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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from July 2004

The Massachusetts miracle by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 1, 2004

In Massachusetts, where legislators did nothing to prevent the judicial imposition of same-sex "marriage," the lower house of the state legislature is now ready to consider a bill that would require all hospitals to furnish the abortifacient "morning-after" pill on request. This bill was...

A mile in their shoes by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 1, 2004

Last week Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News faced a decision: Should he call attention to a priest who was helping out in a local parish? That priest, Dreher had learned, was suspended by his own diocese, on sexual-misconduct charges. It looks at first like an easy call, especially for...

Credibility problem by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 1, 2004

A Salesian superior assures the world that of course he didn't move a priest from Australia to Samoa to help him avoid child-abuse charges. He didn't know the police were still interested in the case, the superior says. OK; the explanation is plausible. Let's test it against some other...

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

The July issue of Catholic World Report is now on newsstands and here's what you'll find inside: Bush In Rome: The President States His Case: Before a June meeting between George W. Bush and John Paul II, observers on both sides of the Atlantic predicted that the Pope would renew his public...

A dash of cold water by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 2, 2004

It's a nice idea, and the cause certainly has my sympathy, but I'm afraid this canonical action won't go anywhere. The old Code of Canon Law specifically stated that any Catholic individual can make a "denunciation;" the new Code is silent on that issue. (See the analysis by Ed Peters for more...

"Very unwise" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 2, 2004

When Cardinal Law attributed the shuffling of child-molesting priest to bad chancery record-keeping, no other American bishop said that statement was "very unwise?" When Bishop O'Brien refused to come to the front door to talk with police about his hit-and-run accident, no other American bishop...

almsgiving III by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 2, 2004

Suppose you're the lay president of a Benedictine university. According to your university's tax return (a public record), your salary is $194,849 (plus $11,691 for benefits, plus $29,850 for expenses and other allowances). Having prayed and worked, you turn your thoughts to almsgiving, and you're...

Will the Orthodox respond? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 2, 2004

In Rome this week, Patriarch Bartholomew I presided at the formal opening of an Orthodox parish, in a church donated to the city's Orthodox community by Pope John Paul II. The Pope's generosity, the Patriarch said, "will be appreciated throughout the Orthodox world, and will set an example to...

back to school by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 3, 2004

Suppose you were an eighth-grade English teacher. You've assigned your students the task of summarizing a letter by a famous author. Here's the full text of the author's letter. And here's your student's summary: In recent days, I have once again been in contact with Cardinal Ratzinger both by...

Off-year dirty tricks by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 5, 2004

So it turns out that the Code of Canon Law, which went into effect in 1983, is an "election year...

Correction by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 5, 2004

Sorry; sorry; I misunderstood. It's only the enforcement of canon law that is an "election year ploy." If a bishop ignores his canonical responsibilities during an election year, he can't be accused of favoritism, since that's what he always...

Zany, vibrant, dying by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jul 5, 2004

My friend Margaret points out an article in yesterday's Boston Globe about Provincetown, a name that means Queertown. Husbands cower behind their wives when going for a hike on the dunes just inside the town line; real guys don't like having to get to close to P'town even for the sake of that...

The Bishops vs. the Bible by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. in "Off the Record" - Jul 5, 2004

Sporadically insightful polemicist and purveyor of scholarly fraud Garry Wills says the popes read the Bible wrong. Modern "right to life" issues -- abortion and contraception -- are nowhere mentioned in either Jewish or Christian Scripture. Pope Pius XI said they were, in his encyclical Casti...

How Can I Love This Country? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 5, 2004

As we observe the holiday weekend marking the birth of the United States of America, I can't help but reflect that the Fourth of July brings mixed feelings to Catholics and, probably, to all Americans of good will. When you live in a corrupt nation, your patriotism is tested. You wonder why you...

