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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from June 2005

trojan horse by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 1, 2005

L.A. Catholic brings to our attention the case of Los Angeles Archdiocesan priest Fr. William Messenger, who displays for our edification his essay called "Celibacy as Problem" -- published, four years after his ordination, in the National Catholic Reporter. Not infrequently, the approach...

present tense by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 1, 2005

Bishop Symons is living a life of liberty and comfort. Bishop Dupre is living a life of liberty and comfort. Bishop Dan Ryan is living a life of liberty and comfort. Bishop Kendrick Williams is living a life of liberty and comfort. Bishop Joseph Hart is living a life of liberty and comfort....

Spam, Pornography, Fertility and the American Way by Peter Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jun 1, 2005

Got an email address? Check. Had it for longer than one month? Double check. Got spam? Uh, 100 checks. Spam is a crippling curse not only on personal email communication but also on business communication. It bogs you down, it is nearly always unwanted, and is often morally offensive. You hate to...

sauce for the goose by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2005

The departure of Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J., from the editorship of America is still fueling hyperbole from dissenting Catholics, most recently E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post: It seems that Reese was too willing to invite Catholics to his pages who did not agree with the totality of the...

defamation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 3, 2005

In October of 2003 some parishioners from a church in Merced, California wrote a letter to Fresno Bishop John Steinbock complaining of the misconduct and heterodoxy of their pastor, Fr. Michael Lastiri. The principal signatory received the following response from Bishop Steinbock. I support...

The magic word by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 3, 2005

The question is whether Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a potential Republican candidate the White House ins 2008, has been "faking it" by posing as a "candidate" in Massachusetts, where the (mostly Catholic) electorate demands support for unrestricted legal abortion. A former campaign...

with friends like these ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2005

Say you were pope in the era of Benedict XV (1914-1922), and you needed a priest to defend a particularly unpopular Catholic position in some controversy in Germany or France or the United States. You could have dispatched a Jesuit, any Jesuit, confident that 1) he would fight your corner, and 2)...

The Case of the Incontinent Curate - VI by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2005

Further adventures of our fearless sleuthette. Chapter Seventeen The door of the old garage opened with a creaking noise, and the beam of Nancy's flashlight caught the reflection of a shiny auto. "Looking for something?" The unexpected voice from behind her made Nancy start and give a...

the birds & the bees by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 4, 2005

The New York Times, with the energetic, if uncertain, help of a prominent Catholic moralist, takes a valiant stab at answering the old question. Avoiding the term embryo merely "avoids a moral question that is very much in the public consciousness," said Lisa Cahill, a theology professor at...

If I had a hammer ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2005

January 2004. Bishop Tod Brown fastens his Covenant with the Faithful to the doors of his multi-purpose worship space. May 2005. The Rev. Professor Matthew...

Gaudium et Spes, expounded by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2005

What follows is a polemic against cynicism. I treat most Catholic clergy of my acquaintance -- and I don't think I'm alone in this -- the way parents of small children treat those Goofy and Mickey Mouse mascots that walk around Disney World. We assume they're putting in their hours for the...

Burn the notes, please by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2005

"No man is a hero to his valet." Or so the old saying goes. But it certainly appears that the late Pope John Paul II was, and is, a hero to his longtime confidential secretary, Archbishop Stanislas Dziwisz. When Pope Benedict named him as Archbishop of Krakow---- where he had worked, years...

treason by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 6, 2005

A Jesuit university president cuddles up to the culture of death. Delicately. U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan met Friday with a roundtable of activists and community leaders to discuss stem cell research, following up on last week's House passage of a stem cell bill that Carnahan co-sponsored. The...

Vocation of the Catholic journalist by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 6, 2005

CWN's editor, Phil Lawler, gives an interview at Ignatius Insight on his background and on his vocation as a Catholic journalist. I will readily admit that most of what I know about being a Catholic journalist, I learned by working for him over the past 9 years. I anticipate that some of his...

