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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from June 2006

your suspicious nature by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 1, 2006

When you heard about the arrest of the man doing background checks on employees for the Cincinnati archdiocese, I bet you jumped to a conclusion, didn't you. You just assumed that he had been arrested for... Drug possession? No? Admit it, then; you were wrong. You're getting paranoid, and we...

not up to commonwealth standards by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 1, 2006

Know anyone with the Italian surname of Esposito or Innocenti? Most of them are descended from an orphan taken care of by the Catholic Church. For centuries, Italian cities had hospitals where abandoned babies (espositi, innocenti) were taken in and cared for, and a number of them married and...

"I decided to terminate you ..." by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 1, 2006

Gerald Augustinus displays some still-smoking guns pertinent to the Atrocity of the Bended...

keeping you safe by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 1, 2006

Musing on the Outrage of Orange as detailed in Sunday's LA Times article -- particularly the curious guardianship of liturgical propriety exercised by the Diocese -- I was moved to wonder about the kind of news story we'll be seeing a couple years from now in Southern California. OC CATHOLICS...

just fill the prescription by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2006

I notice that NARAL is cackling gleefully, and with reason, over Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's latest. A pro-abortion Democrat (excuse the near-redundancy), he had earlier issued an executive order requiring pharmacies to provide contraceptives, including so-called "emergency...

outreach by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 2, 2006

The U.K.'s Church Times seldom fails to bring a tear to the eye. Or at least to make one's nose run. A PRIEST in south London believes that her colourful personality builds bridges with parishioners. The Revd Wendy Saunders, Priest-in-Charge of St Saviour's, Eltham, sports pink...

spiritual liberty & the language of ritual by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 3, 2006

A couple weeks ago I tried to show how Bishop Donald Trautman's objections to the language of the new translation of the Roman Missal were misplaced. In a word, he blamed the translators for not giving us the Bible, when their job was to give us the Mass. Allyson Smith's re-cap of the L.A....

laws that can't be overturned by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 3, 2006

Surprise! Massachusetts is not the most liberal state in the US, according to a survey done by...by... Actually the Boston Herald story never does tell us who did the survey. But the story does drop an important hint, after quoting one state legislator who wonders aloud how a state that...

free at last! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 5, 2006

For those who like rhythm in their schism, the "independent" Catholic churchlets fill the bill impeccably. The L.A. Times has a delightful story on the Most Reverend Peter Hickman, Bishop of the Ecumenical Catholic Church, Inc., and pastor of St. Matthew's Parish in Orange, California -- a faith...

killing them softly by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 6, 2006

Entitlements, in the sense of the benefits promised by government-funded social programs, are a way in which politicians buy votes with your money. In First World countries, however, the un-funded liabilities have reached the point where politicians now buy their votes with your children's...

The Truth of Love Cannot be Silenced-- but your bishop may try by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jun 6, 2006

Everyone knows that kneeling at Mass isn’t a simple issue. Pro-kneelers bring a huge burden of bitterness and pain and sorrow to a liturgy that they find emptied of all meaning other than what they can infuse it with--on their knees, and with teeth firmly gritted. Anti-kneelers sense that if...

pure & simple by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 7, 2006

Massachusetts's senior Catholic public servant takes a stand: "A vote for this amendment is a vote for bigotry, pure and simple." Thus spoke Sen. Ted Kennedy in reference to the Marriage Protection Amendment being debated in the Senate today. Vexing? Yes. A novelty? On the contrary, it's...

Welcoming a New Translation, This Time by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jun 7, 2006

There has been a good deal of coverage of the new translation of the Roman Missal which the bishops must consider at their mid-June meeting. This is the first part of a retranslation of the texts of the Mass using the principles set forth by the Vatican in its 2001 instruction Liturgiam...

crying over spilt seed (II) by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 7, 2006

"As the Use of Donor Sperm Increases, Secrecy Can Be a Health Hazard." The NYT bemoans onanist loans: Sperm donor No. F827 aced all the tests. He was healthy, and he said his parents and grandparents were, too. Under a microscope, his chromosomes looked perfect. He also turned out to be...

talks with the moving target by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 7, 2006

Kasper warns Williams that, if the C of E won't sit still long enough to get her picture taken, she won't be allowed to make her first communion. From The Times of London: A Vatican cardinal has told the Church of England that to consecrate women as bishops would make unity "unreachable" and...

priests too poor to be principled by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 7, 2006

Father Eric Hodgens, a priest of the Melbourne, Australia archdiocese, has come to our attention before. He's a man on a mission, determined to prove that the Vatican is obsess about sex, by writing obsessively about sex. Well he's at it again, and you'll never guess what he sees as the cause...

