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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from June 2003

Family News Round-Up by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 1, 2003

A clergyman who left his wife for his male lover is set to become the first practising homosexual to be appointed to a senior post in the Anglican Communion, according to the London Telegraph. There's a move on in Australia to lower the age-of-consent for gay couplings to 16. The current law...

Gifted by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2003

Shrewd, independent, humble, plucky Anna Quindlen puts us all right on l'Affair Jayson Blair: Times reporters and editors are as gifted a bunch as ever tried to make sense of the world every 24 hours. (I was once lucky enough to be one of them.) While all this is swirling around them, like one...

Oh...oh yeah, that request! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2003

The following announcement, in its entirety, appears in the Texas Catholic newspaper of the Diocese of Dallas: FROM BISHOP CHARLES V. GRAHMANNMay 31, 2003Father Ernie Villaroya visited with me. Because of the situation which has developed, he feels in conscience that he needs to remove himself...

presenting the Good News by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2003

Suppose you were hosting the first North American Institute on Catholic Evangelization. Who would top your list of major presenters? (a) A Catholic missionary imprisoned for years by a Communist regime. (b) A college chaplain with a long-standing track record of conversions and vocations. (c)...

Down in flames by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2003

Surprise. The Bishop of Phoenix lied. Surprise. Faced with prison, he cuts a deal for immunity and admits the cover-up: Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien has acknowledged that he covered up allegations of sexual abuse by priests for decades and will relinquish some of his power as head of the Phoenix...

Talking about Touching by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2003

It seems everybody is talking about "Talking about Touching," the controversial new, mandatory program the Archdiocese of Boston is setting up in parochial schools and parish religious education. Although, I broke the story on my web site, it's been getting lots of play in other media, which is a...

text of the agreement between Bishop O'Brien and the DA by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2003

The Arizona Republic recently posted the text of the agreement on its Web...

updated Arizona Republic story on Bishop O'Brien by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2003

The paper has updated its article following a press conference by the DA. Some excerpts: "I do believe there was sufficient evidence to indict Bishop Thomas O'Brien for obstruction of justice," Romley said. The penalty, on conviction, would have been probation to 2.5-year prison sentence, plus...

Around the Blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2003

Here are some interesting posts at several Catholic blogs today: Fr. Rob Johansen discusses Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos' Tridentine-rite Mass in Rome recently and the prospects for a universal indult to celebrate the old rite for all priests, everywhere. A reader at Mark Shea's blog writes...

Say it ain't so! by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2003

Please, please someone tell me that the media in Arizona have the story wrong. Please tell me that the apostolic nuncio did not believe that accepting the resignation of Bishop O'Brien would be bowing to external pressure. Look, I don't want the Holy See to be jerked around by public...

The cross in the pocket of the business suit by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2003

It's absolutely sickening. Among the details of the Arizona Republic story is this little chestnut: "Bishop Manuel D. Moreno of Tucson, a close friend of O'Brien, was one of the seven who stepped down. He resigned in March at age 72, citing serious health issues, including prostate problems and...

O'Brien by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 3, 2003

From the text of the Phoenix Capitulation: During the course of the grand jury's investigation, to this date, no credible evidence has been received that would establish that Thomas J. O'Brien personally engaged in criminal sexual misconduct. However, the investigation developed evidence that...

Explication du texte by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 3, 2003

This clause from Bishop O'Brien's plea bargain merits reflection: During the course of the grand jury's investigation, to this date, no credible evidence has been received that would establish that Thomas J. O'Brien personally engaged in criminal sexual misconduct. By this lawyerly phrasing...

Now where have I heard that name before...? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 3, 2003

Remember "Always Our Children," the U.S. bishops' letter to parents of gays? It is essential for you to remain open to the possibility that your son or daughter is struggling to understand and accept a basic homosexual orientation. ...etc., etc. Interestingly, Phoenix bishop Thomas O'Brien...

Piling on by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jun 3, 2003

Since body-slams of Sidney Blumenthal's memoirs by Joseph Lelyveld, Michael Isikoff, and Andrew Sullivan have already been posted on this site, it may appear to be morose delectation to mention Christopher Hitchens' review. It is. I personally became powerfully nauseated by seeing Clinton up...

meet the real Pope John XXIII by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jun 3, 2003

Today is the fortieth anniversary of the death of Blessed John XXIII, whose teaching is so often distorted by the heterodox, at times blatantly. Visit the Vatican Web site and meet the real John XXIII, the author of eight encyclicals, including the sublime and forgotten Sacerdotii Nostri...

So what are we supposed to believe? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 3, 2003

"To suggest a coverup is just plain false." That's what Bishop O'Brien told reporters in Phoenix in a spin-control news conference last night. The news conference was held after Bishop O'Brien signed a statement admitting to a coverup. So which is it: Was Bishop O'Brien being dishonest when...

presenting the Good News II by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 3, 2003

Suppose you were hosting the first North American Institute for Catholic Evangelization. Who would be number 2 on your list of major presenters? (a) A sister from Mother Teresa's order. (b) A sister from Mother Angelica's order. (c) Sr. Angela Zukowski, who believes that "a woman must...

Around the Blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 3, 2003

Here's what's happening at Catholic blogs today: G. Thomas Fitzpatrick discusses Phoenix Bishop O'Brien's immunity agreement and how it remains binding on his successors. Some canon lawyers question whether O'Brien has the right to agree to that. The Mighty Barrister notices how CNN always...

The June issue of CWR is coming by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 3, 2003

The June issue of Catholic World Report should be wending its way through the US Postal Service to mailboxes right now and here's what you can expect to find: Our cover story: "Still No Progress On The Scandal" In Boston, a controversial and mandatory child-abuse prevention program in parochial...

Phoenix follies, cont. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2003

Bouncing around the Net one finds a predictable spectrum of opinion regarding the clash between the Phoenix DA and Bishop O'Brien over the import of O'Briens confession. For my money, Rod Dreher gets the call (this is taken from a message thread on Amy Welborn's blog): Bishop O'Brien, having...

Rudy Kos + Liza Minelli + Charles Grahmann = ? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2003

The Diocese of Dallas is in fiscal difficulties owing to the hidden costs of its clergy's sexual recreations. The Dallas Morning News reports that St. Anthony Catholic School, faced with a serious financial crunch, decided to accept public funding and shelve the religion component: For...

Bishops and the Women Question by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2003

After the NCCB's women's pastoral fiasco of a decade ago, which resulted in the eminently forgettable "Partners in the Mystery of Redemption," the U.S. bishops have made piecemeal efforts to communicate their sympathies to feminists. Another series of "listening sessions" has just ended. Was any...

Dear Diary ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2003

The ordination season is upon us, and I've got a gift suggestion for that new priest on your list: a daily planner and desk diary. It may come in handy. Father Tony Buchette from Franklin, MA, is accused of [squeamish readers may wish to avert their eyes here] boundary violations. He's very...