Witness and testimony by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 8, 2005

A Boston Globe story about tonight's graduation ceremonies at Trinity High School begins with the announcement that one senior no longer goes to church. Later in the story, another senior at the New Hampshire Catholic school asks: "Would we be condoning [sexual abuse] if we went to...

This is only a test... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 8, 2005

Reuters is confused, I'm afraid: OTTAWA (Reuters) - Nine North American Catholic women will be ordained priests or deacons next month in what will amount to a test of Pope Benedict's determination to enforce the Vatican's ban on women's ordination. Come, now: Is this a "test" for the Pope,...

Dash - 2 bishop accused of sex abuse by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 9, 2005

The retired Bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, Lawrence Soens, has been accused of abusing a student 42 years ago while he was principal of a Catholic high school. Soens is a Class of 1998 Dash-2 evacuee, retired before the statutory age of 75 in accordance with the Code of Canon Law's Canon 401-2 "for...

The Case of the Incontinent Curate - VII by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 9, 2005

Further adventures of our...

Terminate ... the poverty? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 10, 2005

From Ekklesia: Apparently undeterred by the controversy surrounding Bob Geldof's call for a million people to descend on the G8 summit, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor is urging Catholics in England and Wales to mobilise and join him at the Make Poverty History rally in Edinburgh on 2...

Can't be too careful by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 10, 2005

My friend, a priest, has been asked by friends to celebrate a wedding in another diocese. But before he can do so, the other diocese requires him to furnish a letter from his own bishop, certifying that he... See if you can guess which one: Assents to all the Roman Catholic Church teaches as...

another quiz by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 10, 2005

During the first year of Judith Dwyer's presidency there, St. Xavier University-- which is recognized by the Chicago archdiocese as Catholic-- has: hosted its first-ever production of The Vagina Monologues denied a pro-life group access to a campus parking lot scheduled a presentation by...

Repression? I see no repression ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2005

A mother prays while her child sits the national college entrance examination in China's Tianjin on June 7, 2005. More than 8.6 million Chinese middle school graduates attended this year's college entrance exam. (newsphoto)The photo above and its caption appeared in Wednesday's People's Daily,...

Crock pot by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2005

The Boston archdiocese is now mass-producing public-relations disasters. They come rolling off the assembly line, one after another, day after day. Poor Uncle Di can't keep up. It takes a special kind of genius to concoct a situation in which little kiddies are holding "graduation" ceremonies...

wide and generous by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 12, 2005

Bishop Joseph Adamec of Altoona, Pennsylvania, instructs the faithful-- in the unusual form of a Letter to the Editor of a local newspaper: The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has assured us bishops that the "traditional Latin Mass" is not to be considered...

Quis custodiet... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 13, 2005

Father Robert Templeton, a priest of the Newark archdiocese, has told friends that he is leaving priestly ministry, because it conflicts with his homosexual lifestyle. This announcement would be sad, but not particularly newsworthy, except that Father Templeton: Had recently been tapped by...

The role of the bishops' conference by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 14, 2005

As the American hierarchy gathers in Chicago, for another meeting of the US bishops' conference, here a few non-original thoughts: We must not forget that the episcopal conferences have no theological basis, they do not belong to the structure of the Church, as willed by Christ, that cannot be...

New breakthrough in church-state understanding by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 14, 2005

Barely 25% of the eligible Italian voters took part in a nationwide referendum on laws governing in vitro fertilization. What does that tell you? Maybe it means that Italian voters wanted the referendum to fail (which it did). Maybe they were convinced by the arguments put forward by opponents,...

Religious Privatization and the Need for Community by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jun 14, 2005

One of the greatest challenges to the life of Faith in the modern world is the privatization of religion. This privatization consists chiefly in the elimination of religion’s naturally communitarian character. It makes each of us a voice crying in the wilderness, thereby removing cultural support...

