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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from September 2006

foiled again! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 1, 2006

So you thought the Mounties had morphed out of their valiant traditions of chivalry? Not a bit of it. On their website, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police prove they're still out to rescue damsels in distress. What villainy, you ask, threatens today's north-of-the-border maiden? Gender...

the gourmet diocese by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 2, 2006

It took a private investigator to uncover the $200,000 apparently skimmed from parish funds, but the latest topic of discussion in Darien, Connecticut is whether or not ordinary people-- and the chancery-- should have known that Father Michael Fay was partying hard with his boyfriend. Those who...

the quality of mercy, strained by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 2, 2006

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has agreed to pay $8.25 million of a $16.65 million settlement with ten abuse victims of Fr. Siegfried Widera, who committed suicide in 2003. Known to have abused boys in Wisconsin, Widera was slime-lined to the Diocese of Orange, where he continued to groom and...

and for our Saturday-afternoon schismatic liturgy,... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 2, 2006

Check the weekly bulletin of St. Joan of Arc parish in Minneapolis, and-- right next to the item on "Eco-Spirituality"-- you'll find this notice: Call to Action Minnesota: Womenpriests Celebrate the Eucharist. On Saturday, September 23, 4-8 pm. Call to Action invites you to a Eucharistic...

da capo: reform of the reform by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 2, 2006

The September Adoremus Bulletin is out, in which Helen Hitchcock has a meaty and well-turned essay on Pope Benedict and the Liturgical Reform. It's perhaps more accurately titled "Joseph Ratzinger and the Liturgical Reform," since it deals with the cursus of his thought from the days of the...

work by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 3, 2006

From Pope John Paul II's 1981 encyclical Laborem exercens: The ancient world introduced its own typical differentiation of people into classes according to the type of work done. Work which demanded from the worker the exercise of physical strength, the work of muscles and hands, was considered...

another hope dead in the cradle by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 4, 2006

Already playing for the wrong team on the gay marriage issue, Senate candidate Bob Casey has now thrown over Catholic teaching on life (and dishonored his father's memory) by taking a dive for Plan B. Rod Dreher reports on Casey's Meet the Press capitulation: Then the Plan B issue came up....

conspicuous compassion as a non-aggression pact by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 4, 2006

Thanks to Gerald Augustinus for picking up on this gem from Minneapolis' St. Joan of Arc parish bulletin, written in response to negative reactions to its womenpriest liturgy. Fr. Jim DeBruycker, the pastor, puts us right: Who is ordained is one of those issues which comes right at the...

the pope as assassin by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 5, 2006

The city of Paris renamed the plaza outside of Notre Dame Cathedral after Pope John Paul II and the AZT-for-Lunch Bunch is livid. Among the groups whose members turned up on Sunday to protest the French capital's official honoring of the late pope: Act Up - Paris, the Pink Panthers, the Sisters...

not single-issue voters by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 5, 2006

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is serious about social justice. During the past 5 years LCWR has issued statements on immigration and the death penalty and racism and debt relief and water usage and nonviolence and the Millenium Development Goals and the Earth Charter and Walmart and...

the flaw within by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 6, 2006

Good point by Mark Steyn: The bad news is that Islam will soon be able to enforce submission-conversion at the point of a nuke. The good news is that any religion that needs to do that is, by definition, a weak...

just the right amount of death by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 6, 2006

The U.S. Catholic posts one of those exasperating "seeking common ground" articles on abortion. We've all read enough of them to sketch the outline: Our country is stalemated on the issue. Both sides have entrenched positions. The way forward is compromise. Compromise means pro-lifers' conceding...

