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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from July 2007

applause line by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 2, 2007

Since I wasn't at Mass, I didn't hesitate to break out in applause reading this passage from a refreshing column by Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, NJ (with a tip to Father Z): Today it has become commonplace at the end of the Liturgy to recite a litany of gratitude for all those who, in...

a post-Christian memorial service by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 2, 2007

To honor the dead you can say a prayer, or light a candle, or decorate a gravestone, or... you can get a big crowd together and party, figuring that the deceased would want you all to have fun. Fair enough; I don't think Princess Di would object to a rock concert. Just tell me: What does it mean,...

Greeting the Fourth by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 3, 2007

Committed Catholics in America sometimes fret over the celebration of Independence Day. The culture wars keep us focused on so much that is seriously wrong in our country. This can lead to depression and bitterness when it comes to our preeminent national holiday. But what other perspective is...

The Irrelevance of the CTSA by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 3, 2007

For years, the Catholic Theological Society of America has been a preserve of modernist and semi-modernist theologians who spend much of their time reinterpreting, rather than illuminating and deepening, the teachings of the Church. Fr. Richard John Neuhaus had already commented in First Things...

and many an eye has danced by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 4, 2007

A happy 4th of July to all our readers in the US-- or outside the US for that matter. If you're wondering what is THE best way to celebrate Independence Day, how about this plan, being carried out by former CWN hand Dom Bettinelli? Can you top it? Not a...

how to empty out a newsroom by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 4, 2007

If your local newspaper had the same policies as the Polish Press Agency, would there be any reporters left on the...

Pssst. I’ll Pay You to Convert . . . by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 5, 2007

Malaysia has become a case study illustrating why government should deliberately provide neither incentives nor disincentives to join a particular religious group. Conversion away from Islam in that country is punished with five years in prison and a $3,000 fine. But a Muslim who marries a...

team player by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 6, 2007

Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton worries that the Pope's motu proprio "may prove seriously divisive." It's good of him to mention his concern in a private letter to the Holy Father. Oh, wait. That wasn't a private letter. He was quoted in the Daily Telegraph. Bishop Conry...

the liturgical Edsel by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 6, 2007

Suppose you're a car dealer. And suppose you hear that your competitor down the street is planning to re-introduce the Edsel. How do you respond? You could say: It doesn't matter. Nobody liked the Edsel in the 1950s, and nobody will like it now. If he wants to waste his own time, that's...

There are limits... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 6, 2007

Perhaps you remember Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, the Episcopalian priestess who hass discovered that she is also a Muslim. We are pained to report that Bishop Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island, who ordained Redding, has now suspended her from public ministry. Bishop Wolf explains carefully that she...

Islam and Christianity: The Problem of the Public Order by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 6, 2007

In a recent blog entry, I commented on the efforts of the Malaysian government to financially reward those who convert to Islam, while penalizing those who abandon that faith. I suggested this was an insult to Islam as, were the shoe on the other foot, it would be an insult to Christ. The...

motu proprio translation error by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 7, 2007

The US bishops' translation of Summorum Pontificum, which is appearing everywhere on the internet, contains what appears to be a cut-and-paste error: Article 1 of the motu proprio, as rendered in that translation, reads: "These two expressions of the law of prayer (lex orandi) of the Church in...

the pastoral approach by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 8, 2007

Rev. John F. Baldovin, a professor of historical and liturgical theology at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, tells the Boston Globe that he understands the appeal of the old Mass. But I think this is the wrong way to go about redressing some of the mistakes of the last 40...

the saddest day by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 8, 2007

Here's what I actually did read about an Italian bishop's reaction to the motu proprio: "I can't fight back the tears. This is the saddest moment in my life as a man, priest and bishop," Luca Brandolini, a member of the liturgy commission of the Italian bishops' conference, told Rome daily La...

If only St. Athanasius had a pollster by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 9, 2007

The ubiquitous Father Tom Reese, formerly of America, naturally had some sound-bites prepared about the motu proprio. A few highlights: If the pope issues a Motu proprio allowing the use of the Tridentine mass without the local bishop’s permission, he is basically saying that he does not trust...

a blow to Anglo-Saxons by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 9, 2007

My friend "Cheshire" offers the real reasons to oppose the motu proprio: By permitting the English language to be replaced by Latin, a language spoken by ancient Italians who enslaved the Greeks and built a wall in Yorkshire to keep out Scottish migrant workers, Pope Benedict XVI has delivered...