Pillow Talk by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2003

A suspiciously timely AP story floats a few teasers from Hillary Clinton's soon-to-be-released memoirs. No one will be surprised that she makes Sidney Blumenthal read like Dennis Rodman on uppers: Then, on the morning of Aug. 15, 1998, he woke her up and "told me for the first time that the...

presenting the Good News III by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2003

Suppose you were hosting the first North American Institute for Catholic Evangelization. Whom would you include on your list of major presenters? (a) The president of a Catholic college whose graduates are beacons of fidellity to the teaching of the Church. (b) The superior of a religious...

Wall of Separation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2003

Amy Welborn points us to Terry Eastland's interesting article in the Weekly Standard. Some of our fellow citizens are appalled that federal funds have been allocated toward the upkeep of a building in which (gulp) prayer takes place: Interior Secretary Gale Norton recently announced a grant of...

episcocratic inertia by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2003

The Washington Post has an article today on how, contrary to the expectations of many a year ago, the bishops of various dioceses which were hot spots in the Scandal have managed to dodge any personal legal consequences. Near as I can figure it out, this is because, most of the time, they haven't...

Occupational Alzheimers in episcopal Phoenix by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2003

Excerpts from a column by Laurie Roberts in the Arizona Republic, December 7, 2002: The most stunning accusations yet assaulted the Valley this week when the Kulinas and their son, Mesa police Lt. Ben Kulina, went public with their story that Ben was sexually abused by his priest when he was...

with malice aforethought by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2003

If I understand what the law guys are telling me, to put a bishop in jail as an accomplice to his priests' misdeeds, the state has to show not simply that he knew Fr. Rudy was celebrating diversity with boys, but that he intended Fr. Rudy to celebrate diversity with boys. So the Washington...

afterthought by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2003

Diogenes, ole' palomine, I agree with you here: "And this makes sense. In spite of our extreme exasperation in face of child abuse, we really don't want a state that imprisons our fellow citizens on the grounds of incompetence, cowardice, or sloth." But it occurs to me that we have an even...

Mississippi by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2003

It is good to get away from the dreary subjects of Boston and Dallas and Phoenix. Let us turn our gaze to the proud pearl of the South, Mississippi, which I refer to as "the Nietzsche State" only because every time I have to spell it I have to look it up. We get to Mississippi and we find-- oh,...

The Rubicon by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2003

A very small but very important step was taken yesterday. Congress passed HR 760, banning partial birth abortion. The legislation is modest in that it would stop relatively few abortions, said Ken Connor, president of the anti-abortion Family Research Council. But "it is monumental in that it...

presenting the Good News IV by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2003

Suppose you're sponsoring the first North American Institute for Catholic Evangelization. Whom would you include on your list of major presenters? (a) A lay speaker who challenges young adults to live the virtue of chastity. (b) A priest who challenges young adults to live the virtue of...

What the meaning of "is" is by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2003

If you're in the market, I know a bishop who has a bridge to sell you....

Dying Out by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2003

A Jesuit brought to my attention the following obituary from the Boston Globe: Rev. John Randolph Willis, S.J. Beloved son of the late Sumner & Eleanor (Sprague) Willis. Father is survived by his many Jesuit Brothers and his friend Rev. Chip O'Neill, a priest of the Diocese of Bridgeport,...

No tree-hugger, he by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2003

Have you hugged a tree today? An oak tree, perhaps? Or have you said a prayer to St. Boniface instead? (Don't know what I'm talking about? Check...

Distorted lens by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2003

A question to ponder as you read today's media coverage of the partial-birth abortion ban: If more than 90% of all Americans believe that partial-birth abortion should be illegal, why do most reports carry a half-dozen quotes from people who oppose the ban, and only 1-2 quotes-- further down...

Welcome, welcome by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2003

From UPI comes the very welcome news that Pastor Leonard Klein, a clergyman of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has announced that will be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church. Pastor Klein, currently pastor of Christ Church in York PA, was for years editor of...

Following Cardinal Law's example by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2003

My friend David Shnaider was first with the observation: I just saw that Howell Raines resigned today as Exec Editor of the NYTimes, a job you'll remember he was going to do with "every fiber of his body" as long as Arthur Sulzberger let him. I wonder if he's off to a small journalistic...

Comparison chopping by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2003

A quick review: * Howell Raines supervises the reporters of the New York Times. One reporter misbehaves, Raines is charged with inadequate supervision, a public furor arises, and Raines is forced to resign. " Bishop O'Brien supervises the clergy of the Phoenix diocese. Many clerics...

St Joseph's, Cudahy, WI R.I.P. by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2003

It is always a sad moment when a parish church closes. Sometimes, both in cities and rural areas, it has to be; changing demographics make it necessary. I remember about nine years ago wandering around Saint Leonard's in Brooklyn, an eerie experience. Fifty years before, this vast place (seated...

hitting a snag by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2003

Well, it's like this. On October ninth, a priest of the Church of England, Canon Jeffrey John, is to be consecrated Bishop of Reading. Traditionalists are infuriated because Canon John allegedly is a homosexual sympathizer. But he is a friend of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, who assured trads...

Obsequium religiosum by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 6, 2003

No civilized community needs a police force. Look at it this way: all the convicted criminals are already in prison, right? And any man not proven guilty is innocent, right? And to mount a hostile investigation against an innocent man is to damage the good name to which he rightly has a right,...

Pro-lifers, Partial Birth Abortion, and Quiet Good Taste by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jun 6, 2003

Whenever I read protests that it's emotionally manipulative of pro-lifers to display photos of the concrete results of abortion, I'm reminded of Adolf Eichmann's testimony to his own squeamishness as evidence of his nobility -- this during his Nuremberg trial for crimes against humanity -- as...

But why doesn't the Vatican DO something? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 6, 2003

Two imaginary dialogues: Papal Nuncio: Look here, Bishop, the papers say you've grossly mismanaged your diocese. Now what about it? Bishop (Response #1): "All true, I'm afraid. The fact is that the only reason I became a priest is that I couldn't tell mom I was queer. I've never had any...

You heard it there first by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 6, 2003

Today's Wall Street Journal carries an op-ed (available to subscribers only, for now) by Niall Ferguson, essentially arguing in favor of developing an American empire. That's the first time I've seen that argument made seriously, in a responsible publication. I'd like to think that it will be...

Secondary detonations by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 6, 2003

In a piece on Cardinal Mahony, American Prowler columnist George Neumayr forgot the cardinal rule of Catholic journalism: if you provoke conservatives you're a prophet, if you provoke progressives you're a hate-monger. You can almost hear Neumayr frothing at the mouth in this column. He hates...

Now I understand by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jun 6, 2003

Editor Tom Roberts weighs in with an unsurpassably perfect specimen of NCR reasoning. Cut this out and paste it in your scrapbook, kids: The Santorum incident at St. Joseph's illustrates as well as anything the difficulty in finding the perfect Catholic politician or the perfect Catholic...

