi eunuch pig!" at him. They were then escorted outside by the police to...

Oh, wonderful. Just wonderful by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 23, 2003

So. Father is one of the big four Experts on sexual abuse in the bishops' stable. Indeed, he co-authored the Dallas sexual abuse policy. Now they can apply it to HIM. 'The Rev. Gregory Ingels, who also is a church lawyer, is scheduled to appear Wednesday in Marin County Superior Court on...

More Dallas thoughts by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 23, 2003

These are a few thoughts on the Bronson Havard editorial we referenced earlier, regarding the turmoil in the Dallas Diocese in the wake of the assigning of a priest with a 'past.' People in that Diocese have pointed out that Msgr. Villaroya is far from being the only priest currently active...

Bishop to Queen's Rook 5, Check. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 24, 2003

Yesterday the Holy See announced that Robert Morlino, Bishop of Helena, will become the new bishop of Madison, Wisconsin, replacing Bishop William Bullock. Morlino, a former Jesuit, with the doctorate in moral theology from the Gregorian University, is among the most orthodox of the U.S....

We find the defendant guilty, your honor. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 24, 2003

Sacred music for our times. Not a parody. Sing hey for the carpenter leaving his tools!Sing hey for the pharisees leaving their rules!Sing hey for the fishermen leaving their nets!Sing hey for the people who leave their regrets!Come walk in my comp'ny, come sleep by my side,Come savour a...

The flock calls the shepherd by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 24, 2003

1) Under heavy pressure from a persistent, noisy, and energetic pro-life protest campaign, Worcester's Bishop Daniel Reilly decided not to attend commencement ceremonies at Holy Cross College, where the pro-abortion news commentator Chris Matthews was the main speaker. 2) After the ceremony,...

PERHAPS more alarming by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 24, 2003

From "The Tablet," the pravda of my diocese, Brooklyn NY: "The number of available, active priests in the Brooklyn diocese has declined 46% since 1979. Perhaps more alarming, nearly a quarter of those priests will reach retirement age in the next five years, 42% within the next ten, and 81%...

Plenty of Room at the Inn by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 24, 2003

The GOOD news is that there will be plenty of elbow room at the seminary of the Archdiocese of Boston in the Fall. Claustrophobics need not fear; no danger of overcrowding. The bad news, however -- well, numbers aren't everything. "BOSTON (AP) There are no first-year seminarians scheduled to...

VOICE OF THE ORDAINED by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 24, 2003

More from the Diocese of Brooklyn. The NY Daily News tells of the efforts of the "Voice Of The Ordained," a group formed during the past year. It is composed of active, laicized and renegade priests who are determined that things must change. For starters, they want a say in who is going to be the...

cor ad cor loquitur by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 25, 2003

The Boston Globe's latest minuet on the grave: Just after New Year's Day in 2002, as the Globe's Spotlight Team was putting the finishing touches on an explosive story about the Archdiocese of Boston's handling of a sexually abusive priest, the phone rang in Connors's office on the 39th floor...

Ah... the Voice of the Faithful... by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 25, 2003

The Dallas Morning News' letters column makes for cheery reading this morning -- for anyone interested in the active participation of the...

Forgiveness & Responsibility by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 25, 2003

The following letter appears in today's Dallas Morning News in response to Bishop Grahmann's op-ed on the subject of forgiveness: Re: Bishop Charles Grahmann's opinion regarding Monsignor Ernesto Villaroya's assignment to the parish in Frisco. People did not discover a 20-year-old "sin," they...

Villaroya and the Dallas Diocese by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 25, 2003

Whatever one might think of the situation in the Dallas Diocese, it's very difficult for me to imagine anyone arguing with the statement that the chancery there badly needs a few sensible staff persons. The team of Bronson Havard and Mary Edlund is disastrous. This from the Dallas Morning...

coyotes and culture wars by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 26, 2003

News item: Freshman students this fall at Wesleyan University in Connecticut will have the option of living in a new "gender-blind" facility -- one floor of a dorm accommodating up to 12 students, the Hartford Courant reported. The living space is reserved for students who don't want to be...

Has issues by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 26, 2003

Winona (MN) priest Edward McGrath, pastor of Pax Christi Church, was arrested three weeks ago for criminal sexual conduct directed at an unreceptive police officer. The local paper reports that the Winona diocese immediately placed McGrath on a leave of absence, though the diocese does not feel...

Brideshead Revandalized, or Excursion in Reality by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 27, 2003

Evelyn Waugh joins Shakespeare in the gallery of corrected classics: Hollywood is producing a major film adaptation of the Evelyn Waugh novel Brideshead Revisited. But it is taking a different approach to Granada, which made the hit television series. ... Andrew Davies, noted for the...

