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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from July 2003

Archbishop-elect O'Malley's writings by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jul 1, 2003

Noteworthy among Archbishop-elect O'Malley's statements as bishop of Palm Beach is his election statement of last October, in which he urges Catholics to transcend their "tribal allegiances" to the Democratic Party and vote for pro-life...

Deathless prose, stirring oratory by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 1, 2003

In case you were wondering, the US bishops' conference did issue a statement criticizing the US Supreme Court decision in the Texas sodomy case. So why wasn't that statement widely quoted? Read it yourself, and try to choose the line that you would quote, if you were a reporter putting...

The new issue of Catholic World Report by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jul 1, 2003

The July issue of Catholic World Report should be hitting newsstands and mailboxes, and here's what you'll find inside:Croatia in the Balance:Croatia maintained deep cultural ties to Catholicism, despite centuries of pressure from powerful Orthodox and Islamic neighbors. Now the Balkan country...

Judge a man by his enemies? by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jul 1, 2003

I've heard some good things about Archbishop-elect Sean O'Malley, although you'll excuse me if I wait to render final judgment to see if his "orthopraxis" lives up to his reputation for "orthodoxy." However, I'm given further hope as I see that the ubiquitous Fr. Richard "Where's my collar"...

strange silence on the right by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jul 1, 2003

Not much commentary out there about the Supreme Court decision on the Texas sodomy law. Despite being doomed to repeat history unless we learn from it, a lot of so-called conservatives seem not to have been struck by the fact that we are at the beginning of a trajectory on homosexuality resembling...

Not completely silent by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jul 1, 2003

There hasn't been complete silence from the Right on the Supreme Court's Lawrence decision, although much of it focuses on Justice Scalia's dissenting opinion. George Neumayr at the American Spectator web site talks about "Sodomy in the Age of Oprah." And Rod Dreher writes along much the same...

Pro-abort admission of weakness by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 2, 2003

A news story in the Washington Times (whose generally conservative editors should know better) reports that a bare majority of American women-- 51%-- now embrace the pro-life position on abortion. In fact, over the years pollsters have consistently found that most American women are pro-life,...

No endorsement-- thank goodness! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 2, 2003

Take a careful look at the public statement released by Cardinal Law after the announcement that Bishop O'Malley would become is successor in Boston. Notice anything missing? The cardinal never indicates that he endorses the archbishop-elect. And that's probably just as well. Cardinal Law is...

Changes by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 2, 2003

Dan Seligman's review in Commentary of Diane Ravitch's The Language Police contains this gem: Educational bureaucrats in California ruled against one edition of The Little Engine That Could -- a long-time favorite in the kindergarten leagues -- because the anthropomorphic engine in the...

Middle class whining in Germany by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jul 2, 2003

Somehow Phil and I have managed to raise 7 children beyond the toddler period without state-sponsered child care (and without a designer pram, although once I had a really sweet portable stroller, the bed of which could go down completely flat, and I drove away from it, leaving it on the curb in...

A nod to historical accuracy by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 2, 2003

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. The document was signed on July 4, and so-- confounding the prediction of John Adams-- the latter date is now celebrated as America's Independence Day. Fair enough; signing sealed the document. (And with...

further to Leila's idea (below) by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 2, 2003

There's a very strong, elemental-- and, I believe, thoroughly healthy-- human drive to preserve and pass along one's family heritage. It's not just a matter of the family name, or genetic materials, or pride; it's more than that. Consider this thought-experiment: Imagine that sometime well...

White House waffling by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 2, 2003

President Bush has declined to support a constitutional amendment protecting marriage, explaining, "I don't know if it's necessary yet." (The Washington Post has the details of the story.) Not necessary yet?! And suppose tomorrow the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts rules that the...

Res ipsa loquitur by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 3, 2003

Analytic philosophers describe some utterances as performatively self-refuting ("I never deny anything") and some as performatively self-ratifying ("Like I never made a big thing like out of my grammar lessons."). The Washington Post provides us with a beautiful specimen of the latter: The...

