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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from June 2004

Pornography and the Internet: Are Your Children Safe? by Peter Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jun 1, 2004

I tend to be skeptical when Catholic parents claim that they have protected their children against pornography on the Internet. I live in a very traditional, solid Catholic community—so I’d expect the methodology of the parents to be more proactive than in other areas. However,...

The June issue of Catholic World Report is now out! by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 1, 2004

The June issue of Catholic World Report is now on newsstands and here's what you'll find inside: Strange Alliance: CWR probes the Vatican's curious enthusiasm for the United Nations. John Mallon reports that for years a powerful faction within the UN has been aggressively promoting “sexual and...

unceasing vigilance by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 1, 2004

The Central Intelligence Agency wants us to know that it celebrates diversity. The Agency Network for Gay and Lesbian Employees (ANGLE) is an outreach of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-gendered employees providing internal networking support and education to the overall Agency regarding...

on to victory by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2004

William Luse has a Walker Percy-ish meditation on what it feels like to be accelerating down the slippery slope. Be forewarned: it's gruesome. Multa inter alia, he makes the following point about the Abu Ghraib photos that I haven't seen elsewhere. [Englund] looked like she knew exactly what...

Irrelevant by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2004

George Neumayr on the Partial Birth Abortion knockdown: [Federal Judge Phyllis] Hamilton was in no mood to implement the Geneva Convention at Planned Parenthood clinics. She "agreed with abortion rights activists that a woman's right to choose is paramount, and that it is therefore 'irrelevant'...

What man of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2004

Some pointed thoughts on homilies from Donna Bethell: I just finished some points for a parish plan some of us are working on for the parish council (this is to counter the proposal to have a big, expensive questionnaire to find out what the uncatechised think we should do). 1. All homilies...

AWESOME by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2004

The statement of Mr. David Pence, and his "Ushers of the Eucharist," who knelt in the aisle of St Paul's Cathedral in Archbishop Harry Flynn's Archdiocese to prevent the Rainbow Sash-ayers from approaching for Communion. "Pentecost Sunday and the Ushers of the Eucharist We are Catholic...

the hypostatic union, and you by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2004

Remember Fr. Robert Meffan, the Boston mystic who took such special care that girls studying to be nuns be steered clear of the heresy of Docetism? This is how he explained his spiritual approach in an interview with the Globe: "What I was trying to show them is that Christ is human and you...

My observation on Cardinal George's comments by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 3, 2004

[Editor's note: We have moved Father Wilson's comments, as informative and enlightening as they are, to "Phil's Forum." Please post any new Sound Off comments...

A different sort of personality disorder by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 3, 2004

Let's just suppose, as a thought-experiment, that a particular seminary began turning out a disproportionately large number of priests with a serious personality disorder that was NOT related to sexuality. Let's just say, for the sake of the argument, that many priests from this seminary were...

Whose dishonesty? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 3, 2004

You could write it off as just one more election-year gimmick, and maybe you'd be right to do so. But the tortured effort by Senator Dick Durbin to make Democrats look more "Catholic" than Republicans still deserves a comment. To get the results he wants, Durbin ascribes equal importance to...

the liturgical year (updated) by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2004

May celebrated Father Andrew Greeley's 50th year as a Priest!! The above from Fr. Greeley's website. Some of us can remember a time when May had other...

heads they win, tails we lose by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2004

An Aussie Jesuit finds the church thing bo-o-or-ing: Where we worship, how we tell our stories and the search for meaning are questions that have long caught the imagination of Father Richard Leonard. Maybe we once found the answers at church, muses the Jesuit priest. But in secular society, he...

chasm by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2004

Mark Steyn on Sean Combs's performance in the Broadway revival of Raisin in the Sun: It's slightly freaky watching a black man do his own minstrel act. But, in this case, the authentic black man of 2004 is so estranged from the authentic black man of 1954 he's meant to be playing he might as...

More on stones & bread by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2004

Prof. John Finnis offered some remarks on preaching as obiter dicta in an outstanding address on Thomas More, reprinted in AD 2000. The present crisis of faith and morals, like the crisis in More's time, centres on the clergy, their formation, their esprit de corps, their preaching. When did I...

A little disclosure with your celebrating, please by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2004

Perhaps while "May is celebrating" Fr. Andrew Greeley's 50 years of priesthood, as Diogenes notes below, it can also persuade him to come clean about what he knows of an alleged Satanic child-abuse/murder ring of clerics. Matt Abbott reprints a letter from an attorney asking Greeley to do just...

At last -- the mystery of liberal churchmanship revealed! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2004

A report from the U.K. Telegraph on the Anglican schism-of-the-hour: But the Global South group of conservative primates, who represent well over half the worldwide Church, reacted with fury to a late amendment that injected new controversy into the resolution. The amendment, approved by a...