Bishops in partibus by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - May 27, 2003

WILLIAMS DENOUNCES GAY MARRIAGES shouts a headline in today's Telegraph (UK). The lead sentence is likewise dramatic: "The Archbishop of Canterbury and his fellow Anglican leaders denounced gay marriages yesterday in an effort to avert schism in the worldwide Church." Currently the text of the...

RCALA: Working to Rape You Less! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 27, 2003

George Neumayr has some pointed comments at the American Prowler regarding Cardinal Mahony's grand opening of the Chapel of the Violated Boundaries in his new cathedral: Stonewall in private, play reformer in public. This has been Mahony's strategy from the start. Mahony's ludicrous chapel...

The Magic Kingdom at Prayer by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 27, 2003

Bill Cork's blog alertly picks up on the very, very flexible Reverend Tim, who, for a price, will perform a Disney-theme marriage for you, with Mickey and Minnie as costumed attendants. Tim's website makes it clear that he will admit neither theology not canon law as impediments to the marriage...

Around the Blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - May 27, 2003

Catching up with a long weekend's worth of blogging, here are some things that caught my eye on various Catholic-related blogs: Mark Shea sees the reaction of a sex-abuse victims' advocate to the news of an accused priest's suicide and finds it disturbing that the advocate is only sorry the man...

The wedding jungle by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 28, 2003

A friend-- a priest working in a small parish near a large Eastern city-- writes about "Father Tim" (see below): I assume this guy is just a freelancer. I used to pretend to be inerested when people told me about their (non-CAtholic) weddings. A lady at the post office told me the...

worth reading by Jeff in "Off the Record" - May 28, 2003

Business Week examines how boys are falling behind girls academically. The Baltimore Sun reviews Philip Jenkins's latest book, "The New Anti-Catholicism." And SF Weekly devotes a lengthy article to clerical scandals in the Archdiocese of San...

The Anglican Communion and Sexuality by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - May 28, 2003

As was previously noted, a meeting of the primates of the member churches of the Anglican Communion unanimously voted to issue a statement that they could not countenance the blessing of same-sex unions (because there is no consensus on the issue in the Communion). This issue has the potential to...

Laocoon by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 29, 2003

Andrew Sullivan on pram-pushing priests: A parish in Lansing, Michigan, gets a married priest. He is a convert from, well, I don't know, because the church won't say and he has been forbidden to talk to the media. He's not just married: he's been married for 25 years and has three sons. There...

Vague, dangerous pacifism by Cheshire in "Off the Record" - May 29, 2003

The distinguished Thomist philosopher at Notre Dame University, Professor Ralph McInerny, uses his monthly column in Crisis magazine (June 2003) politely to express his frustration at the current "odd pacifism emanating from many sources in the Vatican." He quotes George Weigel as seeing the...

A.M.D.G. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 29, 2003

The San Diego News Notes has an interesting interview with the bashful and retiring Fr. Paul Shaughnessy, S.J., widely acclaimed as America's Most Nuanced Jesuit, and author of "The Gay Priest Problem" which first appeared in Catholic World...

That "faulty institutional memory" problem by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 29, 2003

Msgr. Frank Maniscalco, the director of communications for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, compares bureaucratic failing size with the NYT editors: "The Times is to be praised for the forthrightness with which they have dealt with the issue," he said. "Having urged the same...

Good news for Boston Catholics by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 30, 2003

Fr. John Farren, O.P., was named this week as the new rector of the Archdiocese of Boston's St. John's Seminary. This resolutely orthodox Dominican spent several years in Rome working at the Congregation for Consecrated Life and is known to be a man of great personal integrity. Several priests...

How far, O Lord, how far? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 30, 2003

Anglican Bishop Michael Ingham just issued a rite for same-sex blessings in his diocese in western Canada. Plastic sabers are rattling worldwide with oblique threats of "schism" and an increasingly hollow pretense that the terms of the conflict are, at root, theological and jurisdictional....

Vatican diplomacy: the glacial style by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 30, 2003

Cardinal Pio Laghi has announced that the forthcoming visit to Rome by Colin Powell shows that the US is beginning to understand the importance of the Vatican in world affairs. (See today's CWN headline story.) That's nice. Maybe next the Vatican will begin to understand the importance of the...

...and to obey the Girl Scout Laws by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 31, 2003

The Archdiocese will investigate complaints of child abuse in accord with the principles of truth, honesty, openness, and justice, while respecting confidentiality, privacy, and the reputation of persons. [Article 7.1] This from the Archdiocese of Boston's new abuse guidelines. To be fair,...

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