Arkes explains it by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 3, 2003

Are you wondering, as I am wondering, why so few conservatives have spoken out about the Supreme Court's decision in the Texas sodomy case? Hadley Arkes is brilliant, as usual, in his explanation of the issue,on the National Review...

Outrage and Adventitious Amnesia in Erie by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 4, 2003

A story in last week's Erie Times-News reports on an instructive conflict. Father John Trigilio was suspended of his faculties to preach, teach, and hear confessions in the Diocese of Erie. Caught exploring diversity issues in a gay bar, perhaps? Nothing of the kind. He gave an interview...

Thanks, I needed that! by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jul 4, 2003

I'm really impressed with the Bishops of Ontario and tone of their clear, simple statement on marriage. Sometimes, when things get complicated, common sense is the best defense! Invoking common sense gives us that charitable slap that brings us back to reality, to what we know is right....

no, please, no! by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jul 5, 2003

I was so relieved when I found out what the story behind this headline -- Priest brings comfort to circus parish -- actually...

The lady doth protest too much, methinks by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jul 6, 2003

Card-carrying intellectual Anna Quindlen joins Maureen Dowd in crayoning for us in bright orange letters that she is not, repeat not, in the least rattled by the reasoning of Justice Scalia's dissent: The most notable aspect of Scalia's decision was not its prejudice or its prurience but its...

Average Joe by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 7, 2003

The July 7th America (available online only to subscribers) has an article by attorney and law professor Patrick Schiltz on the legal challenges facing the U.S. bishops as a result of the child-abuse scandal. He begins with a description of the current legal situation, and then proceeds to make...

John Bull, Jane Cow, Jean Steer, and counting. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 7, 2003

Today's Telegraph records another Great Leap Forward achieved by the Labour government: Transsexuals will have the legal right to marry and have their gender changed on their birth certificate under new laws. In a Bill to be brought forward by the Constitutional Affairs Department in the next...

Borking practice by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 7, 2003

Why fulminate against Justice Scalia? In part it's because his ideas are, to liberals, so very dangerous. Children-- and young jurists-- cannot be allowed to read these things; they might get ideas! As you say, the Left cannot endure real competition between constitutional theories, since...

I'm diverse, you're divisive. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 7, 2003

The Los Angeles Times has a story about the upcoming National Catholic Family Conference in Anaheim, more-or-less accurately portraying the concerns that divide liberals, like Jesuit Thomas Rausch, from orthodox Catholics like Terry Barber, president of a lay ministry called the Catholic Resource...

Cat got your tongue? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 7, 2003

The Dallas Morning News has another in a series of scathing editorials on Bishop Charles Grahmann, this concerning his inaction regarding Fr. Justin Lucio, found to be scamming the faithful through a charity called Casita Maria: We take issue with the position taken by the Catholic Diocese of...

Souls for sale by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 8, 2003

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a chilling account of Dick Gephardt's negotiations of his Faustian compact on abortion. Politics aside, watching a man offer his conscience as collateral to Mephistopheles makes painful reading. As an adviser to leading Democratic politicians and an activist on...

Democracy at work? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 9, 2003

The news story says that the Palestinian prime minister is threatening to resign. You read it, and reflect: Toward whom is that threat directed? If it's aimed at his fellow Palestinians, it's not likely to work. They think Abbas has been too easy on Israel. If it's aimed at Israel,...

And you wonder why I'm a cynic by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 9, 2003

Just read this story from today's CWN offerings. Or, if you're confident that you can stay awake, read the archbishop's full statement on the Vatican web site. Here it is in a nutshell: The Vatican's top representative at the UN thinks that governments should try to curtail illegal traffic in...

Purely theoretical misgivings by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 10, 2003

This from the conclusion of Cleary's review of Hoge: Fr. Richard McBrien was asked on a network television special recently: "Will mandatory celibacy survive another church council?" He replied without hesitation: "No." Then smiled: "Its toast." As a theologian at Fordham University...

Modest pricing by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 10, 2003

Only a few hours passed between the announcement that Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas was threatening to quit and the announcement that the White House planned to send $20 million in aid to the Palestinian regime. You heard it here first. A White House spokesman commented that, to be sure,...

