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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from May 2009

first response by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 1, 2009

 Is Father Peter Kennedy a Catholic? Good question. He claims to be, and that counts for something. He was ordained as a Catholic priest of the Brisbane, Australia archdiocese; that's an important bit of evidence. Yet during his term as pastor of St. Mary's parish in South Brisbane, he...

Consolidating the Pro-Life Movement: Another Kind of Toughness by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 1, 2009

Phil Lawler has written persuasively about the need to get tough with people who claim to be pro-life but who are really traitors or time-servers, and he has also called us to hold pro-life politicians accountable for more than rhetoric through a strict evaluation of their performance in...

blame the Pope (again) by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 1, 2009

 The World Bank admits that its programs to fight AIDS in Africa are mostly failures. Moreover the resources devoted to those failed efforts have crowded out support for other health programs, leaving Africans worse off than ever. Now if Pope Benedict would just stop talking about AIDS, and...

Refocusing the Pro-Life Movement: The Question of Politics by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 1, 2009

In my latest blog entry in our series on how to make the pro-life movement more effective, I addressed the need for consolidation within the movement (see Consolidating the Pro-Life Movement: Another Kind of Toughness). In considering how this might be done and what it might take to do it, I find...

cui bono? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 1, 2009

 Who benefits from Notre Dame's decision to host President Obama? Never mind the political pluses and minuses; what about the practical benefits for students on campus?  Lacy Dodd, of the Notre Dame class of 1999, poses that question in a powerful essay for First Things: There have...

food for thought by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 5, 2009

 Imagine that a group of Americans began systematically destroying church buildings.  Now imagine that a leading political figure announced that, while he did not approve of the destruction, he would defend the right of individuals to destroy churches if they wanted to do so.  Two...

Father Tom explains everything by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 6, 2009

 With 66 American bishops (at the latest count) explicitly opposing the Notre Dame honors for President Obama, why are most of the nation's Catholics still indifferent? The irrepressible Father Tom Reese has the answers. The bishops, he explains, have lost credibility because they have been...

The Antidote for Pro-Life Depression by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 6, 2009

If you’ve been following our discussion of how to make the pro-life movement more effective, it is possible that you’ve found it depressing. It may seem that nearly everything is wrong with how pro-lifers are operating. I’ve found this a little depressing myself, and I’m...

a cold front in Milwaukee by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 7, 2009

 Milwaukee's hastily-retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland is publishing his memoirs.  About now it would be nice to see a sentence like this:  "All proceeds from the sale of the book will be used to help repay the $450,000 that Archbishop Weakland diverted to a young man who...

The Church and the Beehive by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 8, 2009

 As I opened up a hive yesterday, I had a burst of understanding as to why I take so much satisfaction from beekeeping. It's not just the honey-- much as I love it. It's about life. We've had plenty of pets since we moved to our rural home: dogs and cats and rabbits and chickens and the...

the 'pastoral approach' to drunk driving by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 8, 2009

 Imagine that your local police chief suddenly becomes inspired by the logic put forth by Archbishop Donald Wuerl. Criticizing the "legal approach" that throws drunk drivers in jail, he decides to devote himself exclusively to the "pastoral, teaching approach" that...

Restating the Pro-Life Question: Readers Help by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 8, 2009

It’s time for another look at what readers have been saying in response to our series on how to make the pro-life movement more effective. We’ve received so many well-argued and even eloquent responses that it is impossible to highlight them all individually. In any case, it may be more valuable...

Working Together: Cooperation in the Pro-Life Movement by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 8, 2009

Jeff Mirus has argued persuasively, in the last two posts of this string, that some consolidation would be beneficial to the American pro-life movement. Nearly every political activist in the American pro-life movement would agree, I suspect-- with one very important caveat. Most activists would...

don't be a victim by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 12, 2009

 Well waddaya know. Archbishop Rembert Weakland tells the world he is homosexual. Stop the presses! In his forthcoming book the archbishop discusses his struggle with same-sex attraction, and the scandal that drove him out of office. "I refused to let myself become a victim and...

ad majorem deae gloriam by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 12, 2009

In a February press conference held in California, Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolás signaled openness. "God works freely. He doesn't consult with me. Did I say he? Maybe it is...