A New Vision of Religious Life? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 6, 2006

Here comes Father David Couturier, OFM Cap. to utterly transform religious life. Addressing the annual assembly of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men on August 5th, Fr. Couturier, who is dean of the theology school at St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, wastes no time beating...

outlook cloudy by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 6, 2006

Some men have a talent for making murky problems clear. Others have a knack for making clear problems murky. The Archbishop of Canterbury emphatically belongs to the latter camp. It certainly hasn't hurt his career. Perhaps whatever unity the Anglican Communion today enjoys is due to Dr....

mentoring by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 7, 2006

What would we do without the NCR classifieds? Under the rubric "Spiritual Coaching" we are directed to Whitehawk Spirit Coaching, LLC. Your Head Coach is Gavin Young. Got your ankles taped? Gavin Young has a M.A. in Systematic & Historical Theology from the Graduate Theological Union,...

the welcome guest by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 7, 2006

Bishop Kevin Dowling is in upstate New York this week, giving talks about the fight against AIDS. You might think it odd that a bishop from a small diocese (Rustenberg) in South Africa gets invitations to speak in Saratoga Springs. But if you hear what he has to say, the mystery disappears. A...

changes by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 8, 2006

An anonymous Anglican clergyman (who reads uncannily like a cross between Edward Gibbon and P.G. Wodehouse's Reverend Heppenstall), penned the following Preface to an 1838 reprinting of the Authorised Version of the Bible. [Not, repeat not, a parody.] It begs to be read aloud, from a carved...

the right to lose by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 8, 2006

South Dakota's abortion ban will be put to a referendum this November. In the September 11 issue of America, Rapid City Bishop Blase Cupich calls for "civility and depth" in the upcoming debates on the issue. "Let us recognize," he says, "that in public discourse moral passion must walk hand in...

tick, tick by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 8, 2006

I wish he were wrong, but I fear he's not. Poll-cruncher Dick Morris thinks Hillary has the best shot at getting into the Oval Office next time around. In addition to the traditional, locked-in constituencies (gays, unionized teachers, presidents of Georgetown), Hillary will be able to jack up...

Is the Society of St. Pius X Schismatic? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 8, 2006

Recently we’ve been criticized for referring to the Society of St. Pius X as a “schismatic” group. This is the organization founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre as a way of preserving what he saw as authentic Catholic values and practices in the wake of the upheaval in the Church since...

good old boy by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 8, 2006

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have one biological child, plus two adopted. You might think they're ready to make a commitment. Wrong! It's a matter of social justice, Brad explains: "Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally...

absolute evil, exposed by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 10, 2006

In his weekly homily, Bishop Gumbleton expounds the Gospel of Mark: There's a current piece of legislation that will raise that minimum wage up to $7.25 over a three year period. It failed before the Congress broke for the summer recess. It was a good thing it failed, because the Republicans...

old lies & new by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 10, 2006

The Joseph Sobran site reposts a column from 1997 called "Two Ways of Lying," in which he dissects the "new rules" of public morality. An excerpt: Under the new rules, you can be called a hypocrite for upholding old standards of virtue that you don't exemplify perfectly; but you can't be...

the culture of death: a footnote by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 11, 2006

A single mum in Scotland is taking legal action to get 250,000 pounds from the National Health Service. Pregnant with twins at 16, she went for an abortion, and the Health Care Providers only succeeded in bagging one of the targets. The survivor is now five years old and starting school. A...

can't we fake it until the children are grown? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 11, 2006

"Utility, economy, and apparent durability are the qualities to be sought for, I think." -- Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall (Doctor Fagan's instructions on purchasing trophies for the school sports day.) There's a solemnity to the cynicism of liberal ecclesiastics that keeps it teetering on...

faith journeys by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 12, 2006

Amy links to an article from the Toronto Star gauging the local reaction to the Pope's ad limina address to the Catholic bishops. An excerpt: Donna Marie Kennedy, president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, says students in the separate school system are taught Catholic...

exceptionally inclusive of me by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 12, 2006

Cardinal Mahony popped into St. Victor's in West Hollywood last Saturday to remind the assembly of the "importance of the broader church to be inclusive to all people." Think he was giving voice to his concern at the paucity of millwrights and welders on St. Victor's parish council? Neither do...

and to illustrate his point,... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 13, 2006

In Bavaria on Monday, Pope Benedict said that the developing world, looking toward the West, is "frightened by a form of rationality which totally excludes God from man's vision." On Wednesday, the New York Times reported on another papal address, delivered at the University of Regensburg. The...

what the man said by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 13, 2006

Twice in the past week, the new director of the Vatican press office, Father Federico Lombardi, has told reporters that the Pope is not criticizing the Islamic faith. See today's CWN story for the latest instance in which the papal spokesman appears to be anxiously softening the Pontiff's...