Who's the homophobe? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2005

Msgr. Swett has endured the most difficult experience in his 38 years as a priest, but it hasn't stopped him from fulminating, with the parish laity as his target: Maybe I am naive; maybe Bishop Steinbock is naive. Perhaps we were both mistaken. We believed that St. Philip’s would be a...

true believers by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2005

OK, I admit I'm stumped. Can someone please explain? The Catholic bishops of Europe-- or the organization that claims to represent them-- says that the European Union is "the foundation of peace and stability which has been enjoyed in Europe for over 50 years." But the European Union hasn't...

trust us to fix it by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2005

The Washington Times reports that "the U.S. Catholic bishops will sidestep the issue of whether gay men should become priests at their semiannual meeting," which began today at the Chicago Fairmont. And why, boys and girls, was it a foregone conclusion that the bishops would "sidestep" the...

Whose bias? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 17, 2005

Paul McHugh, a member of the National Review Board, hopes that the US bishops' conference will approve a $1 million investment in a new study of the causes of the sex-abuse scandal. "If we don't do this study," he said, "some one else will, and they might bring different biases to...

Body without a soul by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 17, 2005

Diogenes is aghast that the European bishops don't seem to notice what's wrong with the European Union. In a Wall Street Journal column, Paul Johnson explains. Unfortunately the whole essay is only available to subscribers, but here's the bottom line: In short, the EU is not a living...

gamekeepers by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 19, 2005

Well, it's a start. An Irish priest who tried (and failed) to flag a personnel problem was proved right and received -- not exactly an apology -- but a statement of regret. McCullough said that the former senior dean of the college, Fr Gerald McGinnity, had expressed concern to a number of...

Taking Time Off with Family by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 19, 2005

Once a year I try to get the whole family together for a week at some relaxing vacation spot. By “the whole family”, in this case, I mean my wife and myself, the children we still have at home, and our married children, their spouses and their children. We are especially blessed in...

Promises, promises by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 20, 2005

Which of the following is true (choose all that apply): The US bishops have promised to apply the "zero tolerance" principles of the Dallas charter to their brother bishops. The US bishops have announced that in light of credible allegations against them, Bishops Ryan, Dupre, Symons, O'Connell,...

Hit me again by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 21, 2005

Is there a psychologist out there who can explain this one to me? If the police have the story right, the pastor stole $2 million from his parishioners, and used the money to live large. He bought a BMW for his young (ahem) handyman, who (ahem) lived in the rectory. And then... [The county...

epitaphs not considered by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 22, 2005

The following sentences are not found on the tombstone of St. John Fisher, whose feast we celebrate today: "He was a team player." "He preserved the unity of the bishops' conference." "He was a great champion of ecumenical dialogue." I invite readers to contribute other unsuitable...

Readers Quiz by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 22, 2005

In a public statement released on June 21, a spokesman for the US bishops' conference offered a reminder to federal legislators about their responsibility to be mindful of the poor. Based on your knowledge of Catholic social teaching and current events (and your appreciation for English prose...

Was Pope JPII an Effective Governor? by Peter Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jun 22, 2005

Pope John Paul II has been criticized both before and after his death as being a poor ruler because he was a poor disciplinarian. To say that he was a poor disciplinarian implies at least one of three things. First, the Pope was unaware of the need for discipline, out of touch with reality....

Please keep secret by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 23, 2005

The lead story from the BBC news report is a beauty: A woman has been ordained as a priest in a secret ceremony in central Europe as an act of defiance against the Roman Catholic Church. No, she wasn't ordained; she was playing pretend. Ordination is a sacrament, not an "act of defiance."...