The Way Forward ... into the abyss by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 10, 2003

Ex-priest William Cleary reviews Dean Hoge's The First Five Years of the Priesthood: Early in his first chapter, Hoge asks how many recently ordained priests are homosexual (perhaps up to 50 percent) or if gay priests persevere in greater numbers (yes). ... The heart of Hoge's research...

A word about CWN subscriptions by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 10, 2003

Have you noticed that, around this time each year, fundraising appeals take on a more plaintive tone? It isn't easy lining up donations during the summer, when potential donors-- just like the rest of us-- are on, or looking forward to, their vacations. But then again, it isn't easy lining up...

The abortion distortion by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 10, 2003

American law-enforcement officials continue to twist laws into pretzel shape in order to accommodate the abortion industry. The latest absurdity comes from Massachusetts, where a new court ruling upholds a "buffer zone" around abortion clinics, into which pro-life individuals cannot encroach, but...

Around the blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jul 10, 2003

Here's what's making news on Catholic blogs today: Mark Shea asks whether a faithful celibate man who struggles with same-sex attraction can be ordained. Readers reply in the comments and Mark prints some other replies as well. John Schultz discusses the "boutique parish,"...

Do England's homosexuals outnumber Anglicans? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 10, 2003

The subtitle of the op-ed column in the Guardian says it all: "When is the C of E going to realise that homosexuality is now more popular in Britain than Christianity?" Author Zoe Williams inveighs against the Anglican "extremists" and "homophobes" who oppose the gay-rights agenda. But that's...

No more parental rights by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jul 10, 2003

In a CWN story today, we read that Florida's Supreme Court struck down the state's law that required parents be notified before their daughters under 18 years old could have an abortion. The court said the law violated the girl's privacy rights. Under that reasoning, what rights do parents have...

The Damned by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 10, 2003

Another provocative reflection by John Dunlap in the American Spectator: "In practice," an eccentric Jesuit professor of philosophy once said to us in an undergraduate seminar, "academia is a small slice of hell: the only place on earth where everybody hates everybody." That was almost forty...

Out of the Frying Pan by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 10, 2003

A profoundly disturbed and self-absorbed pre-conciliar priest discovers sex and dance and -- presto! -- transforms himself into a profoundly disturbed and self-absorbed post-conciliar layman: A two-hour ceremony of ordination transformed a simple boylike student into an all-powerful priest; at...

The gamut of opinion, from A to B by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 11, 2003

The Boston Globe breaks the story that the leaders of the US bishops' conference recently convened a secret meeting with various prominent Catholic leaders, to sound out their views on the future of American Catholicism. Hmm. That's interesting. And we weren't invited. Who was? Among the...

Timeo peritos et dona ferentes by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 11, 2003

Phil, regarding your post below, perhaps the bishops are issuing a series of fun books for kids called Where's Weigel? -- the aim being to spot an unapologetic Catholic against the background of uniform bernardinism. The presence at the meeting of St. Petersburg Bishop Robert "Do I wish I...

A warning for the White House by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 11, 2003

When a staunchly Republican magazine like National Review begins making noises about secession from the Republican Party, it's time for GOP leaders to take notice. And that's exactly what's happened in a remarkable editorial, which points out that conservatives are losing battles on Capitol...

More on discontented conservatives by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 11, 2003

And while National Review is unhappy with the White House for making economic policy concessions and refusing to push for judicial nominations, the Family Research Council calls our attention to the fact that the partial-birth abortion ban, which has now passed both houses of Congress, still is...

about that meeting between the bishops and the experts (see Diogenes and Phil's posts below) by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jul 11, 2003

What do meeting participants Geoff Boisi, Mary Jane England (president of Regis College), and R. Robert Popeo all have in common? According to fecinfo, they've all given substantial contributions to pro-abortion candidates in the last five years. Mary Jane England is also a member of the...

whether homosexuals can be priests by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jul 11, 2003

I have read a lot of the comments on Mark Shea's blog, answering the question he poses: Can men with same-sex attraction be barred from becoming priests? I think the question and the answers interestingly reveal some assumptions going on in our society, assumptions that contribute mightily to...