Catholics need not apply by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 6, 2004

Today the US Senate will vote on the nomination of Leon Holmes to serve on a federal court in Arkansas. Holmes has encountered heavy opposition from liberal Democrats (and liberal Republicans) because he is a dedicated pro-lifer and a staunch Catholic. The Family Research Council, a...

abused by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 7, 2004

Accused of abusing more than 50 boys, Portland priest Father Maurice Grammond provides a window into the mind of the molester. Grammond died in 2002. In a deposition taken before his death, Grammond said, "I'd say these children abused me. They'd dive in my lap to get sexual...

choice by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jul 7, 2004

Okay, pastors, here's your choice. You can crawl back into your defeatest swamp, agreeing that an election year is no time to start barring notorious facilitators of the brutal killing of unborn children from communion. (Not as though many of you actually face this test of fortitude,...

i'm not as think as you drunk i am by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 7, 2004

In the country of Freedonia, the Catholic Church is plagued by catastrophically harmful automobile accidents caused by her clergy. Every year dozens of innocent persons are killed by priests who run red lights or who the cross the center line while driving, and hundreds more are left disfigured or...

The anti-Catholic Catholics by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 7, 2004

Today Leon Holmes won Senate confirmation for a federal judicial spot, after a long, tough battle. The argument against Holmes was, essentially, that he's a believing Catholic. Among the lawmakers who accepted that argument, and voted against the nomination of a Catholic jurist, where...

Multiple choice by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 8, 2004

Which of the following statements is not true? (Choose all that apply.) The Portland archdiocese has plenty of financial assets remaining. The archdiocese has been hit with millions of dollars in legal damages, as a result of fair and impartial trials or mutually agreed settlements in...

Enemies of the people by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 8, 2004

"Terrorism will disrupt and destroy lives," writes Robert Reich in American Prospect. "But terrorism itself is not the greatest danger we face." The former Clinton cabinet member and sometime Democratic presidential candidate explains that the real enemies of modern America are not those who...

Smoke signals by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 9, 2004

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick-- who heads the Catholic community in a city named after a man who said that he "cannot tell a lie"-- hasn't yet explained the difference between what Cardinal Ratzinger said in a letter about the Kerry-Communion dispute, and what McCarrick told other American bishops...

He may not be guilty by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 9, 2004

A Massachusetts bishop-- who experienced a sudden health crisis that forced his resignation last year just about the time sex-abuse charges were levelled against him-- has declined to testify in the lawsuit against him, citing his Fifth Amendment privileges against self-incrimination. His...

so-very-flexible you by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 9, 2004

The U.K. Telegraph reports that England and Wales will ordain only 18 Catholic diocesan priests this year -- that's 18 in total, for 22 dioceses and 2,698 parishes. Of course we have to look at quality rather than quantity. Rigid candidates have been...

almsgiving IV by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 9, 2004

Suppose you're a very well respected priest of a rapidly growing archdiocese. You hold honorary doctorates from three colleges, served as chaplain of the state association of police chiefs for 20 years, have served as a member of the executive committee of your city's Boy Scouts, and have received...

Confused by the Vatican? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 12, 2004

If you can't understand what's going on at the Vatican... If it seems to you that not every prelate in the Roman Curia is "on the same page"... If you want to know why the Pope doesn't step in and demand that his subordinates toe the line... Those are questionst that Vatican-watchers ask each...

See no evil by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 13, 2004

Thanks to the Dallas Morning News, we now have this information about another acknowledged child molester. He was serving in the Los Angeles archdiocese, and his name showed up on archdiocesan records. But the archdiocese didn't know he was there. His Franciscan superiors-- to whom, presumably,...

Childish pranks by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 13, 2004

Take 40,000 dirty pictures. Add a few films. Mix seminarians with older priests-- in new and interesting combinations. Stir in a police investigation, and the resignation of two seminary officials. What do you get? "Childish pranks," which-- you should have this line memorized by...

Cardinal v. cardinal by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jul 13, 2004

There's an interesting controversy in play in Germany with Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne crticizing Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz, the president of the German bishops' conference, for inviting dissident theologians to address a major conference last month.Cardinal Meisner accused Lehmann of...