"So you imagine, do you, that renewal can be resisted...?" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2004

Early reports suggest the liturgical design consultant decided to share his vision spontaneously with the larger Colorado faith community. It appears the SWAT team was unsympathetic to Environment and Art in Catholic...

almsgiving by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2004

Suppose you're the young (ordained 1997) director of vocation formation for the Diocese of Nashville, Tennessee. You're also pastor of St. Stephen's Church in Old Hickory and a member of the board of directors of Catholic Charities of Tennessee. You have $2,000 in your pocket and are inspired to...

Oh, my by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 6, 2004

The poor dears are in...

I think we have a winner ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 6, 2004

As a specimen of pure episcopese, undiluted by any admixture of honesty, it's hard to beat this why-bother-your-pretty-little-head letter from Bishop Joseph Adamec to a concerned Catholic laywoman (available as a pdf file from Roman Catholic Faithful). Diocese of Altoona-JohnstownOffice of the...

help is on the way by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 6, 2004

Jesuit pastor and dancer Fr. Robert VerEecke is part of a discussion of pop culture and the Catholic Church: I just did a dance piece called "Melodrama." I dance it with another dancer, who's Jesus, and I'm a priest. And the first part is my commentary on going to the Gibson "Passion" and...

The Sacrament of Unity: lose a few, lose a few by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 7, 2004

The communion wars continue, and the news isn't good. In instructing his priests to deny the Eucharist to gay rights agitators, Cardinal George had written, "The policy of the U.S. Conference of Bishops is to not give Communion to those wearing the Rainbow Sash." USCCB spokesman David Early...

Capital Punishment: Drawing the Line Between Doctrine and Opinion by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jun 7, 2004

Abortion has been the defining pro-life issue and, for this reason, those who find themselves on the anti-life side of the abortion debate have been very eager to turn the tables by elevating capital punishment to the same status. Thus, when a particular candidate is praised for his pro-life...

The Sacrament of Unity, continued by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 8, 2004

"Eucharist is not a place to deform the meaning of our beliefs," said Cardinal Francis George in a radio interview. "Our most profound act of worship is receiving Holy Communion. We can talk [controversies] through in other places, but not make the Eucharist a statement -- except that this is the...

what the man said by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 8, 2004

In the current Crisis magazine, Russell Shaw has a mordant and well-reasoned Open Letter to America's Bishops that deserves a careful reading. It pains me to say that a critical tone occasionally creeps into his argument -- he's addressing the Successors of the Apostles, after all -- but in view...

Modesty alert by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jun 8, 2004

At last, some sign that women are tired of being uncomfortable and exposed -- in more ways than one. Now if we can wise up to the scam of charging full price for a dress that doesn't have sleeves, a back, or a middle.... Fashion? yeah,...

Defending religion by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 9, 2004

Another secular newspaper editorial comes out in defense of the practice of faith. USA Today says there's a difference between government establishment of religion and letting religious people express their faith in public, even in on public property like parks and the grounds of government...

Could you be a liturgical translator? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 9, 2004

Some time back, a friend held a translation contest. The object of the contest was to provide the best approximation of how liturgical translators (think ICEL) might have rendered the memorable words of the astronaut Neil Armstrong, when he became the first man to step on the moon. Armstrong's...

Is everything clear now? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2004

Bishop Skylstad, speaking on behalf of the US bishops, announces: We can be clear without being blunt. And we can persuade without drawing lines in the sand and daring others to cross. And we can persuade without drawing lines in the sand and daring others to cross. And the beauty of that...

Bishop vs. bishop by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2004

As the American bishops prepare for their closed-door meeting in Denver, the vice-president of the US bishops' conference demonstrates his collegial attitude by calling for respectful dialogue-- and then thoughtfully mentioning that a few of his colleagues are divisive figures with a tendency to...

um, his excellency can't come to the phone right now ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 12, 2004

From John Allen's Word from Rome: During his June 4 visit, Bush asked the Vatican to push the American Catholic bishops to be more aggressive politically on family and life issues, especially a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. What's...

Free association by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 12, 2004

What are the first 3 adjectives that come to your mind in reference to the Reagan funeral? How long has it been since you used one of those adjectives to describe a ceremony in a Catholic...

Translation text, cont. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 14, 2004

The trouble with the first CWN translation test (below) is that it went from English to Latin: something that a contemporary liturgical translator would never do. Let's try again, going from Latin to English, and using the techniques with which post-conciliar translators have made us familiar....