Around the Blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 6, 2003

Here are some interesting posts on various Catholic-related blogs: Mark Shea mulls the Phoenix situation, especially why Rome really let Bishop O'Brien stay in office (as opposed to what some sources say), and the strange Clintonian parsing by the bishop in his recent public statements.

Unfit to serve by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 6, 2003

The Family Research Council (FRC), a Washington think-tank with a solid Christian vision, argues that any legislator who supports partial-birth abortion is unfit for public office. I can't find any fault with their reasoning. Today FRC provided a distinct public service by compiling Roll Call...

revenants by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 7, 2003

After reading several accounts of a not-yet-released mega-bestseller called Living History, I am reminded of an earlier political marriage: Macbeth is excitable and imaginative, and his imagination alternately stimulates and enfeebles him. The facts in their clear-cut outline disappear in the...

Religion and the University by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 7, 2003

I did not realize that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the nation's oldest institution of higher learing, but apparently it is. This is an interesting reflection on the marginalizing of Religion in the University's life, specifically the targeting of Religious student groups...

Phoenix yet again by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 7, 2003

Today's Dallas Morning News has a particularly fine editorial on the situation in Phoenix, and the troubling constitutional implications of the deal cut by the county attorney with the Bishop. While maintaining that he has sufficient evidence to indict Bishop O'Brien for obstruction of justice,...

QUIT CLOWNING AROUND by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jun 7, 2003

A priest friend was sending around vile scans of nuns in clown costumes (a photo from a newspaper, don't get me wrong) something struck me. We could make a rule about this! One rule I just thought of on the spur of the moment: no consecrated person should ever wear a clown costume. Clowns are...

Inadvertently proclaimed from housetop. Kindly destroy. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 7, 2003

Happens to the best of us. You tap out an e-mail listing felons of your acquaintance and -- drat! -- you copy it to the wrong address-group. An inadvertently disclosed e-mail reveals that 21 priests and two other church officials in the Catholic Diocese of Jackson have been accused of sexual...

the lavender ceiling by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 7, 2003

Well, 'tis done. This morning, a special convention of the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire elected The Rev. Gene Robinson to be the next Bishop. 'So what,' says you? "Gene enjoys entertaining and cooking, gardening, music, and running. The father of two grown daughters, Jamee and...

Clowns by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 7, 2003

Your posting on clowns interests me, Leila. I had never thought much about the subject at all. I think I was at the circus once in my life. Clowns were not on my radar (Barnum & Bailey, I mean; USCCB is another matter). It was only after ordination that I discovered that there are people who...

The ecumenical urge by Cheshire in "Off the Record" - Jun 7, 2003

Now that the Episcopal Church has elected a "bishop" of New Hampshire who abandoned his wife and children to life in a homosexual union with his male "partner", one waits to see if the real bishop of New Hampshire, Bishop McCormack of Manchester, will send a message of congratulations. ...

Equal Rights for British Gay Couples by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 8, 2003

The social experiment steamroller rolls on, according to the London Times, which reports that: "GAY and lesbian couples are to get the same legal rights as husbands and wives under government plans due to be published this month. Ministers will propose homosexuals should get the same tax,...

More on the English by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 8, 2003

Here's another charming story about English life. Where do they get the people who think up these things?? "CHILDREN as young as 10 are being shown how to use condoms as part of sex education lessons in primary schools. The lessons, run by Southeast Sheffield Education Action Zone, include a...

Justice and its Discontents by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 8, 2003

In case you've ever wondered why Republican administrations seldom succeed in implementing the pro-family platform on which they were elected. Democrats and civil rights advocates condemned the Justice Department today for barring a gay pride event planned by department employees, and called on...

England yet again by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 8, 2003

Yes, it is getting worse for the Anglicans. Here's from the London Times: "THE Anglican Church has been plunged into its most serious crisis since the ordination of women priests as traditionalist and evangelical clergy united in protest at same-sex blessings and the choice of two gay men to...

How're they doin?? by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 8, 2003

Mayor Ed Koch of NYC, in his first term, used that as his trademark question; people on the street would recognize him, and he'd stop and call out, "HOW'M I DOIN'??" Well, the Dallas Morning News has a few thoughts on how the bishops are doing regarding fulfilling the promises they made at...

Tough love and its opposites by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 9, 2003

"They (Holy Cross) gave me information of allegations that they were taking seriously and that they were sending him to therapy," D'Arcy said. A too-familiar story. It got me wondering whether the therapy to which erring priests are sent is really meant to remove the affliction of the patient,...

new rector of the Josephinum by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jun 9, 2003

AP reports that Msgr. Paul Langsfeld, vice rector of Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., has been named rector of the Josephinum near Columbus, Oh. Msgr. Langsfeld has spoken at a Fellowship of Catholic Scholars...

Around the blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 9, 2003

Here's what's new at selected Catholic blogs today: Mark Shea notes news coverage that tries to make a moral equivalence between Eric Rudolph, a supposed "Christian terrorist," and Islamic terrorists. Jeff Miller comments on a Newsweek article about the Legion of Christ and its subtle (and...

News from Boston? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 9, 2003

A few readers-- and more than a few reporters-- have been asking for CWN's input on a story published yesterday in the Boston Globe, alleging that a new Archbishop of Boston is likely to be appointed tomorrow. CWN hasn't commented on that report, because we don't think it's accurate. In other...

Friend of the Groom...? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 10, 2003

Our sporadically separated brethren have instituted a Rite for the Celebration of Gay and Lesbian Covenants, now available on the Church Times site. The ceremony is prefaced by some pseudo-legal throat clearing that borders on self-parody: In order to request this Rite of Blessing each member...

religion stories of interest by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jun 10, 2003

The Boston Globe recounts the treatment of Catholic students in public schools in the mid-nineteenth century. Fr. Richard Vierling announces a promising Catholic high school textbook series (Catholic Educator's Resource Center). The New York Times covers a girls-only Muslim prom in...

And the new Archbishop of Boston is.... by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 10, 2003

... not appointed yet. It's Tuesday afternoon already in Rome, and the time for episcopal announcements has passed without any word on an appointment in Boston. Which suggests that the Boston Globe report wasn't very accurate, and CWN had the (non) story right. But that's not...

the other appointment by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jun 10, 2003

The speculation about the next archbishop of Boston has overshadowed discussion of Cardinal Bevilacqua's (seemingly) impending retirement. He turns eighty one week from today. Perhaps the appointments of the next archbishop of Philadelphia and the next archbishop of Boston will be made on the same...

the other appointment, cont. by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 10, 2003

You're right, Jeff. And for those who enjoy following the latest rumors about episcopal promotions (and I caution that those rumors are always highly unreliable), it might be worth noting that Bishop Wuerl's name is frequently mentioned in connection with Philadedelphia, too. Come to think...

They've learned nothing by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 10, 2003

Fr Andrew Greeley's column today suggests that the bishops of this country have learned nothing in the past year at all, and even speculates that they may very well gut their Dallas charter. This strikes me as common sense. Even after the past eighteen months, we still have in place a system...

