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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from May 2007

jack in the pulpit by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 1, 2007

About 40 supporters of Nichols, most of them parishioners of St. Elizabeth Church in Lyndonville, were also in the courtroom to watch the proceedings, some wearing large white-and-black buttons that read "I believe in Father Steve." Actually they believe in Father Steve Nichols selectively, it...

Growing into Love of God by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 2, 2007

At his weekly audience today, Pope Benedict XVI asserted that “the fast track to knowing God is love.” Souls are drawn toward union with God in a manner similar to the receptivity between a man and a woman. “Another person can be reached only if you open your hearts,” said the Pope. It would be...

none too soon by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 3, 2007

"Because of illness or some other grave reason." Once again, Canon 401-§2 proves itself Joe Catholic's Best Friend, most recently bumping Middlesbrough (UK) Bishop John Patrick Crowley into retirement, ten years ahead of his sell-by date. In June of 2001, Crowley made headlines in the kind of...

thank God for the experts by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 3, 2007

Where would we be, without the counsel provided by experts, such as those wise students of human nature who kept telling bishops that Father X was ready to return to parish work, and could be trusted around the altar boys? Things have changed in the last few years, of course, and the experts...

what happens in vegas ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 3, 2007

... stays in Vegas. Right, Eminence? An AP headline reads Catholic Cardinals Meet in Las Vegas for Fundraiser. Just the right tone of prayerful recollection. The desert experience. LAS VEGAS -- Catholic Church leaders gathered in Las Vegas on Friday for an annual mass and fundraiser to...

lighter than air by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 3, 2007

"The future of humanity is at stake," the Vatican representative told an international body. Gee. Sound serious. So what should we do? Oh:inter-religious dialogue. Good. Our future is secure. After all, we all share the human condition, and mankind is one big family, and we all want...

same old drag by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 3, 2007

Santa Clara's university in the Jesuit tradition is seeking new ways to implement Ex Corde Ecclesiae and expand the horizons of its students. May GASPED and GALA have your attention, ladies and gentlemen -- or ladies dressed as gentlemen -- or gentlemen dressed as ladies? The 6th annual Santa...

It’s Not Just Me: The Death Penalty Revisited by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 3, 2007

I continue to be amazed at the number of people who condemn CatholicCulture.org’s insistence that the application of the death penalty involves prudential judgments about which good people may disagree. Capital punishment is completely different from abortion in this respect. I partially...

the line of the night... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 4, 2007

... from the Republican presidential debate: MR. MATTHEWS: Governor Romney, what do you say to Roman Catholic bishops who would deny communion to elected officials who support abortion rights? MR. ROMNEY: I don’t say anything to Roman Catholic bishops. They can do whatever the heck they...

"sadly" preserving freedom of speech by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 4, 2007

Yesterday the US House of Representatives voted (237 to 180) to approve a "hate crimes" law, which would separate standards of justice for defendants whose crimes (real or alleged) are motivated by beliefs that other people find offensive. Tony Perkins, the ex-Congressman who now heads the...

Grievances against the Church? Leave Me out of It! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 4, 2007

Everybody has a beef with the Church, but I’m concerned here with those who love her. The annual report of the St. Joseph Foundation shows that the three canonical issues which most concern dedicated Catholics are weaknesses in the liturgy, in pro-life commitment, and in ecclesiastical...

Hillary's night off by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 4, 2007

Hillary Clinton is scheduled to speak at a fundraiser for Mercy Home, a Catholic charity in Chicago, later this month. Right away, you start thinking about how in St. Louis, Archbishop Burke quit the board of a charitable group that featured Sheryl Crow at a fundraiser, noting that Crow is a...

burke the belligerent by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 7, 2007

If I were Archbishop Raymond Burke, I'd be beaming with satisfaction in the afterglow of Tim Townsend's "news" story that ran in Saturday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It's a conventional exercise in journalistic knee-capping, meant to disparage Burke by canvassing the opinions of Thinking...

allons enfants by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 7, 2007

Mark Steyn is glad the French said Non to Ségolène, but not overly optimistic about the longer term, providing an anecdote that serves as an incisively illuminating parable: In my recent book, whose title escapes me, I cite one of those small anecdotes that seems almost too perfect a...

woe unto me if I preach not by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 8, 2007

The Church Times has an article on a new guide, issued with a view to improving homiletic effectiveness, published by a body that calls itself the College of Preachers. Discouraging. Few churchgoers would deny that preaching can stand improvement, but most of us would argue that the problem is...

Eucharistic Astonishment by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 8, 2007

I was thinking of the Eucharist not long after capsizing my little sailboat in the Potomac River in high winds last Sunday. Attempting unsuccessfully to right a boat after the cabin has filled with water, and while hanging on to its upturned side in a three-foot chop, tends to make you appreciate...

what a week by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 9, 2007

From time-to-time, when I happen to come upon the fairly well-known photo of the Carpathian Jewish woman and her children walking toward the Auschwitz gas chambers in 1944, I've been moved to wonder how the persons who "selected" them for death (having determined they were unfit for labor),...

and LOOK at me when i'm talking to you! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 9, 2007

The Rainbow Sash Movement is reconfiguring itself as a rainbow ribbon revue for this year's Whitsunstunt -- presumably on the grounds that a slenderer middle finger flipped at the Church will make those clergymen who refuse the flippers communion appear the more unreasonable. The Rainbow Sash...

