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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from August 2008

following orders? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 1, 2008

Last August, Bishop Donald Pelotte asked the public to believe that the severe injuries he had sustained were caused by a household accident, not a savage beating. Now he's ready to admit with a chuckle that his original explanation was implausible. Where does that leave us? For one thing...

Imagine by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 6, 2008

Imagine if this year millions of Catholic voters simply say 'no' -- no to every candidate of every political party who supports abortion. A beautiful thought. And it gets better: It's time we stop accommodating pro-abortion politicians, and it's time we start demanding that they accommodate...

Muddled? Who's muddled? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 7, 2008

Pat is the security guard at a bank. Mike is a bank robber. Pat is an indifferent employee. He punches the time-clock, plods through his dull routine, and waits for the paycheck on Friday. Mike, on the other hand, is a perfectionist: hard-working, methodical, punctilious about the details of...

the usual suspects by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 8, 2008

Accused anthrax terrorist Bruce Ivins was a Catholic, whose wife has been involved in the pro-life movement. Therefore, National Public Radio reports, Ivins might have read a letter charging that Senators Daschle and Leahy were betraying their Catholic faith, and that letter might have motivated...

in vino veritas by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 11, 2008

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on the case of Raymond Kownacki, a suspended priest of the Belleville, Illinois diocese with a history of trouble: In one case in the 1970s, Kownacki was accused of raping a girl — who later became pregnant — and then trying to squeeze her uterus to force...

The Problem with Being Busy by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 11, 2008

The ancients (those wonderful thinkers with plenty of slaves) had the attractive notion that a free man was one who had leisure time on his hands. They even developed the idea of the “liberal arts”, being those studies about the nature of reality which were characteristic of a free man. Slaves,...

Anglicans Who Want to Come Home by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 12, 2008

Both before and during the decennial meeting of the Anglican bishops at Lambeth (July 16 – August 3), Vatican officials were muted, to say the least, in their public responses toward Anglicans exploring the possibility of reunion with Rome. The intensity of such explorations heightens every...

New Mass translation accentuates reverence and awe by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 13, 2008

Imagine that you are a student in an introductory Latin class, and this phrase pops up on a quiz to be translated: totiusque ecclesiae suae sanctae. Fortunately you’re Catholic, and you have one of those wonderful missals with the English and Latin texts on facing pages. Working easily from...

Solzhenitsyn's message: the power of the truth by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 13, 2008

During the past week the CWN home page carried a link to a memorable essay by the late, great Alexander Solzhenitsyn, entitled ”Live Not by Lies.” If you haven’t already read (or re-read) it, I urged you to do so now. Solzhenitsyn was a prophet: not only in the sense that he spoke the truth,...

fur will fly by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 13, 2008

Italian animal-rights activists are urging Pope Benedict to stop wearing fur. Hmmm. Somehow I doubt that the fur vestments are in heavy use during the month of August. And somehow I doubt that Vatican tailors are actively hunting animals today to add pelts to the papal collection. Yet there's a...

a masterpiece at a bargain-basement price by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 13, 2008

 The Red Horse, by Eugenio Corti, is one of my all-time favorite novels. Based on historical events, and written on an epic scale, this book provides a fresh, penetrating insight into the Italian experience of World War II. Corti shows how a traditional Catholic culture was battered first by...

Where are the nine? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 13, 2008

 An Australian scholar, citing the apocryphal Armenian Gospel of the Infancy, suggests that the young Jesus and his friends probably played an early version of cricket. Ridiculous. We all know it was a rudimentary form of...

Kasper to Anglicans by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 14, 2008

I have mentioned Cardinal Walter Kasper’s address to the Anglican bishops assembled at the Lambeth Conference several times, but I have only recently been able to study it myself in depth. It constitutes the Catholic Church’s formal statement to the Anglican Communion on the state of...

what non-believers believe by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 16, 2008

"I have yet to let Jesus enter my life, but I admire Warren," writes Alan Wolfe in a New Republic essay. 

storm clouds over Amarillo by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 18, 2008

 Don't look now, but the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, the religious order founded in 2005 by Father Frank Pavone, has quietly been disbanded. The Missionaries continue to exist as a lay association, but the lay members may be confused, since they originally signed up as lay affiliates...

Both candidates stumbled at the Saddleback Forum by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 18, 2008

The first official meeting of this year's major presidential contenders took place at an Evangelical church. That fact in itself is remarkable: an unmistaken indication of how clearly both major parties recognize the importance of the Christian vote. The Saturday-night encounter was...

What’s Wrong with Liberalism? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 19, 2008

The word liberalism is used in many different senses, at least one of which has been condemned by the Church (Pius IX, Quanta Cura, 1864). At its philosophical core, liberalism seeks emancipation from the supernatural, moral and Divine order, with a rejection of all authority that does not...

Why you need CWN: illustration #6,407 by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 19, 2008

 This headline is popping up in quite a few newspapers in and around Vermont:  Former Vatican counsel castigates Vt. Church  The story-- here's a representative sample-- involves...