Healing what? Protecting whom? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 24, 2005

Remember when the apostles James and John, the sons of Zebedee, commissioned a post-Judas investigative report on the causes of treachery? Neither do I. Bishops also agreed to spend up to $1.5 million from a $20 million endowment fund to partly fund a massive study on the causes of priestly...

the very model of a modern major general by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 25, 2005

OTR commenter Kelly calls attention to Archbishop O'Malley's announcement that the fix is in. One reason [for the study of the causes of priestly sexual abuse] , said Boston Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley, is the findings will show that priests are not any more liable to abuse children than are...

pasting in the footnotes by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 25, 2005

Anybody else fouled out by the translation of this morning's first Mass reading? Here's the traditional RSV rendering of Genesis 18:11-12. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, "After I...

Ratzinger on great consequences of small lies by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 26, 2005

"I do not hesitate to claim that the lack of truth is the major disease of our age," said Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, speaking on the subject of "Preparation for Priestly Ministry." This lecture, published as the concluding chapter of A New Song for the Lord (1997), was reprinted in the Australian...

Compounding the Crisis by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 27, 2005

Terry Mattingly calls attention to a Commonweal article by former seminary rector Fr. Donald Cozzens, in which the perplexingly protean Cozzens sheds yet more darkness on the seminary question. Listen to him on the upcoming visitation: If they concentrate on seminary admissions standards and...

Let's hope he was joking. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 27, 2005

"The decisions you make tonight will effect your whole future and your eternal future," Rev. Billy Graham told a rally in New York. Then the 86-year-old evangelist made his own decision, that night, to praise Bill and Hillary Clinton. He said that Bill should become a preacher, leaving "his...

the missing word by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 28, 2005

A Texas prosecutor has decided not to press charges against Church leaders in Dallas, because a grand jury "found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of the diocese or its officials." Bishop Charles Grahmann quickly released a statement: "I am pleased that the investigation has been...

What the Supreme Court said by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jun 28, 2005

Much has been said and written in various media trying to explain how the Supreme Court justices decided to ban the Ten Commandments from inside two Kentucky courthouses, but said it was okay for them to be outside the Texas state capital. If you read our CWN story, you can see one attempt at...

this day in history by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 29, 2005

Kudos to Mark Mallet, Canadian Catholic musician (and sometime CWN advertiser) for making the connection: Yesterday, the Canadian House of Commons approved a bill to give same-sex unions the full legal recognition of marriage. The first reading for yesterday's Mass recounted the destruction...

Forming Community by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 29, 2005

The feedback on my recent column on the need for community has been rich and varied. A few people expressed discouragement at the fragmentation caused by a lack of doctrinal unity in the Church—a problem which I do not wish to minimize—but most correspondents offered positive suggestions based on...

Fresh starts by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 30, 2005

The president of the US bishops' conference has lots of advice for President Bush as he prepares for the G8 summit next week. But Bishop Skylstad also has some kind words for the White House: “We commend you for the recent agreement for poor country debt cancellation that should provide the...

Less Correct Than I by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 30, 2005

... With sunnier Faith, with more unclouded BrowBrilliant ARCTURUS did the Fates endow:Who cried, as joyfully he bound his Sheaves,"What I believe is what the Church believes!":Yet some might find it matter for Research,Whether the Church taught him, or he the Church.Corpus had trained him...

pulling the wool by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 30, 2005

33 Archbishops were invested with the pallium yesterday in Rome. Cardinal McCarrick contributes some spin. The pallium, which is bestowed on each archbishop who took office in the past year, symbolizes the unity of each church province with the Holy See and of each archbishop with the pope....

NT Wright on St. Luke & shipwreck by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 30, 2005

Lest I appear villainously to brush all Anglicans with Rowan Williams's make-up applicator in the post below, let me point you to Bishop Tom Wright's thoughtful address concluding the same Anglican Consultative Council meeting -- in which, I was pleased to see, he also quotes Ronald Knox's...

You don't hear them saying, Let's fall on our swords ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 30, 2005

It reads like a parody, but I swear it's not. John Allen interviews the newly-pallium'd quondam presidents on their new dignities and the new Pope, and they discuss Benedict XVI in terms of his electability as secretary of the Mishawaka High School student council: National Catholic Reporter:...

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