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Commentary by Diogenes

Showing 1358 articles by this author.

blame the (cynical) messenger

Feb. 2, 2011 - Crocodile tears are flowing freely in the offices of Central Jersey Planned Parenthood, where a trusted employee has been fired for "behaving in a repugnant manner that is inconsistent with our standards of care and is completely unacceptable."  Completely unacceptable, certainly....

If a pro-lifer falls in the forest,...

Jan. 25, 2011 - •  Yesterday tens of thousands of mostly young Americans marched in Washington, DC, calling for an end to abortion. • Also yesterday, hundreds of protesters marched in Tunis, calling for a clean sweep of the Tunisian government. Which of these public demonstrations received more...

the birds, the bees, and the tubes

Jan. 20, 2011 - Savor this opening sentence from a Washington Post article on Catholic health-care institutions, mentioned today in our CWN headline coverage: In Texas, a Catholic bishop made two hospitals cease doing tube-tying operations for women who are not going to have more babies. A "tube-tying...

You are the man.

Jan. 20, 2011 - An English playwright, capitalizing on BBC's celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible to promote his own peculiar agenda, has announced his belief that King David was homosexual. Uriah the Hittite was not available for comment. Showing his erudition as a student of the...

treasures in earthed vessels

Jan. 19, 2011 - Forward-thinking Anglicans (is there any other kind?) are asking the General Synod to change the wording of the baptismal ceremony as practiced in the Church of England.   The problem, says Rev. Dr. Tim Stratford of Liverpool, is with “language not being earthed enough.” A...

test your cynicism

Jan. 19, 2011 - Here's a short 2-question quiz to test your degree of cynicism. The facts: A Boston attorney whose firm specializes in sex-abuse lawsuits against the Catholic Church has released the names of over 100 accused priests.  The attorney says that he did so to serve the cause of truth. Nearly all...

that devil celibacy made him do it

Jan. 17, 2011 -  A Catholic priest in England, convicted of downloading 740 pieces of child porn, told a court that celibacy was to blame. His legal advocate explained: “He has never had a chance to explore his sexuality. It has remained bottled up and boxed up and he thinks it may be to do with...

pop the cork

Jan. 5, 2011 - The 112th US Congress has convened on Capitol Hill, and for the first time since 1946, there isn't a single member of the Kennedy family on the roster. Got any champagne left over from New Year's...

unblushing brides

Jan. 3, 2011 - The dean of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was married on January 1, in a ceremony held at St. Paul’s cathedral in Boston and witnessed by Bishop M. Thomas Shaw of the Episcopal diocese of Massachusetts.  The dean’s spouse is a woman. That would be...

Payback time: a Christmas story

Dec. 24, 2010 - Some people say I’m a cynic. But no one can remain a cynic on Christmas Eve. As my early Christmas present to faithful readers, I offer an old column, which originally appeared in the July 2001 issue of Catholic World Report. This isn’t a Christmas story, except insofar as the...

gone but not forgotten

Dec. 22, 2010 - Back in July, novelist Anne Rice announced that she was finished with Christianity. Not quite, apparently. Yesterday the National Catholic Register posted a story by Jimmy Akin, on Bishop Olmsted's announcement that a hospital in Phoenix could no longer be considered Catholic.  What does...

dirty words

Dec. 21, 2010 - In a live broadcast, NIna Totenberg of National Public Radio revealed that she "was at-- forgive the expression-- a Christmas party."  Shocking! There might have been innocent children listening when those words were broadcast. Imagine the psychological damage that might have been...

Why do we need a new translation of the Mass, anyway?

Dec. 14, 2010 - In English-speaking countries, the First Sunday of Advent was traditionally known as “stir-up Sunday”—not only because housewives were expected to “stir up” the plum pudding that would be served with Christmas dinner, but also because of the opening prayer for the...

Who's the leader of the band that's made for you and me?

Dec. 13, 2010 - Bishop John Noonan, who will be installed as Orlando's fifth bishop Dec. 16. And some people say that miters make bishops look...

pursuing poverty in style?

Dec. 10, 2010 -  Sister Marie Thornton, the former financial vice-president of Iona College, faces criminal charges for allegedly milking $1.2 million from college funds. According to one report, the embezzled funds helped to finance her penchant for trips to the casinos of Atlantic City. Prosecutors had no...

set your watch ahead

Dec. 10, 2010 - In an interview with John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, the editor of L'Osservatore Romano, Giocanni Maria Vian, explains why he doesn't think it was a mistake to publish that famous controversial excerpt from Pope Benedict's interview, and he doesn't think he was guilty of breaking an...

when the news isn't news

Dec. 2, 2010 - Act I, Scene I: The newsroom of a major metropolitan daily Reporter: Hey, boss! We’ve got a story here. Says the Pope might have allowed a priest who was accused of abuse to work in a parish while he was Archbishop of Munich. What should we do with it? Editor: Did the Pope personally...

Maybe he's just shy

Nov. 30, 2010 -  Six weeks after the Vatican accepted the resignation of Bishop Richard Sklba, attorneys are trying to convince a Wisconsin court that the former Milwaukee auxiliary should not be required to give a deposition in a sex-abuse lawsuit, and if he is deposed, the deposition should be sealed....

let me count the ways

Nov. 30, 2010 - Richard Posner, a learned jurist who has written many intelligent things about law and economics, embarrasses himself when he writes on contraception and the Catholic Church: In 1930, responding to the Anglican Church’s rescission of its prohibition of contraception, Pope Pius VI...

a star is born

Nov. 23, 2010 - Slate magazine has discovered L’Osservatore Romano. The Vatican newspaper has never been daily reading for the staff of the slick online ‘zine. But on November 22, the Slate “Explainer,” which provides “answers to your questions about the news,” saw fit to give...

pastors need not apply

Nov. 17, 2010 - Over on the U.S. Catholic site, Bryan Cones doesn't merely tell us that the upset victory of Archbishop Dolan is a "really big deal." He demonstrates, with his own overwrought analysis, that the election has thrown the Catholic Left into panic.  "Catholic right-wing bloggers...

not too moderate

Nov. 17, 2010 - The Washington Post explains the surprising result of the USCCB presidential election: Victims' advocates spoke out against Kicanas, but the more significant opposition came from conservatives, who considered him too moderate in tone. The use of terms like "liberal" and...

the spiritual combat

Nov. 15, 2010 - From today's CWN story: Father Richard Vega, a priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and president of the National Federation of Priests Councils, has told The New York Times that when he heard that the US bishops were offering a conference on exorcism, “My immediate reaction was to...

campaign endorsement

Nov. 15, 2010 - If you're still wondering which candidate you should support for the presidency of the US bishops' conference, this endorsement might help you to...

I'm thinking of a word that begins with H

Nov. 12, 2010 - Three years after he was quoted as saying that it would have been “grossly unfair” to bar the ordination of Daniel McCormack—who would go on to notoriety as a convicted serial molester—Bishop Gerald Kicanas has reacted with some asperity to a National Catholic Register...

the unpaid informer

Nov. 10, 2010 - Back in 2006, Mehmet Ali Agca offered to tell the world who gave him the order to shoot Pope John Paul II. But there was a catch: he wanted to be paid $6 million for that information. That didn’t seem like a very good deal, because the world had pretty much assumed, since that fateful day in...

Hey, we're networking!

Nov. 9, 2010 - The Guardian reports the consternation of the Archbishop of Canterbury over the resignation of five Anglican bishops who are entering the Catholic Church. The subhead on the Guardian story is revealing: Rowan Williams expresses regret as five against ordination of women bishops leave church for...

toll collection

Nov. 8, 2010 - Gene Robinson, the first openly homosexual bishop of the Episcopal Church, has announced his retirement at the age of 63. "The fact is, the last seven years have taken their toll on me, my family, and you," he told his flock.  He might have added that the years have taken a toll on...

an issue that hasn't been faced

Nov. 8, 2010 - Bishop Willie Walsh has trouble with orthodoxy. Not just with preaching it; even with recognizing it.  Still, give him credit: Bishop Willie has trouble with secular orthodoxy as well. He evidently hasn't been reading the weekly memos about how the sex-abuse crisis has nothing repeat nothing...

the Church as debating society?

Nov. 8, 2010 -  Bishop Willie Walsh, the (thank God) retired Bishop of Killaloe, Ireland, responds thoughtfully to a question about ordination of women:  “I really don’t want to cause division in the church, but what I have real difficulty with is that some subjects are not for...

making something out of nothing

Nov. 5, 2010 - The annual CCHD wars have begun, and the Catholic News Service-- which like the CCHD operates under the aegis of the US bishops' conference-- dutifully reports on the latest statement from CCHD headquarters asking Catholics to be generous in the pre-Thanksgiving...

be a man

Nov. 3, 2010 - The World Series is over, and American sports fans turn their attention to other topics. Such as this new development reported by ESPN: A female-to-male transgender member of the George Washington women's basketball team wants to be identified as a man this season. Junior Kye Allums-- who used...

what 'preventive medicine' prevents

Nov. 1, 2010 - Thanks to ObamaCare, all American taxpayers will soon be paying for contraceptives, whether they use them or not. Contraception, you see, is a method of avoiding a serious illness. That’s not a terribly flattering way to be described, is it? I was once a serious illness. You were,...

I know it when I see it

Oct. 27, 2010 - If you haven’t traveled to Australia for a while, be prepared for a change. In the past, the card that visitors submitted to customs officials asked whether they were carrying pornography. Now the visitor is asked whether he has any illegal pornography. You see the problem, don’t you?...

all things to all men

Oct. 22, 2010 - Imagine that someone was a youthful revolutionary. After his fling with radical activism he pledges to refrain from any further violent efforts to overthrow the government (and since we are all gentlemen here, we’ll assume that he has honored that pledge). But he still identifies himself as...

knowing your place

Oct. 20, 2010 - Enterprising undergraduates at Boston College, having learned from their elders that compassion is measured in latex, are distributing condoms to their fellow students. One of the leaders in this initiative, writing in the campus newspaper, The Heights, expresses dismay that some people see the...

roll over, King Solomon

Oct. 18, 2010 - New York court has given permission for a widow to harvest sperm from the body of her deceased husband. She said she doesn’t want his death to stand in the way of their desire to start a family. If you think you’ve now reached the ghoulish final depot for an absurd train of...

not with a bang but a whimper

Oct. 18, 2010 - Bishop Richard Sklba was ordained as an auxiliary in Milwaukee by his Archbishop Rembert Weakland despite severe (and justifiable) misgivings in Rome. Sklba evidently repaid his patron’s confidence, keeping quiet about Weakland’s payment of hush money to a young man who charged the...

vandalism without bias

Oct. 15, 2010 - In northern New Jersey, a group of 5 college-age men face criminal charges for ransacking the offices of a gay-rights organization, tearing up shrubs and sign, ripping out lights. Bad news for the vandals: it was all caught by surveillance cameras. The young thugs are charged with trespassing and...

feeling no pain

Oct. 15, 2010 - Senator Mike Johanns of Nebraska is pushing for federal legislation requiring that women seeking late-term abortions be informed that the procedure causes pain for the unborn child. Approving the legislation, he says, is “an issue of human compassion.” So who could possibly oppose the...

chicken-coop security excessive, foxes report

Oct. 13, 2010 - A year-long investigation conducted by foxes has determined that poultry farmers devote excessive attention to security measures for chicken coops. Details on this important study later. For now, the New York Times offers a similar report: A yearlong investigation by Naral Pro-Choice New York...

anything but that!

Oct. 12, 2010 - The Anglican Church in Sydney, Australia, has “grave” financial troubles, reports Archbishop Peter Jensen. So grave, in fact, that the Sydney Morning Herald headline says Anglicans are taking dire steps: Anglicans warned church is on its...

rope trick

Oct. 8, 2010 - The Heights, the student newspaper at Jesuit-run Boston College, denounces the Catholic Church for “intolerance” toward GLBTQ people. (That’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people, in case you’re not current on the preferred terminology.) The Heights editors...

a wall of separation

Oct. 7, 2010 - Repeat after me: The media will always condemn a clergyman who becomes involved in political affairs. The media will always condemn a clergyman who becomes involved in political affairs. The media will always...

No results? No problem. Nobel.

Oct. 6, 2010 - The Boston Globe rejoices that a pioneer of in vitro fertilization has won the Nobel Prize for his work, and can barely contain its eagerness to see a similar award bestowed on someone—anyone—involved in embryonic stem-cell research. Today, 4 million human beings...

playing politics

Oct. 5, 2010 - Let’s see. You reject certain Church teachings that have political implications. You wear an emblem that identifies you as someone who rejects those Church teachings that have political implications. You attend a Mass celebrated by a bishop who has recently affirmed those Church...

succession, yes; legitimacy, no

Oct. 4, 2010 - Time magazine has taken another stride in its campaign to confer some sort of media-inspired legitimacy on the women who masquerade improbably as Catholic priests. Having reported—with a straight face—about a Chicago woman who claimed to be a priest, Time now follows up with a...

a winning ad slogan: our product is not very toxic

Sep. 29, 2010 - NARAL ProChoice Virginia has a new video ad, entitled “This is what I learned at a Virginia Crisis Pregnancy Center.” In its own way the ad is outrageous. Yet pro-lifers might want to welcome it. In the video a series of young women appear before the camera and make a claim that, they...

'Go ahead. I dare you.'

Sep. 29, 2010 - In August we heard that Father Larry McNally, of Ascension parish in Oak Park, Illinois, had apologized to the women of his parish for the nasty teachings of the Catholic Church. In September we learn that he’s taken another step. Father Larry has added his name to a petition signed by his...

you have given them bread from heaven

Sep. 28, 2010 - What would you think of a group of mothers who united to support a campaign by little children to “boycott” all meals? Would you say that those women were confused? At best. A newly minted group of highly confused Irishmen, the Association of Catholic Priests, is complaining about...

the right tool for the job

Sep. 28, 2010 - Today’s breakthrough story: A Berks County couple became suspicious of the Roman Catholic priest who was supposed to be helping their daughter, so they secretly set up a video camera in the basement of their home -- and caught him having sex with the 18-year-old. Give the couple...

'very nuanced'

Sep. 27, 2010 - Fresh from his triumphant proclamation that “I don’t know”—in answer to a question about whether the Church would ever recognize same-sex unions—Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has struck again. When a BBC host cited reports that the Catholic Church stands...

reporting through the looking glass

Sep. 26, 2010 - Alta Jacko is the mother of eight children. She is also the Mayor of Chicago. Time magazine would never publish a story that began that way, because it would not be true, and the editors know it. Alta Jacko is not the Mayor of Chicago. Everyone who follows Chicago politics knows that. There is...

how long can this go on? forever?

Sep. 24, 2010 - In 1993 the Vatican and Israel reached a “fundamental agreement” that opened the way for formal diplomatic relations: a good thing. Pressing to get the deal done, the two sides agreed to leave some details—such as the legal status of Christian shrines in the Holy Land, and the...

no time for babies

Sep. 23, 2010 - Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson may have known years ago about the deadly risks of its birth control patch Ortho Evra, according to internal documents obtained by NBC News. Thus the Today Show report. Among the items listed in the complaint against Johnson & Johnson: Ortho...

the razor of Occam and the rod of Moses

Sep. 23, 2010 - Thanks to the wonders of computer modeling, we now know that parting of the Red Sea, as described in the Book of Exodus, could have been accomplished by 65-mph winds across a portion of expanse where an ancient river had merged into the sea. The parting of the waters can be understood through...

Anschluss in reverse

Sep. 23, 2010 - The dean of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry tells the Religion News Service what everyone needs to know about Vatican II: A great majority of Catholics (once) thought of the church as outside of time altogether -- that what they did on Sunday is what Jesus did at the Last...

the celibacy connection

Sep. 22, 2010 - If only the Catholic Church would allow priests to marry, this sort of thing wouldn't happen.  Wait. You say Bishop Eddie Long is not a Catholic? And he is married? Never...

they made her what she is today

Sep. 22, 2010 - It’s revealing to see that the singer/military expert Lady Gaga cites women religious as having a “positive influence” on her development. You might say that the nuns helped to make her what she is today. She even has an idea of what the nuns who taught her in school are probably...

a leading expert in military preparedness says...

Sep. 22, 2010 - I confess that when senior military types like Colin Powell declared they were in favor of admitting gays to the military, I was inclined to think that some political accommodationism was involved. But when Lady Gaga goes to bat for gay troops, you know her sole concern is that our military...

mature informed dissent?

Sep. 22, 2010 - Andrew "Don't change the subject!" Sullivan links to his "fave" Protest-the-Pope signs.  Check them out if you dare. (Warning: crude content.) P.S. Those who concur with the Holy See that persons with deeply-rooted homosexual tendencies are affectively immature can...

no comment

Sep. 20, 2010 - With Pope Benedict back in Rome, the Catholics of Great Britain are now left to rely on their own bishops for a powerful and unflinching presentation of the faith. Good luck with that. To the list of British bishops who waffled and backpedaled in broadcast interviews during the papal visit, add...

Vatican PR blunder #48,837

Sep. 16, 2010 - John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter offers a dry comment that with a remarkably impolitic comment by Cardinal Kasper on the eve of the Pope’s trip to Great Britain, the Vatican’s public-relations effort has taken a new step—definitely not in the right direction: In...

and they say miters are silly

Sep. 16, 2010 - Today Pope Benedict met with Queen Elizabeth.  And if you're complaining about monarchical institutions whose leaders wear funny headgear, I hope you're not talking about the Holy...

thank you, Bishop Harpigny!!

Sep. 15, 2010 - Is a bishop above the law? In the United States, a Catholic priest who is credibly accused of sexual abuse is immediately suspended. He is not allowed to wear clerical garb. If the evidence is clear and damning, he may be permanently dismissed from priestly ministry. He may even be reduced to the...

the painfully proper, acutely sensitive ecumenist speaks his mind

Sep. 15, 2010 - To be effective in ecumenical affairs, one must be courteous, cautious, respectful, and above all sensitive. One must judge carefully how one’s remarks will be received by people of other faiths, other cultures, other backgrounds. Cardinal Walter Kasper spent more than a decade in the...

breaking the news before it happens

Sep. 15, 2010 - London’s Daily Mail has outdone itself, with a September 15 report on Pope Benedict’s address to British political leaders in Westminster Hall. His remarks amount to a criticism of politicians who have allowed equality laws to trump religious beliefs, in some cases preventing...

another episcopal fumble

Sep. 14, 2010 - Another “gotcha” for the British press. The Birmingham Mail asked Archbishop Bernard Longley how he could justify all the fancy vestments used in papal ceremonies. His reply: The cloaks and cassocks aren’t used to set the clergy apart from the Catholic laity. They are symbols...

one score, one fumble: the British hierarchy play the media game

Sep. 13, 2010 - The Pope is coming, the British media focus is zooming in on Catholicism, and reporters are putting local prelates through their paces. It’s a familiar drill, for which any intelligent bishop should be fully prepared. The reporters will ask a few softball questions about planning for the...

the Pope's next 'gig,' and other atrocities

Sep. 13, 2010 - Everyone agrees that it’s embarrassing. The only question is whether it’s “excruciatingly embarrassing” or “cringe-making.” The subject is the pamphlets that have been prepared by...

he ain't much but he's all we've got

Sep. 10, 2010 - Father Bob Maguire, an “outspoken” Australian priest (and you can guess what that means), is unhappy with his archbishop’s instruction that a funeral should be "not a celebration of life but a Mass for the repose of the soul." The “outspoken” priest brought...

those loyal Catholic centrists at VOTF

Sep. 10, 2010 -  Q. Does Voice of the Faithful have a hidden or open "agenda"? The organization’s own web site asks that question and answers it: A. Voice of the Faithful does not have a hidden "liberal" or "conservative" agenda for Church reform. That’s...

Let me know when, so I can schedule a party

Sep. 9, 2010 - News item:  At a conference in London, Arthur Sulzberger Jr conceded that someday the New York Times Company will be forced to stop publishing a printed paper. Try to control your emotions. If you get teardrops all over the page, the print will blur and you won't be able to do...

the Brits in silly season

Sep. 8, 2010 - With just over a week to go before Pope Benedict arrives, some British rabble-rousers are making a slight concession to reality. But leaders of the Protest the Pope coalition now admit that the Pontiff cannot be arrested as Britain acknowledges him as a head of state, granting him sovereign...

Where have we heard this complaint before?

Sep. 3, 2010 - The anguished words come from a priest of the Legionaries of Christ, complaining that the order’s leadership has not changed course despite the revelations of scandal surrounding its founder: Nothing has changed among us during the whole period of crisis. All of the changes have come from...

Eewww! So tacky!

Sep. 2, 2010 - Alveda King, the niece of Rev. Martin Luther King, denounced the abortion mentality during Glenn Beck’s rally at the Lincoln Monument last weekend. Liberal pundit Bonnie Erbe deems King’s comments “tacky and wrong-headed.” When you say that someone’s stand is...

The chicken or the egg? Creation or... creation?

Sep. 2, 2010 - Cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who conceded in his last book that belief in God is compatible with contemporary scientific knowledge, now argues that the “Big Bang” theory can explain the existence of the universe without reference to a divine Creator. “Spontaneous creation is the...

no foul no harm

Aug. 30, 2010 -  A British gay-rights activist is pushing to lower the age of consent for sexual activity to 14. Peter Tatchell argues that the move would reduce the rate of criminal molestation of children. You understand the reasoning, no doubt. If you raise the speed limit on the local highways to 100...

be prepared

Aug. 30, 2010 -  Today Cardinal Godfried Danneels is in the headlines, with the revelation that he urged a victim of sexual abuse to keep quiet until his molester, another Belgian bishop, was safely ushered into retirement. Speaking through a spokesman, the retired cardinal allowed: "Looking back I...

artful ambiguity?

Aug. 27, 2010 - Catholic Charities USA is holding a gala “Centennial Gathering” in September to celebrate its 100th birthday. Among the highlights will be the presentation of the Centennial Medal to honor “valuable contributions of individuals and organizations to the reduction of poverty in the...

whatever you do, don't mention the science

Aug. 25, 2010 - Regarding the legal case that prompted Judge Royce Lamberth to block federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, the Los Angeles Times wants readers to know that the two lead plaintiffs have been involved in other controversies. James Sherley was involved in a tenure battle at MIT. Theresa...

who wants a 2nd-class priesthood?

Aug. 25, 2010 - Do you really think it’s likely that Pope Benedict will travel to London, see an advertisement on the side of a bus—“Pope Benedict – Ordain Women Now!” – and suddenly decide to change Catholic doctrine? Never mind the theological issues. Even the strategy for...

promise them anything

Aug. 24, 2010 - Read all the mainstream-media coverage of Judge Royce Lamberth’s decision to stop federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, and you may notice that two major themes emerge. Neither theme is inaccurate, yet both are misleading. First, the conventional accounts remind readers that...

hangin' in there after 2 strikes

Aug. 23, 2010 - Father Joe Pat Breen has apologized for telling the world that the Church “made a mistake on birth control” and arguing that Catholics are not obligated to obey the Pope, the Nashville diocese tells us. In making that announcement, the diocese also lets it slip that Father Breen is a...

Massachusetts: the limits of gender equality

Aug. 23, 2010 - A Massachusetts man who showed an inordinate interest in a woman’s foot—if you really must know, the story is here—faces charges for “annoying a person of the opposite sex.” Yes, there really is a law in Massachusetts that prohibits annoying a person of the opposite...

Apples, meet oranges. Theories, meet cases.

Aug. 20, 2010 - In an interesting interview with Bishop Patrick Zurek of Amarillo, Texas, about the US bishops’ response to the sex-abuse scandal, Joan Frawley Desmond of the National Catholic Register asks a very good question and gets a non-responsive answer: Question: Did you address the ongoing...

the enemy of my enemies

Aug. 20, 2010 - To be honest with you, I couldn’t get worked up about Bill Donohue’s campaign to persuade the owners of the Empire State Building to light up the tower on the 100th anniversary of Mother Teresa’s birth.   Yes, it would be nice if the Empire State Building honored Mother...

Friday quiz- updated

Aug. 20, 2010 - An Episcopalian bishop has been restored to authority in the Diocese of Pennsylvania, despite an earlier suspension for his gross mishandling of sex-abuse complaints. An ecclesiastical tribunal found that the bishop could not be deposed for his misconduct, because it occurred 35 years ago and the...

a salesman who doesn't like the product

Aug. 19, 2010 - You know the only story about the pastor who explained his relationship to the hierarchy by saying, "I'm not in management, I'm in sales?" That's not a very elevated vision of priestly ministry, but it's not entirely inaccurate, either.  So let's imagine that a man named Larry...

the 'bad guy' wears a white miter

Aug. 17, 2010 - The Boston Globe is displeased with Pope Benedict for failing to accept the resignations proffered by two Irish bishops. The Globe, which likes nothing better than a good old-fashioned episcopal resignation—ask Cardinal Law—laments in an editorial that the Pope’s decision as a...

don't be confused

Aug. 17, 2010 - Janice Sevre-Duszynska, who identifies herself as a "Roman Catholic womanpriest," has chastised the Vatican in an op-ed column written for the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader. The title encapsulates her demand: "Don't equate women priests with pedophiles." Actually I agree...

another building at Ground Zero

Aug. 16, 2010 - All the public attention is directed toward the proposed mosque. Meanwhile the Greek Orthodox parish of St. Nicholas, destroyed by the bombing on 9/11, is still plodding through the process of obtaining legal permission to rebuild the church that was once on the site. Nine years later, the City of...

by return mail?

Aug. 13, 2010 - The Vatican thinks in centuries, we're often told. Thus a decision that you and I could make in a nanosecond might take 24 hours in Rome. OK, time's...

what if the constitution is unconstitutional?

Aug. 12, 2010 - Thank goodness Judge Walker has enlightened us. All those years we thought that marriage was a union of a man and a woman, but now we know that was "an irrational classification." Not just irrational but harmful. Not just harmful but unconstitutional. But there's a problem with Judge...

that'll fix 'em

Aug. 11, 2010 -  An Irish woman wants to organize a boycott of Sunday Mass by “the faithful women of Ireland.” Her effort, and the front-page treatment accorded by the Irish Times, raise several questions: If these women are “faithful,” why would they voluntarily absent...

the trouble with democracy

Aug. 11, 2010 - Costa Rica's highest court has ruled against a move to hold a nationwide referendum on recognizing civil unions for homosexual couples.  Should we applaud? Did the court reason that a popular vote cannot re-define the institution of marriage? Nope. The court stopped the referendum because--...

when unrestricted abortion isn't enough: the back-up plan

Aug. 10, 2010 -  An Australian Olympic athlete, Keli Lane, faces charges that she murdered her own baby. According to prosecutors, Lane was driven by her ambition to play water polo in the 2000 Olympics. So when Ms Lane became pregnant five times between 1992 and 1999, she allegedly resolved to avoid the...

the murder of a non-person?

Aug. 10, 2010 - In Wyoming, a man faces an unusual set of criminal charges: Authorities have charged Gilford with first-degree murder and intentional homicide of an unborn child in the death of Kristine Gilford, 35, who was five months pregnant and had been sharing a Villa Park apartment with her 3-year-old...

The Christian Science Monitor's flight of fancy

Aug. 9, 2010 - The Christian Science Monitor rounds up the usual suspects—liberal Catholic theologians—to testify that Pope Benedict XVI has been working for years on a nefarious project to “reassert conservative Catholicism.” To simplify matters, let’s concede that from the...

just don't tell

Aug. 9, 2010 - For about a week, America's mainstream media outlets ignored a story that was widely circulated in the British press: that Private Bradley Manning, the suspected source of the damaging Wikileak documents exposing American military policy in Afghanistan, is an "out" homosexual. Now the...

the fiercely independent Judge Walker

Aug. 6, 2010 - By ruling that there is no rational basis for the traditional definition of marriage, Judge Vaugh Walker earned a flattering profile in today's New York Times. The headline of the story-- which drove home the point that he was a Republican (George W) appointee to the federal bench-- described him...

all in the (redefined) family

Aug. 6, 2010 - How nice that US Catholic would carry an essay encouraging us to expand our understanding of what constitutes a family. And what a coincidence that the essay would appear on the very day that a judge in California instructed us that there is no rational explanation for defining the family as we...

unfit to serve?

Aug. 5, 2010 -  Today the universal Church celebrates the dedication of the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major. And critics of the Vatican celebrate another opportunity to denounce the continued presence of Cardinal Bernard Law as archpriest of that basilica.   It’s an optional memorial on the...

on message

Aug. 4, 2010 - Archbishop Donald Wuerl has challenged the Knights of Columbus to be “champions of new evangelization.” It was an excellent, powerful address, echoing one of the key themes of Pope Benedict XVI. Good solid stuff.  Just by the way, Phil made a good point yesterday,...

Pelosi's split personality

Aug. 4, 2010 - A pesky young pro-life journalist confronts Nancy Pelosi with a tough question. Jane McGrath of CNSNews.com reminds the Speaker that she had referred to Jesus as the “Word made Flesh.” When did that event occur, McGrath asked? That is, “when did the Word get the right to...

leave your atheism in the cloakroom

Aug. 3, 2010 -  Fact: Australia’s new Prime Minister Julia Gillard is an avowed atheist.  Fact: Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth has observed that Christian voters might be uncomfortable with atheist leadership. Fact: Liberal columnists have charged Archbishop Hickey with...

what might have been

Aug. 3, 2010 - For years it’s been a simple decision for Catholic-bashers in the broadcast media. You want someone who will appear on TV wearing a Roman collar and say nasty things about the Pope? Father Richard McBrien is your go-to guy.   But alas the years pass. None of us is getting any younger....

theatre of the absurd

Aug. 2, 2010 -  At a secret ceremony held in a “rented church in Serra Mesa” on July 31, a California woman named Nancy Corran claimed to be ordained as a priest. You say that it’s impossible for a bishop to ordain a woman? No matter; there wasn’t a bishop in attendance. Corran was...

after Anne Rice

Jul. 30, 2010 - The author of Interview with the Vampire has announced that she is no longer a Christian. Her departure from the ranks of the faithful leaves Dante and Shakespeare to battle it out for the title of the greatest Christian author in...

full disclosure

Jul. 28, 2010 - An Episcopalian bishop in Pennsylvania has disclosed that his predecessor was charged with multiple instances of sexual abuse, and asked any other victims of the former bishop (now deceased) should come forward. With this open and honest approach, Dr. Sean Rowe has taken a cue from the American...

two scandals, one theme

Jul. 28, 2010 - Newsweek has jumped all over a report by Italian journalist Carmelo Abbate, whose undercover reporting produced a sensational story about the homosexual dalliances of Catholic priests in Rome. Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Pope’s vicar for the Rome diocese, responded to the story by...

ah, dialogue

Jul. 28, 2010 - Anthony Stevens-Arroyo, who writes nonsense about Catholicism on a regular basis for the Washington Post’s religion blog, has furrowed his brow and offered his thoughts on the Tea Party movement. Although he thinks the Tea Party is tainted by racism (not liking Obama) and violence (NRA...

packing in the pews

Jul. 21, 2010 - The Catholic bishops of Louisiana have decided that although citizens would be allowed by proposed new state law to carry concealed handguns, they would not be allowed to carry those weapons in Catholic churches. This means: A pious Catholic who is lawfully carrying a pistol as he goes...

the least common denomination

Jul. 15, 2010 - CHICAGO (AP)— The YMCA is now known officially as just “the Y.” The Chicago-based U.S. nonprofit announced Monday that it is changing both its logo and name to “the Y,” marking its first branding change in 43 years. The switch comes after more than two years of...

the solipsist's catechism

Jul. 14, 2010 -  "Nobody gets to tell me that I'm not a Catholic,” writes Charles Pierce in an essay for the Sunday Boston Globe magazine. The lengthy piece is entitled “What I Believe,” and for most readers, no doubt, questions about...

like mandates without a shepherd

Jul. 9, 2010 - The New York Times is unhappy with Pope Benedict. (No, really; I'm serious. What: you're not surprised?) Having spent the past several weeks pushing biased and misleading stories to suggest that Pope Benedict has blocked action against sexual abuse, the Times now concludes that the...

How do you 'conform' to a mystery?

Jul. 8, 2010 - So it seems Dr. Jeffrey John will not become an Anglican bishop after all. While conservatives in the Church of England are relieved that they will not have their first avowedly homosexual bishop, Dr. John's supporters are understandably disappointed.  The case is admittedly a confusing...

happy birthday, Uncle Teddy

Jul. 7, 2010 - Cardinal Ted McCarrick turns 80 today, and cannot participate in a future papal election.  No comment necessary. Just sit back, relax, take a deep breath, and read the above sentence again....

a new state record?

Jul. 6, 2010 - The pastor of a Catholic church in Connecticut has been charged with siphoning off parish funds to spend cavorting with his homosexual partners. What? What’s that? You say you’re experiencing a bit of déjà vu? Quite understandable. But no, we’re not talking about...

win-win

Jul. 6, 2010 - Still struggling to pay the bills, the Boston archdiocese has announced that all parishes will be expected to send 18% of their revenue to the chancery. That will shift some of the fundraising burden to individual pastors, but the archdiocesan staff is ready to help. Or at least to tell the...

a kinder, gentler Ian Paisley

Jul. 2, 2010 - Rev. Ian Paisley, that implacable foe of Catholic influence in Northern Ireland, has announced that it was a mistake to invite Pope Benedict XVI to visit Great Britain. OK, that’s not really news. You didn’t expect to find Paisley on the welcoming committee, did you? But notice the...

never mind your news; here's my news

Jun. 30, 2010 - Question: How do you insert a mention of the sex-abuse scandal into a story about new appointments to the Roman Curia? Answer: Gratuitously. AP takes the prize, for putting the reference to the scandal in front of the actual news in the lede: Preoccupied for months by the clerical sex abuse...

light summer reading

Jun. 30, 2010 -  Yes, I know what you're thinking, and I feel exactly the same way.  We'll all sleep better tonight, knowing that even while the Belgian police are raiding the bishops' headquarters, and a majority of Austrian priests embrace heresy, and Indian schoolchildren are being questioned by...

a novel legal defense

Jun. 30, 2010 - After a bizarre traffic incident that led to his arrest, and an even more bizarre appearance in court, a Massachusetts man objected vigorously when someone questioned his sanity. The accusation apparently centered on a claim that the defendant, Alejandro Serra, had identified himself as the...

If all roads lead there, why can't People magazine find it?

Jun. 28, 2010 - People magazine, with its usual breathless excitement, lets us know that American film starlet Mena Suvari was “married Saturday in a private church in Vatican City, Italy.”  Say what?! First of all, if it’s “Vatican City,” then it’s not...

when sexual exploitation is fashionable

Jun. 28, 2010 -  If a Catholic priest persuaded a 10-year-old boy to host a homosexual rally, the outrage would be universal, and it would be deserved. But since it wasn't a Catholic priest who appointed Will Phillips as grand marshal of the Northwest Arkansas Pride Parade, only the American Family...

don't be embarrassed

Jun. 25, 2010 - What is the source of the current distress about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church? An insufficiently positive public-relations campaign. That’s the message from Bishop Donal McKeown, an auxiliary of Ireland’s Down and Connor diocese. Following the lead of Archbishop Wilton...

make yourself comfortable

Jun. 24, 2010 - Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who has devoted so much of his episcopal career to the effort to make everyone comfortable, is approaching his 80th birthday, and already the celebrations have begun. (No, I don’t mean the celebrations of the fact that as of July 7, “Uncle Teddy”...

the Apocalypse, by popular demand

Jun. 23, 2010 - A Pew Research Center poll finds that 41% of all Americans believe that Jesus Christ will return by the year 2050. That’s an interesting datum, insofar as it offers a glimpse of American religious beliefs. But coming as it does, in the middle of a report in which average Americans offer...

same news, different perspectives

Jun. 18, 2010 - Pondering the news that American taxpayers contributed $1 billion in funding for pro-abortion organizations between 2002 and 2009, David Gibson makes a pointed observation on the Commonweal blog: That period, for those with short memories, generally corresponds to the two terms of a certain...

a Catholic identity for Catholic University

Jun. 17, 2010 -  When he introduced John Garvey as the new president of Catholic University, Archbishop Allen Vigneron, the chairman of the board of trustees, told the Washington Post that he expected Garvey to continue the work begun by his predecessor “to reclaim a Catholic identity” for the...

doom, gloom, and-- worst of all-- boredom

Jun. 17, 2010 - A prominent Australian microbiologist, Frank Fenner, predicts that mankind will be extinct within a century. Are you yawning? Probably. Not only because we’ll pretty much all be dead within a century anyway, but also because we’ve heard so many of these gloomy predictions in the past....

what they didn't know and when they didn't know it

Jun. 16, 2010 - The argument is now as familiar, as depressing—and, yes, as unhealthy-- as a bout with the flu. Cardinal Mahony said that back in the 1980s he put a predatory priest back to work (and withheld evidence of the priest’s crimes) because he didn’t know then what he knows now about...

how the fox got into the henhouse

Jun. 15, 2010 - The Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, is still recovering from the embarrassment of learning that a counselor in a program endorsed by the diocese was a former priest who faced “credible” sex-abuse charges. “We dropped the ball,” said diocesan spokesman Mark Dupont....

a day in the life of the Boston archdiocese

Jun. 11, 2010 -    Thursday morning, June 10, 2010     The leading fundraiser for Boston's Catholic schools tells the press that he's delighted the...

the ultimate minority-- or, 'quick, think of a new euphemism'

Jun. 11, 2010 - Non-white babies accounted for 48.6% of all the births in the United States between July 2008 and July 2009, the Census Bureau reports. That figure was up 1.8% from the previous year. If the trend continues, this year, for the first time, the majority of American newborns will be from racial...

tick, tock

Jun. 11, 2010 - A California court has ordered the public release of depositions by Cardinal Roger Mahony and other officials of the Los Angeles archdiocese in a notorious sex-abuse cases. Stand by. The grand jury

The Pope speaks 'for the first time'-- yet again

Jun. 11, 2010 -  Addressing the sex abuse crisis for the first time from the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI begged forgiveness on Friday…  That's the opening line of a New York Times report on the Pope's homily during the closing Mass of the Year for Priests. Did your...

HAL the malicious computer goes where ICEL fears to tread

Jun. 9, 2010 - Pope Pius XII did not use a computer word-processing program. We know that with certainty, since the programs weren't available in his lifetime. But if MicroSoft Word had been on the market in 1954, when Pius XII released his encyclical Sacra Viginitas, it would be easier to explain some passages...

cool your jets

Jun. 3, 2010 - Good morning! This is Acme Air Charters. How can I help you? [We cannot hear the other party to the phone call] Oh, yes! I've just been reading the headlines.  ...... Of course, sir. That plane is prepared; we're ready to fly on 15 minutes' notice. You have your own helicopter...

the theology of rising hemlines: a new approach to 'revelation'

Jun. 3, 2010 - The next time some Catholic scholar recommends a fresh consideration of the possibility of ordaining women, think of these words of wisdom from our separated brethren: I am an Episcopal priest in my early 50s who has three tattoos. Two of them are visible when I wear a skirt above my...

none so blind

May. 31, 2010 - The challenge for American seminary rectors, the New York Times tells us, is "deciding whether gay applicants should be denied admission under complex recent guidelines from the Vatican that do not explicitly bar all gay candidates but would exclude most of them, even some who are...

a ringing-- well, maybe jingling -- defense of conscience

May. 28, 2010 -  At an April panel discussion at Boston College on "conscience clause" exemptions for health-care workers, Father J. Bryan Hehir spoke first. The priest who frames public policy for the Boston archdiocese delivered this message, as reported in Boston College Magazine: If we don't...

either God's mistake or PC culture's

May. 28, 2010 - The new Oberammergau Passion Play, with its PC Stamp of Approval, offers what is now a conventional-- indeed predictable-- comment on the Catholic faith: Jesus is OK but the Church is nasty. An actor who plays the lead role gets the picture exactly: You can see from the play that Jesus was...

No sexual abuse? Then it's no story

May. 28, 2010 - If Italian authorities deported two young Muslims, saying that they were conspiring to kill the Pope, would you consider that a significant news story? So would I. So did CWN. But most American media outlets ignored the story entirely. Writing on the GetReligion blog, journalist Terry Mattingly...

If only priests could have shotgun weddings!

May. 27, 2010 - They are used to secrecy, to hiding their feelings, to waiting in the shadows for their men. But now a group of women who have had intimate relationships with Catholic priests has decided to speak up against celibacy. Give these women credit for consistency: what they say matches what they...

not standing on ceremony

May. 25, 2010 - Hats off to Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. The man doesn't take offense lightly. When he arrived in Rome for a state visit, a band was playing at the airport welcoming ceremony, and the Bulgarian flag was flying-- upside down. Then he met with Pope Benedict XVI, and Vatican TV carried a...

Brother Knight

May. 25, 2010 - So the Knights of Columbus won't go further than the bishops go. If the bishop hasn't excommunicated Senator Mengele, the Knights won't suspend his membership. If the bishops say it's OK, it's OK with the Knights. So if the K of C had been active in England in the 1530s, following the same...

the story we're not covering today...