... and more counseling by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 10, 2003

Father John Keller gave a 16-year old boy too much wine, summoned him to his bed, and failed to conduct himself in a manner reflecting the dignity of his sacerdotal office. Here's how his bishop puts it: Questioned by the diocese, Father Keller denied abusing the youth but acknowledged he...

Catholics need not apply? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 10, 2003

Can a practicing Catholic be appointed as a US federal-court judge? Or will Democrats in the Senate block any such nomination? In an op-ed column published in today's Wall Street Journal (available, for now, only to subscribers), Douglas Kmiec raises that question. The answer is not clear....

Archbishop material by Cheshire in "Off the Record" - Jun 10, 2003

Amidst the speculation of an appointment to Boston, and another possible appointment to Philadelphia, we recall that just about twenty years ago, Law was appointed to Boston and O'Connor was appointed to New York at the same time. It caused a thrill of hope, and the joke was that the Church...

something wonderful by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 10, 2003

If you want to see something absolutely wonderful and inspiring, check out the Tyburn Convent site. As you navigate the site, there are several downloads, but it is well, well worth it -- a glimpse at a glorious past and a moment to realize anew what a gift our Catholic Faith really is. I was...

Phoenix Again by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 10, 2003

You know, I honestly don't understand this. I am a parish Priest. At the moment it becomes clear that my continuing to serve here is detrimental to this parish, I am OUT OF HERE. My continued presence becomes, not pointless, but harmful. Period. I was sent here for the good of the parish, I...

Sobran on Affirmative Action by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2003

Black males dominate professional sports, but not because anyone pitched underhand to Jackie Robinson to atone for slavery and segregation. -- Joseph Sobran, "Those Dizzy Feminists," January 8th,...

Wag the Dog? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2003

Today's New York Times carries a very unsatisfactory article about Cardinal Egan's determination not to reveal the outcome of the archdiocese's internal investigations into priests accused of sexual abuse, priests whom the local prosecutors have decided not to indict. The usual reactions...

Francisco Franco is still dead by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2003

And a new archbishop of Boston has still not been appointed. Other items of interest: Microsoft has issued a patch to fix a critical security flaw in Internet Explorer. The Winnipeg Sun surveys conflicting reports on whether the Holy See has rejected a proposed...

a note to the younger crowd by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2003

"Francisco Franco is still dead" is a classic Chevy Chase line from the first season of Saturday Night...

my ways are not thy ways, pal by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2003

The hymn "For the Healing of the Nations" really exists, apparently. All that kills abundant living, Let it from the earth be banned: Pride of status, race, or schooling, Dogmas that obscure your plan. In our common quest for justice May we hallow life's brief span. What's the point...

The Louisville layman's share by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2003

There are about 200,000 Catholics in the Louisville archdiocese, which has just agreed to pay $25 million to sex-abuse victims. The math is pretty straightforward: that means an average family of 4 Catholics will pay $6,000. True, they won't get a bill in the mail. But what money does the...

+Kelly of Louisville by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2003

Thomas Kelly has had a deep impact on the Church in this country; one hopes that history doesn't forget him. It was he who, while at the old USCC, granted the bogus annulment to Rudy Kos which got him into the seminary of Dallas... and started the balls rolling, as it were. Some things just...

The Louisville scandal by Cheshire in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2003

At the time of the death of Terence Cardinal Cooke it was a public secret that Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago lobbied very hard to have Archbishop Thomas Kelly of Louisville named Archbishop of New York....

Bernardin by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2003

Cardinal Bernardin definitely took care of his own. Under him, when he was General Secretary of the USCC, was working Thomas Kelly and Michael Sheehan. It was when Michael Sheehan was rector of Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas that Rudy Kos applied for admission -- for the SECOND time -- having...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch... by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 12, 2003

In a couple of hours the NY Times will be online, and you can go there and read an article in which the spokesguy for Cardinal Egan completely contradicts what he said the day before about the Cardinal's disclosure policy re: The Scandal: "Cardinal Edward M. Egan announced yesterday that he...

Ask the Expert by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 12, 2003

The National Catholic Reporter's John Allen reports on a seminar on the sex abuse crisis held at Santa Clara University: Some psychotherapists have been accused of naïve assessments of abusive priests, recommending men for return to ministry who later committed further acts of abuse. In some...

Ask the Experts, again... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 12, 2003

From a Rachel Zoll story: Researchers have identified a pattern in the molestation crisis afflicting the Roman Catholic Church: most of the victims are older boys. The cops knew it. Margaret Gallant knew it. Yet researchers have now "identified a pattern" in the self-congratulatory...

This just in: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jun 12, 2003

A new archbishop of Boston was not appointed this...

Louisville by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 12, 2003

The New York Times today has a story about the anticipated devastating effects on the charitable work of the Archdiocese of Louisville of the settlement it reached yesterday. ' A day after the Archdiocese of Louisville struck one of the largest settlements stemming from sexual abuse...

jumpstarting your spiritual life by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 12, 2003

Yes, I know exactly where you're coming from. Life is simply too busy. You seem to jump from thing to thing, project to project, your whole life guided by responsibilities and directed by obligations. No time to pause and ponder, to reflect, to meditate, to focus, to encounter the Scriptures, to...

Make way for pedophiles by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 12, 2003

Some members of the American Psychiatric Association are making the argument that pedophilia should not be classified as a disorder. (Does that sound outlandish? Couldn't possibly happen? Keep in mind that not so many years ago, the same group suddenly decided that homosexuality should not be...

A homework assignment for St. John's University alumni by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 12, 2003

The homework problem: Susan Ebbs, Ed.D., is senior vice president for student life at St. John's University in Jamaica, New York, a large (over 18,000 students) Vincentian university. Dr. Ebbs has a habit of supporting pro-abortion causes and candidates. According to tray.com, in the past 2 years...

the bloom off the rose by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 12, 2003

Is it my imagination -- or are the bishops and their National Review board having relationship issues?? I mean, Governor Keating comparing some of the bishops to La Cosa Nostra -- well, maybe he really, really LIKES the Sopranos, but...

Always Our Grannies by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 13, 2003

Britain's Telegraph reports on educational advances in health education currently promoted in the U.K. The overseas counterpart of the hate-filled Christian Right are trying to halt the march of progress. The Christian Institute said councils were recommending inappropriate materials to...

The job ahead by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 13, 2003

The Osservatore Romano quotes the Pope on the task to be shouldered: But what is the vocation of a Christian? The answer is demanding, but clear: the vocation of the Christian is holiness . It is a vocation which has its roots in Baptism and is proposed anew by the other sacraments, and...

Candor. Openness. Trust. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 13, 2003

Fr. Wilson's reference below to "relationship problems" may also extend to LA Times journalist Larry Stammer, whose piece on Cardinal Mahony is the first unfavorable article from his pen. In April, Mahony wrote to all U.S. cardinals and major archbishops calling for the review board to...

This just in: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jun 13, 2003

A new archbishop of Boston was not appointed this...

