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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from September 2007

decisions, decisions ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 1, 2007

"... the modern and morbid habit of always sacrificing the normal to the abnormal." -- G.K. Chesterton The Globe reports that Boston's Emerson College joins Tufts and the U of Vermont in providing "gender neutral" restrooms out of tenderness toward the sensibilities of transgendered students....

yet another maverick by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 1, 2007

Australian Dash-2 bishop Geoffrey Robinson has launched a book with the Oprah-esque title Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church. In it (we're told) Robinson discloses that he was sexually abused as a child, though it's unclear whether we're meant to view this calamity as evidence of...

et moi, à quoi je crois? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 1, 2007

Now this is sad. "Toupie" is a serialized French picture-book ("for ages two through four"), of which I came upon a ten-year-old Christmas-themed issue. One of the vignettes (click here and here) shows a living-room scene with the kitten Pikou cozily enjoying Christmas Eve with Momma...

a liturgical whistle-blower by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 4, 2007

With a light heart and a straight face, the Curt Jester proposes the creation of a new position: the Liturgical Referee. The idea has merit. The hand signals could be particularly...

the baby isn't right by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 4, 2007

"He wasn't amiable enough to be an amiable dunce but he was the most useful of the useful idiots." That's Mark Steyn on playwright Arthur Miller, a tiresome and unimaginative writer with one grain of genius: he understood that sanctimoniousness was chic if offered in the service of Leftism. His...

roman collar amnesia by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 4, 2007

Off The Record has often had occasion to notice the frequency and expedience of memory lapses by senior ecclesiastics faced with awkward questions -- especially under oath (go here, and here, and here, and

no worries by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 5, 2007

The Boston Globe's Michael Paulson picks up on the African factor in the Anglican crisis. Progressive Episcopalians assure us there's nothing to get excited about: "Only the most ardent homophobes are getting ready to bolt ... and the separatist agenda is losing ground everywhere," said Jim...

andrew sullivan on larry craig by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 6, 2007

"... the large implications of an almost laughably petty misdemeanor are revealing of problems deeper than one man's personal tragedy." Almost laughably petty. Noted. Remember that the next time you hear your fellow Catholics criticized for their reluctance to hire the Andrew Sullivans in...

burke on bad catholics by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 6, 2007

Passing through the supermarket check-out this morning and having surveyed the tabloid rack ("Di's Love Secrets Revealed!" &c.) I picked up this week's copy of Periodica de Re Canonica (vol. 96, 2007), which not only happens to be the swimsuit issue, but which includes an article by St. Louis...

I Alone Have Escaped to Tell You by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 6, 2007

This is the title of the engaging memoir of Notre Dame philosopher Ralph McInerny, who is famous for just about everything, including his deep commitment to the Catholic Faith. The title comes from the book of Job, where various servants report a sequence of utter catastrophes to Job, each...

Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 8, 2007

There is an old Negro Spiritual called “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”, and it’s true for all of us. During the course of our lives we both see and experience a good deal of trouble, much of it deeply personal. It is unrealistic to expect anyone else to understand the impact these troubles...

this is progress? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 8, 2007

Both of the following statements are true. Which is more remarkable? 1) Doctors in Argentina have announced that the human race is divided into two sexes: male and female. 2) Their findings are regarded as...

request by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 9, 2007

Will some kind citizen with a short-barrel .38 and a regard for liturgical decency please put a round through the kneecaps of those MCs who kit-out bishops in Andy Warhol/Jackson Pollack/Corita Kent ponchos? It would be a service to the Universal Church. Thank you. Photo by Gerald...

spreading the pain by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 9, 2007

In order to raise the cash to make its pederasty payment, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is selling a convent that currently provides a residence for three nuns. The anticipated selling price is a drop in the bucket of the roughly $250 million needed to keep the archbishop out of the witness box...

how's your blood pressure? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 10, 2007

The doctor says you need medicine to keep down your blood pressure. The prescription isn't cheap, but the alternatives, which might include a heart attack or a stroke, leave you with little choice. You fork out the dollars, your blood pressure goes down, and then you see this story. College...