Trinity Communications: How We Operate; What Must Happen. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 12, 2009

Those who have registered on CatholicCulture.org are by now well-aware that we are in the midst of our Spring fund-raising campaign. It is very important that this fund drive be successful, because last year we fell behind. Let me set forth here how we operate and what must happen for our work to...

no story here by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 13, 2009

 Father Lawrence Perry has been suspended, after being accused of sexual misconduct with adult parishioners. The case will undoubtedly revive arguments for an end to priestly celibacy in the Catholic Church. Oh, wait. Father Perry is an Episcopalian priest, not a Catholic. And the Episcopal...

understanding Notre Dame by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 14, 2009

 Looking for a complete account of the dispute over President Obama's visit to Notre Dame? Joseph Bottum of First Things offers what is probably the most complete and cogent analysis available to date: "At the Gates of Notre Dame."  For a considerably shorter version, see...

Is Catholic Social Teaching Inherently Liberal? by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - May 14, 2009

In a speech that he delivered in Washington last month, drawing kudos from many liberal Catholic analysts, Father John Langan of Georgetown argued that American Church leaders should engage the Obama White House on a broad range of issues, rather than allowing their relationship to deteriorate...

religious illiteracy again by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 15, 2009

Does UPI still employ editors? proofreaders? Does anybody in the shop know anything about religion? Consider the caption on the photo that accompanied this story about the Pope's visit to Nazareth: Pope Benedict XVI celebrates a vesper on Basilica of Annunciation in the Galilee town of Nazareth...

the reformed Society of Jesus: not what you think by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 15, 2009

The autocephalous Reformed Catholic Church does a make-over on the Society of Jesus in order to bring it into line with its Spring Fashion collection. Do you believe that all people should be welcomed into the church? Do you feel that everyone -- single and married, gay and straight alike --...

The Pope's Uncivil Critics by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - May 15, 2009

Enough! During this past week, as Pope Benedict XVI has carried out his "pilgrimage of peace" to the Holy Land, we have witnessed an unseemly torrent of criticism directed against the Holy Father, primarily because of what he did not say during his visit to Yad Vashem. Like any public...

No 'historic agreement' by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 15, 2009

 During the Pope's visit to Jerusalem, the Askenazic Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger announced to reporters that, in answer to his (the rabbi's) request, he (the Pope) had promised that the Catholic Church would "cease all missionary activity among Jews." This, the rabbi told reporters,...

Don't Exaggerate by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 15, 2009

 Earlier in this thread I argued that the pro-life movement should be more critical of the "uncertain allies" who seek the support of pro-lifers during campaign years, but do little or nothing to advance the cause once they are in office. From that general axiom I think it is easy...

common ground by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 19, 2009

I see nothing wrong with swatting flies. Let's say that you have a different opinion. You think the lives of flies are sacred, and therefore you think that swatting flies is grossly immoral. You hold this view with the utmost sincerity. Unfortunately for you, I'm making the rules. And I...

generations yet unborn (and likely to remain so) by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 20, 2009

 Washington Governor Chris Gregoire, in paying homage to the local director of NARAL, referred to "those, candidly, not yet born who will benefit from your leadership." There are others not yet born who will not be in a position to benefit. (H/T The American...

The Economy, in This World and the Next by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 20, 2009

The phrase “economy of salvation” puzzles many who wonder what faith and finance have to do with each other. One definition of economy is “the disposition or regulation of the parts or functions of any organic whole; an organized system or method”, and it is in this sense that the term “economy”...

Did Obama Bring Hope to Notre Dame? by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - May 20, 2009

Now that the incident is behind us, let me make a confession: I wasn't at all surprised when Notre Dame announced that President Obama would be the commencement speaker, and receive an honorary degree. Shocked, yes. Appalled, definitely. Perhaps "scandalized" would not be too strong a word....