Mahony turns up the rhetoric by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 13, 2003

Well Cardinal Mahony has had enough of Governor Keating and the National Review Board. And Keating's comments about the bishops were "off the wall". And Bishop Wilton Gregory shouldn't have just appointed Keating; he should have appointed a committee to find someone to head the board. And at the...

An Interesting Development by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 13, 2003

The "Book of Divine Worship" is soon to be published. This contains the liturgy used by Anglican Use Congregations in the Catholic Church: it is substantially the rite of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer with alterations conforming its usages to the Roman Liturgy. It will contain the Order of Mass...

This was not a test. This was a real emergency. by Antigone in "Off the Record" - Jun 13, 2003

You are a high-ranking prelate in the United States offering your thoughts on the scandal to a reporter. You say: "Jesus Christ never promised an easy path. What we must do now..." The logical conclusion of your sentence (choose one): a) "...is to do public penance and preach the...

Anglican Use by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 13, 2003

While I'm on the subject of the Anglican Use, New Yorkers and those in the tristate area might be interested to know that at 2PM on Trinity Sunday the Anglican Use liturgy will be celebrated (for the first time in NYC, I believe) in St Vincent Ferrer Church on Lexington Ave. A group is gathering...

Can't we all just get along? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 13, 2003

Cardinal Mahony on Gov. Frank Keating, June 12, 2003: "All I can say is, from the bishops I've listened to -- and several called me this morning -- this is the last straw," Mahony said in an interview. "To make statements such as these -- I don't know how he can continue to have the support of...

Los Angeles Times on Governor Keating by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 13, 2003

Here's a brief, interesting bit of background on Governor Keating's penchant for controversy. To be fair, one wonders if it is really possible for a National Review Board to do its job? It has to establish itself as a credible, independent lay voice or it loses all credibility with the...

A varied picture by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 13, 2003

Interesting, from the New York Times, is this article portraying the variety of responses of different bishops and dioceses to the call for greater transparency in light of the Dallas meeting last year. It makes sense, I suppose, given that the charter vote was rushed, with only hurried debate,...

Phoenix by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 14, 2003

Bishop O'Brien denied he covered-up for abusers, the DA says the bishop backed away from his admission. Then lawyer meets lawyer to sort out the misunderstanding, and everything is as clear as mud: "We had a very good meeting with the county attorney's staff," said Jim Belanger, one of the...

"Why did you go to the police...?" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 14, 2003

Cardinal Mahony has released a statement explaining his dissatisfaction with the methodology of the National Review Board's study. All the initiative for openness and accuracy is his -- indeed, he has insisted the study is seriously underfunded. The Board, alas, has failed to respond to his...

Not lapdogs. But will they heel? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 14, 2003

A Boston Globe story about the tiff between Gov. Keating and Cardinal Mahony contains this nugget: Rev. Thomas J. Reese, editor of America magazine, a Jesuit weekly, said any move to depose Keating would be very controversial because he was chosen for his independence. ''He was never supposed...

Jarndyce & Jarndyce by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 14, 2003

Remember the Diocese of Erie Slander Case? We haven't forgotten it. Here's the plaintiff's story: Secretary Sally found naughty pix on Fr. Bob's computer and told Bishop Mike. Bishop Mike responded by firing Sally and Bob kept his job. 17 years later Bob is arrested for naughty pix and Sally...

Roll over! Sit! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 14, 2003

Uh oh. According to a New York Times report, other members of the bishops' National Review Board are joining in the calls for Gov. Keating's resignation. (Gov. Keating, an experienced politician, must know what's happening: Somebody is working the phone lines.) Keating's offense, his...

of Donald Trautperson by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 14, 2003

Diogenes, dearest, these l'il details are important. His championing of inclusive liturgical lingo earned Donald Trautman, even among the bishops (a rare surfacing of wit amongst them), the nickname, Trautperson. He should be able to keep...

A call for charity and measured dialogue by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 14, 2003

The Washington Post reports that National Review Board member Bill Burleigh disagrees with Governor Keating: Burleigh said Keating's remark about La Cosa Nostra was a mistake. "I don't in any way agree with that characterization because most of the bishops are either cooperating or struggling...

Calumny by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jun 15, 2003

"Gregory Peck, a star of quiet dignity," reads the headline of the NYT obituary -- a judgment as perspicacious as billing Sylvester Stallone as a world-class boxer. It is no disparagement of Peck's acting abilities to remember that, to his enduring shame, he was party to one of the vilest acts of...

Utterly Null and Absolutely Void ... maybe by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 15, 2003

A friend sends me this quote from a London Times article of May 24: The Vatican's senior ecumenical official has said that a papal bull declaring Anglican orders invalid is ready for 're-evaluation'. Cardinal Walter Kasper ... said a 'partial recognition' of the Church of England's episcopal...

Talking About Testing, or, Big Sibling Is Watching by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 15, 2003

A story in this morning's Boston Herald shows how the nanny state has finally resolved the vexing problem of defining the family. Forget irrelevances such as marriage, propagation, a common domicile, parental responsibility. What matters is who compels whom to take standardized tests: A legal...

Governor Keating to resign by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jun 15, 2003

His spokesman has announced that the governor will resign from his post on the national review...

Altoona-Johnstown update by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jun 15, 2003

From scenic central Pennsylvania comes this article about threatening letters sent to three orthodox Altoona-Johnstown priests. Federal officials and the state police are investigating the letters, sent by an organization that claims to represent twenty-six other priests. The diocese refuses to...

Off the Wall by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 15, 2003

In an editorial titled "Clay-Footed Cardinal," the Los Angeles Times indicates skepticism about Mahony's own claim to be in the vanguard of enlightened openness. Mahony's earlier vows of cooperation and transparency seemed forgotten. As late as May 2002, he declared, "We want every single thing...

Has Issues by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2003

Pope Pius VI to the Bishop of Cork (John Butler), 9 June 1787. It is not to be believed, venerable brother, with what consternation and anguish of mind we have been seized and overwhelmed, ever since we have received authentic information, that such was the height of infatuation which your...

graveyard shift by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2003

The U.K.'s Telegraph discusses the decline in the vitality of the Methodist Church in Britain: There are currently 327,000 members in Britain, about a third of the number at Methodism's peak almost 100 years ago. Although many Methodists see signs of hope in thriving youth clubs and social...

Inspiring confidence by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2003

The chairman of the independent, lay National Review Board, Governor Frank Keating, has announced his resignation after he had provoked a firestorm by publicly charging that some bishops were not being forthcoming with his committee's review of the problem of sexual abuse in the...

Is Off The Record too hard on the bishops? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2003

In the England of Henry VIII, every Catholic bishop except one abandoned the Faith and became Protestant. Would Catholics who accused these bishops of sloth, cowardice, and heterodoxy -- in the months preceding the apostasy that proved them right -- be guilty of scandal-mongering? If it is...