Bishop makes orthodoxy diocesan policy by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jul 13, 2004

Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond is getting a running start in his new diocese. Last month, he appointed a new diocesan theologian, part of whose job is to approve those who may speak at parishes. He's also dismissed the "sexual minorities" commission that advised his predecessor on gay and...

GOP identity crisis by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 14, 2004

At its national convention in New York, the Republican Party will hear keynote speeches from-- let's see-- a Catholic governor who supports legal abortion, another Catholic governor who supports abortion, and a former Catholic mayor who supports abortion. No, that is not a typo. I'm talking...

Honest, at least by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 15, 2004

The confession is an eye-opener, but at least we can give Bishop Manuel Moreno credit for this much: He doesn't blame things on bad record-keeping. In the course of the two-hour deposition, held in Pima County Superior Court, Moreno acknowledged, among other things, that he'd allowed priests...

Not much "brotherly love" by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jul 15, 2004

A group of college-age pro-lifers, sponsored by the American Life League, are walking from Maine to Washington, DC, this summer to bring attention to the pro-life cause. (This is similar to the older Crossroads group that walks across the country, west to east.) Along the way, the...

Deliberately misleading? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 15, 2004

While other American bishops were debating over exactly what Cardinal Ratzinger had said regarding the reception of Holy Communion by pro-abortion politicians, Bishop John Steinbock of Fresno, California, produced this whopper: I pointed out to the priests and deacons that this document did not...

almsgiving V by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 16, 2004

Which archbishop, now retired, gave $500 to John Kerry back in 1989-- 4 years after Kerry made his first impassioned defense of legalized abortion as a newly elected senator? The gift wasn't the archbishop's only venture into politics: he gave $1,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign...

gods that rot by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 17, 2004

Michael Rose rightly scores the Austrian Bishop Kurt Krenn for attempting to dismiss photos of gay times at St. Poelten seminary -- including several purporting to show his vice-rector and a male student sucking face -- as "childish horseplay." This kind of "horseplay," sometimes described as...

Open season? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 19, 2004

Not long ago it would have been shocking to see American bishops contradicting each other in public, and utterly unthinkable that a spokesman for one bishop would dare to contradict another prelate. Now it's becoming routine. For the latest example, notice how Bishop D'Arcy was slapped down by...

Catholic Tech Watch: The Catholic's Best Solutions for Internet Protection by Peter Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 19, 2004

This week CatholicCulture.org is releasing a follow-up to my recent article about protecting your children (and yourself) when on the Internet. In that article, I made mention of the fact that we have performed extensive testing of many products that can assist you in that endeavor. The...

Delayed reaction by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 20, 2004

You're the doctor. You tap the patient's knee with the rubber mallet. You watch for the reaction. How long do you wait before you decide this patient has a serious problem? The seminary scandal in St. Pölten, Austria, hit the headlines just last week. Outrage! Headlines! Furor! And wham-bam!...

Aren't you proud? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 20, 2004

Secretary of State Colin Powell, appearing on the Charlie Rose show on July 19, made this boast about the achievements of the Bush administration: Under this administration, we have tripled the purchase of condoms for distribution to underdeveloped...

Boundary issues by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 20, 2004

Msgr. Dale Fushek, founder and director of Life Teen, and former right-hand man to the rapidly-retired Bishop Thomas ("Road Kill") O’Brien of Phoenix, is again in the news. And once again boundaries are an issue. The Congregation on Divine Worship has informed the Msgr. that having teenagers...

Delayed reaction II by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 21, 2004

Vienna's Cardinal Christoph Schöborn thinks the Vatican waited too long before launching an investigation of a homosexual scandal in the St. Pölten seminary. Now keep in mind that he's talking about a scandal that became public less than two weeks ago. I'm not disagreeing with Cardinal...

almsgiving VI by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 23, 2004

Suppose you're the first lay president of a Philadelphia-area college associated with the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. According to your college's tax return (a public record), your salary is $156,000 (plus $18,435.50 in benefits). You have $500 in your pocket and are inspired to give...