to kill it with sunshine by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 10, 2007

Jim Naughton is the Canon for Communications and Advancement of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, and, in his role as spokesman, a frequent commentator on the problems vexing the Anglican Communion. Naughton used to be a Catholic, and a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Georgetown, about whose...

either/or by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 10, 2007

Tough to know what religious beliefs, if any, Michael Kinsley lays claim to. His article in the current Time (thanks to Douglas LeBlanc for the heads up) is a complaint against the level of God-talk in campaign discourse. He's pro-abortion, a Democrat, and a non-doctrinaire liberal. While he...

thank you for sharing by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 10, 2007

Mark Steyn got it right. The following lines of his were written in 2001, in the week following September 11. Even on that first day they were saying "everything's changed". But what exactly? The main difference seemed to be tonal. These days, an army of grief counsellors can arrive at a high...

the old covenant by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 12, 2007

In a legal brief that probably will not be nailed to the door of the cathedral, lawyers for the Orange, California diocese are asking a court to seal testimony by Bishop Tod Brown. The Los Angeles Times plays...

this dream of God is what drives me by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 12, 2007

Chris Johnson alerts us to some deep thoughts from ECUSA's Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told the incoming class at Union Theological Seminary September 5 that they need to consider "how theological thinking is going to help to shape...

Archbishop Ncube’s Resignation: Principles, Judgments and Facts by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 12, 2007

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has succeeded in pressuring Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo to resign. The Pope accepted Ncube’s resignation under canon 401-2, for illness or “some other grave reason.” The particular circumstances of this resignation prompt a reflection on the provisional...

my turn next by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 13, 2007

Newsweek has vouchsafed us an interview with Jessica Rowley, an energetic young woman who is, Newsweek tells us, a Catholic priest. Let the magazine explain; I couldn't make this stuff up by myself: Rowley’s ordination—which took place at Eden Theological Seminary, a progressive institution...

Evolution: The Missing Link by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 14, 2007

Despite the prolonged ascendancy of Darwinian evolution in high school and college biology classes, the controversy over Darwin’s theory gets hotter with every passing year. A majority of the scientific community accepts it, but a majority of American citizens does not. Darwinism, and evolution in...

the Harvard of Webster Groves by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 15, 2007

Maybe you're celebrating the birthday of James Fenimore Cooper, but other people have more momentous anniversaries in mind. Take Webster University: a school that is known today for nothing in particular, except perhaps its claim to have more than 100 campus locations, with the main one in...

connect the dots by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 15, 2007

There's no direct connection, I realize. But a guy can dream, can't he? Start with my complaint about the technicolor papal ponchos in Austria.... ... move along to Father Z's report that the vestments were chosen by prominent Vatican official... ... and doesn't it make you feel good to...

In nomine Patris…mumble, mumble by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 18, 2007

Bishop Raffaele Nogaro of Caserta, Italy forbade the celebration of Mass according to the Missal of John XXIII on September 15th in his diocese, despite the permission Benedict XVI gave to all priests in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which went into effect four days earlier. Bishop Nogaro...

Pagan Pride by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 18, 2007

Possibly you missed the celebration of Pagan Pride Day, held last Sunday in North Andover, Massachusetts-- which, in case you were wondering, is less than 20 miles from Salem, the town that will begin going berserk in just a few weeks, as Halloween approaches. Fortunately the Boston Globe had a...

epistemology question by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 18, 2007

Before Sunday Mass, the lector approaches the microphone and says: "Good morning. There are no announcements before Mass this morning." What just...

talk about deep pockets! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 19, 2007

In Nebraska, a state legislator has decided that the best way to drive home a particular political point is to file a lawsuit against God. The Omaha senator, who skips morning prayers during the legislative session and often criticizes Christians, also says God has caused "fearsome floods ......