On Humanitarianism and Animal Rights by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 14, 2006

I was reading a collection of sailing stories the other day (have I mentioned that I enjoy sailing?), one of which was written by the late Cleveland Amory. The introduction described Amory as a “famed humanitarian” because he “devoted much of his life to animal rights.” What? Let me read that...

documentation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 15, 2006

Bishop Tod Brown of Orange, California, responds to a lay group whose members protested-- among other things-- being required to receive Communion standing: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has determined that in the United States, Holy Communion is received standing and that...

A real asset-- and there's still hope! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 15, 2006

Let's say you've lent me some money-- a lot of money-- $17 million, in fact-- and that's not counting the separate $23 million bank loan for which you co-signed. Let's say I used that money to invest in the Acme Widget Corporation. Now you're getting nervous, because Acme widgets aren't...

the muezzin at Mass by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 15, 2006

To commemorate the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, the Milwaukee archdiocesan choir joined in a performance of a 21st-century "Mass for Peace," which incorporated readings from Jonathan Swift and Rudyard Kipling. A Mass? With readings by Swift and Kipling? Wait; there's more. The...

Quick, get me rewrite! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 15, 2006

Over at his Cafeteria is Closed blog, Gerald Augustinus refers to an AFP story on the Regensburg lecture as a "Moronic Column on the Pope." If you think he's being harsh, you probably haven't read that AFP story. It's hard to tell what's worst: the accuracy of the reporting, the logic of the...

choosing enemies by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 16, 2006

When does a New York Times rush out an editorial supporting the demands of militant Muslims? When they demand Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. When they demand apologies for cartoons mocking their faith. When they demand retraction of a statement made in a scholarly address by the head of the...

one for the Gipper by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 16, 2006

The Holy Father is under attack. Loyal Catholics will rally to his side. Won't they? And since the attacks involve a scholarly presentation that he delivered to an academic audience, we'll be looking for help especially from the learned professors at our leading Catholic universities. Won't...

the ante at the inter-faith dialogue table by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Sep 18, 2006

A Wall Street Journal Europe editorial hits the nail on the head regarding the Pope's Regensburg speech, the Muslim reaction, and the implications. The conclusion: This is not an invitation to the usual feel-good interfaith round-tables. It is dialogue with one condition -- that everyone at the...

the irrationalists by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 18, 2006

From the dean of the Harvard Divinity School (hey, wipe that smile off your face!), as quoted in a Newsweek article entitled, tellingly, "The Pope's Holy War:" “Historically, there is no more basis for arguing that Islam is irrational than there is for arguing the same about Christianity or...

UN priorities by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 18, 2006

In Geneva, ambassadors from Islamic countries are suggesting that the UN Human Rights Council set aside some time to discuss the urgent question of religious tolerance, which is relevant now that Pope Benedict has offended Muslim sensibilities. Alternatively, the UN Human Rights Council might...

sing around the campfire by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 19, 2006

Pascal Couchepin, the Swiss interior minister: explains why he agreed with the thrust of the Pope's Regensburg address: Whoever refuses to debate, reduces religion to emotions. And you'd then end up with a priest, an imam and a Buddhist monk sitting round a campfire singing songs together....

dream child by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 21, 2006

Once you decide to have a designer baby, where do you stop? Would you prefer a healthy baby or a sick one. Healthy, obviously. But why stop with that question? If it's ethical to take a peek at the genetic code, and eliminate the babies with known propensities to illness, what about...

no sinking ship, this by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 21, 2006

Human stem cells can help to improve the vision of rats, the New York Times reports. Some of us had already...

