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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from August 2007

pre-marital divorce... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 2, 2007

Pre-marital divorce could soon be a legal reality in Rhode Island. The test case involves two women whose partnership was given the legal status of marriage in Massachusetts. Now a court in neighboring Rhode Island is weighing the question of whether they can be divorced in that state,...

"PQ" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 2, 2007

Several years back the Left fired a shotgun load of lurid comedic attacks at the Boy Scouts, and missed. These attacks found their epitome in a sexual parody by Elton John (no pun intended) that ended with a sex dance by a gang of male strippers dressed as teenage Boy Scouts--hilarious stuff it...

Total Reform by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 3, 2007

At the June 8th meeting of the Catholic Theological Society of America, Christopher Ruddy addressed the “ecclesiological issues behind the sexual abuse crisis.” I haven’t been a fan of the CTSA, but Ruddy is right on target. He says that things won’t get better if all we do is address abuses. We...

into the twilight by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 4, 2007

Whenever an organization begins to lose its grasp on the message it wants to deliver, it concentrates its efforts on improving the means of delivery. With gratifying timeliness, ECUSA has responded to its identity crisis by developing an Organizational Effectiveness Plan to streamline the...

arts & letters by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 5, 2007

Reviewing Hillary Clinton's autobiography, P.J. O'Rourke wrote, "If you plan not to read this summer, Living History is just the book." Let me add to that admirable list Father Andrew Greeley's latest oeuvre, summarized in the current U.S. Catholic by editor Heidi Schlumpf: God, the church,...

collared by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 5, 2007

The photo above purports to show (Lutheran) Church of Sweden clergy demonstrating yesterday in Stockholm to "break the conspiracy of silence regarding homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals." Few of us, perhaps, would have noticed a great deal of silence on the issue, but I suppose these...

girl talk by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 5, 2007

In today's NYT Magazine, Deborah Solomon interviews card-carrying intellectual Mary Gordon to a draw. Neither the questions nor the replies are memorable, but I suppose Squeaky Fromme might draw comfort from the following exchange: Solomon: Are you a Hillary Clinton supporter?Gordon: I think...

gold fish & red herrings by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 6, 2007

Busted Halo's Bill McGarvey interviews Melinda Henneberger, who, as is her wont, pin-balls all over the theological map as her feelings flip her. I found the following question put by McGarvey particularly discouraging. Despite their rhetoric, I often wonder whether some Republican...

manifesto by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 6, 2007

Prof. Robert George has a must-read "plea to Catholics" on the First Things blog. An excerpt: In any event, for those of us who believe that the Church is a reliable teacher of truth, and that her doctrine is fundamentally sound, the last thing we desire is a transformation of the Church’s...

Jesus of Nazareth by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 6, 2007

An interesting (and, considering the source, somewhat surprising) point made by Peter Steinfels in his Commonweal review of Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth: One might expect that the Jesus of history would be a flesh-and-blood person, and the Christ of faith the more theoretical product of...

gender-bending & structural change by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 7, 2007

Responding to the clergy sex abuse crisis, Jesuit Father Raymond Schroth calls for structural change in the Roman Catholic Church and lists five "obstacles" to progress, one of which is Catholicism: [The fourth obstacle to reform] is the church's moral authority as a teacher of sexual...

Is There a Vocation to Business? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 7, 2007

All those who think about economics, especially businessmen, wonder at one time or another about the great rules of production and exchange. Which economic systems are capable of producing prosperity? Do such systems operate according to fixed laws or are they culturally conditioned? These...

which is the greater scandal? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 8, 2007

I have already called readers' attention to the alarm sounded by Prof. Robert George in his "plea to Catholics" on the First Things blog. That succinct and powerful statement deserves a second mention; read it all. Coming back to George's essay to read it afresh, my attention was captured by...

no sweat by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 9, 2007

Fr. Bob admitted to the police the illicit pleasures of jogging... on an outdoor track... at a high school... in a small town... during the wee hours of the mornin... buck naked. Fr. Bob also admitted that his frolic was "wrong" but that he "didn't think anyone...