Knaves or Fools? The Letter from Catholic Congressional Democrats by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jun 14, 2004

On May 10th, forty-eight Catholic Congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives – all Democrats – sent a letter (see link at bottom) to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, DC arguing that bishops should not deny communion to pro-abortion politicians. The letter is so riddled with false...

Francisco, Diego, Monica, Antonio? by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 14, 2004

The cast of the Spanish-language version of "Friends"? No. Those could be the new names of San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Monica, and San Antonio. A group of law professors are saying that now that secular activists have been successful in removing creches and monuments from public property...

Kerry Mass Watch by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 15, 2004

In this week's installment of the Kerry Kommunion Kapers, the Boston Globe reports that Kerry attended Mass near one of his wife's many homes, this one outside Pittsburgh. He did not receive a warm welcome, no not from the priest or local bishop, but from a couple of pro-life women:Kerry not only...

either/or by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 15, 2004

The bishops are said to be making a "retreat" this week -- a curious expression, since no one is pretending that there isn't serious business of a concrete nature that will fully occupy their days. Perhaps the term is used more by way of justifying the exclusion of the press than of commitment to...

quality television by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2004

Who said, "The 'gods' were taken out of 'g--d---,' and all of the 'holes' came out of '---hole'?" (a) The nation's top rap artist. (b) The eight-year-old next door-- the one you won't let your children play with. (c) The new director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops'...

The Bostonians by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2004

Msgr. Michael Foster, Boston's "Queer Eye" canonist, is back in the news again with the release of a report of a private organization severely critical of the process by which the Archdiocese exonerated Foster of complaints of sexual misconduct with an emotionally unstable man named Paul Edwards....

almsgiving II by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2004

Suppose you're a longtime (ordained 1953) priest of the Archdiocese of Denver and pastor of Our Lady of Grace Church in Denver. You have $250 in your pocket and are inspired to give it away. To whom, or what, do you direct your alms? (a) To a corporal work of mercy-- say, the Missionaries of...

worried about a witch hunt ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2004

The Diocese of Tucson is close to filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Why? Because they overspent on votive candles,...

out of order by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 17, 2004

The newly appropriated understanding of the primacy of conscience bears spiritual fruit for the Catholics of Alaska: A third woman raised in Western Alaska is alleging that the Rev. James E. Poole, a Jesuit priest and former director of Nome radio station KNOM, sexually molested her more than...

The DMN SERIES by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 18, 2004

As is well known by now in Catholic blogdom, we are waiting for the Sunday commencement of a series in the Dallas Morning News on the latest investigations into a hitherto unexplored facet of the clergy sexual abuse scandal. This morning, DMN reporter Brooks Egerton was featured on National...

Who's in charge? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 18, 2004

Who's really giving the Kerry campaign its best advice on dealing with Catholic bishops? Is it the Unitarian who helped disrupt services at St. Patrick's cathedral? Or is it the Jesuit who defied the Pope? Let's see: Father Drinan violated his vow of obedience by running for Congress...

Because your are NOT lukewarm, I will spit you out by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 18, 2004

(Inspired by the latest courageous stand taken by the US bishops) A reading from the epistle of Paul Americanus to the Galatians: O interesting Galatians! I am not entirely comfortable with some of things you may or may not be doing. I am forming a committee to draw up some guidelines that...

A bit of real Renewal... by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 19, 2004

Well, this is interesting, and hopeful. The Catholic Herald (U.K.) is reporting signs that the Holy See is preparing to broaden the conditions under which priests and people can avail themselves of the permission to use the traditional Mass. Growing up when I did -- the late 1960s/early 1970s,...

DMN: THE SHAME by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 21, 2004

Check out the Dallas Morning News series on how the international rach of the Church has been used to protect sexual offenders in the priesthood. The series is in its second day, with two articles and a template offering more specific instances of the sheltering of abusers. Carefully done, and...

out of mind by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 21, 2004

The Dallas Morning News has begun a multi-part investigative series reporting on an international slime-line by which priests subject to prosecution for abusing children are quietly packed off to countries where they are beyond the reach of the law and where their history is by and large unknown....

Clothes Make the Man: Christianity and Public Life by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jun 21, 2004

The ongoing discussion of how to deal with public figures who oppose Church teaching is tangled up in America’s schizophrenic approach to religion. For a large number of secularists, religion is tolerable in private life but public life must be protected from its peculiar, parochial and often...

Re: out of mind by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 21, 2004

Diogenes, Regarding the blindness toward victims and inability to see them as real flesh and blood people, perhaps an explanation can be found in the psychological understanding that a key component of the homosexual disorder is a deep...