May. 24, 2010 -  ... is a story about disruption of Pentecost Sunday Mass at the cathedral in Chicago. Because there wasn't a disruption. Homosexual activists of the Rainbow Sash organization had threatened to confront Cardinal Francis George during the Mass. Instead, they claimed victory after they...

the non-story of a non-priest

May. 21, 2010 -  What's wrong with this story? Janinie [sic] Denomme who was ordained a Catholic priest in April last year has died of cancer. The Archdiocese of Chicago is refusing to allow her to be buried at her Catholic parish. And this one? ...

get away from it all

May. 14, 2010 - Why did Pope Benedict travel to Portugal this week? To pray at the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima? To rally the faithful there in the face of rising secularism? To discuss the 3rd secret? Not according to the AP headline writers: Pope's Portugal trip a bid to move beyond scandal  So let's...

comparative headlines

May. 10, 2010 - When one influential cardinal openly criticizes another, that's a legitimate headline story. The question is what the headline should say. The facts are not in dispute. The Archbishop of Vienna criticized the cardinal who was the #2 man at the Vatican, the Secretary of State, until Pope Benedict...

sexual abuse before the Great Enlightenment

May. 7, 2010 - In January 2002, speaking about sexual abuse in his capacity as president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, then-Bishop Wilton Gregory uttered the memorable words: "We have all been enlightened." In the months that followed, as one diocese after another was shaken by revelations...

no resignation without a question

May. 7, 2010 - Two Irish bishops have resigned. The Vatican announcement explained that the two-- Bishop Joseph Duffy of Clogher and Bishop Francis Lagan, an auxiliary in Derry-- had reached the mandatory retirement age of 75. All very simple and straightforward, right? Wrong, in the eyes of the New York Times,...

definitely not the worst

May. 7, 2010 - Hans Küng thinks it is "complete nonsense" to classify Pope Benedict XVI as the worst Pontiff in centuries.  Küng, who rarely misses an opportunity to criticize the Pope-- and sometimes manufactures opportunities when none present themselves-- wants it understood that he...

objective news, seen through crystal ball

May. 7, 2010 - There's a battle within the Catholic Church in England, with theological liberals and conservatives struggling to claim the mantle of Cardinal John Henry Newman, reports Ruth Gledhill of the London Times. As she explains the conflict, see if you can guess which side Ruth is on: Next week, the...

uncanny coincidence

May. 5, 2010 - It's not often that your Uncle Di has occasion to report the news from Park City, Utah. So what are the odds that when a priest there criticizes the Vatican for its handling of the sex-abuse problem, he just happens to be the same Father Bob Bussen who, some months back, was blaming the Vatican...

the grass roots magisterium

May. 4, 2010 - When you see a sentence like this one, it's time to tighten your seatbelt, because you're in for a wild ride: No organization has done more to elevate the moral stature of the Catholic Church in the United States than The Boston Globe. Not the Sisters of Charity. Not the Holy Name Society....

gimme a break

May. 3, 2010 - "Pope takes break from scandal, visits Turin Shroud," read the AP headline, which was dutifully passed along by dozens of newspapers. The headline conjures up the image of a weary Pontiff pushing himself away from a desk cluttered with dossiers of abusive priests, rushing off to Turin...

home cooking

May. 3, 2010 - It's odd that Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York doesn't know where Andrew Cuomo stands on abortion, yet he does know that legislators in Arizona have passed a "mean-spirited bill of doubtful constitutionality that has as its intention the expulsion of the immigrant." We know that...

5 years later: I wish I had been wrong

Apr. 29, 2010 - Exactly five years have passed since I originally posted the comment that is reproduced below. At the time, one reader (Gil125) commented:  Let's wait 5-10 years and see who's right, Weigel or Diogenes. If Benedict XVI proves to take his role as administrator of the Church, or PRIMUS...

literature quiz

Apr. 29, 2010 - It's 2010. The first decade of the 21st century is over.  What is "the decade's one indispensable Catholic book"? Answer here (search down for the...

when

Apr. 28, 2010 - I won't be surprised if it rains tomorrow. Did I just predict rain? No. I said it could rain. By the same token, a leading Vatican official has said that the Pope could issue an apology for sexual abuse during a...

and here's to you, Bishop Robinson

Apr. 28, 2010 - The irrepressible Bishop Geoffrey Robinson suggests a Church council to change teachings on sexuality, explaining that this is the only way to resolve the sex-abuse crisis. Hang on there. The priests who molested children were violating Church teachings. If we change the teachings (leaving aside...

words on paper

Apr. 27, 2010 - Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the PR voice of the US bishops' conference, has joined in the criticism of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos for his letter congratulating a French bishop for covering up priestly abuse. Here's her take on the notorious Castrillon missive: His view stood in contrast to that of...

question for today

Apr. 27, 2010 - Why is it so terribly wrong to suggest that there might be a connection between sexual abuse and homosexuality, but perfectly acceptable to say that the sex-abuse crisis shows the need to reconsider clerical celibacy and other aspects of Church teaching regarding sexuality?  Or to put it...

Piltdown Man demands Pope's resignation

Apr. 26, 2010 -   The sign of a truly dedicated propagandist is the willingness to push ahead with an argument even when the facts don't support it. Newspaper readers in the Boston area are blessed with the work of two truly dedicated propagandists. The Boston Globe offers James Carroll, who has, over the...

one born every minute

Apr. 26, 2010 - After scoring some nice publicity by convincing the Vatican to accept the donation of a newly planted forest in Hungary, a flamboyant American entrepreneur has gone out of business. No trees were ever planted, and the Vatican could not fulfill the goal of becoming the world's first carbon-neutral...

the flaw in Anderson's logic

Apr. 23, 2010 - In his lawsuit blaming the Vatican for abuse in Milwaukee, Jeffrey Anderson argues that the Holy See carefully controls every aspect of Catholic life, right down to the parish level. The Vatican, he claims, implicitly approves of everything that is done by a bishop, pastor, or priest.  It...

no litmus tests-- except this one

Apr. 22, 2010 - Asked whether he would consider a Supreme Court candidate who did not support legal abortion, President Obama replied that "I don't have litmus tests around any of these issues." Good. So he might possibly nominate a pro-life jurist? No. Having expressed his distaste for litmus tests,...

Or was it a self-inflicted reprimand?

Apr. 16, 2010 - First Cardinal Bertone made the observation that homosexuality is a major factor in the sex-abuse crisis. Then the Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, issued a clarification, emphasizing that Cardinal Bertone was speaking only about the clerical-abuse situation, not making any broader...

the controversialist

Apr. 15, 2010 - The ink was barely dry on the Lifetime Achievement Award that Cardinal George presented to Father Michael Pfleger, when the notorious Chicago priest was at in the news again-- this time, for a Sunday sermon in which he announced that "there should be women priests… women bishops, women...

gathering force-- slowly

Apr. 15, 2010 - In a typically sensationalized account of the sex-abuse scandal, the London Times breathlessly reports that the Pope has spoken of the need for penance "as calls for his removal gather force." What constitutes this mounting pressure for the Pope's resignation? First the Times cites a...

Don't Pass Me By. Don't Make Me Cry. On second thought....

Apr. 14, 2010 - L'Osservatore Romano is prepared to forgive the Beatles for their offenses against Christian morality, in light of their "magical mystery tour creative alchemy." This is exciting news for those who are still living in the early 1970s.  Beatle drummer Ringo Starr, who lives in 2002,...

the same old mistakes

Apr. 13, 2010 - In an op-ed column appearing  in USA Today (along with a contrasting view from our own Phil Lawler), Stephen Prothero of Boston University writes that Pope Benedict should confess his crimes-- whatever they might be. Frustrated by what he sees as mismanagement in Rome,...

oh, NOW I get it!

Apr. 12, 2010 - The Vatican has for the first time made it clear that bishops and other high-ranking clergy should report clerical sex abuse to police. That's the lede in an AP account of the Vatican's public summary of Church guidelines for handling sex-abuse complaints. The message, as delivered by AP, is...

not with the program

Apr. 12, 2010 -  Pope offers condolences to Poland, dodges scandal That's the headline on an AP story about the Holy Father's public statement of condolences for the airplane crash that killed Poland's President Lech Kaczynski. What was noteworthy about the Pope's brief message, AP tells us, is that he...

trade proposal

Apr. 11, 2010 - Maureen Dowd has written another wearisome diatribe against the Church (if you really must read it, look here, and don't blame me; I warned you), comparing the Catholic hierarchy to the Saudi government.  There is a similarity: both systems are all-male. Got that, Maureen. Thanks for the...

priests don't count?

Apr. 10, 2010 - The US Census Bureau computer won't mail a form to a "business address," so priests who list the parish church as their residence aren't receiving forms.  (The Census Bureau regards a parish as a "business." There's a lot they don't know.)  BTW the Census computer...

dancing in the end zone

Apr. 9, 2010 - Simply put, what Rome says no longer matters. Boston Globe editorials have been making that argument for decades. But now the Globe has found a new mouthpiece: an ordinarily intelligent Boston University professor, Andrew Bacevich, who specializes in international relations. It shows: If...

love and hate

Apr. 9, 2010 - Do you remember Father Michael Pfleger? In 2007 the radical Chicago priest issued a public threat to a gun-store owner, saying that: "We're going to find you and snuff you out." That earned him a rebuke from the chancery. In 2008 he was at it again, with some over-the-top mockery of...

thank you, Betty Friedan

Apr. 9, 2010 - Father Timothy Radcliffe, the former worldwide head of the Dominican order, tells us What We Have Learned from the sex-abuse scandal, and explains why we shouldn't blame those who were in authority (you know, like diocesan bishops, or heads of religious orders): It is unjust to project...

Rev. Barbie Doll

Apr. 7, 2010 - The public has a right to know, and Religious News Service provides the facts: With her careers as veterinarian, astronaut and U.S. president behind her, Barbie has at last found her true calling: as a second-career Episcopal priest.  The Rev. Barbie-- complete with appropriate...

You're a murderer. (No offense intended.)

Apr. 7, 2010 - In a "news" story greeting the appointment of the city's coadjutor, Archbishop José Goméz, the Los Angeles Times provides some background on the prelate's membership in Opus Dei:  Opus Dei was founded by Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer in Spain in 1928. Escriva...

The New York Times has apologized for...

Apr. 1, 2010 -       ... April...

Catholics need not apply; funds cheerfully accepted

Mar. 31, 2010 - Remember Martha Coakley, the Massachusetts attorney general and sometime Senate candidate who memorably suggested that Catholics probably shouldn't be working in hospital emergency rooms? Coakley's unsuccessful Senate campaign had the enthusiastic backing of Ralph de la Torre, the head of the...

if she's good enough for the Jesuits...

Mar. 31, 2010 - Christian activists are rightly distressed by President Obama's nomination of Chai Feldblum, a radical lesbian activist, to a seat on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. But it will be tough to persuade the US Senate to block the appointment. Right now Feldblum is a professor at...

a cold day in hell

Mar. 31, 2010 - Newsweek's religion editor Lisa Miller doesn't believe in Hell. Why not? Because of the poll numbers. Hell isn't popular these days. Respondeo: Hell has never been terribly popular-- least of all with its residents. President Obama isn't doing well in the popularity polls these days...

hail the bipartisan bishops

Mar. 30, 2010 - The US bishops lobbied long and hard on the health-care reform issue, to no avail. Now it's time for a post-mortem. Conservative Republicans were never with the USCCB, since the bishops were enthusiastically in favor of the overall goals of Obamacare, which conservatives could not...

the usual suspects

Mar. 29, 2010 - Desperate for new witnesses who will join in the calls for the Pope's resignation, the media have rediscovered Hans Küng, who-- having honed his skills through decades of complaints that his old faculty colleague is responsible for all the world's ills-- sure, enough, thinks the Pope should...

So you want to criticize the Pope?

Mar. 27, 2010 - It's the responsibility of a diocesan bishop-- not the Pope-- to discipline priests under his jurisdiction who are guilty of misconduct. It's the responsibility of the Pope, however, to remove and replace bishops who are manifestly unfit to handle their duties. So if you want to criticize the...

understatement

Mar. 26, 2010 - Five years after the Vatican ordered Father Marcial Maciel to withdraw from ministry into "a reserved life of prayer and penitence," one year after the revelations that Maciel had led a double life, the Legionaries of Christ have announced: "We accept that, given the gravity of...

Rembert passes the buck

Mar. 26, 2010 - In July 1996, Archbishop Rembert Weakland wrote to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about a problem that, he said, had "only recently… come to light"-- the charges against Father Lawrence Murphy. Only recently? That was 40 years after the first complaints against...

fire him-- and give him a gold watch

Mar. 25, 2010 - After Pope Benedict accepted the resignation of Cloyne's Bishop John Magee, who had thoroughly botched the handling of sex-abuse complaints, Cardinal Sean Brady, the Primate of All Ireland, issued a statement, which is herewith reproduced in its entirety. “I wish to...

getting the help you can't afford

Mar. 24, 2010 - The US bishops spent $104.4 million last year on sex-abuse settlements. You know that already; you saw today's top news headline. But now take another look at the numbers. Of that $104.4 million, a bit more than one-fourth-- $28.7 million-- was for legal fees. For every $2 handed over in damages...

the dice aren't straight either

Mar. 24, 2010 - The official, authorized, expert studies of the sex-abuse crisis in the US have discerned "no clear pattern of homosexual behavior." It's odd, therefore, that the latest statistics continue to show that over 80% of the victims are males. Of course we've been instructed: “

They were pens, I tell you; not pieces of silver!

Mar. 24, 2010 - When he signed the health-care reform bill, President Obama gave commemorative pens-- the traditional gifts for people who were instrumental in securing the passage of legislation-- to 18 members of Congress and of his administration, and just 2 outsiders. They were: Vicki Kennedy, the widow of...

just wondering...

Mar. 17, 2010 - Why would a homosexual couple want to work with a Catholic adoption agency?  This isn't really about equal access, is it? This is about closing down institutions that present a different point of...

the no-vote vote

Mar. 16, 2010 - Just read the Fox News headline, and you know something fishy is happening: Pelosi Plan to Pass Health Care Without Traditional Vote Riles Critics The word that should capture your attention is "traditional." What's a traditional vote? That, we learn, is the kind of vote in which...

devout atheists

Mar. 12, 2010 - If you're in Australia this weekend, and you think you hear the sweet strains of Gospel music, sung by a church choir, stop a minute and listen carefully. It might not be what you think. There's a new sort of revival going on. The BBC reports: More than 2,000 atheists from around the world are...

hate crime

Mar. 11, 2010 - A pro-life activist is dead. The man who shot him says that he wanted to kill the man because of his pro-life signs. But thanks to the First Amendment-- not the "emanations from the penumbra" but the words of the amendment itself-- it's legal to hold up signs even when some people...

purported priests

Mar. 11, 2010 - Charged with fraud, Byron Canada pleaded guilty. So it's understandable that people look upon him with suspicion. The headline in the South Bend Tribune read: Purported priest pleads guilty to fraud in South Bend federal court The...

lights out

Mar. 10, 2010 - For Lent, Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley announced an initiative to bring Catholics back to the sacrament of reconciliation. He asked all pastors of the archdiocese to arrange for confessions every Wednesday evening between 6:30 and 8. The program, with the theme "The Light Is On for...

never change a winning game

Mar. 10, 2010 -  Two more American archbishops have joined the list of prelates who would prefer to try gentle persuasion on pro-abortion Catholic politicians rather than impose canonical discipline. Leaving aside the obligation that canon law imposes on Eucharistic ministers, let's ask a cold practical...

hot potato

Mar. 5, 2010 - What was the first thought that came into your head when you woke up this morning? Of course. I know. I was thinking the same thing: When will the Vatican finally take a stand on the genetically modified potato? The inexplicable silence of the teaching magisterium on this pressing moral issue...

the ninnies who educate Catholic children

Mar. 4, 2010 - Fact: The National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) has invited Garrison Keillor to address its annual convention.  Fact: Garrison Keillor has referred to pro-lifers as "shrieking ninnies and pompous blowhards."  The charitable conclusion to be drawn from this is that...

a happy ending

Mar. 1, 2010 - Gay-rights activists in the Netherlands were outraged when a Catholic church denied Communion to a flamboyant homosexual, BBC reports:  Several hundred demonstrators, dressed in pink wigs and clothes, left the church in protest.  Setting aside the rest of the story, which is not at...

dim bulbs

Feb. 26, 2010 - Eat whatever you want and lose weight! You've seen those ads too, no doubt. I haven't tried the miracle diets, but I'm skeptical. I'm skeptical, too, that the "Lenten Carbon Fast," proposed by the Environmental Outreach Committee of the Archdiocese of Washington, will prove a...

Le coeur a ses raisons

Feb. 24, 2010 - Bishop Margot Kaessmann of the Germany Lutheran Church has resigned. "My heart tells me quite clearly that I cannot stay," she says. It may have been her liver talking to her, rather than her heart, after she was arrested for drunk driving. Still, whatever organ it was that sent the...

waiting for guidance

Feb. 19, 2010 - Questioned about the vexing issue of whether pro-abortion politicians should be admitted to the Eucharist, Cardinal Sean O'Malley--who faces such questions frequently in his Boston archdiocese--told LifeSite News that clear guidance from the Vatican is necessary. LSN: “So you think it needs...

light dawns

Feb. 19, 2010 - Let's say you ran a small business. You were doing OK until a crooked employee robbed you and cheated your customers, bringing on an avalanche of lawsuits that drove you into bankruptcy. Now, with more debts than money to pay, you have to make some tough decisions. Should you pay the honest...

reinventing the whee!

Feb. 15, 2010 - Among the grants awarded by the US government to stimulate the, um, economy, intrepid researchers have found this line item: $219,000 to the National Institutes of Health to study whether female college students are more likely to have casual sex when they are drunk; Unless I'm mistaken male...

with good news like this, who needs bad news?

Feb. 12, 2010 - Armed with the results of a new Marist Institute poll, the Knights of Columbus announce that they have good news and bad news about the rising generation of American Catholics—described as "millennials" because they came of age around the millennium. Some of the good news for...

end of an era

Feb. 12, 2010 - Now it's official. But remember, you heard it here first. The Kennedy dynasty has ended. Congressman Patrick ("Patches") Kennedy said that he will not seek re-election because "my life is taking a new direction." Liberal commentators were shocked by his announcement, and...

snow job

Feb. 11, 2010 - Freakish blizzards and freezing temperatures on the East Coast are making it embarrassing to raise the question of global warming. But the New York Times assures us, in a front-page story, that the blizzards themselves might be evidence of climate change. Or possibly not. The truth is, nobody...

details, details...

Feb. 10, 2010 - When he spoke to bishops from England and Wales on February 1, Pope Benedict warned that the Equality Bill, being considered in Parliament, threatened religious liberty. As he put it, the legislation would "impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance...

unlimited views

Feb. 10, 2010 - That wailing and gnashing of teeth that you hear is coming from Rome, where the news has just arrived: Actress Anne Hathaway has left the Catholic Church. She and her family quit as a group after her brother Thomas "came out" as homosexual. "Why should I support an organization that...

fair trade

Feb. 10, 2010 - The redoubtable Father Z has a brilliant suggestion for dissident Catholics liberals: Since you seem to want to be Anglicans, leave that closet and ask Archbishop Rowan Williams for your own Ordinariate.? The symmetry of the proposal is striking. Pope Benedict has devised ordinariates for...

you can speak (authoritatively) when I tell you

Feb. 9, 2010 - The Irish Independent, following in the footsteps of American counterparts like the New York Times and the Boston Globe, has evinced a sudden interest in preserving the authority of the Catholic Church. The sex-abuse crisis in Ireland has jeopardized that authority, the Independent rightly...

we (might) hold these truths

Feb. 9, 2010 - An ecumenical catechism: what a wonderful idea, Cardinal Kasper! We can work out a careful formulation of the beliefs that all professed Christians hold in common--- if there are any. Actually, since new Protestant bodies are created every week, and even the old established groups change their...

bridge to nowhere

Feb. 8, 2010 - New Ways Ministry is "astonished" that Cardinal George would suggest its work is not completely in line with Church teaching. The group's executive director, Francis DeBernardo, complains that Cardinal George didn't even have the "basic courtesy" to notify him before issuing a...

proper Bostonians

Feb. 5, 2010 - Parishes in the Boston archdiocese are "resuming rituals," the Boston Globe tells us, now that fears of the swine flu have subsided.  Many parishes have already resumed sharing communion wine and allowing worshipers to shake hands. As any altar boy can tell you, severe...

credit where credit is due

Feb. 5, 2010 - John Carr, the veteran justice-and-peace staff director for the US bishops' conference, has been under fire recently because of his ties with a leftist group that promotes legal abortion and same-sex marriage. It's a messy and complicated debate. Does Carr have close ties with leftist groups? Yes....

it's only sinful if you don't take pleasure in it

Feb. 4, 2010 - This just in: Homosexuality has been discovered! OK, I admit it's stale news. It turns out that people have known of homosexuality for "about 125 years." This wisdom is vouchsafed to us by the world's first openly homosexual Episcopalian bishop, Gene Robinson. Robinson was responding...

preview of Obamacare?

Feb. 3, 2010 - A US tax court has ruled that Rhiannon O'Donnabhain can deduct the $25,000 that he spent to become she: the medical costs of sex-change surgery. The court ruled that the Internal Revenue Service was wrong to say that the surgery was not medically necessary, since O'Donnabhain was suffering from...

get serious

Feb. 1, 2010 - The abrupt resignation of Bishop Kizito Bahujimihigo of Kibungo, Rwanda, was prompted by "serious financial problems," according to an unidentified Vatican official cited in an AP story. Bishop Bahujimihigo-- who is only 55 years old, and apparently healthy-- acknowledged that he had...

no foul, no harm

Jan. 29, 2010 - A Kansas jury needed only 40 minutes to deliberate before delivering a guilty verdict in the murder trial of Scott Roeder, who killed the infamous later-term abortion specialist George Tiller.  There was never any doubt that Roeder was the man who shot Tiller in the head last May. Roeder...

don't be strident

Jan. 27, 2010 - Have you ever watched a professional football game? It's violent. Grown men, uniformed and helmeted, smash into each other at full force. The fans-- at the stadium or in front of the television set-- roar in approval after each new collision. Trumpets blare, whistles blow, players curse and grunt...

Australian women, living in fear

Jan. 27, 2010 - What menace cause the most tremors in the hearts of Australian women? What do they fear more than anything else? Virginity. We have this on the authority of the country’s deputy prime minister, Julia Gillard. Let me explain. In a candid discussion of his own misspent youth as a child of...

cluelessness on the March

Jan. 26, 2010 - Let's see, now: Who would you expect to find participating in the annual March for Life?  Take your time with the answer. The mass media has had 36 years to ponder the question; you can take 36 seconds, at least.  Are you ready? The correct answer is: pro-lifers!  Did you...

UFOs in the neighbor's garage

Jan. 25, 2010 - The search for alien life forms should be conducted here on Earth rather than in outer space, scientists have claimed. My thought exactly. If nothing else, this approach will save on travel expenses for researchers. I'd start at the new cathedral in Los...

what's the point?

Jan. 25, 2010 - “There is no point embarking on a project that is not acceptable to Rome at this point,” says the director of vocations at an American Catholic diocese, speaking about the possibility of ordaining women to the priesthood. That sentence is a minor masterpiece of misdirection. You...

disappearing act

Jan. 22, 2010 - Do you know how to make 100,000 people disappear? It's an easy 2-step process. Put them on the Washington Mall. Give them pro-life placards, which make them invisible to the major...

be careful what you pray for

Jan. 21, 2010 - A teenage boy, an Orthodox Jew, threw a flight crew into panic when he began putting on his tefillin to pray. (H/t Father Z) Prayer is still allowed on airplanes, but if you are paranoid enough, and have never seen an Orthodox Jew at prayer before, you might—if you squint really...

seeing is believing

Jan. 20, 2010 - Procurement officers for the American and British armed forces are (OK, I'll say it) under fire after the discovery that a US company supplying gunsights for the military inscribed the devices with references to the Bible. Look carefully, and you see either "2COR4:6" or...

the integrity of the... game

Jan. 13, 2010 - He cheated. Everyone suspected it; now at last he’s admitted it. Mark McGwire, who shattered baseball’s single-season home-run record, was on steroids. Now that he has confessed and apologized, some baseball journalists are inclined to forgive and forget. But a former colleague, the...

bronzed and fit

Jan. 13, 2010 -  A Wisconsin lawmaker had the effrontery to question Archbishop Jerome Listecki as to how the Milwaukee archdiocese regards its disgraced former Archbishop Rembert Weakland.  Grothman asked Listecki about Weakland’s current status. “Does he have any position of honor still...

psychology today

Jan. 13, 2010 - He has said that he was part of a vast conspiracy. He has said that there was no conspiracy. He has said that there was a conspiracy against him. He has offered (for $5 million) to expose the conspiracy. Mehmet Ali Agca has also offered to play himself in a movie and to hunt down Osama bin...

tip-top security

Jan. 13, 2010 - As a public service, since I know that folks at the Vatican don't always stay abreast of news on the internet, let me offer a few advanced tips for Vatican security officials: 1) Mehmet Ali Agca will soon be on the loose. He's said that he wants to visit St. Peter's Square. Last time he did that,...

so subtle

Jan. 11, 2010 -   Do you think you can guess what the editors of the Arizona Republic think about Archbishop Raymond Burke? Go ahead; give it a try. You can read the whole story. Or maybe take a stab at it, based on the headline: Divisive bishop to speak at Red...

do the math

Jan. 11, 2010 - A special election will be held in Massachusetts next week, to fill the Senate seat that opened with the death of Ted Kennedy.  Last week, a Boston Globe poll of likely voters show the Democratic candidate, Martha Coakley, leading the Republican, Scott Brown, by a comfortable margin: 50-...

priorities

Dec. 28, 2009 - On a quiet winter day, with no pressing work to do, a friend visited the site of the US bishops’ conference, and did a Google search restricted to English-language results on that site. He tried “transubstantiation” and the search returned 26 hits. Interesting. He...

'the system worked'

Dec. 28, 2009 - If not for a failed detonator, an airplane would have been destroyed and another 278 victims would have been added to the terrorists' tally. And the top security official in the federal government tells us that "the system worked." Can you imagine any equally inappropriate response to a...

a grave threat to democracy in Australia

Dec. 22, 2009 - Tony Abbott, the leader of Australia’s opposition Liberal party, believes that children in school should become familiar with the Bible and other “great texts that are at the core of our civilization.” Senator Kate Lundy is horrified. “Mr Abbott wants to take the choice...

where the bodies are buried

Dec. 21, 2009 - You're a promising young man. Your superiors are impressed with your performance, and you're promoted at an early age to a position of great responsibility. But once in that office, you start acting strange. Very strange. Rather than make a fuss, your bosses summon you to headquarters, where you...

the wisdom of Solomon

Dec. 16, 2009 - Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was raised as a Catholic but now attends an Anglican church. So when he attended Mass at the chapel of Blessed Mary MacKillop in Sydney, the question arose: should he be allowed to receive Communion? Communion is, among other things, a sign of...

and a 'happy holiday' to you, too

Dec. 16, 2009 - The office of Catholic Charities USA has unveiled a Holiday Gift catalog, which (among other things) will allow you to send Holiday eCards to your friends.  [emphasis added] You'll be happy to know that of the 14 eCards available for the Christmas/holiday season, 8-- that's a majority!--...

the eccentric

Dec. 14, 2009 - The Archbishop of Canterbury is annoyed with England’s Labour government, and particularly with the way the government treats religions: as if “it’s an eccentricity, it’s practised by oddities, foreigners and minorities.” Yet Dr. Rowan Williams takes a similar...

a VOTF kind of hero

Dec. 11, 2009 - Voice of the Faithful has nominated Father Roy Bourgeois, for its “Priest of Integrity” award. The Vatican has nominated Father Bourgeois for excommunication. VOTF praises the Maryknoll priest for his “dedication to changing structures that are...

actually it's golden

Dec. 11, 2009 - Irish singer Sinead O’Connor has demanded that Pope Benedict XVI resign because of his “contemptible silence” on the sex-abuse scandal. Silence isn’t always contemptible, Sinead. Try...

as he says, not as he does

Dec. 3, 2009 - David Clohessy, the director of the sex-abuse victims’ group SNAP, welcomes the release of files showing how the Bridgeport, Connecticut diocese handled complaints. “We hope that Catholics will read the documents themselves,” he says. Has Clohessy read the documents, then? Well,...

collegiality in action

Dec. 3, 2009 - While Phil Lawler waits and waits for Patrick Kennedy's next public slap at Bishop Tobin, your Uncle Di is drumming his fingers on the desktop and waiting for something else: a show of support for Bishop Tobin from his brother bishops.  Literally thousands of editorial columns have appeared...

wouldn't join any heaven that would accept him as a member

Dec. 3, 2009 - Cardinal Lozano Barragan said that active homosexuals will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and his remarks were reproduced—often in sensationalized form—in hundreds of media outlets. This remark, on the other hand, was not widely reproduced: Barragan's remarks drew a prompt...

nothing to hide

Dec. 1, 2009 - The Diocese of Bridgeport spent 8 years fighting to prevent the release of records involving sex-abuse cases. Dozens of pleas and motions in state courts. Two trips to the Connecticut Supreme Court. Three efforts at the US Supreme Court. All to no avail. Today, in compliance with a...

the Grinch comes to choir practice

Nov. 30, 2009 - Anglican Bishop Nick Baines of Croydon is on a seasonal crusade. The author of Why Wish You a Merry Christmas? wants to abolish Christmas carols that include overly sentimental verses, and replace them with a more rigorously historical description of the Incarnation. There is, evidently,...

Everything OK? Just checking. Everything still OK?

Nov. 30, 2009 - The "Murphy Commission" report on the handling of sex-abuse complaints in the Dublin archdiocese was particularly rough on one former auxiliary: Bishop Donal Murray, who now heads the Limerick diocese. The commission saw his handling of one priest, Father Tom Naughton-- now a convicted...

creation= making something out of nothing

Nov. 25, 2009 - Sure, maybe the scientific data behind the climate-change theory is all phony. But that doesn't mean we should question the theory, the New York Times assures us.  The evidence...

the solstice, maybe?

Nov. 25, 2009 - The catalogue just arrived from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They're selling some beautiful Christmas cards, featuring different great artists' portrayals of the Madonna and Child.  Wait! Did I say "Christmas" cards? I beg your pardon. They are of course "holiday"...

99% pure

Nov. 24, 2009 - A reading from the 2nd book of Samuel, Chapter 12, Verses 7-9, 13: Nathan said to David, "You are the man. Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, `I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul; and I gave you your master's house, and your master's wives...

time travel

Nov. 23, 2009 - Logic question: How could Bishop Tobin, by writing a private letter in 2007, escalate a public dispute that began in October...

the more things change, the more they stay the same

Nov. 23, 2009 - After meeting with Pope Benedict, and reassuring himself that Nothing Has Changed, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke with Vatican Radio. The interview is revealing in two respects: Few men can say "Hmmm," in response to a reporter's question, as beautifully as Dr. Williams. His tone is...

and here's another topic I'm not going to mention

Nov. 23, 2009 - For a guy who doesn't want any public discussion of his faith, Patches Kennedy sure spends a lot of time in public discussion of his...

connection/no connection

Nov. 19, 2009 - The John Jay report offers a brilliant insight into the background for the sex-abuse scandal: The pattern of deviant sexual behavior by clerics is consistent with several other behavioral changes in society between 1960 and 1990, including use of drugs, and an increase in divorce and criminal...

rondeau

Nov. 18, 2009 - "I think it's safe to say there is no safer place for children today than in the Catholic Church," said Bishop Blase Cupich of South Dakota, who presented the John Jay researchers to the other 230 bishops.  I think it's safe to say that there is no safer place to say "there is...

tell it to the judge

Nov. 16, 2009 - Tony Alamo, America's most vitriolic anti-Catholic bigot, will be spending the rest of his life in jail (unless he lives to the age of 250), after being sentenced for sexual abuse of children.   Alamo, 75, had denied the charges, claiming they came from a Vatican-led conspiracy against the...

Nolo contendere

Nov. 11, 2009 - In a recent speech Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto addressed the moral responsibilities of bishops who learn about sexual misconduct by their priests or their episcopal colleagues: As for improper behaviour by those already ordained, I and all of us who exercise authority in the Church have...

the hobgoblin of a large mind

Nov. 9, 2009 - Here's the headline for a news column by Ruth Gledhill, appearing in the Times online for November 9: Vatican holds line on celibacy for Anglican rebels Here's the headline for a blog entry on the same subject, by the same reporter, appearing in the same outlet on the same date:

for art's sake

Nov. 5, 2009 - When I tell you that Rocco Landesman sees Barack Obama as "the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar," you probably won't be surprised to learn that Rocco Landesman owes his current job-- as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts-- to an appointment by Barack Obama. To be...

...and she managed it without the Dallas Charter

Nov. 4, 2009 - Barbara Kenley runs a stable in South Carolina, and she takes the welfare of her horses seriously. Good for her.  If American bishops had been equally diligent in protecting the children of God, the Church in the US would be about $3 billion richer today.  That's just accounting for...

religious illiteracy, Italian style

Nov. 4, 2009 - Who's the boss at the Vatican?  No, this isn't a trick question. I'm trying to make a point. It's easy. The Pope is the boss. Everyone knows that. Right? Wrong. Check the lede from this news story: Vatican City, November 4 - Pumpkins will be more common than crosses in Italian classrooms...

protecting children and young people-- from their parents

Nov. 3, 2009 - The London Daily Mail tells us that parents in Watford Council are outraged, because they've been told they can't accompany their children to the local playground until they pass a criminal-background check. This remarkable security policy was adopted to protect children from...

a 'self-described Catholic witch'

Nov. 2, 2009 - The Washington Post story recounted a Halloween marriage ceremony, uniting "one self-described Catholic witch and one pagan." If you're like me that phrase made you shudder, wondering what sorts of grotesque liturgical abuses were involved. Relax. The ceremony wasn't held in a Catholic...

if you don't read this, humanity could become extinct

Oct. 29, 2009 - Pope Benedict's willingness to welcome Anglicans into the Catholic Church is "a rejection of contemporary human experience." That is the magisterial judgment of James Carroll, the former Paulist priest who, having abandoned the order of Melchizedek, has taken up the Great Commission of...

prayer, yes; faith, no

Oct. 29, 2009 - Rejecting protests, the city council of Darwin, Australia has decided to continue the practice of reciting the Lord's Prayer at meetings. Showing the wisdom of Solomon, the council members reason that non-Christians should not object to the prayer, since its inclusion at the meetings is a matter...

are you scared?

Oct. 29, 2009 - Hans Küng has criticized Pope Benedict.   In other news, the sun rose in the east this morning. Writing in the Italian daily La Repubblica, Küng said that the Pope's invitation to Anglicans was tantamount to "unecumenical piracy of priests," and worried that Pope...

let's (not) shake on it

Oct. 28, 2009 - Diocese altering rituals in swine flu precaution That's the top headline in today's Boston Globe. So it must be a big story. The lede certainly confirms that impression: The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, reacting to the...

unproclaimable

Oct. 27, 2009 - Leading the charge against approval of the latest English-language liturgical texts, Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania, worries that "ordinary Catholics" will be unable to understand words like "incarnate" and "precursor" and "inviolate" and...

hate speech, Rush, and the USCCB: clarification

Oct. 27, 2009 - So it turns out that the US bishops' conference is not, after all, a part of the coalition that sent a petition to the FCC urging an investigation of "hate speech" by conservative radio talk-show hosts.  Or to be more accurate, the USCCB is part of the So We Might See coalition,...

the remedial education of Congressman Kennedy

Oct. 26, 2009 - Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island-- who shows a rare gift for plain

ecumenism lives on

Oct. 23, 2009 - Don't listen to those people who say that by spreading the welcome mat for Anglicans, the Vatican has ended an era in ecumenism: an era marked by pleasant conversations which produce agreements on dates for future pleasant conversations, with an eye to continuing pleasant conversations unto...

gone fishin'

Oct. 22, 2009 - The BBC explains why so many people were caught off guard by this week's news from Rome: Only last week the Vatican's senior spokesman on relations with other churches, Cardinal Walter Kasper, said "full visible unity" with Anglicans was Rome's long-term goal. "We are not fishing...

hate speech, Rush, and the USCCB

Oct. 21, 2009 - Liberal activists in the US loathe conservative talk-radio shows. OK, you already knew that. Liberals would like to use the power of the Federal Communications Commission to tighten down the lid on conservative talk-show hosts. OK, you already knew that. Liberal religious groups have asked the...

Earning your trust

Oct. 19, 2009 - All it took was a front-page article in the New York Times, and the Diocese of Superior, Wisconsin, took action, suspending a priest who fathered a son during one of an indeterminate number...

the smartest guys in the class

Oct. 17, 2009 - Times are tough for all of us. But your Uncle Di didn't lose $500 million gambling on interest-rates last year. Did you? No? Guess we're not smart...

full compliance

Oct. 16, 2009 - The Diocese of Rockville Center, New York, proudly announces that it is fully in compliance with the guidelines of the Dallas Charter. Newsday explains this achievement: Last year an audit found that, while the diocese passed virtually every aspect of the 13-article audit, it failed in one part...

author! author!

Oct. 16, 2009 - When you see a sentence like this, drawn from the Pope's message for World Food Day.... Guaranteeing individuals and peoples the chance to defeat the scourge of hunger means ensuring they have real access to adequate and healthy nourishment. ... you get the sense, right away, that the statement...

quis custodiet, etc.

Oct. 15, 2009 -  There's a dreary familiarity about the facts of the case, as reported in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. A priest was accused of molesting boys. A chancery bureaucrat investigated, uncovered evidence, but did not make that evidence public nor warn potential victims. Eventually there were...

no other public institution

Oct. 14, 2009 - In conversation with John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, Archbishop Wilton Gregory looks back on those halcyon days when he was president of the US bishops' conference, and that weighty body was coping so successfully with the sex-abuse scandal:  I think that the bishops of the...

kidnapped!

Oct. 13, 2009 - Thank goodness, justice has triumphed again. Msgr. Cesare Burgazzi will not be serving a prison sentence. Msgr. Burgazzi, in case you've forgotten, is the Vatican official-- make that former Vatican official-- who was stopped by police as he cruised through a red-light district in Rome....

nothing to see here, folks

Oct. 9, 2009 -  Archbishop Edwin O'Brien knows a thing or two about apostolic visitations. He led the apostolic visitation of American seminaries that was ordered up by the Vatican at the height of the sex-abuse scandal. That investigation, you'll recall, concluded with an assurance that the seminaries were...

don't ask and especially don't tell, cont.

Oct. 8, 2009 - Fact: Bishop Raymond Lahey, who was hit last week with child-porn charges, had traveled-- a number of times, apparently-- to southeast Asia. Fact: Tourist sites in southeast Asia have a seamy reputation. They have become international centers for the sexual exploitation of...

I don't got rhythm

Oct. 8, 2009 - Warning: For immature audiences only You probably should not watch this video if you have a sensitive stomach. Send the children away; they might get nightmares. But if you're brave enough to watch, you'll notice something immediately about the priests shown making a spectacle of...

take an axe to it

Oct. 7, 2009 - Controversy sells newspapers. When one prominent Catholic prelate criticizes another-- however politely he goes about it-- you've got yourself a controversy. That's especially true in Italy, where Vatican-watching is a popular pastime.  So when Archbishop Chaput took exception to the...

don't ask and especially don't tell

Oct. 6, 2009 -  At least one enterprising Canadian journalist has finally asked the obvious question: Why did airport security officials search a bishop's laptop computer? The answer is even more disconcerting than you might have anticipated: It was his travel history including visits to southeast Asian...

how this White House protects school children

Oct. 2, 2009 -  It was the spring of 1988. A 15-year-old boy came to a high-school teacher and hesitantly admitted that he was having a homosexual affair with an adult man.  Did the teacher alert police to this case of sexual abuse? No.  Did he tell the boy about the meaning of statutory rape,...

Remind me again: how does celibacy contribute to scandals?

Oct. 2, 2009 -  If only the Catholic Church allowed priests to marry, we wouldn't have so many clerics caught up in sexual scandals. Right? That's the party line, certainly. But it doesn't quite explain the problems facing a retired Anglican bishop who was arrested this week in a crackdown on prostitutes....

Hollywood's moral compass

Oct. 1, 2009 - "Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion," Weinstein said.  That pearl dropped from the lips of Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood impressario, speaking to the Los Angeles Times. Read it again. Let it sink in. The compassion to which Weinstein referred is...

fear stalks Africa

Sep. 29, 2009 - The poor people of Africa face many grave dangers: Hunger. War. Natural disaster. AIDS. Now Tanya Gold, writing in The Guardian, has identified another. First a bit of background. Tanya Gold doesn't like the Pope. She is, she tells us, "repelled" by the prospect of a papal visit to...

when silence means consent

Sep. 29, 2009 - It's Tuesday morning. You throw open the window to get some fresh air, and can't help overhearing the conversation on your neighbor's porch. Skip, the high-school junior, is talking with his parents. Skip: Can I go out with the guys Friday night? Father: Sure, son, sure. Oh, I remember my own...

and even a blind squirrel sometimes finds an ACORN

Sep. 25, 2009 -  Have no fear! This year, the money you toss into the pre-Thanksgiving collection won't be going to ACORN. Nor will it be going to two California groups that favored same-sex marriage. (One of the groups also favored the legalization of prostitution: a policy option that ACORN staff members...

not his field

Sep. 23, 2009 -  Remember when Rick Warren asked Barack Obama when an unborn child acquired human rights, and the presidential candidate replied that the question was "above my pay grade?" Now Obama has company. Asked whether a health-care reform bill should be amended to exclude abortion...

racism at the USCCB?

Sep. 22, 2009 - Why did so many Catholics object to Notre Dame's decision to honor President Obama? That's easy: racism. That, at least, was the message that Bishop J. Terry Steib of Memphis delivered to an audience in Philadelphia last week.

the perfect prelate

Sep. 21, 2009 -  Cardinal Mahony may be in a spot of trouble for failing to report a sex-abuse complaint against a priest with a past, but loyal staff members are rallying to his aid. The AP story relates: Calls after business hours to two archdiocese attorneys and archdiocese spokesman Tod...

protecting the flock

Sep. 21, 2009 - Cardinal Keith O'Brien tells The Tablet of his new crusade:   Not to act on the credible scientific evidence of global warming would be morally reprehensible, argues the Cardinal Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, who is leading a delegation to the United Nations ahead of the Copenhagen...

and now, when nobody's listening,...

Sep. 17, 2009 -  Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, has announced that he plans to participate in the March for Life next January.  Maybe while he's in Washington, he'll finally get an opportunity to confront President Obama directly, and demand that the President explain his...

you belong to the government

Sep. 17, 2009 -  You can count on Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to support any fashionable liberal cause. Roughly a year ago your Uncle Di observed: When he is not referring to the late Saddam Hussein as a "tragic figure" or announcing...

defunding the Left, one step at a time

Sep. 17, 2009 - After the latest scandal involving ACORN-- the report that the Alinsky-style community-organizing group was willing to provide support to local entrepreneurs setting up a brothel-- the US Senate voted 83- 7 to cut off funding for the group. The House of Representatives is likely to follow suit...

...and watch your language, you #@!#!‡°?#!!