I Am No Longer a Racketeer by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 9, 2007

After twenty-one years, the infamous NOW v. Scheidler case has been laid to rest. Judge David Coar issued a final ruling in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals dismissing all charges brought by the National Organization of Women in 1986 against Joe Scheidler, director of the Pro-Life Action...

the benetton benediction by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 10, 2007

Gerald Augustinus brings to our attention the Tiny Truck Processional Cross at the Jesuit Church in Vienna, which he assures us is not a spoof: "No [Gerald writes] I am not making it up. It's made from lego blocks. And yes, that's a lego toy truck on the cross." Gerald's combox is filled...

dash-2 obscurity by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 10, 2007

Back in February 2004, Bishop Thomas Dupre rather suddenly resigned from his post at the head of the Springfield, Massachusetts diocese. Since that time, not a word has been heard from the former bishop. Although the Springfield diocese presumably knows where to mail his salary checks, diocesan...

be quiet and take your medicine by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 11, 2007

Add the Wall Street Journal editorial page to the list of conservative voices informing pro-lifer Republicans that they shouldn't insist on a presidential candidate who opposes the slaughter of unborn babies. Sure, Rudy Giuliani has been maladroit in his handling of the abortion issue, the...

You Say Ontology, I Say Ontogeny by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 11, 2007

Don’t know what ontology is? How about ontogeny? Of course maybe you don’t care. But even those ill equipped by interest, aptitude or education to deal with these concepts can be glad that the Church is not ignoring them. The Pontifical Council for Culture coordinates an ongoing project called...

one word missing by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 11, 2007

Shortly after arriving in Brazil on board the papal plane, John Allen of NCR helpfully posted a full transcript of the Pope's remarks to journalists, in his own unofficial translation. Here's one crucial snippet: [Question]...Do you agree with the excommunication given to legislators in Mexico...

a church behind the times by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 11, 2007

Last week I drew attention to Santa Clara University's forthcoming implementation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Yesterday, the student newspaper commended those efforts, after the fact, in an editorial. Enough to make a grown parodist weep: Santa Clara's Drag Show makes manifest one of the most...

When Will the Prodigal Return? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 11, 2007

In a telling analogy, Catholic World Report editor George Neumayr has likened Europe to the prodigal son, squandering its inheritance and reducing itself to utter emptiness. In commenting on the recent Europafest sponsored by the European Union to celebrate European culture, Neumayr also observed:...

Eucharistic Prayer V by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 13, 2007

(Noted in the program for the Pope's trip to Brazil [Tip to Rorate Caeli]) ...for the Mass of Canonization, His Holiness will employ Eucharistic Prayer V! That is correct, it is not a typo: Eucharistic Prayer... V! OK, so I am more Catholic than the...

alas poor gerry by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 13, 2007

Remember Gerry Nugent, the trendy priest from Glasgow who gained celebrity through his relevant liturgies, his hook-ups with hookers, and the dead gal under his church floor? Wasn't his fault. It was mandatory celibacy and insufficient pay. Don't take my word for it: some clever chap in the UK...

Famiglia è Vita! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 14, 2007

On May 12th a very large number of Italians demonstrated in Rome on behalf of the family. Although the gathering was billed as a positive statement unrelated to any particular legislation, it is clear that the size of the rally was in direct proportion to opposition to the current government’s...

a belated Mother's Day gift... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 15, 2007

... from, of all places, the New York Times. In fact, the "Fashion" section. Who'd have guessed? But it's a lovely story, well worth...

For Politicians: A Papal Reality Check? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 15, 2007

Eighteen Democratic members of the US House of Representatives objected yesterday to Benedict XVI’s recent confirmation that pro-abortion politicians should not receive communion and may be subject to excommunication. The group of legislators was led by Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut....

on the block by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 16, 2007

"Last December," writes Cardinal Roger Mahony, "the Archdiocese of Los Angeles settled 46 civil cases in which clergy abuse had been alleged. The total settlement cost was $60 million, with the Archdiocese contributing approximately $40 million of the total amount." So, you're asking yourselves,...

we have been enlightened again by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 17, 2007

After just 5 months of counseling-- in a program he joined as a way to avoid criminal charges-- Bishop Daniel Walsh of Santa Rosa, California, fully understands state law requiring clergymen to report evidence of child abuse. Now you may be surprised that it takes 5 months to get that message...

offended by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 18, 2007

Amazonian Indians, through their spokeswonk, expressed outrage at the remarks the Pope made in Brazil. You'd need a heart of stone, as Mr. Wilde says, not to laugh. Outraged Indian leaders in Brazil said on Monday they were offended by Pope Benedict's "arrogant and disrespectful" comments that...