Persecution in Uganda by Cheshire in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2003

Two major items in the news this past week have been the cannibalizing of the helpless Mbuti Pygmies by the Congolese Army, and threats to the Church in Uganda by terrorists threatening to "beat nuns black and blue" and worse. Centuries from now, when political correctness, Deo volente, has...

the naked public square by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2003

Suppose you were sponsoring a summer institute on Catholic social teaching. Some 85% of American dioceses will send representatives to the institute. Whom would you invite to address the topic "Catholics in the Public Square"? (a) Father Richard John Neuhaus (b) Sen. Rick Santorum (c)...

Bishop O'Brien of Phoenix by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2003

The first thought that struck me when I heard of the arrest of O'Brien regarding a hit-and-run incident was something Steve Brady of The Roman Catholic Faithful wrote to two top priest aides to Bishop Ryan of Springfield after his removal: In fact, I feel very sorry for the bishop who had no...

The Booking of the Bishop by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2003

The Dallas Morning News story of the booking of the Bishop of Phoenix. It's a commonplace that "Rome thinks in centuries," "We look back over two thousand years, and forward to eternity." These kind of thoughts about the Church we've always regarded as one of her great strengths, and...

Does the heart good... by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 17, 2003

This article from the Phoenix paper focuses on the reaction of area Cathlics to the situation with their Bishop, and it's good to see that Phoenix citizens (Phoenixians??) will be reading this kind of balanced, charitable reaction from Catholic people. Nothing said here denies the seriousness of...

Gov. Keating's resignation letter by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jun 17, 2003

The bishops' conference has posted the full text of Gov. Keating's resignation letter and Bishop Gregory's response. The governor pulls no punches, does not apologize, and praises Bishop Gregory: "As I have recently said, and have repeated on several occasions, our Church is a Faith...

This just in: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 17, 2003

It's Tuesday: the usual day for nomination of diocean bishops. A new archbishop of Boston was not appointed this morning....

The low estate of the bishops by Cheshire in "Off the Record" - Jun 17, 2003

The implosion of the dignity of the episcopate is now breathtaking. Governor Keating is forced out for comparing some of the bishops to the Mafia and those bishops give his unfortunate remark credibility by their total obliviousness to the depths to which they have sunk. Had Archbishop Weakland...

The burial customs of LalaLand by Cheshire in "Off the Record" - Jun 17, 2003

The funeral Mass for Gregory Peck was offered by Cardinal Mahony in his new cathedral and the liturgy included "a video tribute" to the late actor (who actively campaigned against the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Bork). The "video tribute" was in addition to a florid eulogy, and was shown on...

Around the blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 17, 2003

Here's what's new and interesting on Catholic blogs today: Mark Shea offers some cautions (here and here) on the wrong kind of reaction to Bishop O'Brien's arrest. Jeff Miller finds an article in a New Jersey newspaper that profiles Archbishop John Myers and...

Canada will Legalize Homosexual Marriage by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 18, 2003

The social revolution continues apace: the Washington Post reports that the Canadian Government plans to introduce legally recognized homosexual marriage. The secularization of Canadian society has gone much further and faster than here, with dire effects on the Catholic Church and others. A...

The Circle Dance of Dispossession by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 18, 2003

I had mentioned to someone, a writer, how odd it was that Bishop O'Brien of Phoenix had asked the Judge at his arraignment to let him attend the bishops' meeting in St Louis. She replied with this vignette: "I'm betting he wants to be there for the liturgical dance vote. What I chiefly...

No Comment Dept. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 18, 2003

No comment except: "It seems I've heard that song before." From the New York Daily News, June 17, 2003, Re: Bishop Thomas O'Brien's plea bargain to stay out of jail the first time: "O'Brien offered his resignation before signing the agreement, but Pope John Paul II refused to accept...

A gentle suggestion to the Holy See by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 18, 2003

Next time an American bishop offers his resignation, accept...

Will this fraud be exposed? by Fr. Rutler in "Off the Record" - Jun 18, 2003

The NY Times-- like many other media outlets-- recently front-paged the "discovery" of an ancient burial site with the inscription: "James, brother of Jesus." Now this story reveals that the inscription was a hoax. Archeological experts agree that the inscription was forged, probably by...

Governor Keating by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 19, 2003

A dignified statement by Governor Keating on the op/ed page of The New York Times, setting forth his reasons for his resignation and his view of the situation at present. It is a forceful, clear, and hopeful statement....

A teaching moment? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 19, 2003

Bishop O'Brien explains that he wasn't intoxicated when driving: Mr. Calderon said the bishop was a regular drinker but not a heavy one. Mr. Romley, the prosecutor, said the bishop told police on Monday that he drank a small amount of sacramental wine at Mass on Saturday night before driving...

Today's top non sequitur by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 19, 2003

A Washington Post article conveys the impression that the real cause for all the trouble among the US bishops is the absence of national leadership-- that the bishops' conference needs more power. Thus: R. Scott Appleby, an expert on the American church at the University of Notre Dame, said the...

Psychiatry on a collision course by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 19, 2003

Our friend "Shrink," a regular Sound Off contributor, calls attention to the recent decision by the American Psychiatric Association not to remove pedophilia from the standard list of emotional disorders. You knew that. But take another look at the explanation offered by APA officials. They...

Pioneers by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 19, 2003

"[Bishop] O'Brien vowed a year ago this month to 'lead the nation' in ridding the diocese of sex offenders," says today's Arizona Republic. "I have championed a fuller, deeper and more accurate statistical study [of sexual abuse]" insists Cardinal Roger Mahony. "I want the Archdiocese [of...

by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 20, 2003

At their annual meeting, the bishops told reporters that: their new policies have effectively stopped sexual abuse the media is exploiting the controversy complaints about the bishops' leadership are motivated by anti-Catholic bias diocesan officials are fully cooperating with...

Lay Investiture, Texas Style by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 20, 2003

A group of Dallas Catholics has written a letter to the papal nuncio requesting that Bishop Charles Grahmann be removed. The diocesan newspaper doubts their bona fides: A copy of the group's letter was obtained by the Texas Catholic. Some of the signatories have been active in the church,...

Ars longa by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 20, 2003

Gay Jesuits dial-up the Queer Shock another notch at St. Louis University. Even the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's art reviewer balks at a priest/artist's displacement of sacred motifs by homosexual kitsch: The Rev. Dennis McNally makes paintings that might look familiar if you've seen the...

And here's the best news likely to emerge from the bishops' meeting by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 20, 2003

The National Review Board has concluded that the USCCB is not a criminal organization. And to think: It only took the resignation of an outspoken chairman to ensure that the bishops would get that ringing...

Collegeville by Fr. Rutler in "Off the Record" - Jun 20, 2003

The Liturgical Press of Collegeville, Minnesota, whose lectionary commentaries are used across the USA, has this comment on the Gospel for June 21: First-century Christians lived a simpler life....Jesus, however, could hardly imagine the pressures of a twenty-first century world. Those...