Sep. 15, 2009 -  Father Tom Rosica, of Salt and Light Television, dislikes intemperate language. We know that, because in his comments on the Kennedy funeral, the influential Canadian priest decried the "vicious attacks launched on blogs," and the "self-righteousness, condemnation and...

mismatch

Sep. 14, 2009 -  Give Dan Brown credit for this much: the author of The Da Vinci Code has an amazing knack for publicity. Over the past several years he has managed to convince dozens of gullible American reporters that he is locked in a ferocious struggle with the Vatican-- despite the fact that Vatican...

doctor's orders

Sep. 11, 2009 -  A researcher from the University of Ulster is presenting a paper to the British Psychological Society arguing that medical patients who put their faith in prayer may be jeopardizing their own recovery. As BBC explains, Dr. Tony Cassidy reasons that "some people who put their trust in...

VOTF: fair and balanced

Sep. 10, 2009 -  Those energetic souls at Voice of the Faithful, who eschew all ideological ties, seeking only what it good for the Church, have some new events on their calendar. True to form, the VOTF events will feature speakers whose views cover a broad range of Catholic belief, stretching from the far...

if people are the problem...

Sep. 9, 2009 -  A study from the London School of Economics concludes that the best way to make the earth safe for future generations is to eliminate future generations. That's not quite how the authors would frame their argument, of course. But it is a natural extension of their logic. The problem,...

it's mutual

Sep. 9, 2009 -  The irrepressible Father Richard McBrien sees a dangerous backward trend in American Catholicism: Notwithstanding Pope Benedict XVI's personal endorsement of eucharistic adoration and the sporadic restoration of the practice in the archdiocese of Boston and elsewhere, it is difficult to...

puppet regime

Sep. 8, 2009 -  The puppeteers of St. Agatha's parish in Milton, Massachusetts invite you to sample their artistry: Puppet Ministry provides opportunities for young and old to share their faith and work together to create an effective method of outreach through the use of puppets. Light entertainment for...

funerals in Madison are fancier, I guess

Sep. 5, 2009 -  Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, assures us that we should not be disturbed by the funeral of Ted Kennedy, especially because the ceremony was so "subdued." Honest.  The only aspects of the Funeral Rites which were not low key were those on the guest-list, where...

no scandal this time

Sep. 4, 2009 - Gennaro Angiulo was laid to rest yesterday, after a funeral at St. Leonard's church in Boston's dear old North End. The funeral, like the wake that preceded it, was a high-profile affair. "Junior" Patriarca was there, as was "Cadillac Frank" Salemme. "Cheese Man"...

two scoops

Sep. 4, 2009 -  Ben and Jerry's has renamed one of their popular ice-cream flavors. The concoction once known as "Chubby-Hubby" will now be called "Hubby-Hubby." It's Ben and Jerry's way of celebrating the recognition of same-sex marriage in Vermont, where their company started. Funny...

reading comprehension

Sep. 3, 2009 - Good morning, class. Today we're going to see how well you understand what you read. Please read carefully through the blog post in which Cardinal O'Malley justifies his participation in the canonization funeral of Ted Kennedy. Then answer the following questions in the time provided. 1. Who...

I've got a little list

Sep. 3, 2009 -  Like it or not, the departure of Bishop Martino is a done deal. So now we know that a Catholic bishop can be fired-- or at least pressured to resign-- in America today, if powerful colleagues agree that he can't handle the job.  Does that give you any ideas? Offhand I can think of...

transparency

Sep. 2, 2009 -  Monday's press conference announcing the resignation of Bishop Martino was held at an "undisclosed location," with attendance by invitation only. Really. I'm not making this up.  Look up "press conference" on Wikipedia, and you'll learn: There are two major reasons...

heresy, 5 centuries later

Aug. 24, 2009 -  Is there something about the late-August heat and humidity that makes it difficult to keep denominational lines straight? This weekend, while an excommunicated priest was denouncing the Vatican, an article in the Catholic press discussed "the slide of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in...

dueling excommunications?

Aug. 24, 2009 -  Roy Bourgeois doesn't want to be a member of the Catholic Church-- at least, not the Church as we know it. “I will never be at peace being in any organization that would exclude others," the excommunicated Maryknoll priest told an audience in suburban Boston.  He really...

knowing when it's time to leave

Aug. 18, 2009 -  Change is coming to the archbishop's residence in Baltimore. Archbishop Edwin O'Brien is moving in; Cardinal William Keeler is moving out. But wait, you say. That's very stale old news. Archbishop O'Brien was installed in Baltimore, and Cardinal Keeler resigned, in July 2007. True. But...

the enemy of my enemy is my friend

Aug. 18, 2009 - Frances Kissling, doyenne of the virulently anti-Catholic group that is laughingly known as "Catholics" for a Free Choice, hold firmly to the belief that the only good Catholic is a bad Catholic. So it's interesting to note that she shows a great deal of sympathy for the Leadership...

(holy day of obligation) * -1

Aug. 14, 2009 -  At the parish closest to where I live, this week's bulletin announces that since the American bishops have decided that the feast of the Assumption should not be a holy day of obligation, there won't be a vigil Mass on Friday afternoon, August 14.  Because of the shortage of priests in...

what feminists want

Aug. 14, 2009 -  A Vermont woman named Patricia Blair has suffered a tragedy: Her unborn twins were killed in an auto accident. Blair-- who survived, obviously-- thinks that the driver who caused the accident should be prosecuted for the death of her children. But you see the problem: If it's a crime to kill...

the secret ingredient

Aug. 14, 2009 -  John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter makes another interesting observation, this time about the fact that some American religious orders are growing while others are contracting: One sign of which way the winds are blowing: Just one percent of women’s communities belonging to...

pot, meet kettle

Aug. 11, 2009 - Anthony Stevens-Arroyo-- who for obscure reasons is employed by the Washington Post as a regular Catholic contributor to an "On Faith" blog-- asks the question: Is It a Sin to Listen to Rush? He concludes, generously, that it is not necessarily sinful to listen to Limbaugh; it's only...

PR advice

Aug. 11, 2009 -  Admit it: If someone came pounding on your door at 1:30 in the morning, you might not be cheery and hospitable, either. But here's a bit of advice: If the person who wants your attention was gravely wronged by someone who was under your supervision, and if you're trying to convince the world...

Is you is or is you ain't pro-Obamacare?

Aug. 10, 2009 - In response to inaccurate online media reports, Catholic Charities USA states unequivocally that it does not support any plan to reform health care and/or any proposed legislative provision that allows or promotes the funding of abortions or that compels any health care provider or institution to...

OK, then pray for clement weather

Aug. 6, 2009 -  Once the residents of two little villages in Switzerland prayed that the massive Great Aletsch glacier would not crush their homes. The danger was a steadily advancing glacier, so the villagers prayed that it would not keep growing. Now, 350 years later, the glacier is melting, and the pious...

paranoid or just plain crazy?

Aug. 6, 2009 - When he sent out the daily CWN headlines last night, our editor felt obliged to debunk a nasty rumor. For the benefit of those who missed it, here's what he said: Yesterday the news media (and the internet) carried quite a bit of analysis and speculation on the coverage of abortion in the Obama...

sophomoric

Aug. 4, 2009 - Hurry! It's not too late. If you can rush over to the Jesuit Spiritual Center at Milford, you can still catch at least part of the show by the Wise Fools and Happy Stewards, who will regale you with "spiritual analogies illustrated by juggling, guided imagery prayer, clowning,...

it's complicated

Jul. 30, 2009 -  Roughly 13 million abortions are performed every year in China, Reuters reports. Thus the Asian superpower, which has roughly 4 times the population of the US, has more than 10 times as many abortions. Why? Reuters offers the politically correct explanation that "there is little...

one from column A

Jul. 29, 2009 -  So, as I was saying,.... Now Blackburn cathedral offers the Anglican faithful a choice. Communion from a menu. The two-track Anglicanism foreseen by the Druid Archbishop has already...

Anglicanism... and Anglicanism Lite

Jul. 28, 2009 -  Back in the 1980s, when Coca-Cola executives made the colossal blunder of changing their secret formula without adequately testing the market, the maladroit pairing of "new" and "classic" Coke prompted some whimsical musings from a writer at the Wall Street Journal, who...

the Nicene Ideology

Jul. 24, 2009 -  Poor Father Richard McBrien remains terribly unhappy about the Vatican's investigation of American women's religious orders: One of the most disturbing aspects of the "visitation" is the requirement that each of the visitors will be required to make a public profession of faith...

demographics a la McBrien

Jul. 10, 2009 - The unsinkable Richard McBrien, yet again correcting the errors that he has discovered in statements emanating from the Vatican, wonders why the Holy See could ever suspect a problem with American women's religious orders. He contrasts the obtuse attitude of the Vatican with the mature wisdom of...

the Pope's big chance

Jul. 10, 2009 -  During his meeting with President Obama, Dan Gilgoff of US News tells us, "Benedict will be aware of operating on a global stage." How nice of the...

wait; did I hear that right?

Jul. 9, 2009 -  We all know-- or ought to know, since the evidence is plentiful-- that Margaret Sanger, the patron saint of Planned Parenthood, was a racist and eugenicist. She favored legal abortion as a means of controlling the growth of the racial groups she deemed inferior. But that's all ancient...

no PR chops

Jul. 6, 2009 -  The Washington Post reported on July 2 that the release of Pope Benedict's social encyclical had been delayed until the week of the G8 meeting in Italy. That's quite true. Yet you can't help but wonder whether the Post really understands what's going on, because: The Post finds...

the unborn baby and the bath water

Jul. 1, 2009 -     For more than a decade, thousands of older women undergoing in-vitro fertilization have relied on an expensive embryo-screening procedure to boost their chances of getting...

praying with-- or against-- the Church

Jul. 1, 2009 -  How do you plan to live out this Year for Priests?  By praying for the sanctification of all priests? Good. By praying for priests who are facing particular difficulties? Fine. By praying for young men who may hear a call to priestly ministry? Excellent.  How about praying for...

call a grownup

Jun. 30, 2009 -  We shouldn't realize expect European commentators to understand the American political scene. So the rosy portrait of Barack Obama painted on the pages of L'Osservatore Romano, while annoying, are not necessarily cause for panic about the Vatican paper's editorial slant. The tributes to the...

sorry for the distraction

Jun. 27, 2009 -  So it appears that Caritas Christi, the health-care agency of the Boston archdiocese, won't be involved in the abortion business after all. Thank God for that. The announcement was obviously timed (after business hours on a...

for better or for worse

Jun. 18, 2009 -  So the aptly named Alberto Cutie-- don't you agree that the name looks better without the accent?-- is now married. Well, best wishes to the happy couple, and all that. But tell me: What are the long-term prospects for Mrs. Cutie? This romance blossomed after Father Cutié, the...

double reverse

Jun. 18, 2009 - Nouwen Catholics-Kenya, which describes itself as "a group of LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans gender and Intersex) Catholics," is unhappy with Archbishop Karl Raymond Rodix. So, you might ask, what else is new? Gay activists are constantly at odds with archbishops, insofar as...

a different approach to fundraising?

Jun. 17, 2009 - A New Jersey pastor has been placed on administrative leave.  Monsignor Patrick Brown, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church since 1992, began the leave June 4, a day after two FBI agents visited the diocesan headquarters in Clifton and told top officials Brown was under investigation, said...

thin skin

Jun. 16, 2009 - He doesn't reach the same fever pitch of sputtering petulance that Father Tom Reese managed in the Washington Post, but David Gibson, writing for Beliefnet, lets us know that he, too, is sorely disappointed in the American bishops. Moreover, he cites editorials in America and Commonweal to...

the efficiency experts

Jun. 16, 2009 -  You won't find Vatican employees updating their "friends" lists during office hours anymore. The Facebook web site has been blocked from the Vatican computer network. It's a question of efficiency, Msgr. Paul Tighe told the Catholic News Service. Keep the workers at work, you...

Stupid

Jun. 15, 2009 -  Father Tom Reese is not happy. The American bishops have not been listening to him.  At their June meeting the US bishops will vote on a new set of liturgical translations, which have been prepared by linguists operating on the novel theory that a translation should reflect what the...

Obama, the 1st Catholic president

Jun. 2, 2009 -  "We have a Vatican II president," John O'Malley informs us in a revealing America magazine article.  It seems that just as Bill Clinton was a "black president," even though he was white, so too Barack Obama is a "Catholic president" even though he is...

the taming of the Church

May. 30, 2009 -  Asked to comment on the possibility that Sonia Sotomayor would become the 6th Catholic member of the current Supreme Court, a liberal analyst offered this perceptive comment to the Boston Globe: "It's clear that neither the politicians nor the public nor the media are making any...

non sequitur

May. 29, 2009 -  The Irish Times is appalled. A SENIOR Vatican figure, Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares, prefect for the Congregation of the Divine Worship, this week appeared to downplay the findings of the Ryan report when suggesting that the millions of lives lost through abortion represent a much more...

laughable

May. 29, 2009 -  "Bulletin: "Catholic Priestess" bounced from LAX before she could approach Obama," reads the LA Weekly headline. And if you didn't immediately catch the significance of those scare quotes, the story-- about Brenda Lee, the eccentric woman who tried to pass a note to...

only if it's important

May. 26, 2009 -  Questioned about the religious affiliation of President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court, the White House replied: "Judge Sotomayor was raised as a Catholic and attends church for family celebrations and other important events." Some of us think of Sunday Mass as an...

generations yet unborn (and likely to remain so)

May. 20, 2009 -  Washington Governor Chris Gregoire, in paying homage to the local director of NARAL, referred to "those, candidly, not yet born who will benefit from your leadership." There are others not yet born who will not be in a position to benefit. (H/T The American...

common ground

May. 19, 2009 - I see nothing wrong with swatting flies. Let's say that you have a different opinion. You think the lives of flies are sacred, and therefore you think that swatting flies is grossly immoral. You hold this view with the utmost sincerity. Unfortunately for you, I'm making the rules. And I...

religious illiteracy again

May. 15, 2009 - Does UPI still employ editors? proofreaders? Does anybody in the shop know anything about religion? Consider the caption on the photo that accompanied this story about the Pope's visit to Nazareth: Pope Benedict XVI celebrates a vesper on Basilica of Annunciation in the Galilee town of Nazareth...

understanding Notre Dame

May. 14, 2009 -  Looking for a complete account of the dispute over President Obama's visit to Notre Dame? Joseph Bottum of First Things offers what is probably the most complete and cogent analysis available to date: "At the Gates of Notre Dame."  For a considerably shorter version, see...

no story here

May. 13, 2009 -  Father Lawrence Perry has been suspended, after being accused of sexual misconduct with adult parishioners. The case will undoubtedly revive arguments for an end to priestly celibacy in the Catholic Church. Oh, wait. Father Perry is an Episcopalian priest, not a Catholic. And the Episcopal...

don't be a victim

May. 12, 2009 -  Well waddaya know. Archbishop Rembert Weakland tells the world he is homosexual. Stop the presses! In his forthcoming book the archbishop discusses his struggle with same-sex attraction, and the scandal that drove him out of office. "I refused to let myself become a victim and...

the 'pastoral approach' to drunk driving

May. 8, 2009 -  Imagine that your local police chief suddenly becomes inspired by the logic put forth by Archbishop Donald Wuerl. Criticizing the "legal approach" that throws drunk drivers in jail, he decides to devote himself exclusively to the "pastoral, teaching approach" that...

a cold front in Milwaukee

May. 7, 2009 -  Milwaukee's hastily-retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland is publishing his memoirs.  About now it would be nice to see a sentence like this:  "All proceeds from the sale of the book will be used to help repay the $450,000 that Archbishop Weakland diverted to a young man who...

Father Tom explains everything

May. 6, 2009 -  With 66 American bishops (at the latest count) explicitly opposing the Notre Dame honors for President Obama, why are most of the nation's Catholics still indifferent? The irrepressible Father Tom Reese has the answers. The bishops, he explains, have lost credibility because they have been...

food for thought

May. 5, 2009 -  Imagine that a group of Americans began systematically destroying church buildings.  Now imagine that a leading political figure announced that, while he did not approve of the destruction, he would defend the right of individuals to destroy churches if they wanted to do so.  Two...

cui bono?

May. 1, 2009 -  Who benefits from Notre Dame's decision to host President Obama? Never mind the political pluses and minuses; what about the practical benefits for students on campus?  Lacy Dodd, of the Notre Dame class of 1999, poses that question in a powerful essay for First Things: There have...

blame the Pope (again)

May. 1, 2009 -  The World Bank admits that its programs to fight AIDS in Africa are mostly failures. Moreover the resources devoted to those failed efforts have crowded out support for other health programs, leaving Africans worse off than ever. Now if Pope Benedict would just stop talking about AIDS, and...

first response

May. 1, 2009 -  Is Father Peter Kennedy a Catholic? Good question. He claims to be, and that counts for something. He was ordained as a Catholic priest of the Brisbane, Australia archdiocese; that's an important bit of evidence. Yet during his term as pastor of St. Mary's parish in South Brisbane, he...

Freudian slip

Apr. 30, 2009 -  In its transcription of the presidential press conference of April 29, RealClear Politics has President Obama making this statement in the context of a discussion on abortion: The other thing that I said consistently during the campaign is I would like to reduce the number of unwanted...

the ideal choice

Apr. 30, 2009 -  “In thinking about who could bring a compelling voice, a passion for dialogue, great intellectual stature, and a deep commitment to Catholic values to the speaking role of the Laetare Medalist," says Father John Jenkins, "it quickly became clear that an ideal choice is Judge...

party time

Apr. 29, 2009 - Catholic Charities USA is hosting a reception on Capitol Hill next week, to jolly up Congressmen and their staff aides. When Washington groups throw parties of this sort, they often ask friendly lawmakers to sponsor the event, so that they can use rooms in the Congressional office buildings. And...

Obama's homework before the Notre Dame test: Assignment II

Apr. 27, 2009 -  Imagine an American Secretary of State one morning praying at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall and the next evening accepting a eugenics award named for Dr. Josef Mengele. A provocative image? Certainly. But an exaggeration? Not really. With that eye-catching introduction, Joseph Duggan begins...

Obama's homework before the Notre Dame test: Assignment I

Apr. 27, 2009 -  In a public statement released after Mary Ann Glendon declined the Laetare Medal, the White House suggested that President Obama was disappointed because "the spirit of debate and healthy disagreement on important issues is part of what he loves about this country." Did Obama...

recycled medal

Apr. 27, 2009 -  Are you free May 17? Not easily embarrassed? Interesting in receiving an award from a major Catholic university?  If you meet these qualifications, send your resume and a photo portrait to Father Jenkins at Notre Dame. And hurry. He's searching feverishly for someone to accept the...

communications strategy

Apr. 16, 2009 -  Questioned about a lecture that President Obama delivered at Georgetown University this week, Father Tom Reese can scarcely contain his enthusiasm. "The audience wanted to cheer and cheer," he told the Washington Times. It was a "very professorial address" by the...

Catholics need not apply

Apr. 9, 2009 -  "Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions." Read that passage again now, carefully. Do you see the word...

the Daschle-Sebelius problem

Apr. 1, 2009 - Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama's latest choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services, has admitted to "unintentional errors" on her tax returns and agreed to pay $7,000 in back taxes and penalties. "Unintentional" errors, huh? Funny, that's the same kind...

a firm grasp of the blatantly obvious

Mar. 22, 2009 -  The London Times, whose coverage of Catholic affairs is consistently flavored by bias and sensationalism, has cooked up a special treat for weekend readers. Religion correspondent Ruth Gledhill speculates about the appointment of a new Archbishop of Westminster, and the headline reads:...

exclusive company

Mar. 20, 2009 -  Father Peter Kennedy, the scourge of the Brisbane archdiocese, educates an Australian television audience: "I think the Church is so wrong about its teaching on sex, because women are excluded." That's backwards, isn't it? When honest Catholic laymen engage in sexual activity,...

condomolatry at the London Times

Mar. 18, 2009 -  The London Times, always unreliable in its coverage of things Catholic, lost its editorial senses entirely yesterday when Pope Benedict suggested that giving out condoms might not be the most effective way to fight the spread of AIDS.  So today the Times has posted four separate pieces...

onward Christian facilitators

Mar. 18, 2009 -  We sang "Lift High the Cross" at Mass on Sunday. Unless I'm mistaken, the "hosts of God" who once combined in "conquering ranks" have now become "glorious ranks." No doubt that is to reassure everyone that we Christians aren't in the conquering...

the sales pitch

Mar. 13, 2009 -  Teresa Kettelkamp, the child-protection czar of the US bishops'

Rex Mottram, model for the Catholic laity

Mar. 6, 2009 - In Brideshead Revisited, Rex Mottram is determined to become a Catholic-- for reasons that have nothing to do with faith. Actually Rex has no interest whatsoever in questions of faith, and consequently he is quite happy to profess whatever beliefs are required of him. So the priest giving Rex his...

lost in translation

Mar. 5, 2009 - In his internet chat during the annual Religious Education Congress-- you know, that one-- Cardinal Roger Mahony was asked for his thoughts on the Tridentine Mass. His answer: Ann: The Tridentine Mass was meant for those who could not make the transition from Latin to English [or other...

what's missing from this picture?

Mar. 5, 2009 - Catholic Relief Services now has available a 28-page brochure detailing the agency's relief efforts during the past calendar year. 2008 CR Highlights: The Year in Review presents a truly impressive collection of stories about humanitarian work in impoverished countries. It's wonderful work,...

not going anywhere

Feb. 26, 2009 -  The Dean of the College of Cardinals holds a mostly ceremonial role. Until recently it was assumed that once a prelate became the Dean, he would remain in that post until death. But in 1993, Cardinal Angelo Rossi set a precedent. Having reached the age of 80, and having thereby become...

...and the archbishop's a Catholic too

Feb. 24, 2009 -  Another triumph of investigative reporting! The New York Times has unearthed this fascinating tidbit about the city's new archbishop:  On matters of doctrine, the archbishop, 59, adheres to the line laid down by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, including firm opposition to...

clarification of... something unclear

Feb. 23, 2009 - On Saturday the Vatican press office released a statement which I quote here in its entirety: The communications media not infrequently attribute to the 'Vatican' - meaning by that the Holy See - comments and points of view that cannot in fact automatically be attributed thereto. In fact, when...

not 'fairly' but 'clearly'

Feb. 20, 2009 - During a Fox news interview with Archbishop Charles Chaput, discussing Nancy Pelosi's visit to the Vatican, host Neil Cavuto suggested that the archbishop might see the question of a Catholic politician's responsibility regarding abortion as a "fairly black-and-white issue." Not quite,...

more Catholic than the papist

Feb. 13, 2009 -  Absolutely brilliant. Look for other Jesuit colleges to imitate the public-relations ploy that's worked so well for Boston College, and remember that Uncle Di told you it was coming. Putting crucifixes back in classrooms is an easy way to rack up points for "Catholic identity"...

omerta

Feb. 11, 2009 - Today's New York Times tells us the story of "A Birth Control Pill That Promised Too Much." Or rather the Times tells us part of the story. There's something missing. The story involves the pill marketed as "Yaz," which had been hyped not only as a contraceptive but also as a...

what's eatin' you?

Feb. 11, 2009 -  The Obama team rolled out its plan to fix the nation's financial markets, and those financial markets went into a downward spiral. The more investors learned about the plan, the lower the market fell. Here's how two leading newspapers (under the same management) covered the story:  The...

the stimulus package explained

Feb. 10, 2009 -  Please authorize me to spend a bajillion dollars.  We don't have that kind of money in the treasury, of course, but don't worry about it. We'll leave a big stack of IOUs; the taxpayers can settle up later. The important thing is to inspire confidence in the health of the...

competent enough to be negligent in style

Feb. 9, 2009 - The latest arcane legal question, in the battle for the life of Eluana Englaro, is whether or not the clinic where she is being starved to death is properly qualified for the task. Huh? Doctors are specially trained to keep people alive. It doesn't take any training at all to let a comatose...

the Obama magisterium

Feb. 9, 2009 - “Benedict is unteachable in matters of birth control and abortion..." So says Hans Küng, the Swiss theologian who has made it clear over the years that he is ready to embrace the authority of the Church magisterium as long as the magisterium agrees with him. And if Küng did...

high performers

Feb. 9, 2009 - (This item from the OTR archives, originally posted on December 14, 2006, takes on special poignancy in light of our current economic circumstances.) The current NCR has a piece on corporate America's solution to the Catholic Church's management problems. The driving concept behind the lay-led...

got milk?

Feb. 6, 2009 -  In his generally unfriendly treatment of Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos (see the previous entry), Jeff Israely of Time magazine provides a remarkable anecdote about the Colombian cardinal: He has gone deep into Colombian jungles to mediate between leftist guerrillas and right-wing death...

the circular firing squad

Feb. 6, 2009 - As the last howls of outrage subside, and the damage-control squadrons stand down, Vatican officials have begun to assess what went wrong with the Pope's announcement of what was intended to be a move toward reconciliation within the Church, but became the Williamson Debacle. Some clerics are...

unintentional

Feb. 3, 2009 -  It's over now, but in his earlier effort to preserve his chance to become a Cabinet secretary, former Senator Tom Daschle produced an interesting line: My mistakes were unintentional. Now if you run into somebody who makes mistakes intentionally, that's a man you don't want in the...

a failure of imagination

Feb. 3, 2009 - An attorney representing the Los Angeles archdiocese can't see why a federal prosecutor would be interested in the way Church leaders handled sex-abuse problems.   "We have been unable to even hypothesize a crime that might have been committed in the handling of these...

illiterate

Feb. 2, 2009 -  For the Vatican, a teachable moment Thus reads the headline for a blog item on the USA Today site. The author, Stephen Prothero, who chairs the religion department at Boston University, sees the teachable moment and condescends to teach us. It's always nice when a scholar offers to...

diversity comes to Islam

Jan. 30, 2009 - You really don't need to watch the BBC video report (in fact I don't recommend it); the caption says it all: A special Koran prayer school has been set up in Yoyakarta where transgender Islamic Indonesians can pray. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that this Islamic school is probably...

worth a try?

Jan. 30, 2009 -  In Los Angeles the US attorney, frustrated that Cardinal Mahony has escaped legal punishment for his role in the sex-abuse scandal, is using a novel legal theory as the basis for his grand-jury investigation. That novel theory might not work in the courtroom; even if he proceeds with an...

the 'pro-choice' side may yet discover choice

Jan. 30, 2009 -  Stop the presses! Columnist Ellen Goodman is tired of the stale old debate about abortion. Actually she's been tired of the debate for at least 20 years, but that hasn't stopped her from churning out column after column on the topic. But now she's achieved a breakthrough; she's found a...

un-American-- or at least unorthodox

Jan. 28, 2009 -  The late J. Edgar Hoover directed FBI agents to probe the  background of the late Father Robert F. Drinan. In reviving that old story, the Boston Globe also provides Hoover's explanation for the investigation: "I had doubted Father Drinan's authenticity as a Catholic priest...

who's more inclusive now?

Jan. 27, 2009 -  On the Washington Post's "On Faith" blog, Rabbi Brad Hirschfield offers a balanced perspective on the Pope's decision to lift the excommunication on the SSPX bishops, despite the Bishop Williamson's loathsome statements about the Holocaust.  Hirschfield sensibly takes it for...

what if a tree falls in a forest,...

Jan. 23, 2009 -  Did you see the New York Times story about yesterday's March for Life? That's funny. Neither did I.  Which is odd, because on Inauguration Day the Washington bureau reporters for the Times were able to detect protests staged by as few as a half-dozen activists. Somehow the tens of...

timing is everything

Jan. 20, 2009 -  As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama drew support from a broad range of voters, including people who embrace very different beliefs. Now, in the White House, he faces the challenge of holding that coalition together. It won't be easy.  One clear indication of the difficulties that...

privilege

Jan. 19, 2009 -  Oh, never mind the US Senate. Why not move straight to immediate canonization? That's the net effect-- quite obviously the desired effect, anyway-- of a front-page story in the New York Times about the aspirations of Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. As an example of out-of-control,...

full adherence

Jan. 16, 2009 -  The Dublin archdiocese is displeased that "many anonymous sources" have dared to suggest that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin backpedaled away from an opportunity to provide a clear statement of Catholic teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts during a recent television interview....

scare quotes

Jan. 16, 2009 -  AP tells us: A Vatican office that evaluated U.S. Roman Catholic seminaries says the schools have made improvements in halting what they call "homosexual behavior" among students. Pay attention to those scare quotes. We're talking about what they-- those crazy Catholics-- call...

the counterculture, neither hot nor cold

Jan. 14, 2009 -  "Faith will often be counter-cultural," says Cardinal Sean Brady as he offers some suggestions for coping with what some less subtle commentators have termed the "culture wars." The cardinal continues: The first step is to acknowledge the many signs of God’s...

singing the improv Credo

Jan. 13, 2009 - In Colorado last Saturday, Episcopalian Bishop Robert O'Neill ordained Mary Catherine Volland, who is a "partnered lesbian."  You won't find an announcement of the ordination on the diocesan web site. There are reports that the bishop wanted to keep things quiet, perhaps in...

sun so hot I froze myself

Jan. 11, 2009 -  We interrupt the discussion of global warming to bring you this headline from Pravda:  Earth on the Brink of an Ice...

now where do I go to get my reputation back?

Jan. 3, 2009 -  The Boston archdiocese has reinstated Father James Power, who was suspended nearly 7 years ago because of sex-abuse allegations for which, in turns out, the archdiocese cannot find supporting evidence.  What do you say to a priest who's been barred from pursuing his vocation for 7...

the Kennedy connection

Jan. 3, 2009 -  Writing for the Wall Street Journal in anticipation of Caroline Kennedy's appointment to the Senate, Anne Hendershott, the author of The Politics of Abortion, helpfully explains "How Support for Abortion Became Kennedy Dogma." She has the story right: liberal Democrats recognized...

change of pace

Dec. 29, 2008 - In an interview with Richard McBrien, Michael Paulson of the Boston Globe feeds the dissident theologian a steady diet of softball questions until, remarkably, he tosses one that has a little mustard on it. The conversation has reached the point-- it comes in any McBrien interview--...

fixated

Dec. 23, 2008 -  In his annual address to the Roman Curia, Pope Benedict mentioned that the Church cannot accept "gender ideology" because it is contrary to God's design for the human person. No one even vaguely familiar with Church teachings could possibly have been surprised by the Pope's...

Camelot on reruns

Dec. 22, 2008 - For many Catholics -- particularly in the Northeast -- the Kennedys are held somewhere just short of the Pope in terms of esteem.   Thus Chris Cilizza, writing in the Washington Post about the desire of Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg to be handed a seat in the US Senate. And you find...

red meat and quiche

Dec. 18, 2008 - David Gibson of the Commonweal crowd is surprised that Rick Warren will be offering an invocation at the Obama inaugural. So am I. But Gibson's ways are not my ways, and whereas I'm surprised that Pastor Rick accepted the invitation, Gibson is surprised that the invitation was extended by...

Professor Humbug

Dec. 16, 2008 - Every year, as Christmas and Easter approach, a handful of obscure professors emerge from their dusty carrels to seize their 15 minutes of fame. During those few weeks each year the media is paying attention to religion, and an ambitious academician can leap in front of the spotlight by advancing...

ineffable

Dec. 9, 2008 -  According to the official Vatican translation, in a message about the Christian heritage of European culture, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged reflection upon "the ancient roots in which abundant lymph has flowed over the course of the centuries." Lymph?  Hey, look: I know it...

in the Jesuit tradition

Dec. 9, 2008 - The newly elected US Congressman: was once a former Jesuit novice, before realizing that his calling was to marriage and a secular career. remains an active Catholic layman-- in fact, served a term on the National Advisory Council to the US bishops' conference. won a...

muscular Christianity

Dec. 6, 2008 - What's the most famous punch ever thrown? C'mon, you boxing fans; you must have your opinions.  Was it the quick right cross from George Foreman that staggered Smokin' Joe? Or the jab the made Roberto Duran say "No mas?" Or maybe the phantom punch ("I saw that punch; it...

politically motivated

Dec. 5, 2008 -  Dr. Robert Blum has placed his rubber-stamp of approval on a new oh-so-very-scientific study concluding that women who procure abortions do not have significant psychological after-effects. The study was done by scholars at Johns Hopkins University, in a program that is subsidized by Planned...

Not so hot

Dec. 5, 2008 -  The year 2008 will be the coolest of this decade, scientists tell us. But the same scientists hasten to add that the low temperatures are "absolutely not" an indication that we should question the danger of global warming. "If we are going to understand climate change we need...

If the polar icecap melts, will the common ground survive?

Nov. 28, 2008 -  Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists.  Leading representatives of all the world's major faiths have gathered for a conference to address a topic they all consider urgent-- a topic which, they all agree, religious leaders must address. What is that topic? - Terrorism...

if a hate crime takes place in a forest, and nobody hears it,...

Nov. 19, 2008 - In San Francisco's Castro district, a handful of homosexual activists were peacefully chanting slogans when they were set upon by a mob of angry fundamentalist Christians, who surrounded and hounded them, shouting obscenities and threatening to kill them. One woman was thrown to the ground and...

the march of history

Nov. 18, 2008 - A) Not so very long ago, some American states refused to recognize a marriage if the spouses were of different racial backgrounds. Today we all deplore that benighted attitude, and recognize the loving unions of racially mixed couples. B) Not so very long ago, many American states refused to...

bad moon rising

Nov. 17, 2008 - For the 2nd time in just over a year-- or should I say barely over a year-- a Catholic priest is in legal trouble for appearing naked in public. Is this the beginning of an ominous trend? And if it is, who should be more concerned: the naturists who see an unacceptable government restraint on...

oh here's a surprise

Nov. 16, 2008 - The Washington Post has discovered a member of the Kennedy family who favors legal abortion, and is willing to talk about it.  In other news, Warren Buffett has revealed that he is active in the stock...

about face

Nov. 15, 2008 -  When Father Scott Newman instructed his parishioners that they should make a good Confession before receiving Communion if they had voted for a pro-abortion candidate, he received both kudos and criticism. The most pointed criticism came from the administrator of the diocese, Msgr. Martin...

personnel is policy

Nov. 13, 2008 - Julia Duin, who covers religion for the Washington Times, has been covering the meetings of the US bishops' conference for years, and has learned how to spot trends in the bishops' thinking: One thing reporters have learned to look for is who wins or loses yearly elections as chairman of a...

how quaint

Nov. 12, 2008 -  In Boston, a town once famous for its Puritan ethos, an innovative dating service is customizing its appeal to married people considering adultery. "Life is short, have an affair," read the ads. The Boston Herald notes with a smirk that the agency is "unfazed by a quaint state...

what we have here is a failure to communicate

Nov. 12, 2008 - At their annual meeting this week, the US bishops elected Bishop Gabino Zavala-- of "we're not a one-issue church" fame-- to chair their communications committee. He was chosen over Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, author of one of the strongest episcopal statements about the...

incoherence

Nov. 11, 2008 -  If Joe Biden plans to visit Pensacola, Florida anytime soon, he knows that the bishop there questions his fitness to receive Communion. But in his own home diocese of Wilmington the vice-president-elect has no such problem; Bishop Malooly doesn't "want to alienate people." The...

black magic woman

Nov. 11, 2008 -  The Call to Action conference in Milwaukee this past weekend was a joyous occasion, Father John Dear tells us. Obama was the president-elect and things looked good for the Catholic Left. Although to be fair, there was "a general agreement that, the election notwithstanding, our...

...on again

Nov. 10, 2008 -  Was it just a trial balloon we saw floated by Religion News Service last Friday? Or did the panjandrums of the USCCB really believe they could avoid a discussion of the US bishops' public stand on the politics of abortion? We might never know for sure. But apparently your Uncle Di was...

to teach, to govern... or to duck?

Nov. 8, 2008 - Did you really think that the US bishops' conference was going to behave responsibly? What touching naivete! In the heat of the presidential campaign, with bishops issuing contradictory statements on the responsibilities of Catholic voters and politicians, the USCCB announced that the bishops...

the nadir campaign

Nov. 7, 2008 - Which American bishop delivered the best single message on Catholic voters' responsibilities? Archbishop Chaput would be a contender, certainly. And Bishop Finn. And the Dallas duo. Actually it's a tough call. Thank God for that. Now which bishop delivered the single worst message? That's an...

fair and balanced

Nov. 6, 2008 - Writing on religion for the Washington Post (which, by the way, is like writing on rock music for the Christian Science Monitor, but never mind that), Father Tom Reese surveys the election results, with the solemn air of a serious young man who would stroke his beard if he could manage to grow...

staying 'on message'

Nov. 6, 2008 - Father Larry Snyder, the head of Catholic Charities USA, has sent his "sincere congratulations!" to Barack Obama on his electoral success, thereby reminding the president-elect that Catholic Charities, which receives most of its support from Uncle Sam, could always use a few more federal...

now all things are possible

Nov. 6, 2008 -  The Holy Spirit will no doubt be pleased to learn that, thanks to the achievements of Barack Obama, He may now be able to arrange the election of an African...

the gravitational power of the moon

Nov. 6, 2008 -  California's attorney general Jerry Brown-- that proud product of Jesuit training who, during his earlier tenure in a higher office, was aptly dubbed "Governor Moonbeam"-- has announced that he will defend Proposition 8 against legal challenges. Proposition 8 defines marriage as a...

is you is or is you ain't?

Nov. 4, 2008 - When Brisbane's Archbishop John Bathersby warned that he was nearly ready to take canonical action against the radical leaders of St. Mary's parish, the Canberra Times quoted Bishop Pat Power, a famously liberal Canberra auxiliary, expressing sympathy for the parishioners. The question here seems...

playing around

Nov. 4, 2008 - "I am not in favor of gay marriage," Senator Barack Obama told an MTV audience on November 2. "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman." Good. So you'd support Proposition 8 in California, which defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman;...

what does it take to find an ACORN?

Nov. 4, 2008 -  Bishop Roger Morin, who chairs the US bishops' committee that oversees the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), has announced an investigation into CCHD funding for the activist group ACORN.  The bishops want to know where their money-- check that, where the money donated by...

and don't they make the trains run on time?

Oct. 31, 2008 -  A Scottish solon is outraged that Cardinal Keith O'Brien would dare to compare embryo research with Nazi genetic experimentation. It's all very well for the prelate to oppose the practice,  says Tavish Scott, but "language about Nazis could put Scottish jobs at risk."...

autopsy first, death later

Oct. 31, 2008 -  The patient is still breathing, but the post-mortem analysis has already begun. On the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal-- in a column entitled Potomac Watch, which suggests that the writer has special expertise in Washington's political affairs, Kimberly Strassel tells us that the...

oh so subtle

Oct. 29, 2008 - Treachery and cowardice rarely fly their own flags. If I plan to betray you, I won't announce my intentions in advance. If you're afraid of a bully, you'll probably come up with some excuse to duck the confrontation rather than admitting you're scared. Sometimes a man who claims to be your ally...

Democratic dhimmitude

Oct. 27, 2008 -  The Democratic Party is actively recruiting pro-life candidates, the New York Times informs us. Why, this year there are 12 identifiably pro-life Democrats running for seats in the US Congress. "That is the highest number of anti-abortion candidates the party has fielded in recent...

from someone who knows, take it

Oct. 22, 2008 - Are you looking for financial advice? These days, who isn't? So it's comforting to know that there are experts available to address your concerns. Reliable folks, who advertise in the parish bulletin and-- who knows?-- might have strong connections with the Church. Best of all, it's good to...

no standing

Oct. 22, 2008 - "We claim no standing in telling Catholics whom to honor as a saint," announces the Jerusalem Post in an editorial about the cause of Pope Pius XII.   Can you guess what the next sentence...

flight of the bumblebee

Oct. 20, 2008 -  The Delaware News Journal has persuaded Senator Joe Biden to speak directly about how he reconciles his Catholic faith with his support for legal abortion. (Hat tip to American Papist for bringing the exchange to our notice.)  You can read the full interview if you like, but don't try...

hey, lighten up!

Oct. 17, 2008 -  The American bishops have generally agreed that political candidates who favor unrestricted legal abortion should not be given opportunities to speak at Church-sponsored events.  unless the events raise $5 million for Catholic Charities unless the events are hosted by the...

seeing things

Oct. 17, 2008 -  The soaring wisdom of columnist Ellen Goodman has reached a dizzying new height:  Because we rarely see real women, it's easy to forget that one out of every three American women has had an abortion by the time she's 45. Could've sworn I saw a real woman just yesterday. Might have...

obviously

Oct. 16, 2008 -  Last week Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, told John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter that he would "obviously" vote for Barack Obama if he were an American citizen. Obviously? Forgive me for being dense, but why is it obvious that an African prelate would...

an unconscious plug for the other side

Oct. 16, 2008 -  Archbishop Edwin O'Brien of Baltimore, in a column for his archdiocesan paper the Catholic Review, laments the public image of the pro-life movement: How unfortunate it is that the pro-life movement comes across to some as angry, reproachful or excessively judgmental.  "Comes...

once a scam artist

Oct. 15, 2008 - When is a plea bargain not really a bargain? When the perp who cops the plea has "deeply religious" reasons for wanting more favorable treatment. An attorney for Raffaello Follieri, the convicted con artist who raised millions of dollars for a fraudulent real-estate business and then...

a slight setback in inter-religious dialogue

Oct. 14, 2008 - A radical Islamic leader in Pakistan has reportedly condemned the country's president, Asif Ali Zardari, for "indecent gestures, filthy remarks, and repeated praise of a non-Muslim lady wearing a short skirt." The incident in question occurred at UN headquarters in New York, where...

an accomplice of injustice

Oct. 14, 2008 -  When the Bishop of Fresno, California, wrote a pastoral letter opposing same-sex marriage, Father Geoffrey Farrow faced a moral quandary.  Farrow, who is homosexual, thoroughly disagreed with the stand taken by his bishop. The bishop was merely reiterating Catholic Church teaching, of...

the company they keep

Oct. 11, 2008 -  The McCain-for-President campaign is linking Barack Obama to the community-action group ACORN.  So it's interesting that the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the official anti-poverty effort of the US Catholic bishops, gave over $1 million to ACORN last year. GOP strategists...

a new low in Boston Church leadership

Oct. 10, 2008 - Back in July, the Massachusetts legislature repealed a law that barred out-of-state gay couples from coming to Massachusetts to marry.  Catholic Church leaders had been curiously quiet about the effort until the 11th hour; just before the State House vote, the heads of the state's four...