Danger -- Women in Mantillas by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 11, 2003

Knight-Ridder carries a pretty much formulaic story on traditionalist Catholics in Silicon Valley, treating them with curiosity and controlled distaste, like mutant carp found in the town reservoir. The locals get the chance to express their feelings in monosyllables, then we hear the real story...

"the nation's expert" by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 11, 2003

If William Dinges is "the nation's expert on Roman Catholic traditionalists," as Knight-Ridder reports, how come none of my Roman Catholic traditionalist friends have ever heard of him? I suppose not many potatoes ever heard of Luther Burbank, and he was an expert (from my home town, I might...

whether homosexuals can be priests (continued) by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jul 11, 2003

Leila's post earlier today brings to mind a fine recent article in Lay Witness by Fr. Andrew Baker, an Allentown priest who works in the Congregation of Bishops. Fr. Baker notes that the mind of the Church is to exclude from ordination those with homosexual inclinations. In a footnote, he quotes...

Safe... for now by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 11, 2003

It's late Friday afternoon, and the court offices are closed for the day. So this day-- the feast of St. Benedict-- is not going to be the historic occasion when the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts declares that homosexuals must be allowed the right to legal "marriage." The court's...

The Little Golden Book of Retroviruses by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 12, 2003

Britain's Telegraph reports on another educational advance. The Independent Advisory Group on Teenage Pregnancy, which tracks the progress of the Government strategy, wants sex education for infants to be "rooted" by law in lessons on relationships. ... At present, many primary schools teach...

How's this for "safe sex?" by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 12, 2003

In an AP story on President Bush's visit to Uganda, we find this head-scratcher: Bush's own five-year, $15 billion AIDS plan is modeled after a program in Uganda, which stresses abstinence, monogamy, and condom use. Really? All three? Abstinence and monogamy? What does that mean?...

The Chaste Ghost in the Gay Machine by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 12, 2003

Picking up on Leila's post on homosexual priests, I was struck by Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor's line in the June CWR: "The Church must judge the people who are ordained on what kind of person they are, not their sexuality." Had Murphy-O'Connor said, "The Church must judge...

More Miraculous Progress by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 12, 2003

Franciscan Friar Krumm has been accused of exploring lifestyle issues with underage youths within the confines of the Diocese of Sacramento -- this without the knowledge or complicity of the Diocese. The Diocese tips its hat to the Franciscans for taking the heat: "We are grateful for the...

INCOMING!!! by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 12, 2003

Under its own rules, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts must render a decision on same-sex marriage no later than this coming Monday, July 14. (Of course the SJC could ignore the rules-- the way it ignores the written constitution-- but in this case the justices are more likely leaping...

Pastoral by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 13, 2003

The homepage for the Diocese of Phoenix posts a letter by Bishop O'Brien read (pre-hit-and-run) at all parish masses on June 6-7. My favorite lines: Although I am a Bishop, with a calling from the Church, I am still a human being with emotions like anyone else. Although? There's a lot to...

Aphorism by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jul 13, 2003

Weak men are apt to be cruel, because they stick at nothing that may repair the ill effect of their mistakes. -- George Savile, Marquis of...

Operation Restore Trust, continued. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 13, 2003

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has initiated a program called Safeguard the Children, coordinated by Msgr. Richard A. Loomis. "This is a call to parish staff and parents to become involved in this effort on the grassroots level," said Msgr. Loomis. He hopes that as a result of parish...

Re: People who love to hate by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 14, 2003

You know what's funny? CWN has an angry critic: a man who has regularly denounced our coverage, and finally announced to the world that he was letting his subscription lapse. But he still seems to check back regularly, to get fresh fuel for his outrage. Well, everybody needs a...

Don't just mourn, have babies! by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jul 14, 2003

It's good that the Pope is reminding Europeans about Christian culture, their culture. Have you seen Mostly Martha? It's a beautiful movie. I don't want to give away the end or anything, but suffice it to say that it evokes the warm-extended-family-at-a-long-table-under-the-trees-in-sunny-Italy...