Off the wall by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 20, 2003

Sen. John Kerry, who still claims to be a Catholic has promised that he will block the nomination of any pro-life candidate for a seat on the Supreme Court. This might be a good time to recall that, in the published opinion of Cardinal Mahony, Gov. Frank Keating is "off the wall." If any bishop...

Analyzing JP II by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 20, 2003

Mark Shea's blog for today has a very interesting-- and, I think, accurate-- answer to the plaintive question, "Why doesn't the Pope just fire all the bishops?" Look for the (not very descriptive) headline: "Since I've already alienated people by defending Rowling from the...

A light dawns by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 21, 2003

Word from St Louis today is that yesterday's session of the bishops' meeting was devoted to identifying problems in the Church's life which have been disclosed by the turmoil of these months. They focused on such matters as the decline in Mass attendance and coinfession, the "confused" sense of...

I think maybe he gets it! by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 21, 2003

In St. Louis, the Boston Herald cornered a few bishops to ask them what a new archbishop could do in Boston. The resulting article contained two noteworthy replies. First this from Archbishop Michael Sheehan, who has just been named temporary administrator of the Phoenix diocese: Sheehan said...

The Larger Picture by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 21, 2003

A bishop suggests that if we knew of the Church's contribution to social services we wouldn't be so bent out of shape about the occasional violated altar boy: "The focus has distorted the public image of the church, whatever the reasons are," Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan of Brooklyn said at a...

Bronson Havard and bad faith by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jun 21, 2003

Readers can judge for themselves whether Bronson Havard, the Diocese of Dallas's spokesman and newspaper editor, made a good-faith effort in this editorial to characterize fairly the motives and concerns of three dozen prominent lay Catholics. In his biography of Frederick the Great, Carlyle...

the pope in Bosnia by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jun 22, 2003

The pope's address upon arriving in Bosnia-Herzegovina and homily at the Mass of beatification of Ivan Merz are available online (scroll down in each instance for the English...

Here's Richness! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 22, 2003

When the Stalin-era agrarian economy was at its nadir the economic propaganda of the Soviet régime, not coincidentally, was its most extravagant in celebrating prosperity. A sardonic proverb ran: if you want milk, fill your pail from the radio. Last week's meeting of bishops ended as it began...

Ecclesia de Eucharistia by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 22, 2003

In the latest edition of the Wanderer I offer a few reflections on the Holy Father's most recent encyclical on the Eucharist, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, a radiantly beautiful document which one hopes will be widely read and...

Fill it with unleaded and clean the windshield, please. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 23, 2003

A letter from Archbishop Michael Sheehan to the Catholics of Phoenix tells us all we need to know about the prospects for reform: On behalf of the Church, I thank Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien for his service. He has been a dear friend and a brother bishop. Under his leadership, the diocese has...

Apt metaphor by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 23, 2003

From today's Boston Herald: ``Our efforts toward the implementation of the charter and the essential norms are in full throttle,'' Minneapolis Archbishop Harry Flynn said of the U.S. church's protocols to curb abuse. Exactly. What would happen if you took the engine out of your...

Wrecking the car or running the shop? by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jun 23, 2003

I've been thinking aboutMark Shea's thoughts on why the Pope doesn't give us a quick fix here in the US. He says that we are like the teenager that wrecked the car and wants daddy to write the check. I have no idea what's behind the Pope's way of dealing with us, or what he could do to make...

Paul Elie by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 23, 2003

Paul Elie, whose most recent work on Merton, Dorothy Day, Flannery O'Connor and Walker Percy, "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," has been widely appreciated recently, has a thought-provoking and worthwhile op/ed in the New York Times on the disappointments of the past...

What we are on the inside by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 23, 2003

Last Thursday's Arizona Republic carried a column built around an interview with Doug Woodin, whose daughter had been killed two years ago in a hit-and-run by a lawyer named Mark Torre. I asked Woodin if he was surprised that a bishop was implicated in a hit-and-run. "I've never believed...

Help My Unbelief by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jun 23, 2003

A Washington Times account reflects diverse perspectives on the bishops' accomplishments in the past year in dealing with the crisis: Progress has been "nothing less than miraculous," said Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. As miracles go, this one...

What the Supreme Court really means about affirmative actions by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 24, 2003

A Wall Street Journal editorial interprets the court succinctly: A cynic might conclude that yesterday's decisions mean universities can still racially discriminate, as long as they're not too obvious about...

Another reaction to the Supreme Court decisions... by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 24, 2003

... this time from a New York Times report: "It's outrageous that the majority in favor of these racial preferences was formed by Republican appointees," said Clint Bolick, vice president of the Institute for Justice, another conservative group that challenged the Michigan programs. True, but...

What's the world coming to, anyway? by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jun 24, 2003

Krispy Kreme? Dunkin Donuts? No way! Okay, so I was going to write an essay about distributism and the scary possibility that we will have no where to shop in a few years thats a building under an acre, but instead I'll rant about doughnuts. Today is the solemnity of the birth of St....

The donuts of yesteryear by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 24, 2003

Leila, Now we're talking about an important subject! You reminded me of a small donut shop that used to be in Canton, MA, when I was a wee lad. I can't even remember the name of the place--it closed before I was 10 years old because of the Dunkin Donuts that opened literally next door--but I...

Enemies Old & New by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jun 24, 2003

The following news items appeared in the New York Times, January 22nd, 1935, Sect. 6, p. 6. They merit reflection on what hasn't changed, and what has. JESUIT HOWLED DOWN BY NAZIS IN MUNICH Police Quell Riot at University Lecture -- Cologne Cardinal Assails Neo-Paganism MUNICH, Germany,...

doughnuts, huh?? by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 24, 2003

Well MAY Dunkin' Donuts emphasize bagels now. The bagel is the worthiest of breakfast foods. With all respect to doughnuts, or to Dunkin's "Donuts" even... ah. the Bagel. When I was in seminary in Dallas, the saddest mornings were the ones where they had "bagels" for breakfast. "Bagels." In...

Why didn't somebody tell us? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 24, 2003

Stop-the-press news from the Family Research Council: Apparently the National Institutes of Health has cured all known diseases. Cures for AIDS, autism, diabetes and cancer have been discovered, all preparations for possible terrorist attacks using biological weapons have been perfected...

A lift for the heart by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 24, 2003

A neat story about a dedicated Christian lady who expresses her love for the Lord Jesus by undertaking the commitment of a consecrated virgin in the Church, an ancient vocation revived by Pope Paul VI. What a lovely witness to the love of Christ, of His Church, and to the fuyllness of life to...

Another Olive Branch in the Eye by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 25, 2003

A Catholic priest received communion at a Protestant service during the phony Berlin Kirchentag last month, was disciplined by his bishop, was taken up as a martyr by the press, and has been supported by the Catholic Left. Wir sind Kirche (We are Church), one of the groups who organised the...

Which side is the bigotry on? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 25, 2003

Have you ever been scolded for criticizing a movie you haven't seen, or a book you haven't read? The standard liberal line is that, no matter how offensive the subject is, you can't talk about it until you've experienced it. So it's curious that the Los Angeles Times published an op-ed on Mel...