KUDOS to the DMN! by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 23, 2004

Breaking news indicates that the government of Samoa is preparing to deport Fr Frank Klep, a Salesian who failed to disclose a previous conviction for child molestation, as a result of the current Dallas Morning News series on clergy sexual abusers hiding abroad. The Samoans are also reviewing...

restoring trust by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 23, 2004

Three days ago the Dallas Morning News reported that Australian child molester and Salesian priest Fr. Frank Klep had been slime-lined to Samoa. In 1994, Father Klep was convicted on four charges in the assaults of two former students at a Salesians boarding school outside Melbourne during...

Catholic colleges' new "bind" by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 24, 2004

The media are acting as if the bishops' statement last week on pro-abort politicians has put Catholic colleges in a difficult position suddenly. The statement had warned schools that they shouldn't be hosting openly dissenting Catholics or other speakers who oppose the Church's teachings on...

Leah for Rachel by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 24, 2004

Dom cites a BBC story on the latest updating of the Bible, this by a former Baptist minister. The quotes given in the article -- clearly chosen to be provocative -- are patently goofy. Thus 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 is rendered There's nothing wrong with remaining single, like me. But if you know...

Muscular Christianity by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 25, 2004

Make this priest a bishop, quick. Appoint him to deal with politicians who support abortion. He sounds...

Turn, turn, turn by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 25, 2004

A politican dies. An archbishop preaches at the funeral. There is a "time for every purpose," he says. He is quoting from... Ecclesiastes, you say? Well yes, yes, of course. And he does mention that. But first billing goes to the Byrds, the deceased's favorite rock group, who put those...

the reconcilier by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 26, 2004

On the Touchstone blog, contributor S.M. Hutchens gives us a deft portrait of an all-too-recognizable figure. ... the ever-smiling bishop of beneficent visage, the open-minded, open-armed, blessing-filled aristocrat of smooth lips and perfect control -- a master of prevarication and double...

DMN reactions by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 27, 2004

Check out the reactions by sundry Catholics (including familiar bloggers) to the Dallas Morning News series on slime-lined...

a demurral by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jun 28, 2004

A recent Washington Post article juxtaposes contrasting views on the communion wars held by a prominent lay author and a high-profile Jesuit: In a public debate in Washington yesterday, papal biographer George Weigel said the bishops had "moved the ball forward a little bit" with the...

Come, let's not reason together by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 28, 2004

The early favorite for this year's Rembert Award, in the category of Most Confusing Episcopal Message about Politics, is Bishop J. Terry Stieb of Memphis, for this impressive entry. First the good bishop tells us that St. Thomas Aquinas wrestled with the question of when public figures should...

faithful ... to what? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 28, 2004

Nice work by Otto Clemson Hiss in isolating this pearl of VOTF candor from an article on Oakland Bishop Alan Vigneron from the San Francisco Chronicle. "(Vigneron) claims that Voice of the Faithful is advocating the ordination of women, but we take no position on church doctrine," said Peter...

Those missing Democratic voters by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 28, 2004

Here's an original and intriguing article from the Opinion Journal. You've heard the argument that Democrats lose votes because of their support for abortion. Here the argument is made in a new and arresting form. Demographic data suggest that among American voters between the ages of 18 and...

Understanding the Universal by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jun 28, 2004

I enjoy books about man’s struggle against overwhelming odds. There is a celebration of the human spirit in the effort to conquer the Pole, or to rescue survivors of a shipwreck, or to sail around the world, or to survive without water in the Sahara. Part of my lazy armchair enjoyment comes,...

The secular mandatum by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 29, 2004

Garry Will is very unhappy with the US bishops, because they presume to speak from authority on the issue of abortion. Wills doesn't think that bishops should speak from authority. Only he should do that. Thus, Wills quickly dismisses a Scriptural argument by Pope Pius XII, saying: "Yet no...

Pot calls kettle by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 30, 2004

The head of the Boston archdiocese is criticizing the Vatican for its handling of the sex-abuse crisis. Sure, the Vatican should be moving faster. But maybe someone else should make the...

BRAVO FATHER EUTENEUER by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 30, 2004

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer to Congresswoman Nancy Pelossi: "Thank you for clarifying for all U.S. Catholics the meaning of the word "apostasy." Saturday, June 26, 2004 By Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer - www.hli.org June, 2004 Dear Congresswoman Pelosi, Thank you for clarifying for all...

Fr Euteneuer -2- by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jun 30, 2004

I should clarify that Fr Euteneuer is President of Human Life...

Without A CLU by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 30, 2004

The ACLU has discovered a new assault on the Bill of Rights: A Virginia law that bans nude camps for teenagers. You can see their logic immediately, I'm sure. Allow the legislature to prevent teenagers from running around naked together, and pretty soon they'll be banning apple pie and...

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