Is More a bore?

Oct. 9, 2008 - Is it heresy to whisper that the sainted Thomas More is a bit of a bore? Thus begins a New York Times review of a Broadway revival of Robert Bolt's memorable Man for All Seasons: the play that became the still-more-memorable movie. No, it's not heresy. A saint could, in theory, be a dull subject...

upstaged

Oct. 8, 2008 -  Seeking wisdom that might be applied to our national's political campaigns, the National Catholic Reporter cast about for an appropriate analyst and found-- now here's a surprise-- Rev. Richard McBrien, the "noted theologian" who has spent the past 30 years shuffling from Call...

your problem, not mine

Oct. 7, 2008 - Father Stephen Foley, once a police chaplain in the Hartford, Connecticut archdiocese, is now on the run. The Hartford Courant reports that he has been living in Virginia, but his exact whereabouts are unknown. At least they are unknown to the Connecticut judge who has been trying to persuade...

respect, honor, and ignore

Oct. 7, 2008 -  Announcing that the Stuart Country Day School had decided to cancel a scheduled speaking appearance by New Jersey's former Governor Christine Todd Whitman, the headmistress, Sister Frances de la Chapelle, explained that "as a Sacred Heart School, we respect and honor the views of...

another bishop stands up

Oct. 3, 2008 -  The Stuart Country Day School in Princeton, New Jersey is a Catholic institution-- or so they tell us-- run by the Society of the Sacred Heart. The nuns take pride in training girls for important roles in society, and so the school established a Women in Leadership Forum, inviting prominent...

opiate of the Maoists

Sep. 30, 2008 -  Nepal's new Maoist-led government has authorised the appointment of a six-year-old girl to be a "living goddess" in the temple town of Bhaktapur. The

so sue me

Sep. 30, 2008 - Just a thought: If an American bishop orders his priests to deny Communion to a prominent pro-abortion politician... And if that prominent politician chooses to challenge the bishop's authority by filing a canonical complaint... That case would be a very important one, and therefore likely to...

change of scenery

Sep. 29, 2008 - By now we know more or less what to expect from Cardinal Renato Martino. When he is not referring to the late Saddam Hussein as a "tragic figure" or announcing that a proposed border wall between the US and Mexico would be an "inhuman program," he is coming up with lists...

over and over again

Sep. 25, 2008 -  Explaining why he ordered the cancellation of a book-signing by Phil Lawler at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Msgr. Walter Rossi, the rector the basilica, told the Washington Times that Phil's book, The Faithful Departed, covered a subject on which the Roman Pontiff wants...

space case

Sep. 19, 2008 -  American bishops don't like it when people take them too seriously. Frankly I don't think they have reason to worry. Still your Uncle Di tries to do his little bit to help keep things light. Yet try as I might, I can't keep up with the antics of their Excellencies. When Archbishop...

the story of the universe

Sep. 17, 2008 - Polish up your resume: The Well, a ministry sponsored by the Congregation of St. Joseph in LaGrange Park, Illinois, is looking for a new program coordinator. This could be your big chance. The Program Coordinator will reflect the commitment of the Well to teaching from the point of view of the...

snobbery

Sep. 17, 2008 -  A member of the Democratic National Committee has endorsed John McCain's presidential bid. That's not so shocking in itself. It's the sort of announcement that commands attention in a presidential year, but there are always a few prominent people switching sides. What surprises me is the...

storm clouds over Amarillo, part II

Sep. 9, 2008 - Priests for Life has finally acknowledged the news that your correspondent broke here a few weeks ago: the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life no longer exist as a canonical religious community. After consultations with the Amarillo diocese, where the group is located, Priests for Life has...

the Kennedy anathema

Sep. 8, 2008 -  Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Sen. Bobby Kennedy, has written a book about the Catholic faith. Naturally this scholarly tome commands front-page attention from the sympathetic Boston Globe, which notes that Kennedy is striving to "reconcile her faith with the teachings of the...

what the archbishop didn't say

Sep. 6, 2008 -  Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accepted the invitation for a confidential chat with Archbishop George Niederauer, AP reports. The archbishop had said that he wanted to have such a conversation because of Pelosi's outspoken public advocacy for unrestricted legal abortion.  Pelosi said in a...

the gender gap

Sep. 4, 2008 - You know (at least you ought to know, for the media has often told you so) that in American politics, abortion is a "women's issue," and candidates who oppose legal abortion will have trouble attracting women's votes. Because women are more likely than men to favor legal abortion, you...

the staid old media

Sep. 2, 2008 -  Congratulations, Sarah Palin. You've got the New York Times talking-- on page 1, above the fold-- about whether it's wise for a mother of growing children to hold a demanding full-time job. Somehow I don't think a liberal Democratic candidate could have accomplished...

minority rules

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

the incompetence defense

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...

bowing to the inevitable, but not too fast

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...

drones

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...

very personal

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...

introducing complications

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,...

Prayer while shaving

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...

storm clouds over Amarillo

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...

what non-believers believe

Aug. 16, 2008 - "I have yet to let Jesus enter my life, but I admire Warren," writes Alan Wolfe in a New Republic essay. 

Where are the nine?

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...

fur will fly

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...

in vino veritas

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 usual suspects

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...

Muddled? Who's muddled?

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...

Imagine

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...

following orders?

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...

wrong channel

Jul. 29, 2008 - Do you believe that everyone who died in the 9/11 terrorist attack went straight to heaven? Including the terrorists? They didn't have their 21 virgins in their party but they were celebrated for three days in partying and love and acceptance because they did what they thought they were...

stifling debate

Jul. 27, 2008 - In case you missed it, this weekend marks an important anniversary: Forty years ago, Richard McBrien dissented from Humanae Vitae. Oh sure, sure; it's the 40th anniversary of the encyclical, too. But the important thing is not what the Pope says; it's what Richard McBrien thinks of what the...

tolerance, liberal style

Jul. 23, 2008 - The Washington Post's On Religion blog, which brings you the spiritual wisdom of luminaries like Starhawk and Deepak Chopra, also has room for a house(broken) Catholic, one Anthony Stevens-Arroyo, whose latest posting begins: In case you haven’t noticed, Catholic bishops...

say you're sorry

Jul. 22, 2008 - Fact: the last Lambeth Conference proclaimed that active homosexuality cannot be reconciled with Christian morality. Fact: the Episcopal Church in the US has accepted the ordination of a bishop who is an active homosexual. So why have the Episcopalian bishops of the US been welcomed this...

now starting at shortstop,...

Jul. 21, 2008 - CWN editor Phil Lawler informs me that he has fulfilled a boyhood ambition, and is now the starting shortstop for the Boston Red Sox. Unfortunately there are complications. Major League Baseball has not yet approved Phil's contract. In fact the Boston Red Sox have not offered him a...

Anglicans and demons

Jul. 17, 2008 - The Episcopalian Bishop of Washington thinks conservatives within the Anglican communion are acting "demonic," the London Times tells us. As the Rt. Rev. John Chane makes his case against the conservatives, allow me a few running comments: I think it's really very, very dangerous and I think...

doya doya doya doya wanna dance?

Jul. 17, 2008 - (From the bulletin of St. Francis Xavier Church, the Jesuit parish that proudly advertised itself as the only parish in the US this year to march as a unit in the Gay Pride Day parade in New York.) ATTENTION DANCERS! 2008 Catechetical Convocation – Archdiocese of New York "The Word of God...

one born every minute

Jul. 16, 2008 - Just before he was indicted, Raffaello Follieri-- who is either a real-estate entrepreneur or a con artist, depending upon your perspective-- arranged to buy a home from Bishop Joseph Galante of Camden, New Jersey. It was the bishop's own property, so he was free to dispose of it as he saw fit....

all in the family

Jul. 15, 2008 - Should traditionalists who choose to remain within the Anglican fold be accommodated with flying bishops? Super-bishops? Kryptonite bishops? A vexing problem for the Lambeth Conference. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church in the US recognizes that the American...

the clash of an idea

Jul. 12, 2008 - "Debate over 1968 encyclical rages on," reads the headline in today's Boston Globe. Oh, boy: a debate! The clash of wits, the competition of ideas! Can't wait. Let's get right to the story. After a quick introduction, writer Rich Barlow sets the terms of the debate: Some contemporary critics...

only half empty

Jul. 11, 2008 - The annual budget showed a $2 million deficit and the pension fund is short by $110 million. Yet the Boston Globe headline story on the Boston archdiocese carries the odd title: "Diocese's financial picture brightens." If a $2 million deficit offers a "bright" prospect, what would be dark?...

what ultimately matters

Jul. 10, 2008 - BBC news offers a Q&A primer on the Anglican crisis, for the benefit of people who might be confused by the spectacle of people taking religious seriously. BBC provides the reassuring message that comfortable British secularists need not worry too much about all the ruckus. Still, it might be...

friends like these

Jul. 8, 2008 - When the Church of England voted to allow the ordination of women as bishops, one bishop broke down in tears, the Daily Telegraph reports. But before Anglo-Catholics begin celebrating their latest hero in the Anglican hierarchy, let's take a closer look: The Rt Rev Stephen Venner, the...

the future of the Anglican communion

Jul. 7, 2008 - (London, July 7, 2014) In a last-minute rescue attempt, a senior bishop will urge the Church's governing body to placate traditionalists by considering the appointment of five senior clerics to lead a “communion within a communion”. The Bishop of Manchester, the Right Rev. Fatima Aisha Salim, will...

the limits of Anglican tolerance

Jul. 7, 2008 - The Archbishop of Canterbury exhibits stunning tolerance, the London Times lets us know: Preaching to members of the General Synod at York Minster, he said that, were Jesus present in the debate, he would be with every faction of the Church, including traditionalists. Amazing, isn't it, that...

guilty/not guilty

Jul. 5, 2008 - From the Cleveland Plain Dealer: A federal jury on Thursday acquitted the former chief financial officer of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese of skimming $784,000 from the church through an elaborate kickback scheme. The jury did, however, convict Joseph Smith of lesser charges for failing to...

all very awkward

Jul. 1, 2008 - The Washington Times is following up on the story of the teenage foster child who obtained an abortion in Virginia with help from staff at Commonwealth Catholic Charities of Richmond. The Roman Catholic bishop of Richmond was told that a diocesan charity planned to help a teenage foster child...

a model for us all

Jul. 1, 2008 - The Common Ground Initiative has honored Bishop Gerald Kicanas with this year's Cardinal Bernardin Award. The award citation praised Bishop Kicanas as "a champion of dialogue on contentious issues," with a special mention of "his pastoral concern regarding the abuse crisis." Right. Since the...

excellence

Jun. 18, 2008 - In Virginia, a teenage girl cannot ordinarily obtain a legal abortion without parental consent. But the 16-year-old immigrant's parents could not be found, so employees at a non-profit agency signed the consent form and arranged transportation to the abortion clinic. They must have felt frustrated...

more important than Texas?!?

Jun. 13, 2008 - What do you call a Texan who thinks that the Vatican is more important than Texas? Ordinarily, you call him a Texan Catholic. That's what is striking about this passage from a Reuters account of today's meeting between Pope Benedict and President Bush. Marveling at the beauty of the Vatican...

special occasion

May. 28, 2008 - On the feast of Corpus Christi, communicants knelt to receive the Blessed Sacrament from Pope Benedict. That break from the usual Vatican practice-- ordinarily the faithful approach the Holy Father standing to receive Communion-- prompted a good deal of comment. But a Catholic News Service story...

headline rewrite

May. 23, 2008 - Pope Benedict attacked by Catholic Church’s most senior theologians That's the headline of the latest sensationalistic story in the Daily Telegraph. And just in case you missed the reference to the "most senior theologians," the first paragraph offers a reminder: One of the Catholic Church’s...

all wet

May. 21, 2008 - Water, we are informed, is "powerful wet stuff." But the Dufflepuds who make that profound observation in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader have nothing on Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who favors us with the revelation that "the Social...

The Future, seen through bifocals

May. 7, 2008 - Look at this picture-- no fair peeking at the web address-- and tell me what you see. It's recreation time at the Old Folks' home, right? Wrong! It's a scene from the closing liturgy at the West Coast conference of Call to Action. This, my friends, is the cutting edge of progressive...

encroaching darkness

Apr. 19, 2008 - When he first arrived in Boston, then-Archbishop Bernard Law rallied pro-life sentiments by describing abortion as "the primordial darkness of our time." In 2005, the Planned Parenthood clinic in Boston performed 8,016 abortions, according to statistics furnished by state health officials. In...

Bravo!

Mar. 23, 2008 - "Bravo" says a Boston Globe reviewer in his drive-by review of Phil Lawler's book, The Faithful Departed. Now to be perfectly honest, if you trouble yourself to read the whole thing, you might question whether "bravo" captures the essence of the review. Indeed you might wonder whether your...

island of shaints and shcholars

Mar. 15, 2008 - A survey by RTE the Irish public-broadcasting network, shows that for everyone planning to celebrate St. Patrick's Day by going to church, there are nearly two people planning to go drinking. It isn't a scientific poll by any means. But it isn't reassuring,...

tough love

Mar. 15, 2008 - Archbishop Burke of St. Louis has announced two more excommunications-- bringing his total to 5 in two days. The pain these moves cause to a conscientious shepherd of souls is evident in the archbishop's public announcements, and his handling of the cases is-- as we have observed before (and...

designed to last forever

Mar. 15, 2008 - Are you worried that the techniques of assisted reproduction and genetic manipulation will tempt parents to ask for custom-designed babies? You shouldn't worry too much, according to Debora Spar, who studies the ethics of reproduction. Spar, a professor at Harvard Business School (not Medical...

more than a model

Mar. 14, 2008 - Edward Peters, whose "In the Light of the Law" weblog regularly provides reliable and often revealing commentary on canon-law issues, says that he would like to cite Archbishop Burke's announcement as a textbook illustration of proper disciplinary action. But he can't, he explains. Why not?...

the world is flat

Mar. 12, 2008 - For 40 years, give or take a bit, children in American public schools have been immersed in a comprehensive sex-ed curriculum. This was necessary, parents were told, to prevent teen pregnancy and the spread of venereal diseases. Now we can see the results. The federal agencies which have been...

no Baptism, no worry

Mar. 11, 2008 - Suppose a child is presented for Baptism, and the priest pours the water, saying: "I baptize you in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier." Is that a valid Baptism. On February 29, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gave us a simple, straightforward...

not all religions are equal

Mar. 3, 2008 - Careful readers of Off the Record will remember the story of a 10-year-old Nepalese girl, worshipped as a goddess in her native land, who caught some attention in the English-speaking press during a trip to the US last year. You could probably figure out for yourself that the girl in question...

lost in translation

Feb. 21, 2008 - Pope Benedict delivered a stern, no-nonsense message to Jesuit leaders on February 21. The CWN coverage of the Pope's talk was not terribly different from the accounts carried here and here and even here. If you read Italian,...

another medical breakthr.... oh wait

Feb. 21, 2008 - For the first time, stem cells taken from human embryos have produced gains in treatment of diabetes-- in mice. (Now stop and think about that for a moment before we continue. We're delighted that the mice are feeling better. But at the cost of a few human lives?) Proponents of embryonic...

post-Catholic Boston

Feb. 21, 2008 - This year St. Patrick's Day falls during Holy Week: a fact that calls for some shuffling of liturgical calendars. Not even a beloved saint-- not even the patron saint of the New York and Boston archdioceses-- takes precedence over Holy Week observances. In South Boston, however, the annual St....

Not guilty. But innocent?

Feb. 15, 2008 - A Cincinnati priest has been reinstated after a long suspension. He had been accused of raping a boy, but both an Ohio prosecutor and a Vatican panel agreed that the accusations were not credible. "I believe in Father Larger's innocence and am thankful that the clearing of his name makes...

not-so-free speech on the Catholic campus

Feb. 14, 2008 - In San Antonio, devout Catholics complained to the archbishop when St. Mary's University hosted a campaign rally for Senator Hillary Clinton. Clinton's support for abortion, same-sex marriage, and embryonic stem-cell research are a matter of public record, they pointed out. The archbishop was...

the liturgist's lament

Feb. 12, 2008 - Having (finally!) been relieved of his duties as the Vatican's chief liturgist, Archbishop Piero Marini-- not to be confused with his successor at that post, Msgr. Guido Marini-- has written a little book defending his approach and denouncing his critics. If you enjoy liturgical dance,...

understatement of the week

Feb. 11, 2008 - In the Super Tuesday Democratic primaries, the New York Times reports, Catholic voters swung heavily toward Hillary Clinton. Why? The Times offers a few theories, including the Clinton edge with Hispanic voters and the possibility that Catholics, educated by nuns, may be more likely to accept...

dim bulbs

Feb. 8, 2008 - Two Anglican bishops-- Richard Chartres of London (not to be confused with the cathedral) and James Jones of Liverpool-- are encouraging their flocks to undertake a "carbon fast" during Lent, for the sake of the ozone layer and the poor and maybe even (although they don't mention it) their souls....

oops!

Feb. 8, 2008 - If you were laboring under the inaccurate impression that the Vatican Information Service is infallible, you probably didn't catch today's announcement: This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Costa Rica, who have just completed their "ad...

Parodist visits Georgetown, falls on sword

Feb. 8, 2008 - Last October, the president of America's oldest Catholic university revealed that he was wondering: What are the resources that the Catholic moral tradition brings to the core work of providing an educational environment in which every individual can flourish? Which ways of working towards...

the single-issue voter

Feb. 7, 2008 - Are you curious to know how Ray Flynn (former Mayor of Boston, former US ambassador to the Holy See, former president of the Catholic Alliance, former president of Your Catholic Voice, current chairman of Catholic Citizenship) voted in the Massachusetts presidential primary on Super...

the other shoe drops

Feb. 7, 2008 - "In his 14 years as pastor, Father Moynihan has dedicated himself to deepening the faith of his parish family and displaying a genuine concern for the spiritual welfare of both young and old." If those words look familiar, perhaps that's because you have seen them here before. They're taken...

No more waiting!

Feb. 6, 2008 - Phil's new book has arrived, and Amazon is now...

non sequitur

Feb. 5, 2008 - And speaking of prudential judgments on political matters (see the post below), consider this passage from a statement just released by Catholic Charities USA: As demand for services continues to increase at Catholic Charities across the country, it is critical that Congress take concrete...

synecdoche

Feb. 1, 2008 - Father Richard John Neuhaus of First Things has charged CWN editor Phil Lawler with committing synecdoche, and since makes the accusation twice in the course of a short online review of Phil's new book, it can't be ignored. But after a quick trip to the dictionary I'm confident that Phil won't...

protecting women's bodies

Jan. 31, 2008 - Let's see if we understand this properly: If you're a woman who's pregnant and doesn't want to be, the US Food and Drug Administration doesn't think you should worry about taking the abortifacient drug RU-486, because there's no evidence the drug is dangerous. There is evidence that the only...

signs of... something

Jan. 30, 2008 - It's the end of January, and there's been no snow in New York. There has, however, been snow in Jerusalem. Go...

Do you smell sulphur?

Jan. 24, 2008 - As he blessed a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Albany, New York yesterday,... ...the Rev. Larry Phillips of Schenectady's Emmanuel-Friedens Church declared the ground "sacred and holy ... where women's voices and stories are welcomed, valued and affirmed; sacred ground where women are...

ecumenism in action

Jan. 23, 2008 - During this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity it's distressing to see that another Protestant leader in Northern Ireland (is it something in the water there?) has denounced the Pope as anti-Christ. But cheer up; the (Anglican) Church of Ireland has released this comforting...

non-explanation

Jan. 23, 2008 - Maybe you're wondering, too: Why don't the Catholic bishops of Georgia support the pro-life amendment proposed for that state? So you read the bishops' public statement on the question. And you're left with only one question: Why don't the Catholic bishops of Georgia support the pro-life...

a funny feeling

Jan. 19, 2008 - Prior to his election as superior general of the Jesuits, Father Adolfo Nicolas admitted to an uneasy feeling about the Society of Jesus: I have a feeling, still imprecise and difficult to define, that there is something important in our religious life that needs attention and is not getting...

What if CTA issued a press release in the forest,...

Jan. 19, 2008 - For months the leaders of Call to Action have been collecting signatures on a petition to the US bishops' conference, demanding action against Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, who has refused to play along with the "audits" required by the Dallas Charter. Pause here for a bit of...

financial life after death

Jan. 18, 2008 - What does it cost to run a parish? About $10,000 a month, according to a Boston Globe report. But that's for a very select group of parishes: parishes that have been closed. That's right, closed. No parochial schools. No priests. No parish bulletin-- but then you wouldn't need to check the...

stall tactics

Jan. 16, 2008 - Under what circumstances would the American Civil Liberties Union come to the aid of a conservative Republican legislator? Under what circumstances could someone claim that making an unsolicited pass at a perfect stranger, in a public place, qualified as "private" conduct? Oh. We're talking...

something stronger

Jan. 16, 2008 - When they think about political causes, some Catholics tend to fixate on minor considerations, such as the wholesale destruction of human life. Others-- their souls purified by labyrinth walks and enneagram workshops, their intellects trained by studies with Sister Joan, their wills tested by...

significant, Yes; new, No

Jan. 13, 2008 - There's one glaring error after another in the Reuters story. (Go ahead; test yourself. If you can't identify at least 8 errors, you need to read CWN stories more carefully.) Let's just take the introductory sentence: Pope Benedict celebrated parts of Sunday's Mass with his back turned on the...

license and registration, please

Jan. 11, 2008 - The Anglican bishop of Labrador and Eastern Newfoundland has told his priests that they should resign if they are still loyal to his predecessor. As you may have guessed, the issue here is homosexuality. Former Bishop Donald Harvey opposes same-sex marriage, and has led some clergy into a...

when charity means it's on the House

Jan. 10, 2008 - Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is celebrating the 1st anniversary of its campaign to cut the poverty level in half by 2020, and the the group reports that the early results have been good. Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, said that the response of the Catholic Charities...

better business

Jan. 9, 2008 - Imagine that you own a business. Let's say you manufacture widgets. It's a legal business. You pay your employees a good wage. You pay your taxes; you don't bother the neighbors. And you make a nice profit. Good for you! Now let's suppose that the government raids the plants of some other...

the low-key family

Jan. 9, 2008 - He's divorced. He's had a highly publicized adulterous affair with the wife of a subordinate. He canceled a trip to Rome to protest Church teaching against same-sex adoption. He has unilaterally approved marriage licenses for homosexual couples, and issued a proclamation honoring a gay porn...

humorless?

Jan. 9, 2008 - My guess is that Slovakian broadcast regulators. are probably "not the best experts" on discerning what constitutes humor. But let the record show that Uncle Di does not live or work in that country-- where, apparently, Vatican advice on driving is taken with the same seriousness as defined...

math lesson

Jan. 7, 2008 - Today, class, we'll be doing a simple problem involving statistics. An American Research Group poll, released on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, shows Senator Obama leading Senator Clinton among the state's likely Democratic voters, by a margin of 11%. A Franklin Pierce University...

New Year's resolution

Jan. 7, 2008 - Bishop Bruskewitz says: If St. John Chrysostom is correct when he says that the road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops, it would be a mistake for any bishop or priest to miss this...

political science

Jan. 4, 2008 - The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has produced a new text warning against the terrible danger that someone, somewhere, might not entirely accept evolutionary theory. Scientific understanding of evolution is "so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter it," according to...

Cats!

Jan. 4, 2008 - What makes Pope Benedict XVI like T.S. Eliot? Probably more than one characteristic, actually. But Gerald Augustinus names...

the welcome mat

Dec. 30, 2007 - An English bishop is talking about the proper attitude toward immigrants. You already know what he's going to say, don't you? Immigrants should be welcomed. We should open our doors to them, greet them, make them feel accepted. Right. Wrong. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has a problem with...

full immersion

Dec. 28, 2007 - The Irish Jesuits have sold Sacred Heart church in Limerick, a landmark of Catholic architecture, to a developer who plans to convert the building into a health club. The scheme, if it gets the go-ahead from the local authority, will see the church transformed into a day spa featuring a...

Humbug!

Dec. 24, 2007 - In this religiously contentious season,.... Huh? In my neighborhood strangers are smiling at each other as they pass on the street, wishing each other a Merry Christmas-- or maybe, if they're uncertain about the other's religious affiliation, a Happy Holiday. There's literally music in the air...

Tony Blair recants position on abortion!

Dec. 22, 2007 - Well he did, didn't he? And somehow I just missed the headline? In order to be received into the Catholic Church, one must make a profession of faith, affirming that one believes all that the Church teaches. And the Church teaches that support for abortion is gravely wrong, and so now we...

missing persons report

Dec. 14, 2007 - Father Tom Euteneuer, the president of Human Life International, churns out good material for his "Spirit and Life" newsletter, and if you don't receive it regularly, you should. In his latest issue, Father Euteneuer explains why it's logical to estimate that in the years since Roe v. Wade,...

the caucus race

Dec. 14, 2007 - Our bishops are doing a wonderful job in fighting sexual abuse. The National Review Board is leading the cheers. Six million children enrolled in "safe touch" programs! Hooray! 1.6 million background checks on Church workers and employees! Rah! With the cheers ringing in your ears, you might...

the limited-access ramp

Dec. 11, 2007 - What price Christian unity? Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, told The Catholic Herald: "It's not our policy to bring that many Anglicans to Rome." How many Anglicans would be too many? Would it be OK if they entered the Catholic Church...

usurped by choice

Dec. 9, 2007 - Mark Steyn, always an interesting commentator on public affairs, has his own unusual insight on the Romney speech. (Scroll down a bit, past his comments on the housing market-- although they're good, too.) Steyn picks up on Romney's reference to the great European cathedrals: "so inspired......

on voting for heretics

Dec. 7, 2007 - Leaving aside Phil's argument that Mitt Romney's speech will have a generally positive effect, let me ask a separate question: Why is it that in assessing the speech, political analysts invariably say that Romney was trying to quiet the fears of Evangelical voters who believe that Mormonism is...

unsolved mystery

Dec. 7, 2007 - There were no witnesses. He didn't file a police report. In fact Cardinal Mahony didn't tell anyone that he had been physically assaulted until months after the fact. Now the trail is cold, and unless they somehow gain more evidence, police are unlikely to find the perp. Does that seem...

community service

Dec. 5, 2007 - Father Michael Jude Fay, the Connecticut priest who pinched $1.3 million from his wealthy parish, is going to jail. When Fay reported that he is suffering from cancer, Federal Judge Janet Bond Arterton was properly sympathetic. But she was apparently not impressed by his argument that he...

the dog that didn't bark

Dec. 3, 2007 - On a second reading of the Pope's new encyclical, I thought it was worth noticing this fact about the single quotation from the documents of Vatican II in the course of Spe Salvi: There isn't...

happy birthdays

Nov. 23, 2007 - Remember the derisive chuckles that greeted a Vatican document that included traffic-safety tips, released in June by the Pontifical Council for Migrants and signed by that group's president, Cardinal Renato Martino? Do you recall how the same Cardinal Martino expressed sympathy for Saddam...

best practices, personnel division

Nov. 21, 2007 - Better late than never. The Vatican's adoption of a system of merit pay is welcome, even if it comes a few generations after the same system became prevalent in the capitalist world. It's a bit harder to take, however, when the official Vatican announcement of the new policy trumpets the change...

a born-again koan

Nov. 21, 2007 - Much as I sympathize with him, and commend his practical political insight, I question how the Dalai Lama can choose his own successor. Sure, it makes sense for him to make the choice, rather than leave the decision in the hands of unsympathetic Communist bureaucrats in Beijing. Smart move....

the gang that couldn't shoot straight

Nov. 16, 2007 - The hits just keep on coming for the hapless Boston archdiocese. The latest is a report on how poorly archdiocesan officials handled the sale of parishes that were closed. The highlight (or lowlight, if you prefer): a case in which a quick-witted investor bought a parish plant from the...

border crossing

Nov. 15, 2007 - Acknowledging that Catholic voters in Massachusetts generally support Democratic candidates who are in favor of abortion rights, O'Malley said, "I think that, at times, it borders on scandal as far as I'm concerned." At first glance Cardinal O'Malley's words to the Globe look promising. But on...

and waiting on deck,....

Nov. 14, 2007 - Let's get acquainted with the new vice-president of the US bishops' conference, since the odds are overwhelming that in another 3 years, he'll be elected president. Bishop Gerald Kicanas now heads the Tucson, Arizona diocese. But he's a native of Chicago: another product of the powerful...

the hub of the universe

Nov. 13, 2007 - Pope will bypass Boston in US visit That's the headline on the Boston Globe story. It's accurate, as far as it goes. But here's a bit of perspective that might have escaped readers in Boston: The Pope will also "bypass" Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Brunswick, Hartford, Dubuque, Peoria,...

strange choice, strange timing

Nov. 12, 2007 - Last week syndicated political columnist Robert Novak called attention to a spectacular blunder by GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson, who declared in a nationally televised interview that women should not be jailed for seeking abortion. Novak argued that Thompson-- who should have been...

journalists without [bleep] detectors

Nov. 12, 2007 - Suppose you picked up your morning newspaper, and read that the local softball team, sponsored by Ken's Transmission Specialists, had won the World Series. "That doesn't seem right," you might say to yourself. The boys from Ken's are as good as any nine men when it comes to pounding the...

no offense

Nov. 12, 2007 - "We have all been enlightened." Remember those words uttered by the then-president of the US bishops' conference, addressing the sex-abuse crisis? Now, 5+ years after the Dallas meeting, we keep getting reminders as to just how much enlightenment has been achieved. Consider, for example,...

the vote to watch

Nov. 11, 2007 - The US bishops hold their annual meeting in Baltimore this coming week, with a few interesting items on the agenda. There will be an open discussion about the bishop's role in political debates; that promises to be lively and revealing. There will be a new report from John Jay researchers on the...

another argument for monarchy

Nov. 11, 2007 - This is what's known in diplomatic circles as a "frank exchange:" Spanish King Juan Carlos, seated next to Zapatero, angrily turned to Chavez and said, "Why don't you shut...

what can a bishop do?

Nov. 10, 2007 - Having given fair warning to the women who are planning an "ordination" ceremony this weekend, Archbishop Burke is now doing his best to preserve the faithful of the St. Louis archdiocese from the confusion that event will cause. Maybe a deft editor could improve on the archbishop's...

bait and switch

Nov. 9, 2007 - Yes, it's that time of year again. Thanksgiving is coming, and on the Sunday before the feast, Catholic Americans will be asked once more to contribute to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the bishops' project to change the world through citizen activism. Well, that isn't...

if you can't be good, be careful

Nov. 9, 2007 - "Since they're going to do it anyway, they might as well do it safely." You might not be edified by that argument, but you shouldn't be surprised. It is, essentially, the argument for the distribution of condoms to teenagers, or clean syringes to drug addicts. You can hear similar arguments...

Onan's common ground

Nov. 8, 2007 - Lisa Sowle Cahill, the noted Boston College professor and former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, has graciously offered instruction to the US bishops on the proper approach to election-year debates. ...the bishops can help foster a more civil and productive dialogue...

male and female He created them

Oct. 31, 2007 - The Religion News Service brings us the happy news about the former Rev. Ann Gordon, now known to the world as Rev. Drew Phoenix: About 18 months ago, after 46 years of feeling trapped in the wrong body, the Methodist minister had sexual reassignment surgery, at last aligning psyche and...

the low-testosterone Bible

Oct. 27, 2007 - From today's Gospel: Luke 13:6-9, as given us by the RNAB Lectionary: And he told them this parable: "There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, 'For three years now I have come in search...

amazing coincidence

Oct. 24, 2007 - Here is the web site for the Planned Parenthood clinic in Worcester, Massachusetts. Make a note of the phone number for local calls: (508) 854-3300. Now here is the web site for student health services at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. Notice the number recommended to students who...

tolerance, 21st-century style

Oct. 21, 2007 - Bigotry is bad. We teach our children to avoid bigots, to hold them in contempt. If the schoolteacher encourages students to fight against bigotry, we applaud that effort. We want bigotry to vanish. Because the word provokes that sort of reaction, it's important to be mindful about what...

"especially suited"

Oct. 15, 2007 - Anita Henderson has a new dress. Her husband, a bishop in the Church of Ireland, thinks it suits her nicely. His friend, the Catholic Bishop of Killala, agrees. Oh wait. It's not Mrs. Henderson's dress that the two bishops are talking about. When they delicately observe that some things are...

double standard, example 6,487,312

Oct. 8, 2007 - Here's a rule of thumb in American political discourse: When a presidential candidate announces plans to act as an "instrument of God" and to create a "kingdom on earth," you can be quite sure he will be identified by the mass media as either a menace to world peace or... a liberal...

no explicit teaching

Oct. 5, 2007 - In his effort to explain the Connecticut bishops' decision on use of Plan B at Catholic hospitals, Bishop Lori points out-- in boldface, no less: Indeed, the Church does not teach that it is intrinsically evil to administer Plan B without first giving an ovulation test or that those who do so...

couldn't have said it better myself

Oct. 4, 2007 - Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz has returned to Minsk, and Charter 97-- which, I admit, I don't read every day-- has the story with pictures. "At the beginning of the mess archbishop Tadeush Kandrusevich was welcomed from the depth of the heart by Bishop Antoni Dzyamyanka. In the answer...

what some experts believe

Oct. 2, 2007 - Explaining the Connecticut bishops' decision to allow use of Plan B in Catholic hospitals, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport blogs: What’s really at issue here is how much testing is appropriate to ensure that Plan B does not induce the chemical abortion of a fertilized ovum. Answer: a lot....

know your audience

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...

the blood of martyrs

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...

smart enough

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...

lessons learned

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...

don't ask, don't tell

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...

sister ass

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...

academic freedom and its discontents

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...

misdirection play

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...

when it counts

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...

comparative religion

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...

talk about deep pockets!

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 ......

epistemology question

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...

Pagan Pride

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...

connect the dots

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...

the Harvard of Webster Groves

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...

my turn next

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...

the old covenant

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...

how's your blood pressure?

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...

this is progress?

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...

a liturgical whistle-blower

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...

truth in advertising

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...

a good deed daily

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...

Grow up!

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...

Victorian secrets

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....

when less is more

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...

entirely believable

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,...

the price of victory

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 dying breed

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...

always and everywhere... except Gaylord

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.

thank God for bad translations

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...

full cooperation

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...

which is the greater scandal?

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...

pre-marital divorce...

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,...

and if the bugle gives an indistinct sound,...

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...

effective fundraisers know their audience

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 nicer kind of pornographers

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...

"Our shared moral tradition..."

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...

an argument comes full circle

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...

Adam Smith, call home

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...

I'm central, you're central

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...

same song, different verse

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...

VOTF, your 15 minutes are up

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...

stock tip? con game?

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...

dog bites man

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...

and wouldn't you like to have been a fly on the wall

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...

lodging an objection

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...

non-criminal illegality

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...

a blow to Anglo-Saxons

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...

If only St. Athanasius had a pollster

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...

the saddest day

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...

the pastoral approach

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...

There are limits...

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...

the liturgical Edsel

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...

team player

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...

how to empty out a newsroom

Jul. 4, 2007 - If your local newspaper had the same policies as the Polish Press Agency, would there be any reporters left on the...

a post-Christian memorial service

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,...

applause line

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...

yet another motu proprio?

Jun. 29, 2007 - Pope Benedict the XVI will soon release a moto proprio permitting the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass without liturgical abuses, CWN has learned. The 1-page document, accompanied by a 50-page explanatory letter, will allow individual priests to celebrate the Mass of 1969 according to the...

a deity on a pension

Jun. 29, 2007 - "There's nothing I don't like about being a goddess," reported the 10-year-old Nepalese visitor to Washington. While I confess that I'm short on experience, I don't think I'd mind being a goddess, either. Not that it's all fun. "It was difficult when I was younger to get up at 4 to bathe for...

d'oh!

Jun. 26, 2007 - The Church of England has turned to Homer Simpson for help with recruiting teenagers. Clergy are to be advised to set up screens in churches to play extracts from the beer-swilling cartoon character's life. I am not making this up. I'm not that...

a lived-experience quiz

Jun. 24, 2007 - 1. At a typical Catholic parish in North America you are most likely to be denied Communion if the pastor knows that you are: A- the legislative sponsor for legal abortion B- divorced, and remarried outside the Church C- wearing the Rainbow Sash to manifest your opposition to...

leading cultural indicators

Jun. 24, 2007 - Cardinal Sean O'Malley has begun a campaign to educate Catholics in Massachusetts about the value of marriage. This isn't just about legal recognition of same-sex marriage there,the Boston Globe reports; there are other disquieting issues: From 1986 to 2006, the number of Catholic marriages...

Wonder Bread for the soul

Jun. 23, 2007 - At St. Agatha’s, the Rev. Peter Casey says families like the Welzes and Conways are keeping the faith for much the same reason: They found a parish with meaningful worship, where they can take an active part and are challenged to think about ‘‘why we do what we do.’’ Who is this Boston pastor,...

the Trautperson translation

Jun. 21, 2007 - As you know, Bishop Trautperson has serious concerns about new liturgical translation that use big words which dumb laymen might not understand. So it could be a great service to the Catholic world that a reader of Father Z's blog has discovered what appears to be the preferred Trautperson...

... and look both ways before crossing

Jun. 19, 2007 - Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of the Pontifical Council for Vapid Public Statements, has struck again. Commenting on the first part of the document, Cardinal Martino expressed the view that "Church and State, each in its own field, must work to create a generalized public awareness on...

inter-religious dialogue with a mirror

Jun. 19, 2007 - From the Seattle Times comes this edifying story about Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, an Episcopalian priestess who is a Muslim. Confused? You shouldn't be. Redding's bishop, the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner, says he accepts Redding as an Episcopal priest and a Muslim, and that he finds the...

feeling let down?

Jun. 16, 2007 - The following is a public statement released today by Bishop Joseph Duffy of Clogher, Ireland. He made the statement at a vigil Mass in Roslea, the home of a missionary priest who's in the headlines this week: The statement by Bishop Duffy is presented here in its entirety. My comments are in...

Nothing to see here, folks

Jun. 14, 2007 - That noise you just heard was a collective sigh of relief, heaved by the clergy and laity of the Boston archdiocese, who will no longer be expected to pretend that they care about how marriage is legally defined in Massachusetts. The weather's OK, the Sox are winning, and we haven't closed any...

just another issue

Jun. 14, 2007 - Today the Massachusetts legislature will vote on a constitutional amendment define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. In a legislature dominated by self-identified Catholics, it's nip-and-tuck whether the proposal will win approval from just one-fourth of the legislators: the minimum...

a complete thunderbolt thing

Jun. 3, 2007 - Episcopal priest #1 admits that he really wasn't interested, at first, in dating Episcopal priest #2: “I was assuming he would be pious and narrow-minded.” Now that's an odd prejudice, isn't it? After all, #1, you're an Episcopal priest, and you're not overly pious, are you? As for...

God only knows

Jun. 1, 2007 - When AP surveyed the leading US presidential candidates about their religious practices, the most interesting response came from Rudy Giuliani's campaign: "The mayor's personal relationship with God is private and between him and God." Let's see: personal... private... between him and God....

category errors

May. 29, 2007 - You've got to sympathize with a reporter who's assigned to write a straight report about an absurd event. Nevertheless this CBC report is remarkably awkward: Calling it a defiance of an unbreakable Catholic "sacrament," the Vatican is distancing itself from a Toronto ceremony in which five...

conversion of the genitals

May. 26, 2007 - The Baltimore Sun brings news of a development that could end those pesky theological disputes about the ordination of women: A year ago, the Rev. Ann Gordon received her routine reappointment as minister of a Charles Village Methodist congregation. Yesterday - after undergoing a sex-change...

two faint cheers for lukewarm Catholicism

May. 25, 2007 - In an interesting op-ed column today (available only to subscribers), David Brooks of the New York Times notes that Catholics have flourished in America, socially and economically, when they have remained within the Church, but ignored her more demanding teachings. "They have found themselves in a...

Always be followed by your conscience

May. 24, 2007 - Joe Murray has something on his mind. Joe, who identifies himself as the US Convener of Rainbow Sash Movement, has announced the annual gimmick in which militant homosexuals will wear their identifying sash, and present themselves to receive Communion in various cathedrals, defying bishops to...

and now for something completely different...

May. 23, 2007 - The Canadian, "Canada's new socially progressive and cross-cultural national newspaper," brings us the unexpected news that a noted Italian journalist-- noted, at least, by The Canadian-- has news from about... ..an unnamed Vatican Jesuit priest who has confidentially disclosed inside...

overdrawn

May. 22, 2007 - Commenting in a Salon column about the question of excommunication, the irrepressible Frances Kissling remarks that is a bishop lowered the boom, "I could get a book contract, go on a speaking tour and have a couple years of celebrity." Sorry, Frances, but I think you've already enjoyed those...

Interfaith dialogue whirls forward

May. 21, 2007 - One of the following is an actual news report. The other is a fraud. Can you guess which is which? Mevlana to be celebrated in Vatican ANKARA - Turkish Daily News A Mevlevi Sema dance, the spiritual whirling dance of the Sufis, will be performed at the Vatican on June 5 as part of the...

wordsmiths

May. 21, 2007 - Here is the reading you probably heard at Mass yesterday: “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have...

we have been enlightened again

May. 17, 2007 - After just 5 months of counseling-- in a program he joined as a way to avoid criminal charges-- Bishop Daniel Walsh of Santa Rosa, California, fully understands state law requiring clergymen to report evidence of child abuse. Now you may be surprised that it takes 5 months to get that message...

a belated Mother's Day gift...

May. 15, 2007 - ... from, of all places, the New York Times. In fact, the "Fashion" section. Who'd have guessed? But it's a lovely story, well worth...