A nation without fathers by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 25, 2003

In 1965 the Moynihan report caused a furor by calling attention to the rate of illegitimacy among black Americans. At the time, about 25% of all black Americans were born out of wedlock. The latest statistics released by the federal government show that more than one-third of all births in...

Brace yourself... by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 25, 2003

... for news from the US Supreme Court. The Family Research Council expects a decision tomorrow on the Texas sodomy statute, and another announcement soon about a resignation from the Court. Are you worried? On both counts? So am...

by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 26, 2003

And here's a really big surprise: the Archdiocese of Boston, which has convinced plaintiffs' lawyers to hold off on further legal action while an out-of-court settlement is discussed for sex-abuse victims, isn't quite ready to make a concrete offer yet. Soon,...

Well, it's done by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 26, 2003

The Supreme Court has struck down the Texas sodomy law 6-3. I don't even have to look at the official statement to know that the three were Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas. Now does anyone doubt the importance of judicial nominees? The Democrats certainly do or they wouldn't be fighting tooth and...

Waiting for the other shoe to drop by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 26, 2003

You're right, Dom; you can't overstate the importance of judicial nominees. And we know that the Democrats understand that. If there is a Supreme Court vacancy this year, we'll quickly learn whether the White House understands as well. Please, no more Souters! (Or O'Connors, Kennedys, or...

A Great Step Backward by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jun 26, 2003

Michael Kinsley has a well-reasoned piece on the Supreme Court's affirmative action debacle: The Supreme Court took these Michigan cases to end a quarter-century of uncertainty about affirmative action. What it has produced is utter logical confusion. The law school dean testified that "the...

Income inequality by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 26, 2003

The latest available tax statistics show that America's 400 top income-earners accounted for an astonishing 1.1% of the nation's entire reported income. But they paid 1.6% of all taxes. But the richest 400, with an average annual income over $20 million, paid the same percentage as families...

statute of limitations by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 26, 2003

The Supreme Court also ruled, in a case which has direct implications on clergy sex abuse cases, that the statute of limitations cannot be retroactively erased or tampered with by the government. Victims of sexual abuse and their advocates are deeply disappointed. This decision renders null a...

Hello? Hello? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 26, 2003

Have you seen the strong statement from the White House, condemning the Supreme Court's decision in the Texas sodomy case? Neither have...

Dallas Catholics Organize by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 26, 2003

The Dallas Morning News is reporting on an effort led by several prominent Dallas Catholics to invite others to join together and request the resignation of the Bishop of Dallas, Charles Grahmann, for the good of the...

Dallas Catholics Unite -2- by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 26, 2003

That Dallas Morning News link is dead, which this story is far from being. Try this...

"Please, Bishop..." by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 26, 2003

Three prominent Dallas Catholics present their request in a calm, considered opinion...

Ad aedificationem by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 27, 2003

Transcripts of the Rudy Kos Liability Trial (1997) are now on-line. Turley: Do you agree me, Father, that -- Bishop, that a minimum -- at a minimum, prudent and careful action at that time would have dictated that the administrator in charge of this institution at least open this suspect's file...

Yesterday's Double Defeat by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jun 27, 2003

Not surprisingly, some of the most tersely pointed commentary on the culture wars can be found in Justice Scalia's dissents, each of which may stand as a battlefield monument to the vanquished in the serial defeats of the Culture of Life -- not, however, that Scalia (qua justice) is himself a...

The Supreme Court's self-destruction by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 27, 2003

The full text of Justice Scalia's dissent in the Lawrence case is eminently worth reading. But this particular passage is a must: The Court's claim that Planned Parenthood v. Casey "casts some doubts" upon the holding in Bowers (or any other case, for that matter) does not withstand analysis......

The Clerical Old Boy Network: A Modest Proposal by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jun 27, 2003

This from a Dallas Morning News article on the clerical culture: Most bishops grew up in an era in which priests learned to unquestioningly trust and look after the interests of brother priests. They formed a fraternity of faith whose human weaknesses were fodder for club gossip but no one...

Can't resist this one. by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 28, 2003

From associated Press we get the story that while Arnold Schwarzenegger might have married into the Kennedy clan,. he will NOT have patriarch Ted Kennedy's endorsement if he runs for office. In one respect, the Senator's comments are intriguing. For years, Catholics have complained that...

Old Rapes, New Cathedrals, and You by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 28, 2003

From Justice Kennedy's dissent on Stogner v. California (the Statute of Limitations case): The California statute does not fit any of the remaining Calder categories: It does not criminalize conduct which was innocent when done; it allows the prosecutor to seek the same punishment as the law...

Oops! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 28, 2003

Did your grandparents go down on a felony rap for setting up underage homosexual prostitutes in an out-of-state condo? Mine too. It's a failing that strikes many wonderful retired people in their "golden years," when they become prone to hearing loss, diminished visual acuity, and solicitation...

Secondary Detonations at the NYT by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jun 29, 2003

Maureen Dowd learns of Scalia's dissent and flips out: Most Americans, even Republicans, have a more tolerant and happy vision of the country than Mr. Scalia and other nattering nabobs of negativism. Their jeremiads yearn for an airbrushed 50's America that never really existed. (The pedophile...

More on Maureen by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jun 29, 2003

Maureen Dowd's exceptionally ungracious rant against Justice Scalia (see below) would be somewhat understandable if she were the loser venting her exasperation -- i.e., if Scalia had written a gloating majority decision that obliterated Dowd's fiercely-held personal hopes. In such case her...

Knees Slapped in Times Square by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 30, 2003

The New York Times reports on Manhattan's Gay Pride March: Humor was in constant supply. One marcher held a picket sign with a message for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas that read, "Hey, Clarence, sexual harassment is demeaning, not sodomy." I guess you had to be there....

Slips of the Tongue? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 30, 2003

CNN quotes National Catholic Reporter columnist John Allen's report that Bishop Sean O'Malley has been picked as the new Archbishop of Boston. If the report turns out to be true, it will be interesting to track down the leak, which entails the violation of a solemn commitment to secrecy somewhere...

O'Malley to Boston? by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 30, 2003

Associated Press is reporting that National Catholic Reporter's Rome correspondent John Allen has told various news outlets that his sources indicate that the next Archbishop of Boston will be appointed this week, and will be Capuchin Bishop Sean O'Malley. Personally, I think this would be...

Silence, Subversion, and Trust by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 30, 2003

In an intentionally provocative column for National Review Online, Anglican John Derbyshire wonders aloud whether the Church will finish her days as "a gay dating service": Organized Christianity began as a religion for women and slaves. It looks set fair to end, at least in the Western world,...

It sounds right by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 30, 2003

Twelve hours have passed since I first heard the report that Bishop O'Malley would be appointed to Boston, and there still hasn't been a single denial-- not even a pro forma statement saying that the report is speculative. And John Allen, the original source of this story, has a very high batting...

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