Effective Discipline by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 19, 2007

The Vatican is investigating the theological views of Georgetown University theologian Fr. Peter Phan. This was reported online at NCRcafe.org by John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter. But I found the comments posted by readers more significant than the story itself. Every comment...

under oath by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 20, 2007

Bishop Tod Brown, greater Santa Ana's hammer of homophobes, has painted himself into a legal corner by flying his vicar general to a Canadian treatment center after said vicar staged a swoon in the middle of a sticky deposition last month. That deposition (don't be shocked) concerned diocesan...

comparative religion by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 21, 2007

In Saguenay, Quebec, Mayor Jean Tremblay wants people to know that the Catholic faith is still important. "The Catholic religion is one of the nicest values we have in Quebec," saysTremblay.* Travel about 500 miles due south from Saguenay, and you'll arrive in Boston, where Massachusetts...

I’m Just Sayin’ by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 21, 2007

In Wednesday’s blog entry, I reported the widespread attitude that holds the Church guilty of heavy-handed authoritarianism whenever she attempts to prevent her representatives from teaching whatever they want in her name. Consider the following quotes from eight different writers who posted...

when it counts by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 21, 2007

News item: An MIT undergraduate walks into Boston's Logan airport, wearing a device made to look like a homemade bomb She says it's art. Police are not impressed; she's facing criminal charges. The officer in charge, unimpressed, replies: "She's lucky to be in a cell as opposed to the...

Through a Glass Darkly by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 21, 2007

The blood of St. Januarius liquefied on schedule in Naples on his feast day, September 19th. Januarius was martyred in the persecutions of Diocletian in the early fourth century. His blood, now preserved in a vial displayed in the local cathedral, has liquefied on a regular schedule for over 400...

misdirection play by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 21, 2007

Jeff Israely of Time magazine is at it again, this time acting as megaphone for an Italian doctor, Lina Pavanelli, who claims that the death of Pope John Paul II was an example of euthanasia. That's a sensational charge, and you'd expect the author to have some solid evidence. So what does...

diaper salesmen, take note by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Sep 24, 2007

A CWN reader sent this story about a very busy extended family. They're only doing what comes naturally, but they're doing it with style-- and a key ingredient, a healthy sense of humor-- and this clip from a local TV newscast is worth many thousands of pro-life bumper stickers. It's also...

academic freedom and its discontents by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 24, 2007

Should Columbia University provide a platform for Ahmadinejad? Should a university, in the interest of academic freedom and open debate, be ready to host Hitler? Most reasonable people would draw the line somewhere. Open debate is a very valuable thing, but if a university doesn't stand for...

sister ass by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 24, 2007

Another group of women is claiming ordination as Catholic priests. This is getting to be old news. Still, in the nature of things, each new imposture brings its own distinctive touches. The women belong to a growing movement that no longer simply argues for women's rights but is creating an...

Woman and Man, the Fullness of What is Human by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 25, 2007

In early February 2008 the Pontifical Council on the Laity will host a conference based on John Paul II’s Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women). This conference offers genuine hope for a true renewal of the Christian understanding of women. Drawing from all five continents,...

The Complexity of the Evolution Debate by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 25, 2007

A week ago I reviewed The Evolution Controversy by Thomas B. Fowler and Daniel Kuebler. One of the things this book does extremely well is to identify the scientific points in controversy among the four main schools of thought on human origins: Neo-Darwinism, Meta-Darwinism, Creationism and...

don't ask, don't tell by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 26, 2007

The lead paragraph of the Boston Globe story puts it in a nutshell: The Episcopal bishops of the United States, attempting to head off a schism over gay rights and biblical interpretation, yesterday promised to "exercise restraint" by not approving more gay bishops and not authorizing a formal...

lessons learned by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 26, 2007

In an op-ed column for the San Diego Union Tribune, Bishop Salvatore Cordileone, an auxiliary of the San Diego diocese, offers some thoughts on what Catholics might have learned from the sex-abuse scandal. Could I add a few more items that seem to have escaped the bishop's attention? There...