A Final Note on Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 10, 2007

It is worthwhile offering one final comment on Benedict XVI’s book. In addition to the serious theological scholarship and profound spiritual insight characteristic of the work, Benedict occasionally aims some well-deserved jabs at the academic abuses characteristic of Catholic Biblical...

non-criminal illegality by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 11, 2007

A quick question for Archbishop Marchetto: If you're living in a country illegally, how do you go about showing your respect for that country's...

The Goods of the Church at Work, Elsewhere by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 11, 2007

In a most interesting series of questions and answers issued yesterday, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith attempted to clarify Vatican II’s teaching on the nature of the Church of Christ, and its identity with the Catholic Church. This was deemed necessary because of continual...

lodging an objection by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 12, 2007

We've already noted the dismay of Bishop Luca Brandolini over the Pope's motu proprio. But let's take a closer look: • Bishop Brandolini is a former aide to, and proud disciple of, the late Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, a principal architect of the 1969 liturgical reforms. Brandolini now wears...

A Turf War over Summorum Pontificum? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 12, 2007

Some people claim Summorum Pontificum authorizes a wider use of the 1962 Roman Missal. Others assert that its obvious purpose is to encourage the development of retreat centers and to declare St. Ignatius of Loyola the Patron of Spiritual Exercises. What nobody in this heated controversy seems...

and wouldn't you like to have been a fly on the wall by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 12, 2007

It's never comfortable for a media outlet to issue an apology. But when the outlet is BBC, and the the apology is issued to HRH Elizabeth II, you have the makings of a few more headlines. Oh, yes, and BBC apologized to Annie Leibovitz too. That's a different story, given the circumstances as...

dog bites man by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 13, 2007

Our hearty congratulations to the Baltimore Sun for its big scoop. Thanks to the Sun's diligent reporting, we now know that the incoming Archbishop of Baltimore agrees with the teachings of the Catholic Church! Actually, come to think of it, we only know that Archbishop O'Brien supports...

say it ain't so, Joe by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 13, 2007

As a Red Sox fan I admit that I was troubled by the headline: Pope signs contract with the Yankees Oh. Ryan Pope is a baseball player. Relax. Crisis of faith...

What Does Summorum Pontificum Say? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 13, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontficum consists of a general introduction followed by a series of prescriptions for addressing the use throughout the Church of the Roman Missal of 1962. In this blog entry, I simply summarize the document and what it decrees. For an explanation of...

Why Was Summorum Pontificum Issued? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 13, 2007

Whenever Rome issues any sort of disciplinary decree, especially one with widespread liturgical repercussions, it is important to understand exactly why the change was thought to be necessary or beneficial. In this entry, I examine the reasons Benedict himself gave for expanding the use of the...

Summorum Pontificum: What Will Its Impact Be? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 13, 2007

Perhaps the most interesting question surrounding Summorum Pontificum is what its impact is likely to be. This Motu Proprio is a disciplinary decree concerning the liturgy. In other words, it is a policy decision, and its wisdom and effectiveness will be decided ultimately by the results. In the...

stock tip? con game? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 13, 2007

Easily the oddest story coming out of Rome this week is the news that the Vatican has become the world's first "carbon-neutral" state, by planting enough trees in a Hungarian forest to offset the Vatican's CO2 emissions. The announcement was made jointly by Planktos, a for-profit environmental...

VOTF, your 15 minutes are up by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 13, 2007

The sex-abuse scandal in Boston and the unflagging editorial support of the Boston Globe helped catapult Voice of the Faithful into national prominence. But from the start there have been questions about whether VOTF represents all the faithful, or only those inclined toward leftist causes. In...

same song, different verse by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 15, 2007

Almost precisely 5 years ago, the spokesman for the Los Angeles archdiocese was providing reassuring quotes for the Los Angele Times "It is important for the victims, their families and the church to expedite this process and move toward a brighter future," said Tod Tamberg, an archdiocese...

I'm central, you're central by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 16, 2007

Hearty congratulations are apparently due to St. Augustine, whose works provided "hints" of the wisdom that has now come to completion in a Boston Globe op-ed by James Carroll, with the modest title "Pope Benedict's Mistake." Carroll-- once a Paulist priest, now a paid Catholic-basher who...

go figure by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 16, 2007

Time: 8:15a Date: July 16, 2007 Place: St Luke’s Elementary School Class: 8th grade arithmetic, just after morning prayer. Teacher: Sister Mary OK class, take out your paper and a pencil. Here’s the quiz problem for the day. Pay attention, it’s a word problem with rounding. The new...