Benedict’s New Book by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 18, 2007

My parish church is blessed to have a very enthusiastic priest who recommends many excellent books from the pulpit. At morning Mass on the day on which Benedict XVI’s Jesus of Nazareth was to be released, he described how he had tried to get an advance copy the evening before at the local Barnes &...

wordsmiths by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 21, 2007

Here is the reading you probably heard at Mass yesterday: “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have...

Interfaith dialogue whirls forward by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 21, 2007

One of the following is an actual news report. The other is a fraud. Can you guess which is which? Mevlana to be celebrated in Vatican ANKARA - Turkish Daily News A Mevlevi Sema dance, the spiritual whirling dance of the Sufis, will be performed at the Vatican on June 5 as part of the...

inspired by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 21, 2007

Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed the graduating class of the University of San Francisco's McLaren School of Business last weekend, acknowledging her host's pro quo and tipping him with a quid: Father Privett, may I thank you publicly for the honor you extended to me by offering the invocation at...

so divinely diverse by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 21, 2007

An OTR reader sends me this video link from Roman Catholic Womenpriests. It purports to be a plug for the organization portrayed, though I'm not entirely free of the suspicion that it was rigged up by unfriendly pranksters: it might have been specially designed to repel all boarders. The...

overdrawn by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 22, 2007

Commenting in a Salon column about the question of excommunication, the irrepressible Frances Kissling remarks that is a bishop lowered the boom, "I could get a book contract, go on a speaking tour and have a couple years of celebrity." Sorry, Frances, but I think you've already enjoyed those...

On Replacing My Boat, er, My Religion by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 22, 2007

OK, so my boat is totaled. It turns out that my little 15-foot West Wight Potter sailboat suffered sufficient damage in the mishap of May 6th for the repairs to exceed the worth of the boat. The damage is mostly cosmetic, but I’m up against the body shop syndrome with a vengeance. Now I have to...

and now for something completely different... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 23, 2007

The Canadian, "Canada's new socially progressive and cross-cultural national newspaper," brings us the unexpected news that a noted Italian journalist-- noted, at least, by The Canadian-- has news from about... ..an unnamed Vatican Jesuit priest who has confidentially disclosed inside...

another piece of the puzzle? [updated] by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 23, 2007

If I were in the business of watching Vatican developments (which I am), and... If I were particularly interested in developments regarding the liturgy (which I am), then... I'd certainly be interested to hear about another pending appointment for someone who took a special interest in the...

It Must Be True, Right? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 23, 2007

I see that long-time Wikipedia employee Larry Sanger is starting a rival service called Citizendium. (One suspects the emphasis is to be placed on Zen.) Sanger’s purpose is to provide an online encyclopedia that is properly vetted by experts, so that you can rely on it. The whole concept of...

Always be followed by your conscience by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 24, 2007

Joe Murray has something on his mind. Joe, who identifies himself as the US Convener of Rainbow Sash Movement, has announced the annual gimmick in which militant homosexuals will wear their identifying sash, and present themselves to receive Communion in various cathedrals, defying bishops to...

two faint cheers for lukewarm Catholicism by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 25, 2007

In an interesting op-ed column today (available only to subscribers), David Brooks of the New York Times notes that Catholics have flourished in America, socially and economically, when they have remained within the Church, but ignored her more demanding teachings. "They have found themselves in a...

conversion of the genitals by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 26, 2007

The Baltimore Sun brings news of a development that could end those pesky theological disputes about the ordination of women: A year ago, the Rev. Ann Gordon received her routine reappointment as minister of a Charles Village Methodist congregation. Yesterday - after undergoing a sex-change...

Style and Substance: A Confusion of Targets by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 28, 2007

It seems to me that many people confuse the substance of the Faith with the style in which the Faith is presented to others. I had an unfortunate exchange last week with someone who claimed that by drawing attention to Benedict XVI’s emphasis on dialogue with Muslims, I was in effect collaborating...

category errors by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 29, 2007

You've got to sympathize with a reporter who's assigned to write a straight report about an absurd event. Nevertheless this CBC report is remarkably awkward: Calling it a defiance of an unbreakable Catholic "sacrament," the Vatican is distancing itself from a Toronto ceremony in which five...

good touch, bad touch, out of touch by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 30, 2007

The Washington Post has an article on St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, focusing on the rarety of a bishop "adhering to Vatican orthodoxy endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI" -- oddly expressed, but we all get the point. The article never gets deeper than the surface antagonisms, but for a...

accessible you by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 30, 2007

In the May 21st number of America magazine (subscriber only), Bishop Donald Trautman criticizes the revised translation of the Mass soon headed our way. He cites a couple clunky examples from the draft version and contends that the result will be "inaccessible" to the faithful: All liturgy...

The Power of the Priesthood by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 31, 2007

I’ve written in praise of the Catholic priesthood occasionally in the past, but I came across a passage in the book of Wisdom recently which highlights once again the august nature of this calling. One of the great themes of this book is that while God punishes both Israel’s enemies and Israel...

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