Youth ministry, old style by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 8, 2006

Mike Aquilina, on his Fathers of the Church blog, has hit a home run with his comments on how the early Church handled "youth ministry." Young converts were pouring into the Church, he notes. How did the Fathers do it? They made wild promises. They promised young people great things, like...

Without benefit of clergy: McCarrick stumps for same-sex unions by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 8, 2006

Theodore McCarrick, the tardily retired Archbishop of Washington, musters "defenses" of Church teaching so lousy, so mind-numbingly feeble, that they look like arguments for the other side. Yesterday CNN quizzed the Demosthenes of Dupont Circle on the Federal Marriage Amendment. (Tip to Gerald...

The Solution to the Da Vinci Code by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 8, 2006

There are many resources now available for Catholics and other Christians to use in refuting the errors and distortions propagated in the Da Vinci Code. But for a limited time only, Trinity Communications is offering one very special approach to this problem: No Code, No Conspiracy: Just the...

"I want to burden my loved ones" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 9, 2006

"Living ... only as a burden" reads the photo above, part of the early Nazi propaganda for the elimination of "useless eaters" -- a campaign that was much more widely admired when it was in operation in the 1930s (before the Blitzkrieg and the Holocaust made Nazism a term of universal...

From the House of Skylstad by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 9, 2006

(my emphasis): SPOKANE, Wash. – Catholic Bishop William Skylstad said Thursday that his own investigation found no evidence to support a woman's claim that he sexually abused her 40 years ago. ? "There was nothing in any way that came up with any evidence about the veracity of the claim,"...

guilty as charged by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 9, 2006

Here's the story. A 37-year-old Englishwoman, impressed by the anti-war activism of Cindy Sheehan, took it upon herself to mount her own solo pacifist campaign in the UK. Dorothy Manning-Lees mailed grisly photographs of civilian Iraqi victims of bombing raids carried out by Coalition forces to...

Too much to ask? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 10, 2006

The UK Telegraph reports on the latest Last Step in the Gay Anschluss: New Government proposals on equality could require clergy to bless homosexual weddings or face prosecution, the Church of England said yesterday. It said the proposed regulations could undermine official teaching and require...

...because I say so by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 10, 2006

Back in May, many faculty members at Jesuit-run Boston College protested the honorary degree awarded to Condoleezza Rice, because the US Secretary of State supports and even symbolizes the war in Iraq. The archdiocesan newspaper, the Pilot, defended the award in a curious editorial, which began...

facilitated dialogue: like grass before the scythe by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2006

ECUSA's Presiding Bishop, in his own words: "I like to scythe," Bishop Griswold said, with a small smile, "because grass obeys in a way people sometimes don't." A most interesting notion of obedience,...

sufficiently clear? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2006

"So just explain," Wolf Blitzer pressed Cardinal McCarrick, giving Uncle Ted the chance to back out of his position, "You think that you could live with -- you could support civil unions between gays and lesbians, but you wouldn't like them to get formally married, is that right?" Yes, yes,...

jumping the shark by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2006

Have you heard it said recently that someone has "jumped the shark?" It's a wonderfully expressive statement, if you understand the background. If I have the story right, the expression comes from show biz. It seems there was a popular television sitcom, in which the main character was a tough...

the company he keeps by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 11, 2006

The Boston Globe gleefully reports: A Catholic priest preached yesterday at the main worship service associated with Boston's gay pride week,... ... and if you're up to date on the serial disasters of the Boston archdiocese, you probably suspect right away that Father Walter Cuenin, whose...

the acid test by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 12, 2006

Writing in The Tablet, condom fan Clifford Longley harks back wistfully to the halcyon days of 1968. I was disappointed to find the reference to contraception in the cardinal's statement concerning the St John and St Elizabeth hospital. I hoped we had long since got over that hurdle. Indeed, we...

not quite dead yet by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 12, 2006

Brain-dead woman gives birth, then dies OK, so maybe the headline writer wasn't thinking too clearly. But wait; that headline matches the lead of the AP story: ROME - A brain-dead woman kept alive artificially for more than two months gave birth to a premature baby girl, doctors at Milan's...

from Room 101, the Ministry of Love by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 13, 2006

"... next they came for those who split their infinitives, but because I wasn't an infinitive-splitter, I did nothing." The Scottish Executive report found that "anti-homophobia is not seen as a priority by many schools", despite ministers' attempts to encourage equality and fight...

fait accompli by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 15, 2006

As the US bishops gather to discuss a new translation of the Mass, critics of the more accurate translations demanded by the Vatican are fretting that the changes could upset lay people. After 30 years, the words of the Mass are now familiar, they observe. The people won't like sudden changes....