Eucharistic Prayer V

May. 13, 2007 - (Noted in the program for the Pope's trip to Brazil [Tip to Rorate Caeli]) ...for the Mass of Canonization, His Holiness will employ Eucharistic Prayer V! That is correct, it is not a typo: Eucharistic Prayer... V! OK, so I am more Catholic than the...

one word missing

May. 11, 2007 - Shortly after arriving in Brazil on board the papal plane, John Allen of NCR helpfully posted a full transcript of the Pope's remarks to journalists, in his own unofficial translation. Here's one crucial snippet: [Question]...Do you agree with the excommunication given to legislators in Mexico...

be quiet and take your medicine

May. 11, 2007 - Add the Wall Street Journal editorial page to the list of conservative voices informing pro-lifer Republicans that they shouldn't insist on a presidential candidate who opposes the slaughter of unborn babies. Sure, Rudy Giuliani has been maladroit in his handling of the abortion issue, the...

dash-2 obscurity

May. 10, 2007 - Back in February 2004, Bishop Thomas Dupre rather suddenly resigned from his post at the head of the Springfield, Massachusetts diocese. Since that time, not a word has been heard from the former bishop. Although the Springfield diocese presumably knows where to mail his salary checks, diocesan...

Hillary's night off

May. 4, 2007 - Hillary Clinton is scheduled to speak at a fundraiser for Mercy Home, a Catholic charity in Chicago, later this month. Right away, you start thinking about how in St. Louis, Archbishop Burke quit the board of a charitable group that featured Sheryl Crow at a fundraiser, noting that Crow is a...

"sadly" preserving freedom of speech

May. 4, 2007 - Yesterday the US House of Representatives voted (237 to 180) to approve a "hate crimes" law, which would separate standards of justice for defendants whose crimes (real or alleged) are motivated by beliefs that other people find offensive. Tony Perkins, the ex-Congressman who now heads the...

the line of the night...

May. 4, 2007 - ... from the Republican presidential debate: MR. MATTHEWS: Governor Romney, what do you say to Roman Catholic bishops who would deny communion to elected officials who support abortion rights? MR. ROMNEY: I don’t say anything to Roman Catholic bishops. They can do whatever the heck they...

lighter than air

May. 3, 2007 - "The future of humanity is at stake," the Vatican representative told an international body. Gee. Sound serious. So what should we do? Oh:inter-religious dialogue. Good. Our future is secure. After all, we all share the human condition, and mankind is one big family, and we all want...

thank God for the experts

May. 3, 2007 - Where would we be, without the counsel provided by experts, such as those wise students of human nature who kept telling bishops that Father X was ready to return to parish work, and could be trusted around the altar boys? Things have changed in the last few years, of course, and the experts...

jack in the pulpit

May. 1, 2007 - About 40 supporters of Nichols, most of them parishioners of St. Elizabeth Church in Lyndonville, were also in the courtroom to watch the proceedings, some wearing large white-and-black buttons that read "I believe in Father Steve." Actually they believe in Father Steve Nichols selectively, it...

comparative religion

Apr. 30, 2007 - The Washington Post reports-- and contributes to-- a lot of muttering about the fact the 5 Supreme Court justices who composed the majority in the partial-birth abortion case are all Catholics. Is it dangerous for public figures to bring their religious beliefs into public life? Much...

a decent respect for tradition

Apr. 28, 2007 - An Anglican bishop warns that a colleague is threatening to break with "the ancient practice in most of the church." Another Anglican official warns against "things that violate longstanding practice." "This action would only serve to heighten current tensions," says the bishop who is defending...

no right or wrong

Apr. 27, 2007 - Lawmakers in Connecticut just don't understand why Catholic officials wouldn't want to dispense "emergency contraception" (which often means abortifacient) pills to rape victims in Church-administered hospitals. And politicians don't protect what they don't understand, so the state senate passed...

remember that blind date?

Apr. 24, 2007 - Have you ever wondered-- perhaps not altogether kindly-- what happened to your college classmate, who fixed you with Blind Date from Hell? I think I know. A group called Animal Defenders International has brought suit in European court, hoping for a ban on experiments using apes as...

keeping women safe to pay their obstetricians

Apr. 22, 2007 - Kenneth Edelin begins his Boston Globe op-ed in a very unusual way: By acknowledging that he was convicted of manslaughter 32 years ago after performing an abortion. Edelin does not provide details about the case. Suffice it to say that the unborn baby did not die on schedule, and thereafter...

the first liturgical reform

Apr. 21, 2007 - From today's 1st reading (Acts 6:7), with emphasis added: The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly;even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith. Even priests. (Well, a large group of them, anyway.) So you see, it...

central to womanhood

Apr. 20, 2007 - In her angry dissent in Gonzalez v. Carhart, Judge Ginsburg writes that the majority decision... … cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this Court-- and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives. Now...

Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle...

Apr. 17, 2007 - ... and he might be embarrassed to admit it, if scientists are right, and chimps are more highly evolved than humans. Now there's an angle that Darwinism hasn't covered. Notice that there is no case on record of a chimp endorsing the theory of evolution. Maybe they're trying to tell us...

next Great Leap Forward: single-sex procreation

Apr. 13, 2007 - A British scientist thinks that she can enable women to produce sperm, using stem cells drawn from their own bone marrow. The process-- which has already provided promising results in treating men with fertility problems-- could make it possible for lesbian couples to produce their own biological...

but who audits the auditors?

Apr. 11, 2007 - Nearly 5 years after the US bishops devised the "Dallas Charter" to address the sex-abuse scandal, the US bishops' conference is happy to announce that the system is working. How do we know that the program is working? We know because nearly every American diocese is following the procedures...

yet another stem-cell breakthrough

Apr. 11, 2007 - Here's a new game: Find an article on a reported breakthrough in medical treatment using stem cells. Beginning at the top of the article, count down the paragraphs until you find a plug for embryonic stem-cell research. (In this case it's paragraph #9.) Keep counting-- it's probably...

The NY Times profiles the Pope,...

Apr. 8, 2007 - ... on Easter Sunday, yet, and as Amy Welborn points out, you shudder when you see the cover story of the Sunday magazine. Actually, Amy says the article isn't too bad. (Which is, really the best you could hope for, right?) I haven't read it, and probably won't. But I have read her excellent...

fashionably unwelcome

Apr. 6, 2007 - The Anglican archbishop of Wales has something on his mind. The Anglican church in Wales' leader warned the church has become a place where gay people feel marginalised and women do not have equality with men. Hmm. Where I live, homosexual Anglicans are about as marginal as a keg at a frat...

the alternative magisterium

Apr. 6, 2007 - The latest edition of In the Vineyard, the emailed newsletter of Voice of the Faithful, includes one "quote for our time." It's from Sister Theresa Kane, lecturing Pope John Paul II during his 1979 visit to the US: Our contemplation leads us to state that the church in its struggle to be...

instructions to voters

Apr. 3, 2007 - New York Post columnist John Podhoretz thinks that Rudy Giuliani stumbled in his early presidential campaign by talking about how much influence his (latest) wife could have in the White House. It was a rare mistake, Podhoretz observes: Until that moment, he had handled his presidential bid as...

another stem-cell breakthrough

Apr. 2, 2007 - Scientists report growing human heart valves from stem cells. That's a potentially important breakthrough, with very promising implications for the millions of people who face heart disease. The news will no doubt prompt more loud calls for tax funding of embryonic stem-cell research. Most...

HE can't be my ex-wife!

Mar. 30, 2007 - The newspaper report is from Florida, but the story itself come from a brave new world in which judges ponder questions they never discussed in law school. A woman's sex change operation does not free her ex-husband from his alimony obligation, a judge said Wednesday. Attorneys for Lawrence...

subsidizing damage

Mar. 27, 2007 - Suppose scientists found that a certain kind of breakfast cereal was associated with behavioral problems in young children. Suppose they found that 2.3 million American children eat that cereal every day. Suppose the cereal's manufacturers received huge tax subsidies, and the children's...

gotta love a good lawyer

Mar. 20, 2007 - The boys in the priest’s bedroom had been “fully clothed,” and no sexual activity had occurred, Cardinal Mahony told parishioners in October 2005, making what he said was the “fullest possible disclosure” about the situation. And that’s odd, because 6 months earlier, reporting to the Vatican...

the parable of the Good Predator

Mar. 19, 2007 - Wrapping up a characteristically petulant and dishonest diatribe against the "fundamentalism" of Church teaching-- in which, this time, he characterizes Sacramentum Caritatis as "a manifesto designed to keep many Catholics from receiving Communion at Mass"-- the Boston Globe's resident...

a question of emphasis

Mar. 15, 2007 - Father Z (whose site traffic is straining his server right now, so be gentle) has spotted another passage of the Pope's apostolic exhortation in which the English translation is less decisive than the official Latin version. The passage in question is the one in which the Holy Father...

hit count

Mar. 13, 2007 - What's the most important aspect of the Pope's new apostolic exhortation? A quick Google search brought up 8 different newspaper headlines that gave top billing to the Pope's insistence that Catholic politicians must oppose same-sex marriage. That topic is not mentioned once in the text of the...

beware the comfort zone

Mar. 13, 2007 - "The coming generation has the possibility of encountering Jesus in a context where they are free from traditional narrowness," Dublin's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin told a congregation at the Church of Ireland Theological College last week. He continued: Some may choose a path of purely...

who he?

Mar. 12, 2007 - Did you catch the smooth, contemporary translation of this passage from the Gospel heard on Sunday (Luke 13: 6-7)? There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener... Just guessing, but I...

no news

Mar. 9, 2007 - The Archbishop of Canterbury has announced that there are no plans to reunite the Anglican and Catholic churches, Reuters reports. In other news Phil Lawler, the editor of CWNews, revealed that the CWN is not planning to take control of General...

numbers game

Mar. 9, 2007 - If you followed the news coverage of the Discovery Channel special, "The Lost Tomb of Jesus," you know that the producers cited a statistical analysis, claiming that there was only an infinitesimal probability that another Jewish family tomb would show the same names as the ones found in what was...

any way they can both lose?

Mar. 7, 2007 - In Boston, a woman is suing a local abortionist, because she had the baby despite the operation and now she thinks the doctor should pay for rearing the child. If the suit is successful, the child-- now a 2-year-old girl-- will someday learn that her education has been subsidized by the man...

relaxation at last

Mar. 7, 2007 - Jim-Bob spends most of his time at the counter of the Quik Mart, down there by self-serve gas station. In the mornings he has a cup of coffee, reads the papers, checks his lottery tickets, chats with the other regulars, and eventually-- usually around 11 or so-- saunters down to town hall. (He...

Better Late than Never Dept.

Mar. 6, 2007 - Just about 10 years after the Bishop of Dallas agreed to step down quietly in the aftermath of a horrendous sex-abuse scandal,... ...and 7 years after the Vatican appointed a coadjutor to succeed him,... ...and 4 years after the coadjutor-- tired of waiting, frustrated by his isolation---...

a leader in a time of scandal

Mar. 3, 2007 - Score one for Rzeczpospolita. The Polish daily reported on Thursday that Pope Benedict had already chosen the new Archbishop of Warsaw. The appointment was announced on Saturday, before the Holy Father emerged from his Lenten Retreat, so the Rzeczpospolita story was obviously accurate. The...

Proud to be RC

Feb. 27, 2007 - "I’m a member of the greatest religion in the world," says the woman who calls herself a Catholic. That's promising, right? But we're talking about abortion cheerleader Frances Kissling, as profiled by the New York Times, so you know things are going to be complicated. When the outgoing...

What's so extraordinary?

Feb. 23, 2007 - There are roughly 900 priests in the Newark archdiocese. So in John Allen's NCR conversation with Archbishop John Myers, this line is striking: “For the most part, communion in this archdiocese is distributed by laypeople,” he...

dead-letter office

Feb. 22, 2007 - Let's see, now. When Father Nicolas Aguilar was accused of molesting about a dozen boys, the Los Angeles archdiocese refused to hand over a list of potential victims because the confessional seal must never be violated the chancery wanted to protect the anonymity of the victims the dog ate...

shake down the thunder

Feb. 21, 2007 - In his Ash Wednesday homily Archbishop Sean Brady of Armagh, the primate of All Ireland, asks: Has the time not come for us to ditch, once and for all, the caricature of the drunken Irish and to consign it to the realm of history along with the slur of the Fighting Irish? [emphasis...

the limits of academic freedom

Feb. 12, 2007 - In a front-page story on Darwinism in academe, the New York Times asks the question: May a secular university deny otherwise qualified students a degree because of their religion? The answer looks obvious: No. But wait: After adding a few more rhetorical questions, the Times turns to a...

not exactly a deal with the devil

Feb. 9, 2007 - Scientists agree that stem-cell research holds great promise for medical treatment of many different ailments. And there's nothing wrong with stem-cell research itself, provided that the stem cells are derived ethically-- that is, not harvested by killing human embryos. Trouble is, there's...

a new saint in Boston

Feb. 7, 2007 - It's no secret that some Catholics in Boston are unhappy with rash of parish closings. But here's a new twist. In suburban Wellesley the Maffei family, which sold the land on which St. James parish is located, has joined in a lawsuit against the archdiocese, claiming that the terms of the sale are...

grace of state

Feb. 6, 2007 - The going-out-of-business sale continues in the Boston archdiocese, where Cardinal Sean O'Malley has announced plans to unload the Caritas Christi hospital chain. As the Boston Globe story explains, the archdiocese had been looking for a new executive to head Caritas Christi, but the search......

the mother lode of frustration?

Jan. 25, 2007 - Amy Welborn admits that she was surprised by the volume of the reaction. She made a quick comment on a controversy in Buffalo, New York, where a deacon had openly rebuked a pro-abortion politician during a homily-- and the deacon in turn was rebuked by the bishop. So Amy took note of this...

the money trail

Jan. 22, 2007 - "In his 14 years as pastor, Father Moynihan has dedicated himself to deepening the faith of his parish family and displaying a genuine concern for the spiritual welfare of both young and old." That's Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, speaking to parishioners at St. Michael the...

the purity of the game

Jan. 22, 2007 - Leila, your friends know that you are married to an avid baseball fan, so I'm sure you'll understand a baseball analogy, and I hope most CWN readers will, too: One of the baseball writers who votes for members of the Hall of Fame recently explained why he did not vote for Mark McGwire this...

from one extreme to.... where?

Jan. 19, 2007 - Columnist Ellen Goodman goes searching for "Abortion's Elusive Middle Ground," and finds-- now get ready for a shock-- that the "moderate" position is the one she occupies. On one side, to her right, you'll find the "extremists" who oppose abortion. And on the other side? Well now here's the...

clerical chic

Jan. 16, 2007 - Fashion writers are all agog about the new spring collection by Donatello Versace, who was inspired by the "look" modeled by Msgr. Georg Ganswein, the private secretary to Pope Benedict XVI. (Note to fashion-minded priests: It's now chic to wear clericals. Try it sometime.) Richard Owen of...

the pastoral style

Jan. 16, 2007 - The online California Catholic Daily caught up with Archbishop Donald Wuerl while he was in San Diego this past weekend, and asked him whether, in his capacity as Archbishop of Washington DC, he would take disciplinary action against the new Speaker of the House, the pro-abortion Rep. Nancy...

Oh, to be a fly on the wall

Jan. 13, 2007 - In his excellent Chiesa analysis of the disastrous Wielgus appointment, Sandro Magister took careful note of a statement by the Polish editor of L'Osservatore Romano. “I don’t know who, but someone has misled Pope Joseph Ratzinger. This is a serious matter, and someone must pay for it, in...

Eat your peas

Jan. 12, 2007 - Once again Anthony Esolen is hitting nails on heads over on the "Mere Comments" blog associated with Touchstone magazine. And nails aren't the only things he's hitting, as Esolen provides an interlinear commentary on a story about Bishop Trautperson's report to the liturgical panjandrums of...

the Constitution and the kitchen sink

Jan. 11, 2007 - In Springfield, Massachusetts, the diocese formerly headed by Bishop Thomas Dupre (current whereabouts unknown) has lost a court battle. The diocese had argued that insurers should pay the tab for sex-abuse judgments; the insurance companies had asked for a look at diocesan records, to see if the...

We won! We won! We're losing slowly!

Jan. 10, 2007 - The spokesman for the Archdiocese of Vienna, Austria, wants us to know that "the constant harping about a Church crisis" is overblown. Here's his evidence: Archdiocese spokesman Erich Leitenberger cited a recent survey showing that more than 4 in 10 of Austria's 8.2 million people attend Mass...

Poland: on having no fear of truth

Jan. 9, 2007 - George Weigel, who is a regular visitor to Poland as well as a perceptive commentator on Catholic affairs, hits nails on heads in a Newsweek reflection on the Wielgus affair. Weigel argues that a thorough, systematic investigation of Communist-era records would reflect credit on the Catholic...

half-full half-empty

Jan. 5, 2007 - Polish archbishop admits cooperated with communists That's the headline for a Reuters report on a Friday statement by Polish Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus. The All Headline News coverage gives the story a different slant: Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus Denies Having Worked As Communist...

deal with the devil

Jan. 2, 2007 - Back in 2004, Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput wrote a pointed critique of the arguments that former New York Governor Mario Cuomo had advanced to justify a “pro-choice” stance. Cuomo, the archbishop argued, was in effect saying: In brief, it’s OK to be Catholic in public service as long as...

the Pelosi gambit

Dec. 28, 2006 - Amy Welborn has an excellent analysis of the scam that Nancy Pelosi is trying to pull, celebrating her arrival as Speaker of the House (in anticipation) with a big, splashy, and identifiably Catholic celebration at Trinity College in DC. Will the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church let...

second helping

Dec. 25, 2006 - We've already noticed how the Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola is perceived by the NY Times as the main cause of a split in the Anglican communion, although Archbishop Akinola holds fast to the beliefs shared and taught by Anglican prelates everywhere until this generation. (Understand the...

the Grinch wore a cassock

Dec. 24, 2006 - Father Manuel Musallem, a pastor in Gaza, has called off Christmas Mass to protest the fighting between Palestinian factions. Right. That'll fix 'em. You want them to stop fighting, so keep out the Prince of Peace. Got...

not just for Catholics (again)

Dec. 21, 2006 - The president of the Canadian bishops' conference offers some instruction to the nation's prime minister: "For Catholics, marriage is an issue intimately related to human nature which has been created male and female," wrote Sherbrooke Archbishop Andre Gaumond in a Dec. 18 letter to Harper....

beyond our control

Dec. 20, 2006 - Almost all Americans drive drunk, says a report published Tuesday... "The reality of the situation is that most people have been drunk behind the wheel, and it's been that way for several decades," says Lawrence Toper, director of domestic research at the Schlitz Institute, a New York...

not fatherless by choice

Dec. 18, 2006 - In a remarkable op-ed appearing in the Washington Post, a young woman named Katrina Clark explains what it's like to know that you are the child of an anonymous sperm donor. It's not fun. The essay could be Exhibit A in any argument about the morality of artificially assisted human...

Splitsville, cont.

Dec. 18, 2006 - Liberal Anglicans changed the teachings of their church to allow the ordination of women as priests, and the more conservative Anglicans fretted, complained, but remained. Liberal Anglicans changed the teachings of their church to give their blessings to same-sex unions, and the more...

the enforcement-only option

Dec. 16, 2006 - My nephew Jim is a very good driver, with aspirations to join the NASCAR circuit. Last week he was pulled over by a state trooper, who thought Jim's speed-- clocked at 114 mph-- was excessive. Now notice: nobody was hurt; no harm was done. The road was clear and dry; Jim was fully in control....

Tantalus goes Tridentine

Dec. 15, 2006 - It's been described as "imminent" since October, if not earlier. But the best estimates of an actual publication date keep moving backward. Now the Spanish-language ACI-Prensa news agency, which has good contacts at the Vatican, predicts that the motu proprio on the Latin Mass will appear...

on closing the barn door after...

Dec. 14, 2006 - Let's say that you're writing a news story for the Boston Globe, about the implementation of a new Massachusetts law requiring hospitals to provide "emergency contraception" for rape victims. You're faced with a dilemma. The paper's editorial policy insists that "emergency contraception" can...

spiritual direction

Dec. 13, 2006 - The Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, whose former bishop owes his freedom to the statute of limitations, is now fighting against its own insurance companies' efforts to gain access to diocesan records regarding sex-abuse allegations. By now you know the drill: the insurers believe that those...

either human or not

Dec. 8, 2006 - The French bishops have caused a ruckus, the New York Times informs us, by raising questions about a popular telethon to benefit medical research. The sticking point is embryonic stem-cell research. “For us, these embryos are not things, but human beings,” Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the...

not just for Christians

Dec. 7, 2006 - For Christians, sex is anything but trivial. Thus the Catholic bishops of Ireland, in their statement opposing a lower age of consent for sexual activity. Your excellencies, would you accept a friendly amendment? Let's strike those first two words: "For Christians." Sex is anything but...

sunshine and rose windows

Dec. 7, 2006 - Modern society is "wrecking the planet's environment," the Anglican bishop said, and so: He called on churches and other places of worship to reduce global warming by installing solar panels on their rooftops. Notice, in this Times Online report whose environment is at risk. Not yours. Not...

all your fault

Dec. 5, 2006 - Perhaps you remember the case of Father Michael Fay, the light-fingered priest who evidently lifted $1 million or more from the collection plates at his parish in Darien, Connecticut. This was possible because: A priest whose salary was about $28,000 threw himself a black-tie dinner at the posh...

The single dumbest statement of 2006.

Dec. 4, 2006 - It comes, not surprisingly, from James Carroll of the Boston Globe, writing about what he always writes about: the intellectual deficiencies of the Catholic Church leadership, which has the temerity to disagree with him. This time, in a disconnected ramble prompted by the Pope's visit to...

[shhhhh!]

Nov. 28, 2006 - Each year the Christmas holiday season brings in a fresh new crop of legal cases, in which government officials forbid the display of religious symbols, performance of religious hymns, and so forth. Each year these test cases are a bit more ridiculous, and 2006 promises another bumper crop on...

the bishops and their opponents

Nov. 21, 2006 - Kudos to Amy Welborn for her dead-center analysis of reactions to the US bishops' document on pastoral care for homosexuals. The National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries, she observes, "gives no credence at all to any aspect of traditional Church teaching on this...

no orange jumpsuit yet

Nov. 21, 2006 - Yet another American bishop has avoided jail time in connection with the sex-abuse scandal. Sonoma County (California) DA Stephan Passalacqua has announced that Bishop Daniel Walsh of Santa Rosa will not face formal charges if he enters a state counseling program. The bishop-- who faced a...

the latest tradition

Nov. 18, 2006 - Jeffrey Tucker apparently caught it first, and posted it on the New Liturgical Movement blog. It's a priceless quote from a student newspaper-- at a Catholic school: The Gregorian Schola, which sings the music for the Gregorian chant Mass in the Jesuit House Chapel, provides a refreshing break...

to be continued

Nov. 16, 2006 - In a message to the priests of his Milwaukee archdiocese, Archbishop Timothy Dolan reports from the USCCB meeting in Baltimore, and asks them not to pay attention to less sympathetic observers: I would ask you not to listen to reports about our sessions that come from two camps... Those...

nothing more to say

Nov. 15, 2006 - With the abortifacient "emergency contraceptive" pill now available over-the-counter, the Boston Herald finds local Planned Parenthood officials chalking up another political victory. But not everyone is pleased: Edward F. Saunders Jr., executive director of the Massachusetts Catholic...

a fleeting obsession

Nov. 14, 2006 - Overwrought yet again because of the manifold evil done by the Catholic Church, the Boston Globe's James Carroll wrote in a column published on Monday: When public crises are defined by an immoral American war, universal cuts in social services, violence among young people, resurgent nuclear...

Comparative Tolerance 101-- for beginners

Nov. 12, 2006 - The distinguished British philosopher Elton John thinks that religion-- all religion-- should be outlawed. Why? Because religion is intolerant. Intolerant, that is, of people like himself. Try to imagine-- this won't be easy-- that some prominent prelate of the Church of England said that...

the liturgy Catholics want

Nov. 11, 2006 - Over on the very useful New Liturgical Movement blog, Jeffrey Tucker has a perceptive comment on the French poll that showed overwhelming support for a Latin Mass with Gregorian chant, but not nearly so much support for the Tridentine rite. At first that looks like a contradiction. But Tucker...

what Catholic vote?

Nov. 9, 2006 - With a palpable sense of satisfaction, the Catholic Alliance for the Common Good-- the folks who brought you the it's-OK-to-vote-for-Democrats voter guide-- note a big swing in the Catholic voter bloc. In 2004 the Democratic Party couldn't hold its traditional Catholic majority; this year, they...

and I'm handsome, too

Nov. 7, 2006 - If I get a note from my shrink, explaining that I have the psychological outlook of a tall man, can I change my driver's license to show that I'm...

fear and loathing at Lourdes

Nov. 4, 2006 - Today the French bishops opened a meeting at Lourdes, and in his capacity as president of the episcopal conference, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard made the opening speech. In the course of his address, Cardinal Ricard used the word peur (fear) 11 times, and confiance (confidence, trust) 15 times....

Happy 75th

Nov. 4, 2006 - Today is the 75th birthday of Cardinal Bernard Law, the archpriest of the basilica of St. Mary Major. Just in case he forgets, your Uncle Di hereby volunteers to help him draft his letter of resignation, as required by canon law. His has been an effective life of ministry, sadly impaired by......

the look and feel of a Catholic politician

Nov. 3, 2006 - Peggy Noonan makes a strong case for the re-election of Pennsylvania's Senator Rick Santorum. In the process she relates that she was told Santorum, on the way to a campaign debate, led his family in a Rosary for his opponent, Bob Casey. As Noonan observes, the report sounded "too corny to be...

the voters-guide monopoly

Nov. 3, 2006 - Let's review: The US bishops' conference has compiled a voters guide that is simply punchless. Democrats and Republicans-- and for that matter, members of the Green, Rainbow, and Prohibition parties-- can all find therein some passages that will encourage them, and nothing that will dissuade...

when the facts don't fit, get new facts

Oct. 30, 2006 - Once a Paulist priest, James Carroll now makes his living bashing the Church, as the most vituperatively anti-Catholic columnist on the staff of the notoriously anti-Catholic Boston Globe. Today's rant against the Church involves the rumored return of the Latin Mass. Carroll knows nothing...

Roma locuta est, but...

Oct. 28, 2006 - Rome has spoken. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles will think about it. (Just by the way, Bishop Skylstad sent a copy of the letter from Cardinal Arinze to every diocesan bishop in the US. If Cardinal Mahony didn't receive his copy, I'll be happy to supply...

Teddy Roosevelt reflects on inter-religious dialogue

Oct. 27, 2006 - From his 1916 book, Fear God and Take Your Part: The 7th century Christians of Asia and Africa...had trained themselves not to fight, whereas the Moslems were trained to fight. Christianity was saved in Europe solely because the peoples of Europe fought the Mohammedans who invaded... From the...

Go ahead: name one

Oct. 27, 2006 - At the November meeting of the US bishops' conference, one agenda item will be approval of a $335,000 outlay to fund a study on the causes and consequences of clerical sexual abuse. Oh, good: another study. First the researchers will gather more data on clerical abuse, and look for patterns....

Let the people decide!

Oct. 25, 2006 - The New Jersey Supreme Court sees "no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose" in restricting marriage benefits to male-female couples. We've been down this road before: in Hawaii, in Vermont, especially in Massachusetts. But the New Jersey court, while tossing aside the...

The Gnostics wear Prada

Oct. 24, 2006 - Over on his excellent Fathers of the Church blog, Mike Aquilina is shaking his head over a promotional film for Prada perfume, with a script drawn from "Thunder, Perfect Mind." You say you're not familiar with "Thunder, Perfect Mind?" Ah, that's because of your sadly limited education....

nihil nisi

Oct. 15, 2006 - The Boston Globe, whose investigative reporters copped a Pulitzer Prize for their aggressive treatment of priests who molested young people, offered a front-page farewell to the late Congressman Gerry Studds: Gerry E. Studds, who championed environmental, maritime, and fisheries issues during 24...

it figures...

Oct. 14, 2006 - The Alexa web search site lets you enter the URL of any web site and learn a bit about the traffic patterns there. Marketing pros like Alexa, because it also offers some information on the commercial products recently bought by visitors to that particular web site. Checking the CWN site, I was...

mutual acceptance

Oct. 14, 2006 - Thirty-eight Muslim scholars and chief muftis from numerous countries have accepted Pope Benedict XVI’s apology for his remarks on Islam, the editor of a Muslim journal said today. How thoughtful of the Muslim scholars to accept the apology even before the Pope offered it. Now that is the...

the conscious active tense

Oct. 13, 2006 - "This would make it much more difficult for people to engage in full conscious and active participation, which was the goal of the Council," says Rev. James Martin, an editor at the Jesuit magazine America. He's talking to Time magazine, in a story about the rumored papal indult allowing...

Tridentine revival rumors-- again

Oct. 11, 2006 - The London Times is reporting that Pope Benedict will soon issue the long-awaited document allowing for widespread use of the Tridentine rite. OK, now, relax. We've heard these rumors before. And this is a London Times story. We've had reason to point out, in the recent past, how dreadful the...

the unprofitable CEO

Oct. 9, 2006 - A truly novel defense, submitted by the priest who spent a decade or so siphoning of funds from his Florida parish. A priest who allegedly misappropriated millions of dollars from a Delray Beach, Florida, Catholic church has told police he saw himself as the CEO of a multimillion-dollar...

asunder again

Oct. 9, 2006 - In today's first reading, taken from St. Paul's letter to the Galatians, in the jaunty contemporary translation that sounds just like the way you and I ordinarily speak: Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Back home after Mass, I scanned the newspaper headlines and learned that...

coming soon to a parish near you...

Oct. 9, 2006 - They say the movie is about the battle of Thermopylae. But if you watch the trailer, you'll realize that it's really about the budget cuts at the...

put asunder

Oct. 8, 2006 - That jarring sound you heard, when today's Gospel was read, probably came from this passage, as translated in the Eunuch's Bible: Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate. So another poetic passage bites the dust; another familiar bit of Scripture is rendered...

... and he's still 3 short of Henry VIII

Oct. 6, 2006 - Rev. Barry Beisner was installed on September 30 as coadjutor bishop for the Episcopalian Diocese of Northern California. There were protests, but it's not what you're thinking. Questions arose after Beisner's election and during the General Convention consent process because he has...

indicted without evidence

Oct. 5, 2006 - Now here's a story that will surprise you, if you've been living on a mountaintop in Nepal for the past five years: In the Palm Beach, Florida diocese, some of the faithful at St. Patrick's church had suspicions about their pastor's handling of parish finances . So they brought their concerns...

journalistic standards in limbo

Oct. 4, 2006 - The London Times online is reporting that the Pope will soon abolish Limbo. The Times regularly botches stories about the Vatican, but this report from Ruth Gledhill and Richard Owen reaches new heights of inventive absurdity. Take a look at the lead sentence: The Pope will cast aside...

comparative politics

Oct. 4, 2006 - Here's what's truly disgraceful about the behavior of former Congressman Mark Foley: He acted like a Democrat from Massachusetts. But which Democratic congressman from Massachusets? The one who molested a Congressional page? Or the one whose boyfriend ran a prostitution business out of his...

zero-basis budgeting

Oct. 2, 2006 - The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCC) is tightening its collective belt. For 2007, the budget for the US bishops' conference will be only $139,000,000.00-- which is roughly three times the annual budget for the entire Roman Curia, but barely enough to buy proper paper clips for an...

simplification

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...

what did he know and when did he know it

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...

it takes two...

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...

faulty insulation

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...

inconvenient facts

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...

the limits of choice

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...

8 days a weak

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...

no sinking ship, this

Sep. 21, 2006 - Human stem cells can help to improve the vision of rats, the New York Times reports. Some of us had already...

dream child

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...

UN priorities

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...

the irrationalists

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...

one for the Gipper

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...

choosing enemies

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...

Quick, get me rewrite!

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...

the muezzin at Mass

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...

A real asset-- and there's still hope!

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...

documentation

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...

what the man said

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...

and to illustrate his point,...

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...

good old boy

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...

the welcome guest

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...

not single-issue voters

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...

and for our Saturday-afternoon schismatic liturgy,...

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...

the gourmet diocese

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...

so sorry... not so sorry

Aug. 31, 2006 - You may recall the furor in Darien, Connecticut, back in May, when a pastor was found to have dipped into the collections-- to the tune of roughly $200,000-- for extra cash to spend for excursions with his boyfriend. Bishop William Lori removed the pastor, but not before denouncing another priest...

not your usual bishop

Aug. 31, 2006 - The newly appointed Bishop of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has an interesting background. Bishop-elect Paul Swain was raised as a Methodist and trained as a lawyer. He came into the Catholic Church while serving as counsel to the Governor of Wisconsin, then left that job to enter the seminary....

money trails

Aug. 29, 2006 - In New Jersey there are rumors that Newark's Archbishop John Myers is the leading candidate to head the Detroit archdiocese, which traditionally brings a red hat. The archbishop's spokesman says that the rumors are coming from Detroit, but what we hear comes from Newark, and the chatty Rocco...

The Inquisition

Aug. 29, 2006 - Georgetown University has booted a group of Evangelical Protestant ministers off campus. Because they refused to accept the authority of the Pope? Guess again. On the First Things blog, Jody Bottum tells the full story, and even provides a neat summary: The problem, of course, finally...

institutional integrity upheld

Aug. 28, 2006 - Fact: Cardinal William Levada, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has issued a clear directive: Catholic agencies should not be involved in the adoption of children by homosexual couples. Fact: In San Francisco-- a place with which Cardinal Levada is reasonably...

and speaking of ethical problems with stem-cell research,...

Aug. 26, 2006 - ... it turns out that the scientists at Advanced Cell Technology have some explaining to do, about issues other than the morality of the research itself. In the article published in Nature magazine, ACT explained that stem cells could be harvested from human embryos without destroying the...

Big Tent, phase II?

Aug. 25, 2006 - The National Republican Senatorial Committee is supporting Senator Joe Lieberman for re-election, although Lieberman is a Democrat (who, admittedly, lost his state's Democratic primary) running against a Republican challenger. Why? Because GOP national leaders think the Republican candidate...

when the other shoe drops

Aug. 25, 2006 - There's a funny sequence of events this year in the Cleveland diocese: In January, Bishop Anthony Pilla announced that he had asked the Vatican to accept his resignation. That seemed odd, since at the time he a couple of years short of canonical retirement age. Bishop Pilla ducked questions...

the full range of opinions, from A to B

Aug. 24, 2006 - If you look at the Voice of the Faithful home page you'll see the standard disclaimers: We accept the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. We have taken no position on the many other issues that divide Catholics in 2002. We do not advocate the end of priestly celibacy, the exclusion of...

getting tougher?

Aug. 24, 2006 - Ed Peters, a canon lawyer whose blog offers sound perspectives on the more interesting developments in that field, thinks that he might see a trend: Maybe it's just me, but I sense today a rather different mood among American bishops facing outlandish behavior by their clergy; problem-priest...

best seller

Aug. 23, 2006 - Thank goodness! When you look at the moral challenges facing lay people in today's world, you can't help but think that it's high time for the Vatican to remind us of the value of competition in a good honest old-fashioned weightlifting team spirit give it your best shot nobody can ask more...

and speaking of intelligent designs...

Aug. 21, 2006 - ... by the time Pope Benedict holds his September seminar on Creation and evolution, we're no longer likely to be reading press accounts about how the directory of the Vatican Observatory questions the wisdom of the Pope's most prominent former theology student, and

missing Persons

Aug. 21, 2006 - Eileen McCafferty DiFranco, the would-be priestess from Philadelphia, pretended to celebrate Mass again this weekend. There were just 35 people in the Sunday congregation, while real Catholic parishes nearby drew thousands. But where do you suppose the TV cameras were? Right. One enthusiastic...

Kissling's latest brainstorm

Aug. 18, 2006 - Frances Kissling, of the laughably named group "Catholics" for a Free Choice, has put on the full-court press once again. Capitalizing on the international AIDS conference being held in Toronto this week, she is promoting a cause called Condoms for Life. Like most Kissling initiatives,...

Don't blame me

Aug. 15, 2006 - Gerard Ridsdale, a defrocked priest of Australia's Ballarat diocese, has been sentenced to 4 years in jail for molesting 10 boys. Ridsdale was already serving an 18-year sentence, having previously been convicted on 46 other sex-abuse charges. Sentencing Judge Bill White was understandably...

safety first

Aug. 14, 2006 - Having sampled the editorial wisdom of London's Daily Telegraph, I've decided to give the Pope the benefit of my wisdom, too. In his next encyclical, the Pontiff should instruct Mafia button-men to purchase Kevlar vests for the members of rival gangs. I'm told that some hard-line cardinals...

the lack of suspense is killing us

Aug. 10, 2006 - "The element of surprise may be missing," the Catholic Theological Society of America admits, from the announcement naming Sister Sandra Schneiders as the recipient of this year's John Courtney Murray award. True, it's no surprise that the CTSA would honor a woman known for "feminist...

saturation effects

Aug. 9, 2006 - More astonishing news from the heavy thinkers at the Rand Corporation: Teens start having sex sooner if their preferred music has sexually degrading lyrics, a small study of young teenagers suggests. Gosh; now who ever would have thought of that? Fashionable liberals rail against...

Walter Mitty, call the rectory

Aug. 8, 2006 - Kathy Sullivan Vandenberg, who thinks she's a priest, also thinks she's an expert in ecclesiology. Threatened with excommunication by Archbishop Timothy Dolan, she explains matters to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Of official efforts to sever her ties to the church. Vandenberg said:...

nomenclature

Aug. 7, 2006 - Suppose tomorrow I show up at the offices of the Philadelphia Inquirer, carrying a baseball glove and bat, and introduce myself as the shortstop for the Phillies. How much ink do you think I'll get in the next day's paper? Zero, you say? That's exactly right. Yet readers today saw the...

missed opportunity

Aug. 4, 2006 - The priest is openly gay. His bishop is "very disappointed." No, no, no. The bishop isn't disappointed because the priest identified himself as homosexual, or because the priest criticizes Church teaching. That's not the problem. Don't be silly. The problem is that Father Fred Daley wanted...

maintaining ritual purity

Aug. 4, 2006 - You shouldn't rob banks. But if you really need some extra cash, and you can find someone else to point the gun at the teller, well then that's a completely different story. Right? Wrong. If an act is intrinsically wrong, it's wrong for everyone. The Vatican teaches that arranging for...

scheduling conflict

Aug. 3, 2006 - A Google news-headline search yields a surprising result today: Pope retires from international soccer Easy to understand his decision. He's not getting any younger, and the new job does keep him...

Darwinian religion

Aug. 3, 2006 - Read the front-page story in today's New York Times, and you'll have no trouble discerning which side of the Kansas educational battle represents "the good guys." The Times account is distinctly unsympathetic to the "conservatives," who are opposed, of course, by the lib... wait, check that, by...

Mel Gibson's real problem

Aug. 2, 2006 - In a lead editorial today the Boston Globe fastens one particular phrase in Mel Gibson's apology for his anti-Semitic tirade. The actor says: "I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display..." And the Globe is ready with an answer. Bigotry,...

riverboat gamblers

Aug. 1, 2006 - Some people think you're a Catholic priest. Others say you're not even a Catholic, let alone a member of the clergy. Some people think you can confect the Eucharist. Others warn that you cannot receive the Eucharist. Do you sense a bit of a problem here? To give credit where it's due,...

calendar item

Jul. 31, 2006 - In England and Wales, Ascension Thursday will now fall on Sunday. The 4th of July will still be on the 4th of July. But in England I guess that doesn't really...

free to be me (re-posting)

Jul. 31, 2006 - (This comment originally appeared in OTR just over a year ago, but in light of the ceremony scheduled in Pittsburgh today, it seems equally relevant. - Ed.) A Boston-area innkeeper has declared her intention to be ordained a Catholic priest today in a privately arranged service conducted by...

all very cordial

Jul. 30, 2006 - A Wisconsin woman who (surprise!) sits on her local parish council plans to participate in the sham "ordination" ceremony in Pittsburgh tomorrow. Kathy Sullivan Vandberg told her story to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. In part: Q: Did you speak with him? A: I have met with Archbishop Dolan....

second thoughts

Jul. 28, 2006 - For almost exactly one year, the woman who supervised health-care ministry for the Boston archdiocese thought she was a priest. I presume that the people who worked with her at the Boston chancery did not share her delusion. I'd love to hear public confirmation on that point. In fact, I'd be...

Fraud detected but unpunished

Jul. 28, 2006 - Jean Marie Marchant is one of the 9 women who claimed to have been ordained as Catholic priests in a surrealistic ceremony that took place last year in international waters. Like most of the other would-be priestesses, Marchant showed her courage by using a false name. But now she had...

guide to the perplexed liturgist

Jul. 27, 2006 - Easing back into my normal work schedule after a short but welcome vacation (and thus a period of comparative silence, for which I apologize to my faithful readers), I spent some time cleaning up old files on my computer, and came across an agenda item that appeared in the May-July 1997 newsletter...

Who says A must say B

Jul. 22, 2006 - With admirable clarity the Wall Street Journal goes to the heart of the debate on embryonic stem-cell research recently conducted in the US Senate: Our own view is that the embryos from which stem cells are collected have the potential to be-- but are not yet-- human beings. This is the...

until _____ do us part

Jul. 21, 2006 - Led by Andrew Sullivan, gay-rights activists have argued for several years that if homosexuals and lesbians are allowed to marry, just like the rest of us, then they'll start acting just like the rest of us. In Massachusetts that proposition is currently being tested, and to some ways of thinking...

media-friendly

Jul. 21, 2006 - Speaking at a meeting with journalists this week, Bishop Joseph Duffy, who chairs the Irish bishops' communications committee, asks: How do we improve the relationship between Church and the mass media? Do you feel a PR campaign coming on? Will the bishop try to jolly up the reporters? Tell...

unintentional sex-change operations

Jul. 20, 2006 - Roughly one-third of the male fish in British rivers are developing female characteristics, in a frightening trend that could severely upset the ecological balance of the waterways. What's more, the trend could affect humans, with a devastating effect on fertility. The problem is apparently caused...

elementary genetics

Jul. 16, 2006 - What happens when you combine a blue-eyed gene with a brown-eyed gene? You get brown eyes. What happens when you combine a "gay wedding" with a "Catholic wedding?" The thing is, when you put “Catholic” and “gay wedding” together, you come out with one inevitable conclusion: an extravaganza of...

in their own words

Jul. 14, 2006 - The dominant trend in American conservatism today is made up of people who are "enemies of freedom, antidemocratic, antiequality, highly prejudiced, mean-spirited, power hungry, Machiavellian and amoral." OK, I found that claim in a op-ed piece, published in the pages of the notoriously...

literalistically disinvited

Jul. 12, 2006 - Perhaps you were not aware that: Tuberculosis and malaria are major challenges-- no, the major challenges-- facing the Episcopal Church in the US today. Jesus is "our vehicle to the divine," but there may be another bus coming in a few minutes, and we certainly don't want to be "bickering...

how language develops

Jul. 7, 2006 - Bishop Joseph Adamec of Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania, has penned a fascinating explanation of the new Mass translation approved by the US bishops' conference. The key point, he argues, is "that there is nothing here over which to get upset." Yup. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along. Put...

in case of emergency, follow liturgical directives

Jul. 6, 2006 - Just in case a bird-flu epidemic hits New Zealand, priests are receiving instructions on how to protect the faithful from contagion. Practices effective immediately include priests using only chalices and bowls made of precious metals for the distribution of holy communion. "Research has...

lost in translation

Jun. 29, 2006 - On this day when we celebrate the bond of communion between the See of Peter and the bishops throughout the world, it's edifying to see how Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, reports to the faithful about the new Mass translation approved by the US bishops' conference. Why this...

reconciled to reality

Jun. 26, 2006 - As the Boston archdiocese prepares to shut down its adoption services, to avoid (or, to be more accurate, to cease) placing children with same-sex "married" couples, the head of Boston Catholic Charities reflects on the sad situation: "The overwhelming majority of the time we reconciled the...

birds and bees, anyone?