The Annulment Problem by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 9, 2007

The problem with annulments is deeper than the corruption of the tribunal system in the United States. A profound lack of formation and even courage is at the root of it all. Substantially more annulments are granted in the United States than in any other country of the world. The numbers are...

full cooperation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 10, 2007

This morning I cut myself while shaving. If the police choose to investigate the incident I promise my full cooperation. All questions should be directed to the law firm of Waffel & Howe, which I have engaged in connection with this unfortunate matter. No story here, folks. Can't imagine why...

The Truth about Eucharistic Adoration by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 10, 2007

August is the month of the Eucharist, and I have noticed an increase of materials on that topic in our parish vestibule. One printed item features the headline, “What Has Happened to My Devotion?”. The article proceeds to explain favorably the new community-centric experience of Christ that has...

thank God for bad translations by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 11, 2007

During his visit to Nashville this past week, to address the Knights of Columbus convention, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone was asked at a press conference to comment on the American sex-abuse scandal. Probably the best thing that could be said about the Vatican Secretary of State's remarks is that...

always and everywhere... except Gaylord by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 13, 2007

Father Rob Johansen blogged the story first, and Father Z picked up on it quickly, but your poor Uncle Di spent the weekend in a slack-jawed stupor, unable to respond. Bishop Patrick Cooney of Gaylord, Michigan, has forbidden the use of Latin in the Roman Catholic liturgy.

Christians, Pay Your Taxes! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 13, 2007

I had to smile at Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi’s complaint that Church leaders don’t speak out frequently enough against tax evasion. He never hears sermons about this at Mass. Yet, Prodi claims, hundreds of thousands of Italian taxpayers understate their income every year. Prodi’s...

no sweat – the saga continues. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 14, 2007

In the August 9 posting “no sweat,” your Uncle Di observed that one Rev. Mr. Robert Whipkey, 53, was charged with indecent exposure. Fr. Bob admitted to police that he cast aside his clothing, modesty and morals, and in light of the bizarre nature of the admitted behavior, we wondered aloud...

a dying breed by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 14, 2007

Look at it this way: If Dutch Christians catch the bishop's enthusiasm for condoms, pretty soon everyone in the country will be praying to...

the price of victory by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 14, 2007

Here's the scenario: A fire has somehow started in the bushes just outside your home. It's not a very big fire yet, but it's dangerous; if the flames jump over to the porch, your whole house could catch. Fortunately the garden hose is just a few feet away. Turn it on, dowse the flames, and...

A Rose by Any Other Name? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 14, 2007

Bishop Martinus Muskens of Breda in The Netherlands has called upon Christians to begin calling God “Allah”. Bishop Muskens is confident this will promote better relations with Muslims and, after all, “God doesn’t really care how we address Him.” We are not amused…or are we? On the one hand,...

entirely believable by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 15, 2007

The chancellor of the Gallup diocese wants you to know that when he said that he thought Bishop Pelotte looked as if he'd been beaten, he didn't mean that Bishop Pelotte looked as if he'd been beaten. Perfectly clear, I trust? Lujan said the bishop, who had been sick for a couple of days,...

tiny tears by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 17, 2007

Breda Bishop Martinus "Tiny" Muskens has added another 40 seconds toward his longed-for fifteen minutes of fame with his darling declaration that Catholics should call God "Allah." OK, it's true that Allah is the Arabic common noun for God, used by Arab-speaking Christians without the slightest...

when less is more by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 17, 2007

Back in the early Fifties, a papal allocution to an assemblage of ENT specialists might deploy a phrase like "the divinely ordained harmony among ear, nose, and throat." Thus George Weigel begins his weekly column in the Denver Catholic Register, gently poking fun at the old-style papal...

the first of the worst by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 17, 2007

Former Lafayette (Louisiana) Bishop Gerard Frey died Thursday at 92. He was among the most outrageously negligent of the abuser-shifting bishops and the first to watch his diocese get buggered into bankruptcy. Frey's most notorious protegee was the multiple molester Gilbert Gauthe. Gauthe...

Writing for CatholicCulture.org: Why Readers Matter by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 17, 2007

To say that I am astonished by the intelligence of CatholicCulture.org users sounds condescending. It is better to stress the truly edifying generosity with which this intelligence is shared. I rarely write anything without receiving comments which enrich my understanding of the topic. This...

Victorian secrets by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 20, 2007

Columnist Jean Torkelson of the Rocky Mountain News offers a balanced appraisal of the damage done by a local priest with a penchant for nude jogging. But some of the people interviewed for the Torkelson piece have more pronounced views. "This isn't the Victorian age," one woman snapped....