Adam Smith, call home by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 16, 2007

To eliminate poverty, the learned archbishop says, we need.. ..an integration between the mechanisms that produce wealth and the mechanisms for the distribution of its benefits... We have one. It's called the marketplace. And you'd like to replace it...

The SSPX Response to Benedict’s Motu Proprio by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 16, 2007

The news is a few days old, but I haven’t had a chance to comment on it. The head of the Society of St. Pius X has described the expansion of use of the 1962 Missal as “not a step, but a leap in the right direction.” He also holds out hope for another conciliatory step: the lifting of the decree...

an argument comes full circle by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 17, 2007

Sometimes if you alter an argument just a little bit, you can gain a real insight. Take, for instance, this argument against about the post-conciliar changes in the liturgy. I'm going to change the sentence just bit; my amendment is in italics: The celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass...

cassocks-only.... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 18, 2007

Chris Weinkopf, the editorial-page editor of the Los Angeles Daily News, interviewed Cdl Mahony yesterday,  and logs this gem: Weinkopf: What about the charge that the problem is a lack of discipline and orthodoxy in the seminaries? Mahony: Well, first of all that's one of the things that we...

"Our shared moral tradition..." by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 19, 2007

Leaders of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops have agreed to meet with a group of 14 Democratic lawmakers to discuss how they might work together to end US military involvement in Iraq. In fact the USCCB has already done its little bit by issuing a press release to call attention to the...

the nicer kind of pornographers by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 19, 2007

A forthcoming study by the Federal Bureau of Prisons will point toward a "startlingly high" correlation between child pornography and the sexual abuse of children, the New York Times reports. In other words, the people who enjoy looking at sexual images involving children are likely to be the same...

The Church: Who's In and Who's Out? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 20, 2007

An ancient Catholic dictum has been brought back to center stage by the recent clarifications of Vatican II’s teaching on the Church by the CDF. I refer to the doctrine of extra ecclesiam nulla salus (“outside the Church there is no salvation”). My email has been fairly hammering with confusion...

Global Warming and Catholics by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 22, 2007

By now it is a commonplace of counter-cultural reporting that concern about global warming is as much the latest secularist crisis of salvation as it is anything else. Should Catholics be concerned about it, one way or another? While the scientific community is generally agreed that the globe...

percents by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 24, 2007

Fifth graders find it difficult to master the idea of a ratio because they don't at first grasp the idea that changing the denominator can produce changes in the entire ratio just as much as changing the numerator. The same rules and misunderstandings apply when computing percents.  This may...

point of order by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 27, 2007

Utterly null, absolutely void, and endowed with gushing media coverage: another non-ordination of non-Catholics -- in Santa Barbara this time -- by persons in error on both counts. Brace yourself for some elegant and lucid journalism: Besides their gender deviating from the Catholic priest...

effective fundraisers know their audience by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 27, 2007

"Segmentation"-- that's the buzz-word in fundraising these days. You've got to know which audience you're addressing, and then know how to push the right buttons. If you're looking for support for a gun-control organization, better steer clear of deer-hunting territory. And if you want to support...

the hate business by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 28, 2007

Last Saturday, we're informed by the California Catholic Daily, a Gay Pride March took place in San Diego. Along the route the marchers passed a Los Angeles-based group of street preachers who, according to the CCD, "held bold-lettered signs with Bible verses condemning homosexuality." Police...

and if the bugle gives an indistinct sound,... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 28, 2007

Father J. Bryan Hehir, once memorably described by Ralph McInerny as the eminence chauve behind the US bishops' pastoral letter on nuclear weapons, has now become the eminence chauve behind public policy of the Boston archdiocese. To fill his old spot as head of the local office of Catholic...

sheepish, shaken, and angry by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 29, 2007

When the New York Times Sunday Week in Review takes notice of Catholic churchmanship, you can hear alarms whooping in the background. Something the editors cherish must be at risk. This morning's topic is the Latin Mass, which 42-year-old NYT writer Lawrence Downes inspected out of curiosity. It...

a missed opportunity? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 29, 2007

Enlightened Australia has decided it's more concerned than the Church for the well-being of her youth. From the Sydney Morning Herald: The Catholic Church says it will not co-operate with any safe-sex campaign to educate 500,000 young pilgrims expected to flock to Sydney for Australia's...

help is on the way by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 30, 2007

Richard Sklba, auxiliary Bishop of Milwaukee, indulges in some ominous knuckle-cracking so as to prep the archdiocese for more widespread employment of the creature variously termed the "parish director," "parish life coordinator," and "lay pastoral minister": an innovation which -- like the...

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