Jun. 23, 2006 - Look, I realize that the advocates of birth control hold sway over public opinion, and today even Catholics have lost sight of commonsense arguments that earlier generations took for granted. Still I'd like to know what's going on between the ears of some people who responded to the WSJ/Harris...

two cheers for tolerance

Jun. 21, 2006 - On the First Things blog, Jody Bottum comments on the sacking of a Catholic public official who dared to oppose the gay-rights agenda. It's not a novel argument-- certainly not to readers of this feature-- but it's admirably concise. Sample: The lesson many people drew from this incident was...

heavy thinkin, no heavy breathing

Jun. 20, 2006 - The Rand-Europe think-tank has determined that fertility rates rise in places where in vitro fertility treatment is available. Well gee, thanks, guys. And I bet hamburgers are more commonplace in neighborhoods that have a McDonald's franchise, too. But seriously, Rand-Europe has noticed a...

a definite maybe

Jun. 16, 2006 - After months of intensive study, the "McCarrick committee" has delivered a final report to the US bishops. Back during the 2004 election campaign, the American bishops were troubled by disagreements regarding whether or not pro-abortion Catholic politicians should be denied Communion. The...

dynamic equivalence, RIP

Jun. 15, 2006 - Dynamic equivalence has become an outmoded idea. Would you like to hear that again? So would I: Dynamic equivalence has become an outmoded idea. And that quote comes not from some nasty old American curmudgeon, but from the chairman of ICEL, in an address to the US bishops....

I got a big bang out of this one

Jun. 15, 2006 - Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking is copping dozens of headlines with a cheap shot at Pope John Paul II. As Hawking tells the story, the late Pope encouraged scientific study of the universe, but warned scientists that "we should not inquire into the beginning itself because that was the moment of...

fait accompli

Jun. 15, 2006 - As the US bishops gather to discuss a new translation of the Mass, critics of the more accurate translations demanded by the Vatican are fretting that the changes could upset lay people. After 30 years, the words of the Mass are now familiar, they observe. The people won't like sudden changes....

not quite dead yet

Jun. 12, 2006 - Brain-dead woman gives birth, then dies OK, so maybe the headline writer wasn't thinking too clearly. But wait; that headline matches the lead of the AP story: ROME - A brain-dead woman kept alive artificially for more than two months gave birth to a premature baby girl, doctors at Milan's...

the company he keeps

Jun. 11, 2006 - The Boston Globe gleefully reports: A Catholic priest preached yesterday at the main worship service associated with Boston's gay pride week,... ... and if you're up to date on the serial disasters of the Boston archdiocese, you probably suspect right away that Father Walter Cuenin, whose...

jumping the shark

Jun. 11, 2006 - Have you heard it said recently that someone has "jumped the shark?" It's a wonderfully expressive statement, if you understand the background. If I have the story right, the expression comes from show biz. It seems there was a popular television sitcom, in which the main character was a tough...

...because I say so

Jun. 10, 2006 - Back in May, many faculty members at Jesuit-run Boston College protested the honorary degree awarded to Condoleezza Rice, because the US Secretary of State supports and even symbolizes the war in Iraq. The archdiocesan newspaper, the Pilot, defended the award in a curious editorial, which began...

priests too poor to be principled

Jun. 7, 2006 - Father Eric Hodgens, a priest of the Melbourne, Australia archdiocese, has come to our attention before. He's a man on a mission, determined to prove that the Vatican is obsess about sex, by writing obsessively about sex. Well he's at it again, and you'll never guess what he sees as the cause...

laws that can't be overturned

Jun. 3, 2006 - Surprise! Massachusetts is not the most liberal state in the US, according to a survey done by...by... Actually the Boston Herald story never does tell us who did the survey. But the story does drop an important hint, after quoting one state legislator who wonders aloud how a state that...

your suspicious nature

Jun. 1, 2006 - When you heard about the arrest of the man doing background checks on employees for the Cincinnati archdiocese, I bet you jumped to a conclusion, didn't you. You just assumed that he had been arrested for... Drug possession? No? Admit it, then; you were wrong. You're getting paranoid, and we...

A Memorial Day thought, especially for the clergy

May. 29, 2006 - If you're an American priest, or, If you're an American man considering the priesthood, or If you're a American bishop, with priests under your pastoral care, or If you're a priest in another country, who might visit the US, then I hope someday you have the chance to visit...

the secret

May. 28, 2006 - "I want to share with you the secret of happiness, that’s why I’m here," said Cardinal McCarrick in his long, loooooong talk at the Stonehill College commencement. Cardinal Ted continued: I will do that by first talking about a cartoon. I’m a big cartoon person. You said it, your...

Warning: offensive language

May. 23, 2006 - Will some gutsy American bishop please ordain Ben Kessler and send him to my diocese right now?! Just one thing: Tell him to recant: not his original statement, but his unnecessary apology. (Follow the link and listen to his speech.) Tip to Dom for the link....

Big! Big! Kinda sorta big!

May. 22, 2006 - After all the hype, the gross revenues for the opening weekend showings of The Da Vinci Code fell short of the records previously set by 2 Star Wars movies, 4 Harry Potter movies, 2 Spider Man movies, The Passion of the Christ, and Shrek II. This proves-- something, I'm sure. Suggested...

disharmonic convergence

May. 18, 2006 - Bridgeport Bishop William Lori appointed just one priest to his Sexual Misconduct Review Board. Just one priest of the Bridgeport diocese has been forced to resign after a private investigator found that the priest had spent $200,000 of parish funds on fun and games with a male companion. Just...

the one thing necessary

May. 17, 2006 - In his Variety magazine review, Todd McCarthy is rough on the film version of The Da Vinci Code, and the crew that "conspired to drain any sense of fun out of the melodrama, leaving expectant audiences with an oppressively talky film.." But he does show respect for the best-selling novel by...

Grade A incomplete

May. 17, 2006 - With charming informality in regard to the facts, Cathy Lee Grossman tells the highbrow readers of USA Today what they should think about the incoming Archbishop of Washington. A sample of her subtle approach: During the 2004 elections, when some bishops pledged to deny communion to...

the retirement project

May. 16, 2006 - So now, freed from the responsibility of running an archdiocese, maybe Cardinal McCarrick can step up the pace of activity on that committee of his... You know, the group of bishops trying to work out an appropriate response to Catholic politicians who support abortion? As you may recall,...

out of the frying pan...

May. 12, 2006 - Seems you just can't win these days if you're a conservative Anglican. Just as you heave that first sigh of relief, upon learning that the next bishop of the California diocese will not be an avowed homosexual, you take a look around, and notice a different problem: The crisis came not in the...

all of them?

May. 11, 2006 - The shocking headline from Pravda... USA executes its citizens every ten days ... would explain why immigrants wield so much political clout....

Still perilously lovable

May. 11, 2006 - Where was I? Oh, right; now I remember. The vexing question is how a diocese can recruit young men to the priesthood, and the clever answer is to find young men who would just love to be priests. For example (emphasis added in all the following excerpts): "The Changing Face of the Priesthood"...

the Houston speech in London

May. 10, 2006 - Question: Could a committed Catholic, dedicated to the promotion of Church social teaching, find a place in the British cabinet under PM Tony Blair? Answer: Sure. Ruth Kelly, an active Catholic and reputed member of Opus Dei, is in Blair's cabinet. Question: But Kelly's faith has made her a...

the risk of poverty

May. 9, 2006 - Sorry I missed this yesterday; the full significance of this story took a while to sink in. The New York Times headline said it all: "America's 'Near Poor' Are Increasingly at Economic Risk, Experts Say." What's the risk? Poverty. The poor aren't "at risk" for poverty because they're...

at the floodgates

May. 4, 2006 - Here's how the argument shapes up: Side A (the "Progressives") argues that the Church must allow the use of condoms by married couples if one is infected with the HIV virus. It's a matter of life and death, they say. Side B (the "Conservatives") argues that the use of condoms destroys the...

Ivy uproar

May. 3, 2006 - Journalists are pouring out the stories about charges of scholarly misconduct at an Ivy League school. What, you mean the CWN story showing that a tenured professor at Princeton deliberately doctored the historical record to support her own thesis in an influential scholarly book? No, the...

second thoughts on second things

May. 3, 2006 - Below I quote C.S. Lewis: To sacrifice the greater good for the less and then not to get the lesser good after all-- that is the surprising folly. Since my occasion for citing that quote was a conversation about the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS, let me add a second thought....

"60 Minutes" unimpressed with Code scholarship

May. 1, 2006 - In The Da Vinci Code, novelist Dan Brown spins a long story about the "Priory of Sion," an alleged secret society that has been guarding secrets across the centuries. Interesting stuff, huh? The people at "60 Minutes" thought so, and the investigators from CBS-TV decided to probe the...

the professional anti-Catholic Catholic

May. 1, 2006 - James Carroll was once a Paulist priest, but even the lax standards of orthodoxy and orthopraxis without that order proved too tough for him. Now he's a regular op-ed writer with the Boston Globe, cranking out column after column to criticize the Catholic Church, his father, or (when he's really...

South African Catechism

Apr. 26, 2006 - South African Bishop Kevin Dowling was invited to Washington to discuss the use of condoms... ... and you can already see what's coming, can't you? You don't get invited to speak in Washington, and interviewed by the Washington Post, because you agree with traditional Catholic teaching....

snake handling

Apr. 25, 2006 - After reading today's Gospel, especially Mark 16:18, you are probably wondering how many Church leaders are certified herpetologists. Offhand I can name one: Sister Fran Donnelly, BVM, the director of parish life for the Archdiocese of St. Paul, Minnesota. Sister Donnelly has come in for some...

the non-vindictive Gospel

Apr. 21, 2006 - Cardinal Sean O'Malley tells the Boston Globe about his goals as the primary voice of Catholic teaching in a society once dominated by Catholicism: We're hoping that people will come to understand that the Church's teachings are not vindictive or mean-spirited. A modest ambition, that. A...

Cardinal Mahony's quandary

Apr. 19, 2006 - Old friend Dom makes a good point about the Supreme Court decision requiring Cardinal Mahony to turn over priest-personnel files to the district attorney investigating sex-abuse claims. The cardinal, you may recall, argued that he could not relinquish the files, because they were protected by the...

the salient fact

Apr. 14, 2006 - Pope Benedict's homily on Holy Thursday was magnificent. The CWN story only scratches the surface, and the full text (when, at last, it's made available in English translation) will be worth the wait. There were many different profound themes in this homily. How do you choose which one to...

The protocols of the elders of Gnosticism

Apr. 13, 2006 - I am shocked-- shocked!-- to read in the New York Times that some people are questioning the legal shenanigans behind the unveiling of the "Gospel of Judas." Do they really mean to suggest that the shadowy antiquities dealer who could get $2 million in the deal, and the National Geographic...

the Gettysburg Address, ICEL style

Apr. 11, 2006 - To be perfectly honest, the man didn't strike me as honest. When he told me that he had stolen the dynamic-equivalence machine from ICEL headquarters, I doubted him. But the price was reasonable-- even for hot merchandise. So I tested it on the Gettysburg Address, and here are the results: ...

New Gospel Discovered!!

Apr. 8, 2006 - Newark, Apr. 8 (CWNews.com) - Archeological researchers in Ridgewood, New Jersey, have discovered an ancient Christian document that offers a radically new account of the founding of the Catholic Church. The newly discovered document, which scholars have named "The Gospel of Skip and Muffy,"...

the root of all evil

Apr. 8, 2006 - Why is the Boston archdiocese such a mess? The New York Times reports: Efforts to change the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston in the aftermath of the crisis of sexual abuse by clergymen have been hampered by diminished resources, according to a report issued Friday. Oh that's the problem:...

a genuine fraud

Apr. 7, 2006 - The National Geographic Society has unveiled the "Gospel of Judas," and the New York Times reports that the ancient document "will set off years of study and debate." The story continues: The debate is not over whether the manuscript is genuine-- on this the scholars agree. Whoa! Hold on...

meet your ancestor

Apr. 6, 2006 - Evolutionary biologists are calling it a "fish with fingers" or (far more picturesque) "a fish that could do pushups." Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Tiktaalik roseae, a fossil that is being touted as perhaps a missing link in the fossil record: a creature that might have moved out of the...

Girls! Girls! Girls!

Apr. 4, 2006 - Some people are silly. Some people are alarmists. Some people think like Chicken Little. Some people said, when American dioceses began allowing altar girls, that soon you'd have trouble finding any altar...

blinding insights

Apr. 1, 2006 - Poring over the statistics on sexual abuse by US clergy, investigators from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice have come up with a blinding insight. …there are indications that those dioceses in which church leaders took prompt and decisive action had fewer reports of abuse and fewer...

What's wrong with this picture?

Mar. 24, 2006 - The headline: Book of miracles shows late pope’s human side, author says. Look: We're all humans. Most of us don't perform miracles. And-- here's a bit of good news, if you're already feeling the strain of meeting public expectations-- you don't need to perform miracles to prove that you're...

family feud

Mar. 22, 2006 - When he was first posted to San Francisco, Archbishop George Niederauer must have been grateful to his predecessor, Archbishop Levada, for arranging the appointment. Now he might be having second thoughts. Archbishop Levada-- in a few days it will be Cardinal Levada-- is now safely ensconced in...

Altered Algorithms for Choice

Mar. 20, 2006 - Amazon.com found itself in big trouble with abortion advocates, because when visitors logged on an searched under "abortion," the web site queried whether they might be interested in "adoption." "I thought it was offensive," said the Rev. James Lewis [a spokesman for the Religious Coalition...

altar girls, anyone?

Mar. 19, 2006 - Heedless of Church teaching that women can't be ordained, liberals continue to instruct us that if women could be priests, the clergy shortage would be solved immediately. Really? Let's learn from our Episcopalian neighbors in America. According Alan F. Blanchard, in Clergy Wellness and the...

a PR blitz for Judas

Mar. 17, 2006 - Easter is coming. How can you tell? Sure, there's the liturgical calendar, and the rumbling in your stomach after days of Lenten fasting. But there are also those reliable harbingers of the season: the crackpot theories debunking traditional Christian belief. This year, even before the...

Demographics trump dissent

Mar. 17, 2006 - To those of us who have long been interested in population studies, it was clear at least as early as 1990 that there was going to be serious trouble for those countries lining the northern Mediterranean rim as reproduction rates continued to drop, the average age of the population continued to...

weary of the green?

Mar. 16, 2006 - For St. Patrick's Day, the great saint's own successor, Archbishop Sean Brady of Armagh, has issued a statement. What a great opportunity to rally the Irish people to the faith. Can't you just hear the skirling of the bagpipes as the archbishop reaches his peroration: Next week, Intercultural...

the McCarrick file

Mar. 16, 2006 - Remember the campaign season of 2004? Sure you do; it wasn't that long ago. Remember the debate about whether a pro-abortion politician (like Kerry) should receive Communion? Remember how a committee of bishops, chaired by Cardinal McCarrick, was preparing a document on that subject? But we...

uncertain trumpet

Mar. 13, 2006 - The US bishops' conference has issued a response to the "Statement of Principles" in which 55 Catholic Democrats from the US House of Representatives announced that their votes would not be guided by Church teachings on subjects like abortion and same-sex unions. In their response the bishops...

on the front lines of the gender wars

Mar. 13, 2006 - Having allowed same-sex couples to enter legal marriages, and adopt children, the brave new government of Spain has taken another step, the London Telegraph reports. Birth certificates will no longer specify a "mother" and "father," since those terms presuppose distinctions which can no longer be...

bad confusion or bad conscience?

Mar. 13, 2006 - Abortion is murder. Abortion is a woman's right. Roe v. Wade is a horrible decision. Roe v. Wade must be upheld. Restrictions on abortion are necessary. But there shouldn't be any restrictions. Who holds these mixed-up views? The American public, according to the latest survey information--...

time for an intervention

Mar. 9, 2006 - Congressman Jim McGovern is a Massachusetts Democrat who, like every other Catholic in the state's delegation, signed the recent "Statement of Principles" in which Catholic lawmakers explained why they couldn't follow certain unpopular Church teachings. In a chat with the Worcester Telegram...

the unforgivable sin

Mar. 6, 2006 - A pastor in California has told a group of recalcitrant parishioners that because they have defied Church authority, they are guilty of "rebellion, grave disobedience and mortal sin, separating oneself from the Church." They are now "invited" (whatever that means) to leave the parish and the...

follow the rules

Mar. 5, 2006 - The Boston Globe smells blood in the water. Again. Each day brings a new headline story about the Massachusetts bishops' unwillingness to allow Catholic Charities to continue arranging adoptions by same-sex couples. (See the item immediately below.) Today the news stories-- themselves heavily...

mentioning the Unmentionable

Mar. 4, 2006 - Oh boy, is Tony Blair in trouble. The British prime minister told a TV interviewer that God would be the ultimate judge of the decision to go to war in Iraq. Notice that he did not say that God told him to go to war. He did not claim that God supported the war. He said that God would judge the...

denials of dignity

Mar. 3, 2006 - How is a rough body search at an airport security gate like a panel discussion at a Catholic college? Peggy Noonan can...

Is the Edsel a paradox?

Mar. 3, 2006 - Dublin's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin spoke on February 18 to Pobal, an Irish group committed to building "a humble, listening Church" in the spirit of Vatican II (if you get the general idea). The archbishop-- who would learn just a few days later that he was to continue being known as "archbishop"...

known by his friends

Mar. 3, 2006 - The lead editorial in today's New York Times heaps praise on Cardinal Roger Mahony for his: stern condemnation of legal abortion stalwart defense of traditional marriage implacable opposition to euthanasia adamant resistance to embryo research sweeping call for reform of immigration...

why lie?

Mar. 2, 2006 - In the wake of the 19 Quebec priests’ blatant misrepresentation of the Church’s recent statement on the ordination of homosexuals (contained in the priests' public attack on the same teaching), I got to wondering: Why do they lie? Obviously these priests don’t lie in order to spare our...

the usual suspects

Mar. 2, 2006 - Questioned about the 19 priests from Quebec who published a letter attacking the Church's teaching on homosexuality, John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter wonders why it's a big deal: These 19 signatories are the usual suspects. There is no name on that list that would just shock you....

Europe's suicide

Feb. 24, 2006 - By subverting the roots of its own Judeo-Christian culture... a religious and cultural vacuum was created at the heart of European civilization. The collapse of faith in its own values has, not surprisingly, led to a demographic collapse because a civilization that no longer believes in its own...

when good news is bad news

Feb. 23, 2006 - Not everyone in Boston was happy when Pope Benedict announced that Archbishop O'Malley would become a cardinal. Still it's remarkable that, on the very day of the happy announcement, a prominent civic leader in Boston would say, for the record, that he was "uncomfortable" with this honor for...

he's a victim!

Feb. 22, 2006 - You've got to admire the pluck of a man who styles himself as a political dissident, while living on a generous government stipend. Especially when he's usually identified-- not figuratively-- as heir to the...

So who's not on the list?

Feb. 22, 2006 - The speculation is over, so after the obligatory 15 minutes of attention to the Pope's announcement, let's move right along to the Monday-morning quarterbacking. Take a look at all those speculative stories, and make a list of the prelates who were listed as likely candidates for red hats. Now...

the comfort of ritual

Feb. 19, 2006 - The ceremony was held in a hotel ballroom, with 4,000 people in attendance. The man being honored, a native of Guam, wore a “face mike”-- the sort of thing that pop singers wear when they want to be able to make themselves heard above the amplified guitar music, and still have their hands free for...

a teachable moment

Feb. 16, 2006 - The bishops of Massachusetts plan to petition the state government for exemption from a policy that bars adoption services from discriminating against homosexual couples, according to a headline story in today's Boston Globe. The bishops' petition will presumably cite Church teachings that say...

blame the messenger

Feb. 15, 2006 - Dublin's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is still miffed about the "misinformation" that circulated after a televised interview in which, among other things, when asked whether the Church should have a debate about priestly celibacy, the archbishop replied: "I'm in favor of a debate." Archbishop Martin...

never say never

Feb. 15, 2006 - Honduran Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, who is frequently mentioned by the media (if not by his fellow cardinals) as papabile, was in St. Louis this week, speaking out against a) poverty and b) the Bush administration. You can see immediately why reporters love him, and the...

just what San Francisco needs

Feb. 13, 2006 - The San Francisco Chronicle offers a podcast interview of the city's Archbishop-elect George Niederauer. The questions are asked by "Wyatt Buchanan, who covers gay and lesbian news for The Chronicle." Right there is your first clue. The paper's natural choice to interview the incoming leader of...

safety first on Boston's sidewalks

Feb. 10, 2006 - If you live around Boston, maybe you feel safer knowing that Joel Fernandez was arrested back on January 14 and now faces criminal charges. Then again, maybe you don't think his arrest will do much to cut down the wave of violent crime in the city. We'll let you decide for yourself. Joel...

stoking the fires with the Danish cartoons

Feb. 10, 2006 - David Warren always has keen insights on the Islamic world. His analysis of the uproar over the Danish cartoons-- which, he explains, is a complaint artificially induced and wildly inflamed by Islamic leaders with political ambitions-- is definitely worth...

and here's another thing to worry about

Feb. 10, 2006 - In a report that would have gladdened the heart of W.C. Fields, environmentalists now say that the consumption of bottled water is putting undue strain on Mother Earth. While anxiously wondering what we'll hear next-- is Mom's applie pie carcinogenic? does outdoor exercise cause kidney...

prayer, fasting, and politics

Feb. 10, 2006 - "We are calling and inviting our community to initiate a month of fasting and prayer," said Bishop Zavala, in the hopes of persuading U.S. Senators to... " Can you finish the sentence? The bishop wants the Senate to: balance the federal budget ban experimentation on human embryos withdraw...

Higher Finance

Feb. 6, 2006 - Just what is the John Paul II Cultural Center? The center's web site for the lavishly funded Washington institution tells us: Perhaps the best way to visualize the Center's mission is as a safe haven for those who are journeying on the road to Emmaus. Perhaps so. If that's the case, it seems...

the learning curve, cont.

Feb. 6, 2006 - A priest takes adolescent boys skinny-dipping? Inappropriate. A priest is dating a teenage girl in his parish? Bad judgment. These priests are good men. But let's transfer them to new parishes, just the same. If they're good men, and they did nothing wrong, why transfer them? Bishop...

the Dismayed Catholics file

Feb. 6, 2006 - The Rockville Center (Long Island) diocese has made some changes in its religious-education programs. The nature of these changes is somewhat obscure, at least as the New York Times records them. Bishop William Murphy says that the changes "would not mean a major change in the content of what we...

avoiding Oprah's wrath

Feb. 2, 2006 - Author James Frey is in big trouble, because some-- no, actually quite a few-- of the incidents he describes in his best-selling memoir A Million Little Pieces are not actually true. Frey's best effort at an explanation is that the fabricated details make for a more interesting story. They...

great moments in Church history (Detroit section)

Feb. 2, 2006 - January 26, 2005 (that's last year, not last week): Bishop Thomas Gumbleton celebrates his 75th birthday. He is required by canon law to submit his resignation. He doesn't. January 25, 2006: Bishop Gumbleton announces that the Pope has accepted his resignation. He hasn't. January 25, 2006 (same...

oh, boy: confusion!

Jan. 27, 2006 - An America magazine editorial observes a "notably wide variety of interpretations" of the Doomsday Document, and, having identified the general confusion, adds to it. When the Vatican says that gay men should not be admitted to seminaries, does that mean that gay men should not be admitted to...

language arts

Jan. 26, 2006 - Which influential executive in Massachusetts issued these statements to explain how his organization had resolved an internal dispute? We have implemented new mechanisms which enhance internal communication and which streamline external communication. Over this period, walls have crumbled,...

a message even a bishop could understand

Jan. 26, 2006 - Forget the Dallas Charter. What I want to know is: Why hasn't this happened more...

the government comes to the bedroom

Jan. 24, 2006 - Who could have predicted that when the liberals' nightmare came true, and government agents began spying on the bedroom activities of private citizens, it would be to enforce a pro-homosexual policy? The enlightened domestic-partnership policy at the University of Florida presents poor Uncle Di...

just the facts, ma'am

Jan. 19, 2006 - Our friends at the Cardinal Newman Society have asked academic officials at Notre Dame to investigate the possibility that the well known theology professor (and general nuisance) Richard McBrien committed plagiarism in a recent column which, as Uncle Di already observed, bore a distinct...

contempt of court?

Jan. 19, 2006 - On Tuesday that Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts approved the removal of life-support systems from 11-year-old Haleigh Poutre, since the girl was, the court found, already "brain dead." On Wednesday, Haleigh began breathing on her own. Dead people don't breathe. But "brain dead"...

and for $6 million, maybe he'd shut up

Jan. 18, 2006 - If you believe everything that you read, then you shouldn't be surprised to hear that Mehmet Ali Agca, freshly released from a Turkish prison, has offered: to reveal who told him to kill Pope John Paul, in exchange for $5 million to play himself in a movie, for a fee of...

unoriginal errors

Jan. 17, 2006 - When pro-life activists in Boston picketed a fundraiser at which Catholic Charities honored pro-abortion Mayor Tom Menino, Boston Globe columnist Eileen McNamara was scornful of the "zealots" involved. She said: These folks do not just miss the Latin Mass; they miss Cardinal Bernard Law. Do they...

blasphemous-- but mostly just dumb

Jan. 13, 2006 - Those laff-riot folks at Planned Parenthood have done it again. The Connecticut office is selling keychains with various oh-so-clever designs. One of them shows the famous detail from Michelangelo's depiction of the Creation of Man, from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, in which God's finger...

don't blame me

Jan. 12, 2006 - How should an archbishop respond, when an auxiliary bishop says that he was a victim of sexual abuse? Detroit's Cardinal Adam Maida said: "The Detroit archdiocese was never made aware of this." This isn't a fragmentary sentence, wrenched out of context by a secular newspaper reporter; it's...

even Hester Prynne would need one

Jan. 12, 2006 - In Bogota, a city councillor proposes to make it mandatory for every adult to carry a condom at all times. By carrying a condom, the civic-minded Colombian would acknowledge that sexual intercourse is something that could happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time; so it's only prudent to be...

do your homework, professor

Jan. 12, 2006 - Marci Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University, writes commentary on constitutional issues-- particularly church-state issues-- for the FindLaw web site. Often her insights are quite interesting. Then, every once in a while,... Let's just remember that everybody is human. In her analysis...

just pay the man

Jan. 11, 2006 - Gay-friendly Bishop Gumbleton thinks legislators should lift the statute of limitations, making it easier for sex-abuse victims to sue and collect financial damages from their local dioceses. "It could cost the church some money, but it also could bring a great deal of healing to a lot of...

the victims of feminism: baby girls

Jan. 9, 2006 - Every year, an estimated 500,000 baby girls are killed by parents who would prefer a male child. The killing is done while the girls are still in the mothers' wombs. So it's done with the wholehearted support of people who say they support the rights of women. Well, some women....

a long way, baby

Jan. 6, 2006 - The American Medical Association has released a statement saying the abortionists "should be made the outcasts of society." The AMA suggested: Resolved, That we repudiate and denounce the conduct of abortionists, and that we hold no intercourse with them professionally or otherwise and that...

Do you feel safer now?

Jan. 5, 2006 - The Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, proudly announces that it has been found to be in "full compliance" with the Dallas Charter. "The ongoing efforts in parishes, schools and religious education programs to ensure that the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is fully...

Don't ask, don't tell: a subtle seminary entrance test

Dec. 22, 2005 - 1) What is your current occupation? construction worker computer programmer dance instructor 2) Would you like something to drink? a cold can of beer would be nice Scotch, thanks, with just a splash. Chardonnay, but only if it's chilled. Or do you have any herbal tea? 3) In...

unqualified candidates

Dec. 22, 2005 - A man suffering from a serious mental disorder should not become a priest. Can we agree on that? OK. Now the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that an inclination toward homosexuality is a serious disorder. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) says it is not. At most American...

hot investment tip

Dec. 21, 2005 - In the Boston archdiocese, once again this year, the collection at Christmas Mass will be designated for the priests' retirement fund. A typical parish-bulletin announcement reads: We encourage you to give generously to this collection, due to the financial difficulties involved in providing...

poster boy for celibacy?

Dec. 20, 2005 - Would an end to mandatory celibacy solve the problem of priestly pedophilia? Apparently not, if this report on a married Anglican cleric means anything. Rev. Richard Thomas, indicted on kiddie-porn charges, maintains his innocence on that score. But then: Thomas has been deeply...

selective prosecution

Dec. 19, 2005 - A New Jersey priest was sentenced to 5 years probation and 250 hours of community service for stealing $350,000 from parish funds to pay off a homosexual lover. Hmmm. Does something about this case sound familiar? The priest in the New Jersey case, Father Naughton, has already paid back...

theology, Boston style

Dec. 10, 2005 - Boston's Mayor Tom Menino responded last night to the Catholic critics who have protested his support of abortion and same-sex marriage. And the Boston Globe, always sympathetic to anyone in conflict with the Catholic Church, gave His Honor's speech a rave review. Menino, who is not easily...

not just cooperation

Dec. 9, 2005 - Father J. Bryan Hehir, the embattled head of Boston Catholic Charities, tells the Boston Globe that in its dealings with government regulators, his office is carefully following Catholic moral guidelines. 'We are using the principle of material cooperation," Hehir said. Material cooperation?...

The Rev. Mr. Grinch

Dec. 9, 2005 - Please don't tell anyone at the USCCB, but the latest craze in Christmas-morning church services is...to have no church services. Thus far the trend seems to be confined only to the "megachurches," some of which can offer a handy DVD for families to pop into the new machine from Walmart that...

... or they could just ignore it

Dec. 2, 2005 - In a covering letter sent to bishops along with the Doomsday Document, the Vatican said that homosexuals should not teach in seminaries. The usual suspects are scrambling for a way to tiptoe around that little bombshell, and the Washington Post reports: Some experts on church law said yesterday...

all the views deemed fit to print

Dec. 1, 2005 - Imagine that you became the editor of an influential newspaper. Let's call it-- just for the sake of this discussion, you understand-- the New York Times/. Now imagine that there's a very controversial issue in the news. Let's say, oh, abortion. Let's say that issue came up before the Supreme...

wearing the uniform

Nov. 29, 2005 - A Catholic pastor in Arizona has resigned in protest over the Vatican directive on homosexuality in the seminaries. "It's like a Jew wearing a Nazi uniform," Walker said. "I could no longer stay in that institution with any amount of integrity." Since he's 58 years old, Walker has...

practical steps for liturgical reform

Nov. 28, 2005 - On the Pontifications blog, Father Jay Scott Newman offers some fine practical advice. If you need to be convinced to read his whole piece, how about this sample: Take Cardinal Mahoney's pastoral letter on the celebration of parochial liturgy and throw it on the fire. Watch it burn. Now go...

and the beat goes on...

Nov. 25, 2005 - Father Timothy Radcliffe, former worldwide head of the Dominican order, tells readers of The Tablet how they should interpret the Vatican Instruction: I have no doubt that God does call homosexuals to the priesthood, and they are among the most dedicated and impressive priests I have met....And...

what no one else will say

Nov. 25, 2005 - In a LA Times op-ed, a former priest asks the right question: If you're celibate, as the Catholic Church already requires you to be, then what's the difference if you're gay or straight at heart? The answer is given quite plainly in the Vatican Instruction: Homosexuality is a disorder....

still protecting the predators

Nov. 19, 2005 - A St. Louis priest stands convicted-- note that: not accused but convicted in a court of law-- of "abominable and detestable crimes against nature." He's sentenced to 20 years in prison for molesting a child. He's going to jail. But wait! The archdiocese, which ignored the victim's initial...

pot, meet kettle

Nov. 16, 2005 - The news story might have read like this: FBI officials got the "runaround" from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops when they wanted to know what the bishops' plans were for helping to curb sexual abuse, said the head of the FBI task force.... Even after several conference calls, "the...

dialogue in the void

Nov. 16, 2005 - We seek a dialogue between Church leadership and gay/lesbian ordained and professed clergy and religious for the purpose of mutual understanding and respect and the furtherance of ministry to all members of the Church. Thus the "about us" section of a web site run by a group with the curious...

score one

Nov. 16, 2005 - The seminary rector for the Rockville Centre, NY diocese, Msgr. Francis Schneider, has abruptly resigned, citing "personal reasons." The resignation came shortly after the seminary was visited by an inspection team, as part of the nationwide visitation of American seminaries. A spokesman for...

The Times meets the Evangelicals

Nov. 14, 2005 - It isn't often that Evangelical Christian scholars are quoted in a piece that appears on the front page of the Sunday New York Times Week in Review section. What did they do to command that attention? Oh. They said the Bible is ambiguous about abortion. Talk to Evangelicals at random, and...

"to be definitively held ..."

Nov. 9, 2005 - For today's quiz, compare and contrast: Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has...

Episcopal Rhetoric quiz

Nov. 8, 2005 - Which of the following paragraphs was actually written by an American prelate, about a meeting for priests of his diocese, and which are parodies? We will have some expert guides to bring us through the discussions of this brief period, and I am sure that our liturgies will be filled with life...

Non serviam?

Nov. 7, 2005 - In a Letter to the Editor published Tuesday by the London Times, the former worldwide head of the Dominican order comments on the likelihood that a new Vatican document will ban homosexuals from seminaries: If it were to contain such a ban, which is highly unlikely, most Catholics, at least in...

plus ça change

Nov. 7, 2005 - Reading the CWN story on how the French bishops have responded to rioting in Muslim neighborhoods, I couldn't help reflecting on how little things have changed in Christendom over the past several centuries. As Pope St. Pius V said after the Battle of Lepanto, the Ottoman Turks were simply...

continuing Roman Catholic— Anglican dialogue

Nov. 7, 2005 - In his latest contribution to constructive ecumenical dialogue, Anglican Bishop Gene Robinson told a crowd of gay activists in London that the teaching of the Catholic Church is "vile." Robinson, the openly gay New Hampshire bishop, is in London making his Anglican colleagues uncomfortable....

Kerry gets religion

Nov. 5, 2005 - A year after his failed bid for the White House, Senator Kerry has rediscovered his faith: As a Christian, as a Catholic, I think hard about those responsibilities that are moral and how you translate them into public life... Good, good. And...? There is not anywhere in the three-year...

Foregone conclusions

Nov. 4, 2005 - An editorial in the National Catholic Reporter, welcoming the results of the Synod on the Eucharist, contains this observation: It is gratifying, too, that the synod essentially endorsed the conclusions of the task force led by Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick on the question of Catholic...

priestless in Seattle

Oct. 28, 2005 - Today's Seattle Times features a profile of CITI ministries, a group of Catholic priests who have left the ministry for marriage (or something), but still perform the odd ceremony. John Shuster, for instance, celebrates Christmas Mass for friends each year: "People come in. We sing carols....

well, that didn't take long

Oct. 24, 2005 - On Saturday the Synod of Bishops affirmed the Church teaching that Catholics who are divorced and illicitly remarried should not receive Communion. On Monday, Cardinal Kasper questioned the Synod's conclusion, and suggested that it was time to re-think the Church policy. But wait: Isn't...

doing violence to children

Oct. 22, 2005 - Fact: The Catholic Church teaches that allowing homosexual couples to adopt children "would actually mean doing violence to those children." (Considerations regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons, 7) Fact: The Boston archdiocese

passionate Protestants

Oct. 21, 2005 - During the 20th century the "mainline" congregations-- Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian-- lost their majority status among American Protestants. The more conservative Evangelical congregations now outnumber them. Why? Conventional explanations have focused on the more...

call me irresponsible, cont.

Oct. 19, 2005 - In quoting from Archbishop Flynn's memo in defense of Teresa Kettelkamp, I left out a passage which, on second glance, looks more interesting. The archbishop, you will recall, argued that although Kettelkamp was on the advisory board of a group that was founded and funded by the Feminist...

works without faith

Oct. 19, 2005 - An October 16 editorial in the Chicago Tribune said that "certifiably negligent bishops should be losing their jobs." No argument there. But the Tribune doubts that any episcopal heads will roll, because: The evident goal of U.S. bishops is to ride out the corrosive crisis that has all but...

call me irresponsible

Oct. 18, 2005 - Archbishop Harry Flynn of St. Paul, Minnesota, is troubled by criticism of the director of the US bishops' Office for Child and Youth Protection, Teresa Kettelkamp. He has written to all US bishops: I wish to respond to recent public criticism of Ms. Kettelkamp in a few quarters. He means,...

the cause with no effect

Oct. 14, 2005 - In his latest "Word from Rome" column, John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter asks an obvious question, and gets an astonishing answer from Bishop William Skylstad, the president of the US bishops' conference: Has the sexual abuse crisis in the United States taken a toll on vocations to...

What is a "preferential option"?

Oct. 14, 2005 - We've heard a lot in the last few decades about the Church's "preferential option for the poor." It sounds like a good thing, and in what follows I am not questioning the Church's social teaching. I am questioning the grammatical construction of that phrase. What is a "preferential option"?...

a Dallas expert speaks again

Oct. 14, 2005 - At their June 2002 meeting in Dallas, the US bishops heard from a psychologist named Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea. Or at least one of them is still hearing from her. In a letter sent to Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston-- with copies helpfully sent to all the pastors in the archdiocese-- the...

thank Allah or thank God?

Oct. 12, 2005 - The kingdom of Jordan has donated $100,000 to the relief effort for victims of hurricane Katrina. That's wonderful. The donation was made to the Archdiocese of Washington, which lies roughly 1,000 miles from the area where the hurricane struck. That's puzzling. The donation was gratefully...

stealth marketing

Oct. 12, 2005 - Walt Disney executives face a ticklish challenge in marketing their film version of the The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the New York Times tells us. Their strategy is "aggressively courting Christian fans who can relate to the story's biblical allegory while trying not to disaffect secular...

is there intelligent life?

Oct. 12, 2005 - In a pamphlet about the theological implications of extra-terrestrial life--- and I bet that's a topic you've spent a lot of time wondering about-- a Jesuit priest from the Vatican Observatory raises some interesting speculative questions. The announcement provides a quick list of the topics...

open, honest, and obligated

Oct. 12, 2005 - Back in February 2004, Cardinal Mahony released a Report to the People of God, assuring readers that it contained "the best information we can glean at this time" about sexual abuse by archdiocesan clergy. Having fought tooth and nail to prevent public release of personnel files in sex-abuse...

women exploited... again

Oct. 7, 2005 - If you're an American doctor specializing in in vitro fertilization, you're judged on one statistic: how many of your patients achieve a successful pregnancy. If lots of women get pregnant, lots more women come to your clinic, and they put lots of money into your bank account. Simple enough,...

"nasty"

Oct. 7, 2005 - Nasty: That's a strong word, don't you think? So when it's used by the head of the liturgical commission for the Archdiocese of Brisbane, in a reference to the working document for the Synod of Bishops, it's worth noticing. What is the comment that prompted the ire of Father Tom Elich? He's...

unfit for priestly service

Oct. 5, 2005 - Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin is not mincing words about the proposed Vatican statement on homosexual seminarians. In plain, simple language, he told The Tablet: "You don't write off a candidate for the priesthood simply because he is a gay man." You might think that Archbishop Martin is...

but whose church are you?

Oct. 5, 2005 - We Are Church wants the Catholic Church to renounce her doctrine on the Eucharist. But if the Catholic Church did that, it would cease to be the Catholic Church. To deny that the Eucharist is Christ's Sacrifice on Calvary, made present in the world today, is to deny the existence of the Catholic...

the tribute paid by vice

Oct. 5, 2005 - Father Donald Cozzens-- the researcher who noted that the priesthood is becoming perceived as a gay enclave-- opposes a ban on homosexual seminarians. One point he raises is that "in many cases the seminary official, religious superior or diocesan bishop who informs a gay candidate for seminary...

who's diverting what?

Oct. 4, 2005 - The glorious history of the Catholic Church is full of examples of saintly bishops who gave up their lives for the welfare of their flocks. But please tell me why, on the feast of St. Francis, we have to learn about a Franciscan bishop in Brazil who is willing to "give my life for the Sao...

the counter-reformation

Oct. 4, 2005 - When they meet in November at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, the US bishops will have their hands full. There are dioceses going bankrupt-- including the diocese led by the president of the bishops' conference. There are dioceses closing parish churches by the dozens. There are seminary...

speaking like St. Paul

Oct. 3, 2005 - Wouldn’t it be wonderful for our country, for each one of us, if our discourse could mirror that of the apostle [Paul]...? Yes; absolutely. Now let's see if we can distinguish between the discourse of St. Paul and that of a contemporary American successor. If he were speaking to American...

1 + 1 = ??

Sep. 30, 2005 - For your weekend homework assignment, explain why this is not likely to happen in your community. Keep in mind that, as you write, Christian activists in Massachusets will be circulating a petition to amend that state's constitution, so that the document would define marriage explicitly as a...