Wikipedia Scandal: Vatican Mole Reports by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 20, 2007

The BBC reported last Thursday that the Vatican has altered entries on Wikipedia, specifically the article on Gerry Adams, the Irish leader of the political party Sinn Fein. According to the story, a tool called the Wikipedia Scanner shows the identity of organizations which alter Wikipedia...

Christ, Apollo and the Penetration of Reality by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 21, 2007

In 1960, William Lynch (1908 – 1987) wrote a landmark work of literary criticism which was to become a legend among those who grasp the sacramental approach to reality. Lynch entitled his work Christ and Apollo, with Apollo symbolizing the leap away from the real in the name of enlightenment, and...

Grow up! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 23, 2007

If you read the newspaper accounts you can easily piece together what happened. Bishop Edward Kmiec of Buffalo, New York, encountered a man named William Parks, who has been highly critical of diocesan policies. There was an argument, tempers flared, and the bishop probably waved his finger. Parks...

let us now praise illustrious women by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 23, 2007

In King Lear (III:vii) there is a man who is such a minor character that Shakespeare has not given him even a name: he is merely "First Servant." All the characters around him -- Regan, Cornwall, and Edmund -- have fine long-term plans. They think they know how the story is going to end, and they...

them separated brethren by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 23, 2007

In amongst the National Catholic Reporter's classified ads, under the admirably elastic "vocations" heading, we're always bound to find a gateway to entertaining reading. This week we find an ad for the autocephalous American Catholic Church ("progressive, diverse, inclusive"), whereat we're...

Abuse: The Costs Go Higher by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 23, 2007

We all thought we knew the full price of the sex abuse scandal: The psychological and emotional distress of the victims, the suffering of priests tainted (justly and unjustly) by the scandal, the loss of ecclesial credibility, and the monumental financial cost to the faithful from settlements now...

down pat by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 24, 2007

Pat Power, the 65-year-old auxiliary bishop of Canberra-Goulburn (Australia), is one of those mildly embarrassing Tom Gumbleton figures who combines uncritical enthusiasm for Leftist nostrums with a cringe-making itch for publicity. Perhaps as a younger man his idealism was supple enough to...

a good deed daily by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 25, 2007

A lawsuit brought by two brothers in Seattle has revealed that the Boy Scouts of America have a problem with sexual abuse. It's a serious problem. But-- here's the interesting thing-- the Boy Scouts have treated it seriously. The previously private records show the Boy Scouts have ejected...

truth in advertising by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 27, 2007

Barr Pharmaceuticals, the American distributors of the "morning-after" pill, continues to insist that their product can prevent pregnancy when it is taken after intercourse. And remarkably enough, the company has no problem finding reporters who are willing to believe that the pill can...

Union with God: Practice is the Key by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 27, 2007

When attempting to grow into union with God, the key word used by great spiritual writers is “practice”—as in practicing the presence of God. There are two aspects to the word “practice” which bear upon this fundamental goal in life. The primary meaning of “practicing the presence of God” is...

The Culture Wars: Former Christians Running Away by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 28, 2007

The Thomas More Law Center gets involved in a lot of striking cases. Yesterday the non-profit legal group announced that it will represent citizens opposed to the opening of an Islamic academy by the New York City Department of Education. The Khalil Gibran International Academy is slated to...

dream girl by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 29, 2007

"Lesbian Could Head Episcopal Diocese" blares the headline of a Chicago Sun-Times story about the nomination of the Rev. Tracey Lind as a "finalist" -- a curious expression -- for bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. She's found within herself the courage to go forward: "I believe that...

Lay Ecclesial Ministry and the Vatican II Generation by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 30, 2007

The Second Vatican Council is said to have ushered in the age of the laity, and the post-conciliar period has certainly seen an increase in lay ministry in the Church. However, critics have suggested that so far the age of the laity has resulted mainly in the clericalization of the laity, and even...

august ecclesiastics by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 31, 2007

It hasn't been a great month for polishing the reputation of senior churchmen. Gallup, New Mexico, presents us with the Mystery of the Bouncing Bishop: the newly-bashful Donald E. Pelotte. Back on July 23rd, When Pelotte failed to show up at the office for an appointment, his chancellor Timoteo...

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