Archbishop Rigali named archbishop of Philadelphia by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jul 15, 2003

The announcement was posted on the Vatican Web site about ten minutes...

From the springs of salvation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 15, 2003

After reading this Shirley MacLaine-ish proposal for a new ecumenical council to be called Earth One, I was put in mind of a quite different calibre of Catholic sensibility -- this in an essay by Georges Bernanos: One reforms the visible Church only by suffering for the invisible Church. One...

Holding our breath by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jul 15, 2003

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has delayed the decision on the case brought by seven couples seeking gay marriage. The SJC has an ''administrative goal'' of deciding cases within 130 days of hearing oral arguments. But a few times a year, a quorum of justices votes to waive the...

the Belgians and the Dutch by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jul 15, 2003

In the new issue of Our Sunday Visitor (July 20, p. 7, not online), Jonathan Luxmoore surveys how the Church in various European nations is ministering to those who have entered homosexual civil unions. Geert Lesarge, spokesman for the Belgian bishops, says, "There is a difference between the...

Abortion not for me, but for thee by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jul 15, 2003

The Mennonite Church, USA, has officially said that abortion is wrong, but "who are we to force our Christian standards on you?" The group said it doesn't support laws against abortion because it's wrong to force someone to comply with our morality. If abortion is the intentional killing of...

The Passion trailer online by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jul 16, 2003

For those interested in getting a sneak peek at Mel Gibson's new movie about the Passion of Jesus can find online here. If the whole movie is as moving as these few scenes are, it will be a blockbuster. I'm looking forward to seeing it now more than...

The commercial the abortion industry doesn't want you to see by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jul 16, 2003

GE Medical Imaging Systems has a new ultrasound technology called 4-D Ultrasound. Now GE has made a television commercial showcasing the technology available on its web site. GE has been bombarded by the abortion industry and activists who protest that the images will lead people to have a...

Slow news days by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 17, 2003

Have you noticed? Let's be honest: the CWN headlines haven't been scintillating for the last several days. But then again, neither have the headlines in the New York Times. It's vacation time. The people who would ordinarily be making headlines are off work, and the reporters who would...

New Vatican slap at US by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 17, 2003

Take a careful look at today's CWN story about the theme for next year's World Day of Peace. Usually the themes that are chosen are very abstract and more or less predictable; this one has a real barb to it. The Holy See, in criticizing US plans for war against Iraq, repeatedly asked questions...

Squeals of Pride & Pique at Georgetown by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 18, 2003

Every abortionist's favorite Jesuit Fr. Robert Drinan, S.J., keeps the NCR subscribers happy with a characteristically weighty column in favor of the Supreme Court's decision on the Texas Sodomy Case. It is interesting to note that a practicing Catholic, Justice Anthony Kennedy, wrote the...

Applets & Oranges by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 20, 2003

An Orange County Roman Catholic priest has been accused of having child-pornographic images on his computer, yet the Diocese of Orange continues to let him serve as a priest, using legalistic excuses why child porn doesn't fall under the diocese's "zero tolerance" policy. The diocese doesn't want...

Et in Arcadia Ego by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 20, 2003

Rod Dreher has an interesting post on NRO's The Corner: [Baylor University president Dr. Robert] Sloan and his administration are trying something exciting and fairly novel in Protestant higher education: broadening and deepening Baylor's commitment to Christianity and classical Christian...

Bull's-eye by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 20, 2003

Rod Dreher has a column in the Dallas Morning News which is a fuller discussion of the topic of his NRO post mentioned below. It includes this incisive remark by Baylor University president Robert Sloan: "If you're not intentional about your identity, you can't maintain it. I've never seen a...

A predictable politician by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 21, 2003

Well, well, well. The attorney general of Massachusetts is very critical of the way the Boston archdiocese handled sex-abuse allegations. Great. Is there anyone left who is not very critical? The AG says there won't be any indictments. Surprise, surprise! Indictments entail hard work--...

Models by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 21, 2003

Earlier I expressed skepticism about the claim that programs and policies, in default of a conversion of heart in the men to whom they apply, might remedy the clergy abuse crisis. My betters, it must be admitted, are of another opinion. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops provides...