The Democrats' uninvited guest by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 19, 2008

When the leaders of the Democratic Party gather in Denver for their nominating convention, they'll hear from a number of prominent religious leaders. They'll hear from several prominent Catholics, too. But they won't hear from the Archbishop of Denver, points out Julia Duin of theWashington...

Prayer while shaving by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 20, 2008

Who needs a tabernacle, when you can use a mirror? A Catholic priest in India, the founder of the Universal Solidarity Movement, has devised a new form of prayer: in a small room dominated by a large mirror. The faithful are asked to spend an hour gazing at the image of themselves, and discover...

Benedict on Saving the Planet, Impromptu by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 21, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI is at his best when taking impromptu questions. Recently, in a meeting between Benedict and ecclesiastics of the Italian Diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone, Father Karl Golser asked the Pope how to increase the sense of responsibility for creation among Christian communities, and how...

Adoption for Same-Sex ‘Couples’ by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 21, 2008

Catholic agencies have been divided on how to handle requests for adoption by homosexual couples. In recent years, this division has been exacerbated by two opposing forces: On the one hand, governments have begun requiring equal treatment for gay “parents”; on the other, the Vatican has made it...

introducing complications by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 22, 2008

At the Saddleback Forum, Senator Obama stumbled badly over the question of when human life begins. Speaking to a Virginia television audience on August 20, he tried again, with downright laughable results: I don't think this issue has to be resolved in terms of when life begins. It is resolved,...

very personal by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 24, 2008

 The top headline in the New York Times reads: In Obama's choice, a very personal decision. Where have we heard that phrase before: "a very personal decision"? Wait! Do you mean Obama's choice was an...

minimum necessary force by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 26, 2008

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When the Gospel is Me by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 26, 2008

It was last Sunday. We were attending Mass in a strange town, and the Gospel was taken from St. Matthew (16:13-20). Christ asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” It is a passage Catholics typically remember because it ends with a powerful ecclesiastical...

drones by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 26, 2008

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, has joined with several priests of his diocese in a strong critique of US immigration law. Well OK, a bishop should be free to criticize legislation. But... In their public statement, the bishop and his priests ask immigration officials...

discrete observations on convention wisdom by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 27, 2008

Thoroughly disproving the nostrum that the apple never falls far from the tree, US Senator "finger puppet"  Bob Casey Jr.--son of the late Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey--rose to the Democrat Convention podium giving a speech suggesting that the Democrat party is becoming pro-life....

apostolic priorities by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 27, 2008

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togetherheid by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 27, 2008

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bowing to the inevitable, but not too fast by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 27, 2008

 The burning question that divides the Anglican communion is homosexuality. At the Lambeth Conference, Anglican divines discussed how they could resolve that question-- or, better, agree to leave it unresolved. Looking back upon those discussions, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

The promise of tomorrow by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 27, 2008

 If I understand the convention rhetoric properly, the Democratic Party leadership is promising to deliver the future.  A vote for Democrats, they tell us, is a vote for the future.  As opposed to what? The future is coming. Unless you're contemplating suicide or watching...

the incompetence defense by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 27, 2008

Former Belleville Bishop Wilton Gregory testified Tuesday that key documents concerning an accused priest were kept from him while he was leading an investigation into sexual abuse of minors in the 1990s. So once again we have an American bishop offering an excuse that undermines his own claim to...

Thank you, Nancy Pelosi! by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 27, 2008

Thank you, Nancy Pelosi! In the course of your memorable interview with Tom Brokaw, Madam Speaker, you accomplished several things that battle-weary pro-life activists might have considered impossible. 1. You introduced an argument so profoundly stupid that not even pro-abortion...

Thinking Twice about the Environment by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 27, 2008

With environmental hysteria reaching new heights, it is helpful to take a look at what the Judeo-Christian tradition says about the relationship of man to his environment, and about the proper way to handle environmental concerns. The Acton Institute sponsored a conference of Jewish, Protestant...

in loco parentis by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 28, 2008

Augustine Today by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 28, 2008

August 28th is the feast of the great St. Augustine, arguably the most significant Father of the Church. Augustine has much in common with us today. He grew up in a largely pagan society, where education was dominated by men who opposed the teachings of Christ. Spiritually, he was a late bloomer,...

the futility of high fashion sacrilege by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 29, 2008

especially troublesome by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 29, 2008

The National Abortion Rights Action League is spitting mad over McCain's pick of Sarah Palin as his running mate. The phrase "anti-choice" occurs eleven times in its heavy-breathing press release. Here's NARAL's Nancy Keenan:  "John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as...

That's the ticket by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 29, 2008

 Vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin talks about her Down Syndrome child: We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is...

Integrity in Politics by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 29, 2008

The selection of Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, as John McCain’s running mate has people thinking about integrity again. Palin is a pro-life mother of five who makes no bones about fighting corruption and standing up for the vulnerable. She opposes abortion not only in speech but in personal...

minority rules by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Aug 30, 2008

This November, voters in the state of Colorado will be asked to approve legal definition of a "person" as "any human being from the moment of fertilization." Proponents of legal abortion are understandably worried about this referendum question, the Washington Post

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