One hand clapping by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 23, 2004

Another American Catholic bishop has come forward to say that: "I do not support those who would want to turn the reception of the holy Eucharist or the Communion line into a partisan political battleground." Could we now hear from a spokesman for those who do want to turn the reception of the...

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy: Reminders from a Friend by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 24, 2004

This past weekend I received the annual resolutions of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy from their convocation in Chicago. In addition to reminding me of the CCC’s work, this gave me a chance to catch up on the activities of Fr. John Trigilio, the Confraternity’s current President and a...

almsgiving VII by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 25, 2004

Suppose you're a priest ordained in 1967 and administrator of the St. Paul Albanian Catholic Community in Rochester Hills, Michigan. You have $1,300 in your pocket and are inspired to give it away. To whom, or what, do you direct your alms? (a) to the Church in Albania (b) to a work of mercy...

Bull's eye by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 26, 2004

Ray Kerrison's column in the New York Post, "When Bishops Fear to Lead, is a must. You've got to read the whole thing, but here's just an appetizer: It's hardly a surprise that the biggest scandal in the American church in the past century should erupt in Massachusetts: Nobody has been minding...

The people who hate science by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 28, 2004

To date there have been zero-- that's 0-- successful medical experiments using embryonic stem cells. There have been quite a few successful experiments using stem cells obtained from adult bone marrow. With that in mind, turn your attention to the American political scene, where two sides are...

...except the sign of Jonah by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 28, 2004

Enlightened Catholic opinion in Seattle: While Sheehan, a 75-year-old mother of seven, considers herself a loyal, lifelong Catholic, none of her eight grandchildren has been baptized. "The old me would have agonized over that," she said. "But I see that they are still beautiful, spiritual...

A voice in the wilderness by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 29, 2004

This week a militantly pro-abortion Catholic is being nominated for the US presidency, with a Catholic priest offering an invocation at the convention, and dozens of prominent Catholics enthusiastically participating in the events. Now is a time when we need clear, unequivocal leadership from...

Look on the bright side... by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 29, 2004

As the Boston Globe reminds us, 4 years ago the Democratic Party convinced the resident archbishop to say the invocation. This year, apparently, they couldn't find a willing bishop, and had to settle for a Paulist priest. Ardis has e-mailed Paulist priests around the country seeking input, and...

Did someone say "Gumbleton?" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 29, 2004

From his lofty perch at Notre Dame-- where he alternates his days between calling for an "inclusive" Church and hurling another anathema at those who disagree with him (that is, orthodox Catholics)-- Father Richard McBrien pronounces the verdict of history. In 1984, he remembers, Cardinal John...

violations by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 29, 2004

Who says the Catholic voice has been silenced in the public arena? Catholics for a Free Choice today filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service against Operation Rescue West for blatant violation of its charitable status. CFFC called on the IRS to exercise its "authority to revoke the...

almsgiving VIII by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 30, 2004

Suppose you're the rector of one of the two Maronite Catholic cathedrals in the United States. Ordained in 1986, you belong to a missionary religious order. You're a member of the eparchy's college of consultors, the head of the commission for Lebanon, procurator and advocate of the tribunal, and...

The world according to Kerry by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 30, 2004

Passing thoughts on the Democratic candidate's nomination speech: 1) Kerry said that in Boston, the Democratic delegates were meeting "only a few blocks from where the Sons and Daughters of Liberty gave birth to our nation." There was a very important group known as the Sons of Liberty in...

Supreme Knight denies rumor by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 30, 2004

With the Knights of Columbus meeting in Dallas, columnist Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News caught Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, and asked him whether it's true-- as the widespread rumor has it-- that the Vatican has instructed the KofC not to expel members who are public supporters of legal...

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