No need for alarm, folks! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 21, 2003

From The Age (Melbourne, Australia, July 19): Uniting Church congregations will receive pastoral letters explaining that this week's decision approving gay and lesbian candidature for ordination clarified existing church practice and asking for healing for those hurt by the debate. It's a...

Our (Infrequently) Separated Brethren by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 21, 2003

The NYT's Laurie Goodstein reports on the quaint ceremonial by which U.S. Episcopalians will go through the motions of ritual hand-wringing before deciding that, once yet again, the Politburo was right: The election last month of an openly gay bishop in the Episcopal diocese of New Hampshire is...

Back to the Future by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 21, 2003

In 1988, Precious Blood Father Richard Colbert was dismissed from his job as counselor and religion teacher at Boys Town after he inappropriately soothed a youth: "I got emotionally involved with this person," Colbert said. "I had taken him out to dinner, things like that."The Boys Town...

Second Spring by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 22, 2003

The 1970s saw a number of come-visit-the-zoo stories in secular newspapers in which a journalist would visit a convent and express her surprise at the newfound wordliness of the nuns: they wore Adidas running shoes; they listened to Simon & Garfunkle LPs; they ate Oreos right from the bag, etc....

and Yes, they sell T-shirts by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 23, 2003

The Cardinal Ratzinger fan club is now in business on the...

parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 24, 2003

After months of fanfare, and a grotesquely elaborate wind-up, Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly has revealed that -- wait for it -- his subordinates are capable of reading the Boston Globe. The AG deserves a C-minus on his deplorably lightweight Report on the Sexual Abuse of Children in...

More on AG Reilly's report by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jul 24, 2003

Diogenes, Lawyer and friend Tom Fitzpatrick has a different perspective on Reilly's report. Writing on my web site, he says that Reilly has actually done the archdiocese a favor, if perhaps unintentionally. Granting, the report's deficiencies, one thing it does is remove an excuse for the...

Help is on the way. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 24, 2003

A friend called my attention to this July 8 story from the Detroit Free Press. The Archdiocese of Detroit recently got three new auxiliary bishops, whom Cardinal Adam Maida introduced at a press conference. Were the men in question chosen for their exemplary dedication to prayer? Or for their...

A Meditation on Futility (and the Natural Law) by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 24, 2003

A thought experiment. Imagine that two men in their mid-twenties walk into a motel lobby in Somewhere, Ontario, only to face obstruction from a middle-aged Scottish proprietress of granite respectability, who demands to see evidence that they're married before she rents them a room for the...

The Long, Long, Lo-o-ng Road to Christian Unity by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 24, 2003

Obstacle Number...

Apocalypse Now by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 24, 2003

Culturally speaking, Sydney is Australia's San Francisco: sybaritic, prosperous, fashionably depraved. In ecclesial terms, Sydney was Australia's Chicago: like Chicago, its soft slide into bernardinism was presided over by a bland cardinal-apparatchik with a Mona Lisa smile and a cabinet of...

Lost & Found by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 25, 2003

As posted below, the Nashville Dominican sisters are thriving. The Sinsinawa Dominican sisters are not. Which can provide a Catholic woman with a reason to give over her life to God? Dear Pastors,The following programs will be held at Sinsinawa Mound for the month of September. Please add...

Can't we just move on...? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 25, 2003

The Notre Dame Magazine features a story by an alumnus detailing his sexual abuse at the hands of Rockville Centre priest Fr. Robert Huneke: He was young, smart, funny and sarcastic. He had us call him Father Bob and quickly became popular among my church and school friends. Father Bob spent...

under the (wrong) influence by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 25, 2003

Richard Major of The Tablet gives a very lucid account of the woes of the Anglican Church. The world's 79 million Anglicans are held together by the principle of intercommunion between 38 provinces, each of which has its own autonomous primate. The Archbishop of Canterbury presides over the...