8 days a weak by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 21, 2006

On September 12, Pope Benedict XVI delivered the most controversial speech of his pontificate to date. You'd already noticed? Yes, I think maybe you had. But as the Muslim world exploded in protests, maybe you were waiting...and waiting...and waiting... to see whether the US bishops would leap...

I Just…Can’t…Take it Anymore! by Peter Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 21, 2006

Here we are in late 2006 and I’m already sick of hearing about the 2008 presidential election. In part, this is because I consider it extremely unlikely that Catholics will have a decent, upstanding candidate to vote for. However, it is mostly because at “election time” I find it...

the limits of choice by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 22, 2006

Now I've seen everything: Ellen Goodman has discovered circumstances in which she does not support legal abortion. Yes, when a woman is bound and gagged and delivered at gunpoint to the abortion clinic, even Ellen Goodman notices that something is wrong. Moreover, she assures us, the US Supreme...

Before we get cozy with Averroes by Leila in "Off the Record" - Sep 22, 2006

The Pope is coming in for some criticism for citing Ibn Hazm to represent the stance of Islam towards reason. Ibn Hazm, Benedict quotes, “went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would...

inconvenient facts by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 25, 2006

If you take Boston Globe columnist James Carroll seriously, you might read the latest of his vicious attacks on the Catholic Church and conclude that he would disdain someone who could stoop to "denigrate" his intellectual opponents and "caricature" their arguments. You'd be wrong. It's not...

faulty insulation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 25, 2006

From SANA, the Syrian Arab News Agency: President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela demanded the Vatican to admit the mistake of the Pope's insulating statements on Islam. Gotta go with Chavez on this one. If the Pope insulated someone, he should...

the rate of the rate of renewal by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 26, 2006

Liberals congratulate themselves on success. From the (UK) Church Times. FIRST, the bad news from the 2005 English Church Census, published on Monday. Churchgoing in England continues to decline at a rate of 2.3 per cent a year.But there is good news, too. The rate of decline has slowed from...

Benedict XVI on Faith, Reason and Islam by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 26, 2006

In his address to Muslim leaders and diplomats on September 25th, Pope Benedict XVI stressed the importance of Muslim-Christian dialogue. Some have mistakenly seen this as a sharp departure from the Holy Father’s controversial address at Regensberg on September 12th, but this is actually not the...

it takes two... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 27, 2006

Let's say that you and I get in a heated argument, and eventually we both lose our tempers. As I stomp out of the room, just before I slam the door, I tell you that I'm taking your name off my Christmas-card list. Now let's say that you respond by stomping your own foot, and saying that you...

the bishop brings peace, again by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 28, 2006

Bishop Tom, like most of us, has spent his life confronted with no threat more serious than overcooked pasta or a parking ticket. Yet he feels justified in upbraiding Pope Benedict for failing to see the mote in his own eye in his criticism of Islamic jihad. We Christians, you see, spread our...

Saving Women Through Cosmetic Surgery by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 28, 2006

According to a recent Canadian medical study, women who have cosmetic surgery are more likely to commit suicide. The study in question tracked thousands of women over a period of 25 years. It found that women who have figure-enhancing surgery are about 1.8 times more likely to take their own...

what did he know and when did he know it by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 29, 2006

OK, so now federal prosecutors are investigating the Connecticut priest who allegedly defrauded his parish to the tune of $1.4 million, reportedly spending the money on fun and games with his boyfriend. But parishioners are asking another question: Shouldn't Bridgeport's Bishop William Lori have...

simplification by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 30, 2006

A CNS report on the new voters' guide produced by liberal Catholics quotes Father David Hollenbach, a Jesuit associated with the effort: You can't put Catholic social teaching on a bumper sticker in a single phrase. He just...

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