20,000 leagues under the Summa

Sep. 28, 2005 - Yesterday was the World Day of Tourism. And you were just sitting at home? Shame on you! Still, if you were reading a good book-- say, something by Jules Verne-- then all is not lost. Because as the theme for the World Day of Tourism (how come everything has to have a theme these days?), the...

a clear strong voice for strong clear clarity

Sep. 27, 2005 - Father Paul Lininger, OFM Conv, executive director for the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, writes to reassure the heads of American men's religious orders that he is hard at work, responding to the news that the Vatican might say that homosexuals don't belong in seminaries. It is our...

women might get ideas

Sep. 26, 2005 - Wait! Wait! Wait! You're getting it all wrong! We enlisted millions of women as combat troops in the Sexual Revolution through a brilliant recruiting campaign. We talked about "equality" and "empowerment" and "liberation," when the real goal was to make more women available to satisfy men's...

Pointing, guessing, and self-reporting

Sep. 26, 2005 - Bishop George H. Niederauer of Salt Lake City wonders how seminaries could enforce a policy that bars homosexual men. Absent self-reporting, the bishop questions how a seminary determines that a person is homosexual. "What are you going to do? Look and guess?" The bishop has a point....

taking money under false premises

Sep. 25, 2005 - Father Walter Cuenin has been forced to resign his parish assignment, but he has not lost his public-relations capacity. Both the Boston Globe and the rival Herald offer entirely sympathetic coverage for a pastor who was evidently caught taking thousands of dollars from his parish. (Ah, but...

another resignation in Boston?

Sep. 24, 2005 - There's a big story here, and we haven't heard half of it. If the Boston Herald report is accurate, Father Walter Cuenin is resigning as pastor-- presumably under heavy pressure from the Archdiocese of Boston. The interesting question is why this didn't happen long, long ago. For years...

you can sleep a bit easier tonight

Sep. 23, 2005 - World peace. International development. Migration. Foreign Aid. International debt. Disaster relief. Yup; our bishops (God bless them) covered all the bases. There are reports that they even talked about religious affairs....

better late...

Sep. 23, 2005 - Mark this one down for the archives. A staff official of the US bishops' conference has criticized Sen. Ted Kennedy by...

Philadelphia story

Sep. 22, 2005 - Where have we heard this before? In a lengthy, combative answer to a scathing grand-jury report, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia argues that the criticism of its response to clerical abuse is unfair, because: only a small percentage of priests molested children sexual abuse was a problem in...

tainted money

Sep. 22, 2005 - One Mexican bishop evidently takes George Washington Carver's attitude toward tainted money. 'Taint enough of...

speed-reading the Word of God

Sep. 21, 2005 - In the beginning... Amen. There it is: Revelation. The Bible, from beginning to end. Of course I've left out a few details. If you want to explore the ellipsis-- if you feel the need for a slightly expanded version of the Sacred Scripture, an Anglican divine has just the book for...

one year ago today

Sep. 21, 2005 - Trying to call up yesterday's CWN headlines, I accidentally reached the stories from this date last year, and guess what I found: Cardinal Sodano was at the UN, endorsing a big new campaign to eliminate world poverty. But wait, you might say: Didn't Cardinal Sodano go to the UN to endorse a...

polemics, anyone?

Sep. 21, 2005 - America magazine wants to build up a culture of life. Nuanced, naturally. And let's not be "polemical" about it, the America editorial exhorts us. Other people (you know, those unsubtle pro-lifers) might resort to "sloganeering and sound bites," but not Jesuit magazine editors. To be fair,...

straw men in science class

Sep. 20, 2005 - George Johnson is easily frightened. Assigned to review a book by the Dalai Lama for the New York Times, Johnson worried about the subtitle: "The Convergence of Science and Spirituality." Spirituality is about the ineffable and unprovable, science about the physical world of demonstrable...

Sometimes you catch them when they are talking about something else

Sep. 19, 2005 - Buried in this article about the Vatican evaluation of seminaries, you will find this intruiguing admission from Rev. James Wehner, rector of St. Paul Seminary in East Carnegie; an admission not usually heard when the subject is women's ordination or church attendance: "Eighty percent of the...

who writes your stuff?

Sep. 19, 2005 - Thus Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, speaking September 12 in Lyons at an interfaith conference sponsored by the St. Egidio community: We have now, as perhaps never before in my lifetime, the chance to build a spiritual humanism of peace in which all our religions can see the best of...

why stop with the seminaries?

Sep. 16, 2005 - A homosexual priest (who asked the Chicago Sun Times not to disclose his identity) thinks it's a terrible mistake to investigate American seminaries for evidence of homosexual influence. Why stop at seminaries? Why not deacons, priests, bishops, archbishops and cardinals? Are they going to be...

in Allah's name we pray

Sep. 16, 2005 - At Catholic University, a Catholic archbishop ends a public meeting this way: In the name of Allah, the merciful and compassionate God, we pray. Amen. It isn't the first time, apparently. Earlier in his remarks, Cardinal McCarrick told his distinguished guest: "I asked Allah, the...

Oh, good!

Sep. 16, 2005 - Just in time, the US bishops' conference has issued a statement on hurricane Katrina. They're against it. They've appointed a committee. Who'd have...

the feminist connection at the US bishops' conference

Sep. 15, 2005 - A few days ago I mentioned the no-nonsense edit handed down by Teresa Kettelkamp, the executive director of the USCCB Office of Child and Youth Protection, who tells all American bishops what they must do-- and do it now! Teresa Kettelkamp, who came to the USCCB from the Illinois State Police,...

the confession of a non-compliant bishop

Sep. 13, 2005 - Bless me, Ms. Kettelkamp, for I am non-compliant. It has been one year since my last audit. I accuse myself of the following failures in my polices, procedures, and protocols: Last year I winked at the auditors and asked, “If you accept my check can we say that we did even though we...

when a bishop must obey

Sep. 13, 2005 - Did you ever daydream about telling American bishops what to do, and having them obey you? Dream on. There's only one person on earth who can tell the US bishops what to do. No, I don't mean the Pope. They ignore him all the time. (Has Ex Corde Ecclesiae been implemented in your diocese? Are...

Spiritual direction with a dowsing rod

Sep. 13, 2005 - If you live near Regina, Saskatchewan, you might be interested in the unique offerings of the John Paul II Center, "the adult education and renewal facility for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina." On September 17, for a mere $35, you can hear Sr. Theresa Feist, OSU, talk on "Making the...

Says al Qaida: "No more Mr. Nice Guy."

Sep. 11, 2005 - "And this time, don't count on us demonstrating restraint or compassion," says the message said to be from al Qaida. We weren't counting on it. Not today. Not "this time" or any other...

"Teacher, bid my government divide the inheritance with me."

Sep. 9, 2005 - And the multitude asked him: "What then shall we do?" And he answered them, "He who has two coats, lobby the government to set up a program for him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise." Or words to that effect. Compare Luke 3:11. Does a nation's government have a moral...

the tolerance game

Sep. 9, 2005 - Late-night harassment calls. Rocks through the front window. Slashed tires. Anyone who's been on the front lines of the political battle on same-sex marriage knows that there is a very nasty edge to the gay-rights movement. So when a couple of gay activists promise to list the names and home...

the anti-democracy caucus

Sep. 9, 2005 - "Today Tom Reilly threw the entire gay community in front of the bus at the altar of his political aspirations." That's Arline Isaacson of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, talking about the state's Attorney General. 'We are stunned and horrified by the cowardly nature of this...

back to basics

Sep. 6, 2005 - "Is President Bush to blame for hurricane Katrina?" That's the question we've been asked in an internet poll. Unless the CIA has discovered a way to manufacture tropical storms, it's a foolish question. We can debate back and forth about how well the government-- at various levels--...

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Sep. 6, 2005 - Word from Washington is that Cardinal McCarrick told priests that his resignation has been declined by Pope Benedict, and he's likely to remain for another couple of years. Uncle Di's valet is removing all sharp objects from his desk. Probably a good...

Did we pay Al Capone's lawyers?

Sep. 5, 2005 - If you've reached the conclusion that no one could possibly be more ham-handed than the US bishops have been in responding to sex-abuse allegations, maybe it's time for you to visit the Diocese of Ferns, in Ireland. In Ferns, the complaints have been getting louder for several years now....

blame the Vatican

Aug. 31, 2005 - The next time someone asks you to comment on the prospects of rapprochement between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox patriarchate of Moscow, think about this. OK, so there's one historian ready to blame the Vatican for an 18th-century war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. It takes all...

You'll never guess who agrees with Pat Robertson

Aug. 31, 2005 - Why, it's Robert F. Kennedy, Jr! You might not have the patience to read all the way through his wild rant on the "Huffington Post," in which the young Kennedy argues-- seriously!-- that President Bush and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour are responsible for hurricane Katrina. But if you jump...

that noise you heard...

Aug. 31, 2005 - ... was a crack in the protective wall set up by lawyers for the Los Angeles archdiocese to prevent disclosure of how Church leaders handled sex-abuse complaints. Cardinal Mahony and his legal team have been fighting tooth and nail to shore up the legal defenses in southern California. Just one...

this just in...

Aug. 29, 2005 - Bishop Skylstad has not yet released a USCCB statement on Hurricane...

Taize, intercommunion, and respect for the deceased

Aug. 29, 2005 - At the funeral for Brother Roger of the Taize community, at which Cardinal Walter Kasper presided, everyone-- Catholics and Protestants alike-- received Communion. How could that be justified, in light of the clear Church teaching against intercommunion? Many observers remarked that Pope...

feeling no pain

Aug. 24, 2005 - When doctors operate on a child still inside the mother's womb-- a technique that's advancing quite rapidly-- they administer anesthesia. But any anesthesia involves some medical risks. Rosen said those risks are medically acceptable when the goal is to save the fetus but there's not enough...

the bishops' quick-response capability

Aug. 23, 2005 - In April 2002, the leaders of the US bishops' conference met with Vatican officials, and issued a joint statement that proclaimed in part: ...a new and serious Apostolic Visitation of seminaries and other institutes of formation must be made without delay... Yesterday Catholic News Service...

Open season on Chinese Catholics

Aug. 19, 2005 - Li Hua Zheng was frightened. A Chinese Catholic, she was at Mass one day in 2000 when police burst through the door, seeking to arrest the priest. Zheng helped the priest to escape through a basement door, brought him to her grandmother's house, and then-- fearing official discovery and...

bad vibes

Aug. 16, 2005 - Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi can't understand why NARAL ever approved the infamous TV ad. The tone was all wrong, displaying ignorance and arrogance about the public's current feelings about abortion. Well, yes. Also it was completely dishonest. Some people thought was more than a matter...

Call me irresponsible

Aug. 11, 2005 - Is it possible for a major pro-abortion group to become so completely irresponsible that it loses credibility even with the pro-abortion mass media? NARAL, the militant voice of the abortion industry, is testing the limits with a new ad condemning Judge John Roberts. The ad makes the claim that...

the mentor

Aug. 8, 2005 - Brother Anthony, 61, as a Marist Brother has dedicated his life to telling "the children that Jesus and Mary love them all very much." As the new principal at Sante Fe High School in Florida, he announced last Thursday that he wants to "spend more time on spiritual development." That...

violence and the pro-life movement

Aug. 8, 2005 - Imagine the outcry if a prominent pro-life group referred to abortionists as "trash." Imagine the furor if the group's literature included a "superhero" cartoon, aimed at youngsters, in which abortion advocates were exploded, vaporized, and tossed into boiling water. Now imagine that the...

perils of catechesis

Aug. 8, 2005 - The Irish archbishop is understandably concerned: Teachers will tell you that young children arrive in schools and don't know how to make the Sign of the Cross. That's bad; very bad. Thank goodness they're coming to Catholic schools, where they can be taught such things. But...

Amazing follow-up story on Susan Torres

Aug. 5, 2005 - Did you feel edified when Susan Torres gave birth to a child, long after doctors had declared her "brain-dead?" Did you feel-- as we did-- that this was a wonderful victory for life? There's more to the story. Congratulations to our friends at LifeSite News for a compelling follow-up...

(gulp!)

Aug. 4, 2005 - Remember Romer v. Evans, the landmark 1996 decision in which the US Supreme Court struck down an amendment to the Colorado state constitution, barring gay-rights laws? Guess who was working behind the scenes, as a pro-bono advisor to the homosexual activists who won that case? Now keep in...

throwaway lives

Aug. 4, 2005 - Why clone dogs? An ethicist explains to the New York Times: "There's sort of a dry run here for the human cloning debate," he said. "What we do with dogs we may well end up doing with our kids." Hmm. OK. So then what did "we" do with dogs? The Times reports: The group worked for nearly...

not quite dead yet

Aug. 4, 2005 - Call it a Freudian slip: The headline writer said more than he intended: Brain-Dead Woman Dies After Giving Birth If she was "brain dead," how could she "die" after giving birth? Unless she wasn't quite dead...

the betrayal never ends

Aug. 4, 2005 - The Archdiocese of Boston has betrayed children by allowing priests to abuse them; betrayed parents by failing to provide real Catholic education in parochial schools; betrayed donors by using money for purposes different from the ones cited when the money was collected; and betrayed parishioners...

talk about parodies...

Aug. 3, 2005 - When a Republican acts like a Republican, is it a "parody of pandering," or is he acting "cravenly"? Hmmm. Could go either way. But if a Republican acts like a Democrat, we know that is a "rare expression of principle." Robert Kuttner's Boston Globe column has to be seen to be believed. But...

what if...

Aug. 2, 2005 - Suppose an American bishop wrote: If the person intends to promote the killing of innocent life, s/he would be guilty of such sinful cooperation.... But this seems unlikely as a general rule. Should every Catholic politician who has voted for an unjust law favoring abortion be judged to have...

wishing away abortion

Jul. 23, 2005 - The Massachusetts Catholic Conference, having failed to persuade the state's (mostly Catholic) legislators to oppose a bill that require hospitals to provide the "morning-after" pill to women who report being raped, now hopes the Governor (a Mormon) will veto it. The Boston Globe, with its usual...

change at the top

Jul. 22, 2005 - The diocese is in trouble. Mass attendance is down; parishes are closing; the seminary is empty; the laity is angry; the priests are demoralized; the victims' attornies are jubilant; the district attorney is suspicious. Finally the bishop resigns, and a new bishop is assigned to take his...

man bites dog

Jul. 22, 2005 - This is rare, so savor it: An op-ed columnist for a liberal newspaper-- the Boston Globe, yet: the hometown paper of Ted Kennedy and John Kerry-- admits that a) there's no evidence that John Roberts is a rabid ideologue and b) there can, in principle, be such a thing as "A Principled...

women's health: priorities

Jul. 19, 2005 - Introducing the birth-control patch. You'll love it. It might cause a stroke or a blood clot. It might leave you dead or debilitated. But at least it will protect you from a far graver danger. And other doctors who prescribe the patch warned that women should not overreact to news of deaths....

We shall overcome. Maybe. More or less.

Jul. 18, 2005 - The Archbishop of Dublin is giving a speech, and his topic is: "Will Ireland be Christian in 2030?" You think that you can safely predict his answer to that question. Think again. Archbishop Martin is very smart. If you don't know that before his speech begins, he'll take the opportunity to...

happy birthday

Jul. 14, 2005 - Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, in a talk at the National Press Club in Washington, restated his belief that pro-abortion Catholic politicians should not be denied Communion. Most American bishops agree with him, he claimed. And judging from the press coverage of his talk, he evidently persuaded...

strict constructionism, liberal style

Jul. 11, 2005 - The Washington Post, offering its ever-so-friendly editorial advice about appointments to the US Supreme Court, informs President Bush that "a nominee who strongly believes in the stability of precedent-- the legal principle of stare decisis-- is far more likely to garner broad support than a...

strictly limited

Jul. 7, 2005 - The working document that will guide discussion at the October meeting of the Bishops' Synod, which is focused on the Eucharist, decries serious abuses in the liturgy. But the Vatican document--prepared after consultation with the world's bishops-- assures us that these abuses "should not...

Matt 26:11

Jul. 6, 2005 - Maybe, if the rock stars sing loud enough, and their fans clap hard enough, poverty will disappear. (Matt. 26:11) And maybe, if the governments of rich nations siphon enough money from their taxpayers into the Swiss bank accounts owned by the kleptocrat rulers of Third World countries, poverty...

recluse diocese

Jul. 5, 2005 - In Springfield, Massachusetts, Diocesan spokesman Mark E. Dupont said the current bishop stands by his position that the diocese doesn't release personal information about personnel - clergy or lay. That's a reasonable, prudent policy-- so long as we're talking about personal information....

Moderates of the left

Jul. 4, 2005 - What do you call a Supreme Court Justice who sides with the court's liberal voting bloc virtually all of the time? That's obvious, if you're on the news-reporting team (as opposed to the editorial page) of the Wall Street Journal. You call him a "moderate." The Journal article takes some...

love, marriage, and Catholicism in Ireland

Jul. 1, 2005 - Matrimony remains popular among the people of Ireland. Catholicism, regrettably, less so. In 1996 there were 16,174 marriages in Ireland. In 2002, there were 20,556, according to official statistics released last week. The number of Catholic marriage ceremonies in Ireland increased from...

Fresh starts

Jun. 30, 2005 - The president of the US bishops' conference has lots of advice for President Bush as he prepares for the G8 summit next week. But Bishop Skylstad also has some kind words for the White House: “We commend you for the recent agreement for poor country debt cancellation that should provide the...

this day in history

Jun. 29, 2005 - Kudos to Mark Mallet, Canadian Catholic musician (and sometime CWN advertiser) for making the connection: Yesterday, the Canadian House of Commons approved a bill to give same-sex unions the full legal recognition of marriage. The first reading for yesterday's Mass recounted the destruction...

the missing word

Jun. 28, 2005 - A Texas prosecutor has decided not to press charges against Church leaders in Dallas, because a grand jury "found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of the diocese or its officials." Bishop Charles Grahmann quickly released a statement: "I am pleased that the investigation has been...

Let's hope he was joking.

Jun. 27, 2005 - "The decisions you make tonight will effect your whole future and your eternal future," Rev. Billy Graham told a rally in New York. Then the 86-year-old evangelist made his own decision, that night, to praise Bill and Hillary Clinton. He said that Bill should become a preacher, leaving "his...

Please keep secret

Jun. 23, 2005 - The lead story from the BBC news report is a beauty: A woman has been ordained as a priest in a secret ceremony in central Europe as an act of defiance against the Roman Catholic Church. No, she wasn't ordained; she was playing pretend. Ordination is a sacrament, not an "act of defiance."...

Readers Quiz

Jun. 22, 2005 - In a public statement released on June 21, a spokesman for the US bishops' conference offered a reminder to federal legislators about their responsibility to be mindful of the poor. Based on your knowledge of Catholic social teaching and current events (and your appreciation for English prose...

epitaphs not considered

Jun. 22, 2005 - The following sentences are not found on the tombstone of St. John Fisher, whose feast we celebrate today: "He was a team player." "He preserved the unity of the bishops' conference." "He was a great champion of ecumenical dialogue." I invite readers to contribute other unsuitable...

Hit me again

Jun. 21, 2005 - Is there a psychologist out there who can explain this one to me? If the police have the story right, the pastor stole $2 million from his parishioners, and used the money to live large. He bought a BMW for his young (ahem) handyman, who (ahem) lived in the rectory. And then... [The county...

Promises, promises

Jun. 20, 2005 - Which of the following is true (choose all that apply): The US bishops have promised to apply the "zero tolerance" principles of the Dallas charter to their brother bishops. The US bishops have announced that in light of credible allegations against them, Bishops Ryan, Dupre, Symons, O'Connell,...

Whose bias?

Jun. 17, 2005 - Paul McHugh, a member of the National Review Board, hopes that the US bishops' conference will approve a $1 million investment in a new study of the causes of the sex-abuse scandal. "If we don't do this study," he said, "some one else will, and they might bring different biases to...

true believers

Jun. 16, 2005 - OK, I admit I'm stumped. Can someone please explain? The Catholic bishops of Europe-- or the organization that claims to represent them-- says that the European Union is "the foundation of peace and stability which has been enjoyed in Europe for over 50 years." But the European Union hasn't...

Who's the homophobe?

Jun. 16, 2005 - Msgr. Swett has endured the most difficult experience in his 38 years as a priest, but it hasn't stopped him from fulminating, with the parish laity as his target: Maybe I am naive; maybe Bishop Steinbock is naive. Perhaps we were both mistaken. We believed that St. Philip’s would be a...

The role of the bishops' conference

Jun. 14, 2005 - As the American hierarchy gathers in Chicago, for another meeting of the US bishops' conference, here a few non-original thoughts: We must not forget that the episcopal conferences have no theological basis, they do not belong to the structure of the Church, as willed by Christ, that cannot be...

Quis custodiet...

Jun. 13, 2005 - Father Robert Templeton, a priest of the Newark archdiocese, has told friends that he is leaving priestly ministry, because it conflicts with his homosexual lifestyle. This announcement would be sad, but not particularly newsworthy, except that Father Templeton: Had recently been tapped by...

wide and generous

Jun. 12, 2005 - Bishop Joseph Adamec of Altoona, Pennsylvania, instructs the faithful-- in the unusual form of a Letter to the Editor of a local newspaper: The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has assured us bishops that the "traditional Latin Mass" is not to be considered...

Crock pot

Jun. 11, 2005 - The Boston archdiocese is now mass-producing public-relations disasters. They come rolling off the assembly line, one after another, day after day. Poor Uncle Di can't keep up. It takes a special kind of genius to concoct a situation in which little kiddies are holding "graduation" ceremonies...

another quiz

Jun. 10, 2005 - During the first year of Judith Dwyer's presidency there, St. Xavier University-- which is recognized by the Chicago archdiocese as Catholic-- has: hosted its first-ever production of The Vagina Monologues denied a pro-life group access to a campus parking lot scheduled a presentation by...

Can't be too careful

Jun. 10, 2005 - My friend, a priest, has been asked by friends to celebrate a wedding in another diocese. But before he can do so, the other diocese requires him to furnish a letter from his own bishop, certifying that he... See if you can guess which one: Assents to all the Roman Catholic Church teaches as...

This is only a test...

Jun. 8, 2005 - Reuters is confused, I'm afraid: OTTAWA (Reuters) - Nine North American Catholic women will be ordained priests or deacons next month in what will amount to a test of Pope Benedict's determination to enforce the Vatican's ban on women's ordination. Come, now: Is this a "test" for the Pope,...

Witness and testimony

Jun. 8, 2005 - A Boston Globe story about tonight's graduation ceremonies at Trinity High School begins with the announcement that one senior no longer goes to church. Later in the story, another senior at the New Hampshire Catholic school asks: "Would we be condoning [sexual abuse] if we went to...

Burn the notes, please

Jun. 5, 2005 - "No man is a hero to his valet." Or so the old saying goes. But it certainly appears that the late Pope John Paul II was, and is, a hero to his longtime confidential secretary, Archbishop Stanislas Dziwisz. When Pope Benedict named him as Archbishop of Krakow---- where he had worked, years...

Why the converts keep coming

May. 30, 2005 - At the present time, more than in any preceding age, Roman Catholics are seen to lapse into infidelity, and Protestants to be converted to Roman Catholicism. If you consider Catholicism within her own organization, it seems to be losing; if you consider it from the outside, it seems to be gaining....

episcopal management quiz

May. 23, 2005 - What do you-- I mean, what do you do-- when an auxiliary bishop encourages kids to picket the archbishop's residence? You notice that he's over the age of 75, and accept his resignation. You say he hasn't submitted his resignation? That's OK; accept it anyway. You recall how in 1995, after he...

And if the lavender mafia causes you to sin...

May. 19, 2005 - Based on today's Gospel reading, what would be the most logical way for a bishop to deal with reports that a homosexual network had set up in the diocesan seminary? Assume the reports are false. If they come from laymen, tell them they're being uncharitable. If they come from seminarians, get...

A Jesuit, or a Catholic?

May. 16, 2005 - The Boston Globe, still determined to convince its readers that the resignation of a Catholic magazine editor is cause for deep concern, carries side-by-side op-ed columns on the Thomas Reese Affair. There is a characteristically sensible piece by Father Richard John Neuhaus, and a fuzzier piece...

crime pays

May. 13, 2005 - Scenario #1: You are the head of a large charitable organization. For 16 years, you have been conducting annual fund drives, telling donors that the funds will go to needy people. Actually you've been using the funds for normal operating expenses, and the needy people are getting needier every...

all the news that fits do print

May. 12, 2005 - When intelligent people behave in unintelligent ways, it's sometimes worthwhile to examine the behavior carefully, and look for an explanation. Working on that principle, I thought I'd take a second look at the tantrum thrown by Commonweal editors over the resignation of Father Tom Reese. (Can...

the distinctive Jesuit approach

May. 10, 2005 - When a theologian says that he "wants to experience teaching theology in a Jesuit environment," what does that mean? John Norris explains: "I honor the Jesuit approach to education and theological formation." So he needs to get away from "a school where we are distinguished primarily by our...

whose obsession?

May. 10, 2005 - Let's just suppose you heard me tell a newspaper reporter that I'm afraid of Islamic terrorists, drunk drivers, white sharks, scorpions, skunks, cancer, and income taxes. Then the next day you read the headline story, which focused on my fear of skunks-- not even mentioning the other items on my...

the issue that matters

May. 9, 2005 - Let's suppose a bill was introduced in your state legislature, making it easier for victims of accounting fraud to file lawsuits and recover damages. Do you suppose your bishop would get involved? Do you suppose he'd write to all the clergy of the diocese, explaining that the bill "should be of...

Cuomo goes hardline

Apr. 29, 2005 - Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, the first US Catholic politician to set forth the "personally opposed, but" rationale for supporting legal abortion, has now laid down the law. In a New York Daily News column, Cuomo warns that Jesus Christ set forth some clear teachings, and: To deny...

prescription for the Church

Apr. 28, 2005 - James Carroll has written several books and countless Boston Globe columns attacking two targets: the Catholic Church and the US military. (Carroll was once a Paulist priest; his father was a general. Dr. Freud, call your office.) Carroll insists that he remains a Catholic, and merely wants...

insensitivity toward the 3rd World

Apr. 20, 2005 - Do you have, or can you find, a picture of Pope Benedict XVI, raising his arms on the loggia of St. Peter's, acknowledging the cheers of the crowd? Look at that picture. Study it carefully. Do you see what I see? Oh, the horror! Oh, the shame! Oh, the obvious lack of sympathy for the...

our mother tongue

Apr. 20, 2005 - Nobody else has commented, so I will: When he was introduced to the people of Rome, as the new Bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI spoke, appropriately enough, in the language of contemporary Rome: Italian. (There were plenty of non-Romans in St. Peter's Square, I know; that's another...

Just curious...

Apr. 20, 2005 - ... when Pope Benedict XVI issues his first encyclical letter, should we ask to see the whole text, or just rely on Cardinal McCarrick to give us a quick...

Your collection dollars at work, concluded

Apr. 15, 2005 - Would you, as an American voter: Oppose legislation that would make it more difficult for immigrants to obtain drivers [sic] licenses and other state-issued identification documents, with the goal of ensuring full access by immigrants to such state-issued identification documents. Support...

Your collection dollars at work, cont.

Apr. 15, 2005 - Assuming that you are a US citizen, where do you stand on the minimum-wage law? Do you think Medicaid is a good, fiscally sound program? How about the National Affordable Housing Trust? And what is your attitude toward the world diamond trade? The reason I ask is to discern whether you'd want...

Your collection dollars at work

Apr. 15, 2005 - If you happen to be an American citizen, and you happen to be Catholic, would you support an organization whose legislative priorities include a promise to: Oppose legislation that would require state and local law enforcement agencies to detain criminal illegal aliens within the course of...

modern-day martyrdom (with a light chablis, please)

Apr. 13, 2005 - Remember the "Church of Silence"-- the countless thousands of Christians who suffered deprivation, exile, torture, and death in the concentration camps of the Soviet empire? When he was elected to the papacy, John Paul II announced that there would no longer be a "Church of Silence," because...

out of step

Apr. 11, 2005 - Bad news, friends. The New York Times has announced that "the Vatican's teachings on a number of subjects, including contraception, the ordination of women, and homosexuality, are out of step with the beliefs and lifestyles of most American Catholics." No doubt you're as horrified as I am to...

irrelevant

Apr. 7, 2005 - And here's to you, Christine Amanpour, for providing us with the most... um... unusual insight on the current doings in Rome. The sage of CNN opined: The real question, of course, is how the Church will keep itself relevant in the centuries to come, or even in the next generation. Amanpour...

Lesson learned

Apr. 6, 2005 - Having maintained a cautious silence while Terri Schiavo was starved to death, Bishop Robert Lynch now comments on the historic event, and draws a lesson for his flock: My recommendation to you is this: never miss an opportunity to spend time with your loved ones and friends; never let a day...

Well represented?

Apr. 6, 2005 - Oh, good. The Catholics of the US will be represented at the Pope's funeral. The presence of these legislative leaders will, no doubt, make Cardinal McCarrick comfortable....

Whose church did he destroy?

Apr. 5, 2005 - It wasn't easy to match the bad-taste standard set by the New York Times in reporting the Pope's death. But the Times editors have managed to outdo themselves, finding Thomas Cahill to trash the late Pope's memory, proclaiming that John Paul II has destroyed the Catholic Church. Here's just...

what we know about the next pope

Apr. 5, 2005 - CWN has learned, through confidential sources deep inside the Vatican, that the next Pope will be a Catholic. Oh, you're not surprised? Then maybe you're not a member of We Are Church, WomynChurch, EcoChurch, or any of the other groups now emerging to lobby-- uselessly but noisily-- for the...

A paragon of bad taste

Apr. 4, 2005 - Even in announcing the death of a Pope beloved throughout the world, the New York Times manages an ill-mannered dig, promoting the liberal agenda. In the last few weeks before his death, he deteriorated to the point where he seemed, as his spokesman once said, to be 'a soul pulling a body' - an...

futility

Mar. 30, 2005 - There's a priest in Canberra, Australia, who doesn't believe that Jesus rose from the dead. So how do Church leaders respond? One prelate says that he is "always a little nervous when expert theologians speak about these things," but concludes that most ordinary Catholics "wouldn't be...

The good shepherd

Mar. 29, 2005 - Good morning, class. Today we're having a short quiz, covering geography and current events. There are just three questions. Is there anywhere on the face of the earth that is further from St. Petersburg, Florida, than Indonesia? Where is Bishop Robert Lynch, of St. Petersburg, right now? Is...

Those danged pro-lifers

Mar. 28, 2005 - As he told Newsweek what a fine idea it would be to starve Terri Schiavo, the Rev. John ("Pull the plug") Paris, SJ, had angry words for the "radical right-to-life segment of thinking" that dares to disagree with him. Among its many other faults, Paris suggests, is the willingness of the...

It's about the economy, stupid

Mar. 16, 2005 - Sorry, but I can't stop thinking about those corporate leaders who, trumpeted by the Boston Globe, stand ready to help the American hierarchy set up user-friendly accounting systems to remedy the "string of management and financial problems" that has shaken the faithful. If only Rudy Kos had...

The incompetence defense

Mar. 16, 2005 - So Bernard Ebbers will take the rap for the massive accounting fraud committed under his leadership at WorldCom. Testifying in his own defense during his trial, Ebbers said that he didn't realize what was going on among his subordinates. The jury didn't buy it. Why, then, have jurors-- or...

Bad record-keeping, cont.

Mar. 15, 2005 - When Cardinal Law said that his failure to curb abusive priests was a function of bad record-keeping in the Boston archdiocese, the Boston Globe was contemptuous, and rightly so; it was an absurd excuse. But my, how times have changed. Because now the Globe is waving its editorial pom-poms for...

Speed Limit 30-- Or, How I lost my license

Mar. 11, 2005 - Sure, I saw the sign. If you go by the letter of the law, I suppose 70 mph was technically illegal. But the road was clear and dry, there was no traffic, and my Beamer handles the curves beautifully at high speeds. So when the trooper pulled me over, I urged him not to commit the "sin of...

Backbone and biceps

Mar. 10, 2005 - "We have thrown a lot at our people these past few years, and they need a rest." That's an American bishop, arguing against changes in the liturgy. But before you get excited, understand this: When he argues against change, what Bishop Lynch means is that the abuses that have become commonplace...

Atlanta's new regime

Mar. 8, 2005 - Last year, Atlanta's Archbishop John Donoghue issued a directive to pastors, instructing them that during the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, they should wash the feet of men, not women, in accordance with clear Vatican liturgical guidelines. Now Archbishop Donoghue has retired, and...

Quis custodit

Mar. 4, 2005 - As the editor noted yesterday, citing John Allen's story in the National Catholic Reporter,the Vatican has been named as defendant in an American sex-abuse lawsuit. The plaintiff argues that Vatican officials failed to exercise proper supervision over US bishops. Mark Chopko, attorney for the...

Remember the Kerry-Communion capers? Well...

Mar. 4, 2005 - Archbishop Akinola is, regrettably, Anglican, not Catholic. But don't despair. It is possible for a Catholic bishop-- even an American-- to deliver a clear and simple...

That annoying intractability

Mar. 2, 2005 - Terri Schiavo has a date with death, and you found yourself wondering what her bishop has to say about it. Wonder no longer; he's taken his stand. Bishop Lynch announces that "the decision to remove Terri’s artificial feeding tube will be that of her husband, Michael." That's good, because...

Negotiating over death

Mar. 1, 2005 - Let's say you're having a dispute with your next-door neighbor, over the placement of a fence on your property line. Things are getting a bit heated, and your pastor steps in, urging you both to negotiate. Good move by the pastor. He doesn't know where boundaries of your property are; he just...

Rabbi Law

Feb. 28, 2005 - Q: What's Cardinal Law doing these days? Q: Who is the chief rabbi of Rome? Q: What is the stupidest thing ever said by a television journalist? For answers (not necessarily accurate) to all these questions, check the WHDH-TV archives. The broadcast you want is Friday, 11 pm. (Available,...

what, me worry?

Feb. 21, 2005 - There may be some nasty stories out there-- about ritual child abuse and murder-- and maybe it's true that prosecutors needed 2 search warrants to get cooperation from Church authorities, but we can all rest easy, knowing that the Diocese of Toledo is in full compliance with the US bishops'...

The case for drug abuse

Feb. 12, 2005 - If you're a competitive athlete, the argument in favor of using steroids is pretty clear. With your physique improved through the wonders of chemistry, you can have more fun, be more popular, improve your team's performance-- and, if you're a pro, make a lot more money. Still, you shouldn't...

Toastmaster

Feb. 11, 2005 - The Prince of Wales plans to marry a divorced woman, and the London Times headline about clerical reaction tells the whole story: "Civil Ceremony Wins Approval of Clergy. Most of the story is of course devoted to statements from Anglican divines, who say what you would expect Anglican leaders...

Cheerleaders for Kinsey

Feb. 9, 2005 - The movie is "well-crafted, intelligently made," the reviewer tells us. True, it's about a "sometimes difficult man," but you can feel the reviewer's contempt for those who think that he was "in league with the devil or the Communists, undermining the moral foundations of western society."...

The Episcopal Leadership Card Game

Feb. 9, 2005 - For play by 2 or more Catholics loyal to the Pope. You'll need 6 index cards or slips of paper-- any size or description, as long as they're all the same. On one card, list the special events and programs your bishop has organized, in response to the request from Pope John Paul, to promote...

Helpful handcuffs

Feb. 8, 2005 - Bronson Havard, the spokesman for the Dallas diocese, has an amazing resilience to embarrassment. That's just as well; it seems to be a job requirement. So we're not surprised when, in response to the news that the district attorney is conducting a criminal investigation of the diocese, Havard...

Open-and-shut case

Feb. 4, 2005 - "He is a liar." Those are strong words, harsh words-- especially when applied to a Catholic archbishop. But if you read the documents unearthed by the WCPO TV investigative team in Cincinnati, you'll have trouble finding any other words to apply to Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk. The...

Flynn in a nutshell

Jan. 28, 2005 - My comment below is a bit lengthy. So for the benefit of readers in a hurry, let me offer a very quick summary observation: Catholic News Service reports that Archbishop Flynn "got no sense." And Cardinal Arinze seems to agree. The boy got no...

Reading comprehension test

Jan. 18, 2005 - The Kansas City Star , introducing an interview (regrettably no longer available online) with that city's new coadjutor archbishop, finds an anonymous chancery official worried that the new man might not have "a spirit in the diocese of collaboration." Question #1: How would you define a...

Bishops as policy wonks

Jan. 13, 2005 - If you live in Minnesota, your taxes aren't high enough. That's what the Catholic bishops of Minnesota say, and they should know, because bishops are experts on public policy in general, and fiscal management in particular. (Have you noticed how prudent our bishops have been recently in their...

Rash judgment?

Jan. 12, 2005 - A couple of weeks back I wondered aloud about the chancellor of the Springfield, Illinois diocese, who was found badly beaten in a public park that is notorious as a homosexual hangout. Could there be, I asked, some connection with the past bishop of the same diocese, who resigned "for health...

Take my neighbor. Please.

Jan. 11, 2005 - After just 3 years of heavy thinking, the Royal Dutch Medical Association has concluded that it's OK for a doctor to administer a lethal injection to anyone who is "suffering through living." Let's say that John Doe is perfectly healthy, and perfectly happy in his life. John has a neighbor,...

The buck passed

Jan. 7, 2005 - Bishop Joseph Adamec, of Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania, ordinarily isn't afraid to throw his weight around. As a number of conservative, orthodox, and/or traditionalist Catholics have learned, Bishop Adamec is ready and willing to denounce his critics; if he can, he'll follow up with...

Guide us to thy perfect light

Dec. 30, 2004 - As we approach the feast of the Epiphany, here's a reassuring statement from the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston*: While there are reasons for doubting the literal historicity of the Magi in the Christmas story, it is difficult to support with evidence that there were no Magi who visited the...

Are you older than your children?

Dec. 29, 2004 - Sister Christine Vladimiroff, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, comments on the fact that women's religious orders are dying out, as their members grow old and are not replaced by younger women entering the orders. But, she said, it is not only the religious...

The Feel-Good Doctrine

Dec. 28, 2004 - Read the entire Fox news interview, and-- basing your replies solely on the content of Cardinal McCarrick's statements-- answer the following questions: Is The DaVinci Code (mentioned twice by interviewer Chris Wallace) a good book? What is the evidence for a "revival" of Christian faith-- aside...

Out of the mouths of babes

Dec. 27, 2004 - A friend reports this conversation: When: Sunday morning, Dec 26, 2004. Feast of the Holy Family, Two hours before Mass. Where: Living room. middle-class America. Who: 13 year old son, with his father. What: Watching Fox News Sunday and the interview of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Son:...

The bishop's right hand

Dec. 23, 2004 - The chancellor of the Springfield (Illinois) diocese was found badly beaten in a public park on Tuesday night. The Springfield diocese? Isn't that the one whose former bishop, Daniel Ryan, resigned in 1999 because of health problems that arose soon after he was publicly accused of sexual abuse?...

Who chose the hymn?

Dec. 16, 2004 - At the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry, held in Pittsburgh earlier this month, Bishop Wuerl presided at the closing Mass. Here's the second verse from the hymn sung at the offertory, "A Place at the Table": For women and man, a place at the table, revising the roles,...

See no evil

Dec. 16, 2004 - Sorry; I really don't mean to keep whaling on poor Archbishop Flynn (see below)-- who's going to be busy enough today, for reasons you'll find in the "News Bytes"-- but I can't let go without calling your attention, once more, to this gem. On liturgical matters, Flynn said, the bishops were...

On freedom in the liturgy

Dec. 15, 2004 - In November the US bishops elected Bishop Donald Trautman to chair their Committee on Liturgy. That vote was an obvious slap at the Vatican; Bishop Trautman has publicly criticized the Holy See's "interference" in liturgical matters. Writing in America magazine, Bishop Trautman charged that the...

Dec. 13, 2004 - If this story is anywhere near accurate, it's frightening. Consider: A priest has a conflict with his bishop, and is suspended. The priest says an injustice has been done, and files a canonical appeal. The Church's highest court sides with the priest, and orders the bishop to reinstate him. But...

Set your alarm clocks

Dec. 13, 2004 - On Thursday, December 16, the media will carry stories about Vatican disapproval of American foreign policy. How do we know? Because on Thursday, December 16, Cardinal Renato Martino will hold a press conference to introduce the Pope's annual World Day of Peace message. Maybe Cardinal...

See a trend here?

Dec. 11, 2004 - Did anybody else notice that the appointment of Bishop Gregory to the Atlanta archdiocese came on the anniversary of the death of Archbishop Fulton Sheen?...

And don't forget: bad record-keeping, too!

Dec. 10, 2004 - When Cardinal Mahony told a jury that he had faced only one sex-abuse case during his years as Bishop of Stockton, he neglected to mention that he had confronted two other priests accused of similar misconduct. He ordered those two priests to leave the country. So why didn't he tell the...

Ancient history

Dec. 6, 2004 - Another day, another 14 headline stories about the sex-abuse crisis. (When I say there are 14 stories, I'm referring to the number of News Bytes links today. With a minimum of effort you could probably find 140 stories.) Isn't it curious that, more than 9 months after Bishop Gregory...

Says who?

Dec. 6, 2004 - Thanks to the Wall Street Journal online for the following quotes: "Much is positive in Iraq today... Universities are operating, schools are open, people go out onto the streets normally... Where there's a kidnapping or a homicide the news gets out immediately, and this causes fear among the...

The rights of the laity

Dec. 5, 2004 - Down under in Brisbane, Father Peter Kennedy-- he of the invalid baptisms-- has finally achieved a meeting of the minds with his archbishop. They both agree that the really bad people are those mean-spirited Catholics who take notes about liturgical abuses, so that they can complain to the...

It's not the waves, it's the undertow...

Dec. 3, 2004 - ... and from the perspective of Cardinal Roger Mahony, the problem isn't with the $85+ million that the nearby Orange diocese is handing out to sex-abuse victims. (The ever-reliable laity will foot the bill; see the items below.) The problem is with the legal precedents. Fact: By accepting an...