I got a big bang out of this one by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 15, 2006

Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking is copping dozens of headlines with a cheap shot at Pope John Paul II. As Hawking tells the story, the late Pope encouraged scientific study of the universe, but warned scientists that "we should not inquire into the beginning itself because that was the moment of...

dynamic equivalence, RIP by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 15, 2006

Dynamic equivalence has become an outmoded idea. Would you like to hear that again? So would I: Dynamic equivalence has become an outmoded idea. And that quote comes not from some nasty old American curmudgeon, but from the chairman of ICEL, in an address to the US bishops....

a definite maybe by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2006

After months of intensive study, the "McCarrick committee" has delivered a final report to the US bishops. Back during the 2004 election campaign, the American bishops were troubled by disagreements regarding whether or not pro-abortion Catholic politicians should be denied Communion. The...

the roman menace, revisited by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2006

The pure sweet springs of the English language -- the tongue of Shakespeare, Dryden, and Sr. Joan Chittister -- are being contaminated by Vatican pollutants, and the Woodstock Center is protesting. "This is another example of Rome taking authority away from bishops and bishops' conferences....

eagerly awaiting your reply by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 16, 2006

More sacrilegious, and pathetic, Neverland Katholicism, celebrated this time aboard a cruise boat near Pittsburgh. On July 31st, says an article in the Post-Gazette, three women in vestments will lay their hands on the heads of the 12 women and anoint their hands with oil during an ordination...

bait & switch by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 17, 2006

No, they don't come out and say "We're ignoring the Doomsday Doc," but it amounts to the same thing. LA seminary rector Helmut Hefner, ostensibly commenting on Pastores Dabo Vobis, seizes on the term "affective maturity" so as to spin it in precisely the opposite direction of last November's...

dum metuant by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 20, 2006

ECUSA's election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as its new Presiding Bishop "was greeted with whoops of joy by pro-women campaigners," according to the UK Telegraph. The New York Times likewise tunes in on the gloating. "I'm thrilled," said the Rev. Susan Russell, the president of Integrity,...

heavy thinkin, no heavy breathing by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 20, 2006

The Rand-Europe think-tank has determined that fertility rates rise in places where in vitro fertility treatment is available. Well gee, thanks, guys. And I bet hamburgers are more commonplace in neighborhoods that have a McDonald's franchise, too. But seriously, Rand-Europe has noticed a...

have it your way! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 20, 2006

Designer deities soon to be available from L.L. Bean. Now your faith community can custom order a divinity coordinated with your music, your language, your worship decor of choice. Richard Ostling reports: Birmingham, Ala. -- The divine Trinity -- "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" -- could also...

"... and good wishes as she" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 20, 2006

Dr. Rowan Williams appears to have nodded off in the midst of his own official reaction to the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as the next Presiding Bishop of ECUSA -- arguably the drowsiest prose of its kind ever penned. This is the full text: I send my greetings to Bishop Katharine and...

Colorado celebrates Planned Parenthood by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 20, 2006

You have got to read this amazing story. There's nothing that I could possibly add, except a tip to Jimmy Akin for the...

Is it peace, Jehu? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 21, 2006

Washington's emeritus would fain leave his brother bishops the parting gift of peace: Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick sharply warned the U.S. bishops June 15 that "the intense polarization and bitter battles of partisan politics may be seeping into (the) broader ecclesial life of our Catholic...

two cheers for tolerance by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 21, 2006

On the First Things blog, Jody Bottum comments on the sacking of a Catholic public official who dared to oppose the gay-rights agenda. It's not a novel argument-- certainly not to readers of this feature-- but it's admirably concise. Sample: The lesson many people drew from this incident was...

Progress on the New Translation by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 21, 2006

At their annual June meeting last week, the U.S. Bishops overwhelmingly voted to approve the new translation of the Roman Missal. The vote was 173-29, which is something of a landslide in favor of this first step toward authentic reform of the reform. I commented on the translation earlier this...