just friends by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 26, 2007

Who better than Bill Clinton to turn the sexual recreations of Catholic priests into an investment opportunity? And, yes, there are rumors of political skid-greasing as well. Today's Wall Street Journal tells the edifying tale of a young Italian businessman named Raffaello Follieri who ......

faking it by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 26, 2007

Darling, isn't it? An ex-Jesuit and his ex nun, ex-Catholic wife modeling matching albs and his-'n-her Sandinista stoles. He's got an indelible mark somewhere, and she has a video of herself prostrate on a riverboat deck. The tame journalist plays along to help reinforce the confusion...

smart enough by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 27, 2007

Speaking to the local newspaper about the motu proprio, Bishop Paul Zipfel of Bismarck, North Dakota, included a new explanation among his reasons for accepting the Pope's direction. "The Holy Father is smarter than I am, and he has good reason for what he’s doing," Zipfel said. That's...

name game by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Sep 27, 2007

You can call it the Tridentine Mass, but that's not really accurate. Or you can call it the Latin Mass, but that's downright misleading. You can refer to the "extraordinary form," but that's clear only to those who already understand the subject. Or you can explain carefully, get things precisely...

in the tradition ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 27, 2007

Georgetown Law unlocks another gate to the pro-aborts. Administrators at the university's Law Center reversed earlier this month a policy prohibiting funding for students at summer internships at organizations that promote abortion rights, after a widely publicized case in the spring which...

another straw ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 27, 2007

... and snap goes another camel's back. High-toned gibberish about "exercising restraint" has proven too much for this hard-pressed Episcopalian. He understands full well his welcome will include a lot of pointless spiritual misery ladled into his cup by his new brethren. He knows what the...

Eradicating AIDS: Strategic Planning 101 by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 28, 2007

Archbishop Francisco Chimoio of Mozambique apparently has a new strategy for discouraging promiscuity, contraceptive sex and the spread of AIDS. Contrary to AIDS activists, Chimoio contends that a true battle against the disease “means marriage, people being faithful to their wives” and sexual...

going-away party by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 28, 2007

An OC Weekly article focuses on Diocese of Orange Vicar General John Urell's crack-up during a deposition taken in July: [Plaintiff attorney John] Manly had had enough. "Do you have any memory problems?" he asked Urell."Well, actually, I'm -- yes."An incredulous Manly asked Urell to explain. At...

the blood of martyrs by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 28, 2007

You can't pass this legislation. It's immoral. It would require ...a serious violation of a basic tenet of the Catholic faith. Oh, you did pass it? It's the law now? That's different, then. We'll...

Islam and Paganism by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 28, 2007

A few weeks ago I removed from our library a misplaced document which purported to prove that Islam was really a polytheistic faith based on an ancient pagan god of the half-moon. The article ignored Mohammed’s obvious purpose, inspired by Judaism and Christianity, of using the cult associated...

know your audience by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 30, 2007

The National Rifle Association (NRA) describes itself as "America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights." If you were invited to participate in an event organized by the NRA as a "unique opportunity to contribute to, learn from, and network with accomplished and up-and-coming women...

amahl & the night visitors by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 30, 2007

Just when you thought it was safe to use the stairs ... Gallup Bishop Donald Pelotte, who recently was found locked in his upstairs bedroom bewilderingly injured but NOT a victim of intruders, was recently a victim of intruders but left uninjured. Or something. Gallup Police were called...

promoted by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 30, 2007

Please let it be true. The rumor is stiffening that Papal Master of Ceremonies Piero "Cats" Marini is soon to be assigned to outdoor maintenance at the curial retreat house in Point Barrow, Alaska, and that a clergyman more sympathetic to Pope Benedict's liturgical vision will replace him. A...

tomorrowland by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Sep 30, 2007

In what many have applauded as a bold and prophetic move, the Anglican Church of Australia has voted to follow the year 2008 with a new year, to be numbered "2009." OK, the reality is that Aussie Anglicans have voted to approve women bishops for those parts of the communion that approve of...

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