Why Be Catholic? 5: Perfection by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 21, 2009

Anyone with aspirations to human perfection ought to investigate Catholicism seriously. This is, in some ways, an extension of the second number in this series dealing with personal freedom, for freedom is essentially the ability to pursue one's proper end, which is also the path to perfection....

Catholic Social Teaching: Readers Respond by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 22, 2009

 Dozens of readers have responded to my Commentary piece, "Is Catholic Social Teaching Inherently Liberal?" With thanks to all those who have joined in the conversation, and apologies that I cannot respond to every comment, let me offer a sampling: Ken Hilb of Hammond, Indiana,...

Proselytism and Religious Liberty by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 22, 2009

After finding U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan with Bibles that had been translated into two local languages, the Taliban warned Pope Benedict XVI in early May “to act to stop the foolish and irresponsible actions of the crusaders upsetting the feelings of Muslim rebels, without awaiting the...

Speaking from ignorance at L'Osservatore Romano by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 22, 2009

 Gian Maria Vian, the outspoken new editor of L'Osservatore Romano, justifies his assertion that President Obama is not pro-abortion by asserting that "the President said that the approval of the new law on abortion is not a priority of his administration." The new law on abortion?...

only if it's important by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 26, 2009

 Questioned about the religious affiliation of President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court, the White House replied: "Judge Sotomayor was raised as a Catholic and attends church for family celebrations and other important events." Some of us think of Sunday Mass as an...

Contraception: the 'common ground' that devastates family life by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - May 27, 2009

[In his commencement address at Notre Dame, President Obama suggested that advocates and opponents of abortion should find common ground in a campaign to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Although he did not flesh out that suggestion, he clearly intended to suggest more aggressive promotion of...

The Internet Demon by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 27, 2009

Today I received an email from Niblett Ywqzaxy. That's right: Ywqzaxy. It was a pharmaceutical newsletter which Niblett said I had requested from Etqsydaxy. It seems that old Et had sent the request through channels at his company, Remusapad LLC. I didn’t open the email message, download the...

Rethinking Church? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 28, 2009

The full-page advertisement leapt out at me from the pages of a glossy magazine: “WHAT IF CHURCH WASN’T JUST A PLACE TO GO ON SUNDAY, BUT HELPED YOU HAVE A PLACE TO GO ON MONDAY?” This was superimposed on a picture of several people using computer keyboards in a training program....

Let's start a rumor by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - May 29, 2009

Let's just imagine that you're the Pope. For months now you've been working on an encyclical about Catholic social teaching. The expected publication date has been pushed back several times; evidently you haven't been happy with the early drafts. Just when the project finally seemed near...

laughable by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 29, 2009

 "Bulletin: "Catholic Priestess" bounced from LAX before she could approach Obama," reads the LA Weekly headline. And if you didn't immediately catch the significance of those scare quotes, the story-- about Brenda Lee, the eccentric woman who tried to pass a note to...

non sequitur by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 29, 2009

 The Irish Times is appalled. A SENIOR Vatican figure, Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares, prefect for the Congregation of the Divine Worship, this week appeared to downplay the findings of the Ryan report when suggesting that the millions of lives lost through abortion represent a much more...

The Bishops, Justice, Health Care and Social Change by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 29, 2009

Bishop William Murphy’s letter to members of the US House of Representatives endorsing comprehensive health care for every inhabitant of the United States (including illegal immigrants) raises an important question about the involvement of the United States bishops in politics. Granted, the...

hope for a change by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 29, 2009

Fr. Imbelli wants to see a glimmer of pro-life hope in the POTUS sermon on the Notre Dame mount: Finally, President Obama appealed to “the law that binds people of all faith and no faith together… It is, of course, the Golden Rule—the call to treat one another as we...

the taming of the Church by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - May 30, 2009

 Asked to comment on the possibility that Sonia Sotomayor would become the 6th Catholic member of the current Supreme Court, a liberal analyst offered this perceptive comment to the Boston Globe: "It's clear that neither the politicians nor the public nor the media are making any...

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