Ciao, baby: it's been long. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 22, 2006

On September 15th, says the Vatican Press Office, the Holy Father "will receive superiors and officials of the Secretary of State in audience, to thank publicly Cardinal Angelo Sodano for his long and generous service to the Holy See." And get that grin off your face.

transgressive by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 22, 2006

Notes on contemporary fine arts, from the Wall Street Journal (June 20): In this year's summer show at London's Royal Academy of Arts, "Exhibit 1201" is a large rectangular tablet of slate with a tiny barbell-shaped bit of boxwood on top. Its creator, David Hensel, must be pleased to have been...

growing, growing, gone by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 22, 2006

CR's David Hartline covered the Episcopal General Convention and interviewed (among others) Susan Russell, president of the gay-rights group Integrity, and New Hampshire's celebrated Bishop Gene Robinson. The following quotes, unfairly wrenched out of the larger context, deserve to be engraved...

darkness at noon by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 23, 2006

Doing what he does best, Bishop Gumbleton brings darkness, cheerfully, to disputed questions. From this week's NCR: During this past week, as some of you may know, the Catholic bishops of the United States gathered for our semi-annual meeting. One of the topics on the agenda was a report from...

birds and bees, anyone? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 23, 2006

Look, I realize that the advocates of birth control hold sway over public opinion, and today even Catholics have lost sight of commonsense arguments that earlier generations took for granted. Still I'd like to know what's going on between the ears of some people who responded to the WSJ/Harris...

sixes and sevens by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 24, 2006

The NYT's Laurie Goodstein sums up the last two weeks' Metaphor Wars: For the Episcopal Church U.S.A. and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), as with other mainline Protestant churches, the summertime convention season has become a painful ritual. In each church, the conservatives and the...

tape at eleven by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 24, 2006

The Ninth Circuit decides some things are better left unmetered....

Liberals? What liberals? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 25, 2006

ANGLICAN RIFT OVER 'LIBERAL' THEOLOGY-- headline in the Chicago Tribune It'll be a great day for journalism when scare-quotes and identifiers are used...

what you don't need to know by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 25, 2006

In an article on Georgetown University, Tom Bethell gives a vivid account of an address by Newman Society president Patrick Reilly, in the course of which it was averred that the Apostolic Constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae required theologians at Catholic universities to have the mandatum. A...

reconciled to reality by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 26, 2006

As the Boston archdiocese prepares to shut down its adoption services, to avoid (or, to be more accurate, to cease) placing children with same-sex "married" couples, the head of Boston Catholic Charities reflects on the sad situation: "The overwhelming majority of the time we reconciled the...

dinner with the dead by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 26, 2006

A restaurant review with a difference. Matthew at the Whapping blog has a lengthy meditative post on a visit to the Culinary Institute of America, whose buildings were built to house the Jesuit Novitiate of Saint Andrews-on-Hudson. The SJs left the property in the 1960s to take up new quarters...

priests as father-figures by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jun 26, 2006

Yes, I'm jealous. Over on Touchstone's Mere Comments blog, the always incisive Anthony Esolen outdoes himself with some thoughts on the priest as father-figure. You need to read the whole thing to appreciate it, but just to whet your appetite: In other words, when we sever the idea of...

Going to War: The Citizen, the State, and Ambiguity by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jun 26, 2006

Fox News reported last week that over 500 weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq since the US went to war there in 2003. This information has just become available through the declassification of a portion of a report by the State Department’s National Ground Intelligence Center. The...

counterpunch by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 27, 2006

Karen Hall has a spirited reflection on dogma-free religious life and its discontents. One of my Jesuit friends says, "You know that you have created God in your own image when He hates all the same people you do." That may well be true. But you also know that you have created God in your...

consensus in the cause of inertia by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 28, 2006

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams has responded to the decisions of the recent General Congregation of the Episcopal Church with a lengthy Reflection addressed to "Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion." Ruth Gledhill, the religion correspondent of the London Times...

treachery triumphant by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 28, 2006

"Death by misadventure, monsieur. Trans-sexual Lectionary found hanging in the WC. No identification in the pockets ..." Methinks they've been closeted too long with Oliver Stone, or with those Dean Dongs who believe the 2000 election was stolen. The NCR has an editorial on the liturgy...

lost in translation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 29, 2006

On this day when we celebrate the bond of communion between the See of Peter and the bishops throughout the world, it's edifying to see how Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, reports to the faithful about the new Mass translation approved by the US bishops' conference. Why this...

found in translation: ICEL's buried treasure by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jun 30, 2006

The other day I teased the NCR for its petulant and silly editorial on the language wars, which deplored the Vatican tactics used to torpedo the American translations -- tactics, we were told, that were "engineered by people incompetent in the discipline." We were further assured that these...

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