Twilight in Camelot by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 25, 2003

Uh oh. You know there's trouble in the Kingdom of Eagle's Wings when the U.S. Catholic urges us not to shop for worship outside our own parish boundaries. This from an article by Peter Feuerhard: Jesuit Father Walter J. Burghardt writes that "some Catholics refuse to worship with other...

Well, it's certainly Holistic by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jul 26, 2003

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles certainly has a thorough screeening process in place for seminarians, to judge from its archdiocesan newspaper. Anyone involved in seminary formation or in screening candidates has a heavy responsibility, especially today. But I must say, reading through this...

There's nothing at all hidden in that closet! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 26, 2003

Last Sunday OTR discussed the case of a priest of the Diocese of Orange whose old computer was found by a subsequent owner to have kiddie-porn images on the hard disk. The facts of the case were admittedly fuzzy. They're no less fuzzy after pondering the following statement issued July 23rd by...

That Dare Not Speak its Name by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 26, 2003

Thanks to Bill Cork for the head's up on last night's Nightline segment about Jefferson City (Indiana) priest Fr. Raymond E. Shafer: Meet a priest from a small town in Indiana who decided that it was time to talk openly with his parishoners about the fact that he was gay. For Father Schafer,...

With this ring I three wed... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 27, 2003

Maggie Gallagher has some angry and accurate reflections on the marriage crisis in the Weekly...

The kind of guy that gives child sexual abuse a bad name by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 27, 2003

Holy Cross Father Paul LeBrun was extradited from Indiana to -- don't be shocked -- Phoenix, Arizona, recently to face charges of child molestation. That's only the beginning of the story: According to a guardianship chronological case summary filed on March 25, 1994, in St. Joseph Circuit...

The Comforts of Home by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 28, 2003

Britain's Telegraph reports that the British Pregnancy Advisory Service is pushing for a pilot study of 500 Mifepristone abortions. Ann Furedi, its chief executive, said the move was a matter of choice and was in direct response to requests from women. ...Under the proposals, women will be able...

The previously unbloody Sacrifice of the Altar by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jul 28, 2003

There has been a spate of recent stories which made me wish I had the faculty of bi- or trilocation, because I wanted to see what was actually going on and get a sense of the personalities involved. One involved the priest in Houston who was sent on leave after suddenly reverting to the...

"I have seen the future and know that it works." by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 28, 2003

A couple weeks ago I relayed NCR reviewer and ex-priest William Cleary's enthusiastic endorsement of McBrien's prediction that obligatory priestly celibacy would soon be tossed onto the ash-heap of history: Fr. Richard McBrien was asked on a network television special recently: "Will mandatory...

Stretch by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 28, 2003

The San Francisco Chronicle has a regular opinion column superfluously titled View from the Left. Today's contributor is one Harley Sorenson. This is how he begins his article on the Gray Davis recall debate: America's Founding Fathers in Philadelphia (not to be confused with the latter-day...

Cue cards from Rome by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 28, 2003

It turns out that the new Vatican document, arguing against proposals for legal recognition of homosexual unions, is already in the hands of Catholic bishops in the US and elsewhere. So if your bishop has recently spoken out against those legislative proposals, you now know that he might have...

Welcome, Judge Bork! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 28, 2003

A belated word of congratulations to Judge Robert Bork on his entry into the Catholic Church. Think of it: The judge will now be able to worship alongside Ted...

New archbishop; business as usual? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 28, 2003

The great hope for Boston Catholics is that Archbishop O'Malley will provide them with something radically different from the "business as usual" approach-- the results of which we have been reading in the headlines since the turn of the century. So it's not terribly encouraging to learn that...

Cues by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 28, 2003

Phil, regarding your post below on the CDF's document on gay marriage, I see it is to be issued on July 31st. Perhaps the date was chosen purely for reasons of convenience, but the Holy See is often deliberate in its use of the calendar, and by releasing his document on the day on which Jesuits...

A preview of Thursday's news by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 29, 2003

This much we know: On Thursday the Vatican will release its document arguing against legal recognition of homosexual unions. This much we can safely predict: Prominent Catholic politicians will immediately reject the Vatican's arguments. (In fact Sen. John Kerry has already announced that he...

Anglican orders by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 29, 2003

Those arcane ecclesiologists who persist in considering the possible validity of Anglican orders, might take note of this item in "The Christian Challenge" May/June 2003: It was a typical baptism photo until one looked more closely. The caption in the "Washington Diocese" newspaper said...

It took a non-Catholic... by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 29, 2003

Civil-rights lawyer Harvey Silverglate, writing in the Wall Street Journal (his op-ed column, unfortunately, is available online only to WSJ subscribers for the moment) to point out what's wrong with the ballyhooed report by Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly on the sex-abuse scandal in the...

Dead Souls by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 29, 2003

Grisly reading from LifeNews: Russia has had one of the highest abortion rates in the [world] for a long time. However, abortion, used as the country's primary means of birth control, is finally on the decline. The abortion rate is still astronomical: For every 10 births there are about 13...

But he cooperated with therapy...! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 29, 2003

A priest of the Diocese of Crookston (MN) had an unsavory past that caught up with him: After being arrested in October 1984, [Fr. Rick] Boyd pleaded guilty to possessing magazines showing boys under 18 engaged in a variety of sexual acts. He was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to...

Swing and a miss by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 29, 2003

The Worcester Telegraph and Gazette carries a story claiming that a Houston lawyer named Daniel Shea has a 1962 document from the Vatican's Holy Office imposing secrecy under pain of excommunication in matters pertaining to clergy sexual abuse. The 40-page document, which was obtained by the...

What I learned on my vacation by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 30, 2003

In case anyone was wondering why I disappeared from this space last week, I was on vacation: a great, restful, sun-soaked week on the shore with my family. And it gets better. First, a confession: Up until last week, I had never read Dante. So for my vacation reading, I took along the...

Random vacation thoughts by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 30, 2003

A few of the heavy questions that I pondered while sitting on the beach last week: - Why is the sound of ocean surf so relaxing? Ordinarily you'd think that a "roar" or a "constant pounding" would be headache material. Why is it calming in this case? - Why is it even more relaxing to float...

good news from Washington by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jul 30, 2003

President Bush has spoken out against same-sex marriage and is supporting legal action to define marriage as a union of one man and one...

full text of Archbishop O'Malley's installation homily by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jul 30, 2003

Click...

full text of new CDF document by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Jul 31, 2003

Interestingly, the document on homosexual civil unions is dated June 3, the memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and companions, who suffered torture and martyrdom rather than consent to the homosexual advances of the Ugandan...

Synchronize watches! by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 31, 2003

It was noon today, Rome time-- early morning in the US-- when the Vatican released the document on same-sex marriages. That document makes it clear that: Opposition to the legal recognition of same-sex unions is a moral duty Diocesan bishops should issue their own statements on the topic and,...

Diocese of Trenton vs. Vatican? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 31, 2003

"The Vatican is opposed to extending the marriage rites to gay and lesbian couples, and obviously our diocese is in line with that position. If it's a civil marriage it's more or less not the business of the Church." Thus Steven Emery, a spokesman for the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey. Wrong,...

Re: It took a non-Catholic by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jul 31, 2003

Regarding Phil's mention of this the other day, Massachusetts civil rights lawyer Harvey Silverglate's critique of state Attorney General Tom Reilly's report in the Wall Street Journal is available on Opinion...

Around the blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jul 31, 2003

Here's what's new and interesting in Catholic blogs today: RC at Catholic Light mentions news that there may have been a Eucharistic miracle in India in Syro-Malankar rite church. Also, at the same blog John Schultz discusses parish-shopping and sacramental SWAT teams who stand at the ready to...

Preventing child abuse by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 31, 2003

Today's Vatican document reads: "Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children..." So let's say-- just hypothetically, you understand-- that Church leaders were putting together a Charter for the Protection of Children....

Down your throat by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 31, 2003

Amy Welborn provides a link to a very interesting day-blog on the Episcopalian Convention kept by a conservative in attendance. We're given a well-drawn picture of the battle from the losing side, and a sobering reminder that an ideologically disciplined bureaucracy can subvert any democratic...

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