She said; he said

Dec. 3, 2004 - She was raised a Catholic. Now she heads the most prominent pro-abortion organization in the US. She says that she had a major clash with her bishop, 15 years ago, because of her outspoken support for the slaughter of unborn babies. The bishop, she claims, made "a public effort to excommunicate...

Irish Grinch steals mood music

Dec. 2, 2004 - I mean, is nothing sacred? From the Irish Independent comes the news that "Frosty the Snowman" cannot be performed during Christmas-carol services in the parishes of the Kerry diocese. Also explicitly banned is "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." (I confess that I am not familiar with that...

Cardinal Mahony, meet Edith Piaf

Nov. 23, 2004 - The Archbishop of Los Angeles responds to questions from a reporter: Q: What regrets, if any, do you have about the way you handled (abusive) priests? A: Well, obviously it is always easy to look at things that happened 20 years ago with the knowledge and insights we have today. It's easy...

Sorry if I missed it...

Nov. 22, 2004 - When he proclaimed the Year of the Eucharist, Pope John Paul II said that the Vatican would not take any special initiatives; he was leaving it up to the local churches and episcopal conferences. Meeting in Washington last week, the US bishops' conference announced the following pastoral...

The bishops' competition

Nov. 19, 2004 - In 1913 the Federal Reserve Board was created, to keep the value of the dollar steady. Today's dollar is worth (depending on your preferred measurements) somewhere between 3-5¢ matched against the 1913 dollar. I think I have finally found a frame of reference for comparative measurement of...

Creating wiggle room

Nov. 18, 2004 - Cardinal McCarrick has reported to his brother bishops on the thorny question of denying Communion to people who support the unrestricted, government-subsidized, slaughter of the innocent. There isn't much news, really. The status quo is holding. The bishops will continue to talk things over....

Too busy for the Bible, II

Nov. 17, 2004 - The US bishops (see below) have decided not to issue a statement encouraging use of the Bible, because they're already putting out so many other statements. This is a prudent decision, because: Nobody would have read the statement anyway. They saved a few trees. If anyone did read the...

Too busy for the Bible, I

Nov. 17, 2004 - Our heroes, the US Catholic bishops, have now decided not to release a planned statement calling for greater devotion to the Bible. They had too much other urgent work to do. But before they tabled the statement, a few pearls of wisdom were dropped: Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk of Cincinnati...

Reform, anyone?

Nov. 16, 2004 - Having already elected the bishop of a bankrupt diocese to head their episocpal conference, the US bishops have now chosen, as chairman of their committee on liturgy, a bishop who has charged that the latest Vatican document on the liturgy "points away from the liturgical and biblical renewal of...

Tearing down churches-- more ways than one

Nov. 15, 2004 - Boston's Archbishop Sean O'Malley admits that he is being torn to pieces by the painful process of closing 80+ parishes; one sentence is more than enough to convey his anguish At times I ask God to call me home and let someone else finish this job, but I keep waking up in the morning to face...

Business as usual

Nov. 15, 2004 - By choosing the vice president to move up to the presidency, the US bishops have confirmed their confidence in the current leadership of their episcopal conference. It's nice somebody has that confidence. You'd be hard pressed to find it anywhere outside the ballroom of the Capitol Hyatt this...

The darkness at the end of the tunnel

Nov. 14, 2004 - In an agonized letter to the faithful of Boston, explaining the closing of dozens of archdiocesan parishes, Archbishop Sean O'Malley points to the example found in the Act of the Apostles: "Those who had properties sold them and gave the proceeds to the Apostles who distributed to each one...

Everybody else gets it

Nov. 9, 2004 - Now we have a survey to confirm the obvious: American Catholics are appalled by the sex-abuse scandal. But now here's a result worth noticing: In the first comprehensive national study of the effects of the sexual abuse scandal, researchers at Catholic University of America and Purdue...

Signs of the Times

Nov. 4, 2004 - Let's say you were abducted by aliens on Tuesday morning-- on your way home, after you voted. You were taken to the planet Zork, and told that you would be vaporized if you didn't explain the US elections. The leaders of Zork are, for some reason, keenly interested in American politics. But...

I'm not comfortable with this, but...

Nov. 4, 2004 - While waiting for Cardinal McCarrick's committee to assure us that it was OK, after all, to vote for John Kerry, we bring you this news of another intrepid evangelist doing his best to change the...

You think we've got problems

Oct. 29, 2004 - Christianity Today blows the whistle on Episcopalians who are-- well, they're not practicing Christianity...

Excessive piety?

Oct. 29, 2004 - Bishop Daniel Ryan, the poster-boy for Canon 401-2, has had another unfortunate misunderstanding involving local police in Illinois. You might wonder why Bishop Ryan resigned prematurely, since no other American bishop has ever drawn a connection between his departure and the allegations of...

Moral equivalence writ large

Oct. 29, 2004 - Bishop Joseph Adamec, of Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania, admonishes his people to realize that a presidential contest is not like a high-school debate. Then he continues with an argument that any capable high-school debater would demolish. We are called to promote life, as a God-given right,...

Prophets without a prophecy

Oct. 19, 2004 - The advice of Cardinal Martino and Archbishop Parolin, voluntarily offered to US voters, that we be aware of the Church's social teachings, prompts me to ask a question: When one thousand Catholic political leaders met for four days in Bologna earlier this month to discuss the duties of...

comparative dynasties

Oct. 14, 2004 - England's Prince Harry has been accused of cheating on a school exam. The charge, if proven true, would be a disgrace to the royal family. It would not, however, make Harry ineligible to serve as senior senator from...

Don't think of a pink seminarian

Oct. 12, 2004 - There's more. Archbishop Brunett uncovered a homosexual network in the seminary. When he blew the whistle, he was, naturally, punished. The network remained. The archbishop-to-be learned his lesson, kept quiet, and advanced through the ecclesiastical ranks. Now, looking back, he sees...

Self-defeating

Oct. 11, 2004 - If they really think it's a problem-- and the scientific evidence is ambiguous-- shouldn't these prelates avoiding releasing more hot...

Customized message?

Oct. 8, 2004 - Pope John Paul II emphasized that a bishop's position "one of service, not of honor, and therefore a bishop should strive to benefit others rather than to lord it over them." Hmmm.... Just wondering.... Is it purely coincidental that message was delivered to a group of Americans including...

Fighting phantoms with phantoms

Oct. 8, 2004 - In his latest assault on Church teaching, that tireless dissident Richard McBrien analyzes an argument that was never made, using a theological approach that was never advanced, to attack enemies who do not exist. Sound complicated? It is. The simple version is this: As always, Father McBrien...

RICO on the horizon?

Sep. 29, 2004 - The Springfield Republican is right: When he secured a grand-jury indictment of Bishop Dupre, then announced that he would not prosecute, district attorney William Bennett was sending an engraved invitation to prosecutors in other jurisdictions. But there's more. CWN reporters tell me...

Sure you can audit. Just don't ask questions.

Sep. 27, 2004 - No Catholic bishops are behind bars in New Hampshire-- yet. That's largely because of an agreement struck with the state's attorney general in December 2002, in which the bishops essentially admitted guilt, and agreed to regular "full and fair" audits for the next several years. But when he...

You could buy 43 tons of food for the hungry, or....

Sep. 25, 2004 - You live in Orange, California. The cost of living is high, and times are tough. You fall behind on your mortgage payments. You're desperate. Where do you turn? Ah, but since you're a faithful Catholic-- never miss Sunday Mass, never fail to throw something into the collection-- you know that...

The unforgivable sin

Sep. 25, 2004 - Recently I've been thinking: Is there anything that US bishops will not tolerate? The intense bureaucratic response to the "Dallas Charter" has clarified things for me. As a practical matter: - You can deny the Real Presence - You can be married several times - You can never go...

Bishop-friendly, condom-friendly

Sep. 24, 2004 - CAFOD, the British bishops' overseas-relief agency, has endorsed the distribution of condoms as a defense against AIDS. Actually, that's not news. CAFOD has been encouraging condom distribution since... since... Well, at least since 2001, the year when the executive director of CAFOD held a...

Forget something?

Sep. 23, 2004 - You represent the Social Justice Ministry for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Philadelphia. You firmly believe that "justice is a constitutive element of the Gospel message.” You have a web site. Visitors are greeted immediately with a Prayer to End the War Against (sic) Iraq, which...

(burp!)

Sep. 21, 2004 - This just in, from UN headquarters. The Holy See opposes hunger. (applause) Champagne reception to...

One step forward, two steps back

Sep. 16, 2004 - Cardinal Martino condemns UN involvement in promoting abortion. One step forward. But on the same day, the Vatican announces a stepped-in presence at the UN, conferring greater credibility on this international body, which is (see above) heavily involved in promoting abortion. Two steps...

...and to end famine, burn crops

Sep. 15, 2004 - How do you respond to a crime wave?That's easy; disband the police force. Bothered by mice in your home? Don't worry; just leave plenty of cookie crumbs on the kitchen floor. Caught in a thunderstorm on the golf course? Relax. Just run to the highest point you can find, and stick a 9-iron in...

Bore them to death?

Sep. 13, 2004 - At last, I think I understand the Vatican strategy against terrorism. The idea is to have a half-dozen prelates issue long-winded statements every day about the need for "dialogue and reconciliation," until finally the terrorist leaders drop dead of sheer boredom. It might work, but there...

See no evil

Sep. 10, 2004 - In Redemptionis Sacramentum, the Congregation for Divine Worship listed liturgical abuses that are prevalent throughout the Western world. In a classic example of how American prelates react to Vatican directives, Cardinal Roger Mahony has now announced that, despite exhaustive study, he...

Sins of omission

Sep. 1, 2004 - The leaders of an American Catholic diocese are planning a special ceremony to express their repentance for sins of omission in leadership. "We want the church to be a healthy family, and we can’t be until we move past this," a diocesan spokesman told the local newspaper. "I believe acknowledging...

With friends like these

Aug. 30, 2004 - "At some point, the bishops will realize that Voice of the Faithful are the best friends that they have,'' the group's executive director told the Boston Herald. That may be true. But it's a very harsh indictment of the US...

Code words

Aug. 27, 2004 - Try to guess: Who's the speaker, and what's the audience? (Hint: the speech was vigorously applauded.) We need to be aware that a certain threat to women’s rights is also posed by the resurgence, particularly in the United States, of Christian fundamentalism, and the alliance of countries...

When neighbors disagree...

Aug. 25, 2004 - Now here is a story that CWN should be investigating carefully. There are definitely some unanswered questions. All I can say is that I hope nobody involved was Catholic. Especially the...

A modest proposal

Aug. 23, 2004 - Since bishops are now requiring criminal background checks on priests and parish volunteers (in all probability, effectively shutting down parts of the Hispanic apostolate because of the fears of illegal immigrants), why doesn't the laity come up with a scheme to do background checks on bishops?...

Re-dress, please!

Aug. 21, 2004 - An enterprising parish of the Church of England is putting out a calendar featuring nude photos of parishioners, to help rape victims in Rwanda. Now you might be wondering how, by posing nude, a woman in England helps rape victims in Africa. The vicar explains: "Many of the atrocities in Rwanda...

A welcome diversion (of funds)?

Aug. 20, 2004 - Like everyone else, I sometimes grow weary of the struggle. There are days when I read the headlines, shake my head, and ask myself, "Why is it always about sex? Why can't we have a good old-fashioned scandal about money?" Today was one of those days. I just couldn't face another story about...

Not guilty, your honor

Aug. 20, 2004 - Ed Peters-- a very solid canon lawyer whose blog is ordinarily quite reliable, takes me to task for a recent comment about an annulment granted to the notorious Rudy Kos, enabling him to enter the Dallas seminary and begin preying on boys. Maybe I skipped over the point too quickly, but I did not...

Magistra, no (cont.)

Aug. 15, 2004 - And even by making the point ((inaccurately) that he usually agrees with the Church, Obey discloses that he actually does not agree with the Church in another, larger sense. The Church claims to teach with inerrant authority on questions of faith and morals. If you accept that claim-- that is,...

After all, this isn't Massachusetts

Aug. 13, 2004 - The governor resigned, and headline stories cited "an extramarital affair with a man." This is confusing, because: 1) It wasn't the affair itself that drove the governor out of office; it was the threat of blackmail and/or sexual-harassment charges. 2) The governor is male. He had an affair...

Sign of the times

Aug. 12, 2004 - You know that it's time to hire a lawyer when you're told you should expect to hear from: a federal grand jury, which has already questioned several well-known drug dealers from your neighborhood; a litigious neighbor, who thinks your new fence crosses his property; the police chief, who has...

Tick, tock; tick, tock; ...

Aug. 12, 2004 - So now you see what an apostolic visitation can accomplish. In less than a month, a corrupt Austrian seminary is shut down. Here in the US, meanwhile, we're still waiting for the apostolic visitation that the leaders of the American bishops' conference promised to undertake, "without delay," in...

Trust. But verify.

Aug. 10, 2004 - Bishop F. Joseph Gossman of Raleigh, North Carolina has responded to the statement in which 3 other bishops from nearby dioceses announced that pro-abortion Catholic politicians would be barred from Communion. In his own weighty statement on the question, Bishop Gossman proclaims: The Church...

No faulty record-keeping here

Aug. 4, 2004 - Remember when Cardinal Law told reporters that the sex-abuse scandal in Boston was caused larged by flaws in the system of keeping personnel files? Just across the state, it seems that another bishop had found an effective way toremedy such...

On second thought...

Aug. 4, 2004 - Kim LAWTON: Some groups fear the bishops' energy and commitment may fade.Archbishop Timothy DOLAN: Can't happen. Can't happen. We never, never, Kim, want to go through what we've had to do. We just can't do it. We can't do it personally. [PBS interview, November 2003] I get it. The bishops have...

Supreme Knight denies rumor

Jul. 30, 2004 - With the Knights of Columbus meeting in Dallas, columnist Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News caught Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, and asked him whether it's true-- as the widespread rumor has it-- that the Vatican has instructed the KofC not to expel members who are public supporters of legal...

Did someone say "Gumbleton?"

Jul. 29, 2004 - From his lofty perch at Notre Dame-- where he alternates his days between calling for an "inclusive" Church and hurling another anathema at those who disagree with him (that is, orthodox Catholics)-- Father Richard McBrien pronounces the verdict of history. In 1984, he remembers, Cardinal John...

Delayed reaction II

Jul. 21, 2004 - Vienna's Cardinal Christoph Schöborn thinks the Vatican waited too long before launching an investigation of a homosexual scandal in the St. Pölten seminary. Now keep in mind that he's talking about a scandal that became public less than two weeks ago. I'm not disagreeing with Cardinal...

Boundary issues

Jul. 20, 2004 - Msgr. Dale Fushek, founder and director of Life Teen, and former right-hand man to the rapidly-retired Bishop Thomas ("Road Kill") O’Brien of Phoenix, is again in the news. And once again boundaries are an issue. The Congregation on Divine Worship has informed the Msgr. that having teenagers...

Delayed reaction

Jul. 20, 2004 - You're the doctor. You tap the patient's knee with the rubber mallet. You watch for the reaction. How long do you wait before you decide this patient has a serious problem? The seminary scandal in St. Pölten, Austria, hit the headlines just last week. Outrage! Headlines! Furor! And wham-bam!...

Deliberately misleading?

Jul. 15, 2004 - While other American bishops were debating over exactly what Cardinal Ratzinger had said regarding the reception of Holy Communion by pro-abortion politicians, Bishop John Steinbock of Fresno, California, produced this whopper: I pointed out to the priests and deacons that this document did not...

Honest, at least

Jul. 15, 2004 - The confession is an eye-opener, but at least we can give Bishop Manuel Moreno credit for this much: He doesn't blame things on bad record-keeping. In the course of the two-hour deposition, held in Pima County Superior Court, Moreno acknowledged, among other things, that he'd allowed priests...

Childish pranks

Jul. 13, 2004 - Take 40,000 dirty pictures. Add a few films. Mix seminarians with older priests-- in new and interesting combinations. Stir in a police investigation, and the resignation of two seminary officials. What do you get? "Childish pranks," which-- you should have this line memorized by...

See no evil

Jul. 13, 2004 - Thanks to the Dallas Morning News, we now have this information about another acknowledged child molester. He was serving in the Los Angeles archdiocese, and his name showed up on archdiocesan records. But the archdiocese didn't know he was there. His Franciscan superiors-- to whom, presumably,...

He may not be guilty

Jul. 9, 2004 - A Massachusetts bishop-- who experienced a sudden health crisis that forced his resignation last year just about the time sex-abuse charges were levelled against him-- has declined to testify in the lawsuit against him, citing his Fifth Amendment privileges against self-incrimination. His...

Smoke signals

Jul. 9, 2004 - Cardinal Theodore McCarrick-- who heads the Catholic community in a city named after a man who said that he "cannot tell a lie"-- hasn't yet explained the difference between what Cardinal Ratzinger said in a letter about the Kerry-Communion dispute, and what McCarrick told other American bishops...

Multiple choice

Jul. 8, 2004 - Which of the following statements is not true? (Choose all that apply.) The Portland archdiocese has plenty of financial assets remaining. The archdiocese has been hit with millions of dollars in legal damages, as a result of fair and impartial trials or mutually agreed settlements in...

Correction

Jul. 5, 2004 - Sorry; sorry; I misunderstood. It's only the enforcement of canon law that is an "election year ploy." If a bishop ignores his canonical responsibilities during an election year, he can't be accused of favoritism, since that's what he always...

Off-year dirty tricks

Jul. 5, 2004 - So it turns out that the Code of Canon Law, which went into effect in 1983, is an "election year...

"Very unwise"

Jul. 2, 2004 - When Cardinal Law attributed the shuffling of child-molesting priest to bad chancery record-keeping, no other American bishop said that statement was "very unwise?" When Bishop O'Brien refused to come to the front door to talk with police about his hit-and-run accident, no other American bishop...

Credibility problem

Jul. 1, 2004 - A Salesian superior assures the world that of course he didn't move a priest from Australia to Samoa to help him avoid child-abuse charges. He didn't know the police were still interested in the case, the superior says. OK; the explanation is plausible. Let's test it against some other...

Pot calls kettle

Jun. 30, 2004 - The head of the Boston archdiocese is criticizing the Vatican for its handling of the sex-abuse crisis. Sure, the Vatican should be moving faster. But maybe someone else should make the...

Come, let's not reason together

Jun. 28, 2004 - The early favorite for this year's Rembert Award, in the category of Most Confusing Episcopal Message about Politics, is Bishop J. Terry Stieb of Memphis, for this impressive entry. First the good bishop tells us that St. Thomas Aquinas wrestled with the question of when public figures should...

Turn, turn, turn

Jun. 25, 2004 - A politican dies. An archbishop preaches at the funeral. There is a "time for every purpose," he says. He is quoting from... Ecclesiastes, you say? Well yes, yes, of course. And he does mention that. But first billing goes to the Byrds, the deceased's favorite rock group, who put those...

Muscular Christianity

Jun. 25, 2004 - Make this priest a bishop, quick. Appoint him to deal with politicians who support abortion. He sounds...

Because your are NOT lukewarm, I will spit you out

Jun. 18, 2004 - (Inspired by the latest courageous stand taken by the US bishops) A reading from the epistle of Paul Americanus to the Galatians: O interesting Galatians! I am not entirely comfortable with some of things you may or may not be doing. I am forming a committee to draw up some guidelines that...

Translation text, cont.

Jun. 14, 2004 - The trouble with the first CWN translation test (below) is that it went from English to Latin: something that a contemporary liturgical translator would never do. Let's try again, going from Latin to English, and using the techniques with which post-conciliar translators have made us familiar....

Free association

Jun. 12, 2004 - What are the first 3 adjectives that come to your mind in reference to the Reagan funeral? How long has it been since you used one of those adjectives to describe a ceremony in a Catholic...

Bishop vs. bishop

Jun. 11, 2004 - As the American bishops prepare for their closed-door meeting in Denver, the vice-president of the US bishops' conference demonstrates his collegial attitude by calling for respectful dialogue-- and then thoughtfully mentioning that a few of his colleagues are divisive figures with a tendency to...

Is everything clear now?

Jun. 11, 2004 - Bishop Skylstad, speaking on behalf of the US bishops, announces: We can be clear without being blunt. And we can persuade without drawing lines in the sand and daring others to cross. And we can persuade without drawing lines in the sand and daring others to cross. And the beauty of that...

Could you be a liturgical translator?

Jun. 9, 2004 - Some time back, a friend held a translation contest. The object of the contest was to provide the best approximation of how liturgical translators (think ICEL) might have rendered the memorable words of the astronaut Neil Armstrong, when he became the first man to step on the moon. Armstrong's...

Regulating medical care

May. 28, 2004 - According to a recent government report, as noted in the Washington Times Prayer is the most commonly used "alternative medicine," according to a survey of more than 31,000 adults released by the National Institutes of Health yesterday — more popular than acupuncture, chiropractic care, yoga,...

Decisive

May. 13, 2004 - After almost two years of detailed study, several members of the National Review Board have concluded that the US bishops aren't acting decisively to end the sex-abuse scandal. Oh, wait; there's even more. Some Board members feel that the bishops are more interesting in covering up than in...

Memo to US bishops, II

May. 4, 2004 - In other headline news, today, a once-powerful Wall Street figure faces up to 2 years in jail after his conviction on charges of covering up criminal activities by his subordinates. This is a big story, because: 1) Frank Quattrone was convicted because he authorized an email message asking...

Memo to US bishops, I

May. 4, 2004 - Seven US military officers have been given severe reprimands-- effectively ending their careers-- because of the scandal arising from abuse of prisoners in Iraq. "They did not know or participate in any crimes," a senior American officer in Baghdad said of the officers who received the...

Test case

Apr. 29, 2004 - "It is not our policy to deny Communion to anyone." Anyone? Let's imagine a hypothetical test case. Imagine that Adolph Hitler is discovered alive. Let's say he escaped to Paraguay, where Nazi scientists had unlocked the secret of cryogenic storage, and he's just now been thawed out; he has...

A personal note...

Apr. 29, 2004 - ... to readers who think we are presumptuous for admonishing bishops: Happy feast of St. Catherine of...

Comparative theology

Apr. 27, 2004 - Perhaps someone could help me understand how a prominent public figure could be invited to share the Body and Blood of Christ, but barred from attending a roast-beef...

Memo to Bishop Lynch

Apr. 23, 2004 - The Ordinary should diligently foster Eucharistic adoration, whether brief or prolonged or almost continuous, with the participation of the people. For in recent years in so many places “adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament is also an important daily practice and becomes an inexhaustible source of...

Hopping along the bunny trail

Apr. 12, 2004 - Last week, a Pennsylvania church was in the news for a Passion play that included an Easter bunny being whipped.A church trying to teach about the crucifixion of Jesus performed an Easter show with actors whipping the Easter bunny and breaking eggs, upsetting several parents and young children....

Free-lancing pastors?

Apr. 10, 2004 - In Boston, a clear picture is beginning to emerge: The new archbishop himself will follow the Vatican's instructions, but he won't require his pastors to do the same. First it was the question of Communion for John Kerry; the archdiocesan spokesman said pastors should make up their own minds....

Homophobia-- expanded version

Apr. 7, 2004 - Which of the following is now deemed to constitute a form of abuse toward gays: physical violence verbal attacks moral censure suggesting that homosexuality can be altered in therapy If you answered "all of the above," you would be right. It’s now a form of abuse not only to sugget that...

To make bishops get tough

Mar. 31, 2004 - You say you want American bishops to denounce John Kerry? To say that Kerry is at odds with the Church on crucial public issues? That's easy. Spread a rumor that Kerry regularly attends a Latin Mass. We already know that approach works: One cannot pick and choose which Pope to follow,...

Brave new marriage

Mar. 26, 2004 - If same-sex "marriage" is recognized by law, will it be possible for two heterosexuals of the same sex to get married? Would gays object? Would John Kerry and Ted Kennedy object? The purposes of same-sex heterosexual marriage would be private, of course. (Keep the government out of the...

Quis custodiet...

Mar. 25, 2004 - All you folks out there, who have been waiting for an American bishop to start throwing his weight around asserting his authority, have finally got your wish. Sort of. There's a catch, of course. You knew there would be. He "cracked down" on the people who want a...

Homily suggestion

Mar. 21, 2004 - It's too late now, I suppose, but I had a brilliant idea for today's homily. Use this Sunday, and the parable of the Prodigal Son, to appeal for support of the diocese. Admit that the diocese is like the prodigal son: having squandered money, frittered away a priceless heritage, descended...

Remember, there's no connection...

Mar. 17, 2004 - Let's play cards. Of all jokers, 8 out of 10 are lavender. According to Doc Greeley, the bishops' deck has 1 out of 6 cards that are lavender and 5 out of 6 that are true blue. That means that roughly less than 1 in 100 true blues are jokers, but 1 in 5 of the lavenders are jokers. On any...

endorsements

Mar. 17, 2004 - Eastern Massachusetts Episcopalians have endorsed -- whatever that may mean -- the Supreme Judicial Court ruling on same-sex marriage. The bishops prepared a statement calling for prayerful dialogue: "We encourage our congregations to continue to be in active conversation on this matter....

Muscular Christianity?

Mar. 15, 2004 - When I say that it would a relief to hear about a priest who hit on women, this isn't what I have in...

Recount, anyone?

Mar. 8, 2004 - In a weekend CWN poll, a bare majority of respondents reported that the preaching at their parish church is either "excellent' (27%) or "good" (24). Less than one-fourth found the preaching "poor" (14) or "horrible" (9). This conclusively proves that.... ... a lot of CWN readers are...

Now they might listen

Mar. 5, 2004 - If you're trying to rouse an American bishop into action, which is more likely to be effective: Heartfelt pleas from hundreds of loyal Catholics, definitive instructions from the Vatican, or a single editorial in the New York Times? Right. Well, now we've got the editorial in the...

What a sex therapist might say to a bishop:

Mar. 2, 2004 - OK, your Eminence. The Review Board was critical of my operation because we let a few get loose and we were bought off in a few cases. But look at it this way, you had an explosion on your hands from the late 60s well into the 80s-- so says the John Jay report. We took 90% of your problem and we...

Gender Ratio of Alleged Victims (John Jay Figure 3.5.1)

Mar. 1, 2004 - The chart says it...

But hey, who's counting?

Feb. 26, 2004 - The Boston archdiocese has disclosed that 162 Boston priests have been accused of sexual abuse since 1950. The attorney general of Massachusetts says that 237 priests from the Boston archdiocese have been accused of sexual abuse. Where did the AG get his statistics? From the Boston...

Discerning the spirits

Feb. 23, 2004 - Oh good. The priests of Springfield now recognize that sexual activity between men and young boys is wrong, because psychiatrists have reached that conclusion. And you wonder why nobody goes to Confession anymore....

The bishop as teacher

Feb. 20, 2004 - Just in case you've heard anything different-- Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men,...

Defending the Pharisees

Feb. 20, 2004 - It ain't easy to defend the Pharisees. But somehow we always knew that, if it was going to be done at all, it would be done by an employee of the US bishops' conference. The only role the Bible says the Pharisees have in the passion of Jesus is, in one case they try to warn him that there's...

The essentials

Feb. 19, 2004 - In a somewhat rambling, inconclusive analysis of the mysterious death of Father John Minkler, and the implications for Bishop Howard Hubbard, an Albany, NY columnist closes with this gem: Hubbard, in the midst of the most serious crisis in his 27 years as bishop, said the church's work is still...

The teflon cardinal

Feb. 18, 2004 - For months reporters in Los Angeles have been looking for clear evidence that Cardinal Mahony was guilty of misfeasance of malfeasance of the sort that drove Cardinal Law into premature retirement. So far they haven't found the proverbial smoking gun. But as this op-ed in the LA Times shows,...

Quality control

Feb. 17, 2004 - Say you run a donut shop. You produce thousands of donuts every day. Mostly, they taste good. Every once in a while, a customer charges that one of the donuts made him sick. How often would this have to happen, before you realize that you have a serious problem on your hands? Suppose 1...

Gruesome details

Feb. 16, 2004 - USA Today has won the race and set the tone. Without waiting to see the US bishops' full report on sexual abuse-- which won't be out until next week-- the newspaper has published the first critical editorial-- beginning what we have no doubt will be barrage of critical editorials, mostly on...

The wrong trail

Feb. 13, 2004 - Yesterday in this space I asked, rhetorically, why 20-year-old accusations against Bishop Dupre were suddenly coming to light. One priest of the Springfield diocese, the very talkative Father James Scahill, seems inclined to take credit. He blew the whistle, he told reporters, by calling the...

Coincidences?

Feb. 12, 2004 - Item: On January 20, the Diocese of Springfield (Massachusetts) announced the laicization of Richard Lavigne, whose priestly career had been dotted with sex-abuse charges. Lavigne is also the leading (and only) suspect in the murder of a local boy in 1972. Lavigne had hinted that the diocese...

The defense rests

Feb. 11, 2004 - Things don't look so good for Bishop O'Brien. It looks as if his defense team proved that the fatal hit-and-run accident happened very quickly, while the prosecution proved that the bishop left the scene. And that's what he's on trial for: leaving the scene. So the only question, really, is...

Still waiting to hear from Abraham Foxman

Feb. 11, 2004 - If we are all agreed that the media should not stir up hatred and contempt against any religious group, is it safe to assume that the AJC will take a few moments off from their campaign against Mel Gibson to comment on...

"Funerals with a Custom Fit..."

Feb. 11, 2004 - That headline isn't mine; it comes right off today's story in the New York Times. We're talking about these new-fangled, silly funerals-- er, "celebrations of life"-- replete with posters and videos of the deceased, where people get themselves cremated and their ashes are put into a ring for...

Caution: Bishop at work

Feb. 10, 2004 - Maybe now we can gain some insight as to why bishops never alerted police when they learned that priests had molested children. Maybe "the thought never occurred" that felonies should be reported to police. Or maybe they did think about calling police, but since they didn't know the names...

All on the same page

Feb. 9, 2004 - The Boston archdioces has thrown its full support behind a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in Massachusetts. So we can safely assume that no pastor in the Boston archdiocese would use his pulpit to oppose that amendment. Can't...

The Pakistani shuffle

Feb. 6, 2004 - If you believe everything that Pakistan's President Musharraf says, then you believe:Pakistan didn't export nuclear-weapons technology Oh, wait, Pakistan did export nuclear-weapons technology, but it was done by a single individual, whose actions were not approved by the government, even though...

"Miffed"

Feb. 5, 2004 - A spokesman for Bishop Howard Hubbard says that his boss is "miffed." I suppose I'd be "miffed," too, is someone accused me of having an illicit and possibly affair, which ended in a suicide. But I think I'd use a stronger term. Maybe, for example, say that the charge was "outrageous,...

The only good Catholic is a bad Catholic

Feb. 5, 2004 - Q: When does the Boston Globe set up a pro-life legislator as a model of integrity? A: When she lashes out at the Catholic Church. Q: When does the Globe give favorable mention to a legislator's Catholic faith? A: When she's about to betray that faith. Q: After 16 years in Catholic...

What the Pope really said about The Passion

Jan. 24, 2004 - I have a theory that might explain all the contradictions. Maybe the Pope saw the movie, and said: "It is as lousy as the Anti-Defamation League told me it was." But you know how movie publicists operate. So the quote ended up: "It is...as it was." Just a theory. You got a better...

More "prestige" for the Pope

Jan. 24, 2004 - Reading of the "prestigious Charlemagne award" being given to the Pope, acording to Vatican announcements,one is reminded of two facts: 1) If an award is "prestigious" it does not have to be identified as such. 2) Until present times, the Supreme Pontiff graciously refrained from accepting...

Reading comprehension quiz

Jan. 14, 2004 - After reading this story from the Washington Times, answer the following question: Which of the following options best describes the moral of the story:   (a) We're a little short on tar and feathers. (b) Voice of the Faithful, just step aside. (c) Home schooling gets a boost from Arlington...

A cardinal's waning influence

Jan. 11, 2004 - As a rule, an archbishop has a great deal of influence over the appointment of bishops in his metropolitan region. And a cardinal can influence appointments in nearby metropolitan regions as well. Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles didn't show much influence in the selection of a new bishop for...

Democracy in the Church?

Jan. 5, 2004 - Carol McKinley, who has devoted herself to exposing the liberal agenda of Voice of the Faithful, now reveals exactly how "democratic" the upstart organization is. McKinley's blog notes that although VOTF claims over 30,000 members (since anyone who asks for information as counted as a...

A safe family environment

Jan. 5, 2004 - Let's say you get sick and tired about all the stories on sexual abuse by the clergy, and-- just for a break-- you take the family to Disney World. How do you feel when you learn that one of the "greeters" there is a priest, removed from his pastoral assignment because of sex-abuse...

Admissions against interest

Jan. 2, 2004 - Another year has passed, and it's time to make up lists of the events that occurred-- or in this case did not occur-- in 2003. (I waited the extra day just so that I could scan all the newspapers to make sure nothing new happened on December 31.) Here is a list of the US bishops who, responding...

The hand that feeds them

Dec. 22, 2003 - Suppose a salesman for Coca-Cola announced that the drink is "vile and toxic. Suppose that a manager for Hertz said the company's policies were "increasingly violent and abusive." Leave aside the fact that they'd be fired--and with good cause. How could you possibly respect someone who...

Twas 2 weeks before Christmas...

Dec. 12, 2003 - Why is the Pope having a Christmas concert in the Vatican in the third week of Advent? In New York, St. Patrick's Cathedral had lighted Christmas trees at the front doors on Thanksgiving. Most parishes routinely have Christmas in Advent. It is bad enough that St. Patrick's "day" (which now...

St. Thomas More might disagree

Dec. 4, 2003 - Seattle's Archbishop Alexander Brunett, the co-chairman of ARCIC, spoke to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about the fallout from the ordination of a gay Anglican bishop: "I can't tell you how much anger I hear from Anglican bishops around the world," Brunett said. "It puts us on the spot,"...

Sheep in wolf's clothing?

Nov. 25, 2003 - Today's New York Times carries a fascinating front-page story about a lawyer who was representing the Church in defending sex-abuse cases, until he could no longer hold back his own complaints of sexual abuse. It's a novel perspective on the whole mess, worth reading. Among the many...

Hearing from all sides

Nov. 11, 2003 - Now that Boston's Archbishop O'Malley has found time to meet with Voice of the Faithful, do you suppose his schedule has opened up enough to allow for a meeting with loyal Catholic parents who oppose the "Talking about Touching" curriculum? Or with one of his own pastors, who has said that the...

Can't we all get along?

Nov. 11, 2003 - The US bishops are getting really really unhappy about the number of Catholic politicians who support legalized abortion, the Boston Globe reports. They're thinking about taking action. But Chicago's Cardinal Francis George reminds the Globe that bishops must keep unity within their flocks, as...

Limited partial hangout

Nov. 10, 2003 - Back in October, Bishop Gregory told Reuters that the US hierarchy is studying the sex-abuse problem in depth because: "The bishops really want to be honest with our people and say, this is the data we want to share with you." And you know what? When that report comes out, I'm sure they will be...

The truth of the matter

Nov. 10, 2003 - According to the Boston Globe, the US bishops may hire a public-relations firm to draw attention away from ... well, you know... and toward the nice things done by Catholic agencies. "We want the truth to be told, and the truth won't be told unless we make it available," Bishop Gregory...

Works righteousness

Nov. 10, 2003 - Bishop Wilton Gregory, president and spokesman for the US bishops' conference, puts the sex-abuse scandal in perspective for the media: I believe that it is important that we not lose context of all that the Church has done, and continues to do with such clarity, generosity, and effectiveness....

Essay question

Nov. 6, 2003 - Imagine that you are transported back in time, to speak with a saintly Catholic bishop who is heroically resisting pressure from a Communist regime. As this bishop discusses his future plans, what motivations do you think will be most important and least important in accounting for his conduct?...

Another important doctrinal development from the hierarchy

Nov. 3, 2003 - The Italian bishops have issued a message for that country's Thanksgiving Day, in which they announce that "water is certainly one of God's most essential gifts for life." Remember the dufflepuds in C.S. Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader, creatures who ran around pointing out the obvious:...

Scheduling the end of the world

Oct. 10, 2003 - The best Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox theorists on the end times will gather in Mundelein, Illinois, on October 16-18, for a conference on the topic: "The Time is Near: The Apocalyptic Imagination in an Age of Anxiety." I guess we can safely infer that the world won't end until at...

No nuance

Oct. 9, 2003 - Bishop Gumbleton might not approve, but the Russian Orthodox hierarchy has sent a clear message about same-sex...

Creative sentencing

Oct. 9, 2003 - If this man is found guilty of torching the cathedral in Savannah, instead of jail, why not send him to Los...

The missing link

Oct. 8, 2003 - A Massachusetts priest has been suspended. A young man has been murdered. What's the connection? That's what I'd like to know. Here's the story. Now, what's missing? If I were the AP editor, I might have encouraged the reporter to provide a little more explanation of why, if A is suspected...

A glimpse of that famous Anglican good taste in liturgy

Oct. 3, 2003 - A huge portrait of a man in cowboy gear was hanging over the altar. The cathedral was rocking with a hand-clapping, foot-stomping rendition of "A Pub with No Beer." And all I can say is, thank God this is a story about a funeral in an Anglican...

Turning tricks

Oct. 2, 2003 - Father Vincent Rogers is back at work as the pastor of St. James parish in St. Joseph, Missouri. His ministerial service had been rudely interrupted by Missouri law-enforcement officials, who arrested the priest along with 100 other men during a crackdown on prostitution. Eventually Father...

Canterbury fan dance

Oct. 1, 2003 - It's always embarrassing when you're caught playing the shell game. So you almost had to pity the poor Archbishop of Canterbury, when London's Daily Telegraph obtained a confidential memo from an adviser, suggesting ways in which the Anglican prelate could divert attention away from all those...

The unforgivable sin

Sep. 26, 2003 - Newsday reports that Bishop William ("Mansions") Murphy of Rockville Center, NY, has regularly summoned priests to his office for a stern talking-to if they are guilty of a particular offense. Is that offense: Denying the Resurrection Failing to make confessions available to parishioners for...

Questions for the day:

Sep. 24, 2003 - St. Athanasius refused to share the Eucharist with those who rejected the true teaching of the Catholic Church. • If he were alive today, and fully informed about what is being taught and preached, how many American parishes would St. Athanasius put off limits? • Was St. Athanasius wrong?...

Mandatory child abuse in Boston?

Sep. 23, 2003 - Archbishop Sean O'Malley, who rode into Boston on a white horse looking like a potential hero, is quickly revealing himself to be anything but. Remember the "Talking about Touching" program, which introduces grammar-school students to explicit discussion of sexual perversion-- under the guise...

Inspiration from Episcopal "Presiding Bishop" Frank Griswold

Sep. 10, 2003 - "I find it illuminating to think of these webs of relationship which constitute our lives as being forcefields of energy in which our various perspectives and ways of embodying the gospel constantly interact-- challenging and enlarging one another and thereby more fully revealing God’s truth....

Confidential to Bill C.

Sep. 8, 2003 - Nope, try...

Catholic centerfolds, maybe?

Sep. 5, 2003 - An old friend and current CWN reader (to whom we'll happily give credit, if he wants), writes: Today's Wash. Post has an item reporting that one of Mapplethorpe's lovers is auctioning nude photos of Schwarzenegger on Ebay. Going to Ebay, one finds that the seller has linked his offering to...

... and nothing but the truth

Sep. 5, 2003 - We now have a broad sampling of what happens when American bishops are forced to give depositions under oath. Today's latest headline story shows Archbishop Flores to be a bit more short-tempered than his average colleague, but otherwise he fits well within the pattern. Lawyers are paid to...

Gay lawyers, Jesuit sponsors

Aug. 27, 2003 - Just thought you'd want to know that: The annual conference of the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association (NLGLA) and the National Lesbian and Gay Law Foundation (NLGLF) will be held in New York City, October 17-19, at Fordham University School of...

Misdirection play

Aug. 19, 2003 - The phony stories about that 1962 Vatican document are still spreading, and you begin to wonder why there hasn't been a more energetic effort by Church leaders to debunk a story that is so obviously inaccurate. Well brace yourself, because there may be an answer, and it isn't a pretty...

Bless me, Father...

Aug. 6, 2003 - ...for I have eaten genetically modified corn. Have I been sinning, eating this food that does not have Vatican approval? And how culpable am I, since it was done in ignorance. But maybe I had a responsibility to realize my taco shell might need Vatican approval? Would going to a...

What? A character flaw?

Aug. 4, 2003 - Associated Press Monday, August 4, 2003 MINNEAPOLIS - Episcopalian leaders delayed a vote Monday on whether to confirm the church's first openly gay elected bishop after allegations involving "touching" and "pornography" emerged against the clergyman, a church spokesman said. Could it be? If...

In the old, benighted days before Dallas

Aug. 4, 2003 - Is the Church making progress in dealing with sexual abuse? Was the bad old pre-conciliar Church incapable of dealing firmly with priestly misconduct? Take a look at entry under "Solicitation" in the old Catholic Encyclopedia, written more than 90 years ago. Has the National Review Board...

Anglican orders

Jul. 29, 2003 - Those arcane ecclesiologists who persist in considering the possible validity of Anglican orders, might take note of this item in "The Christian Challenge" May/June 2003: It was a typical baptism photo until one looked more closely. The caption in the "Washington Diocese" newspaper said...

Welcome, Judge Bork!

Jul. 28, 2003 - A belated word of congratulations to Judge Robert Bork on his entry into the Catholic Church. Think of it: The judge will now be able to worship alongside Ted...

Do England's homosexuals outnumber Anglicans?

Jul. 10, 2003 - The subtitle of the op-ed column in the Guardian says it all: "When is the C of E going to realise that homosexuality is now more popular in Britain than Christianity?" Author Zoe Williams inveighs against the Anglican "extremists" and "homophobes" who oppose the gay-rights agenda. But that's...

And you wonder why I'm a cynic

Jul. 9, 2003 - Just read this story from today's CWN offerings. Or, if you're confident that you can stay awake, read the archbishop's full statement on the Vatican web site. Here it is in a nutshell: The Vatican's top representative at the UN thinks that governments should try to curtail illegal traffic in...

No endorsement-- thank goodness!

Jul. 2, 2003 - Take a careful look at the public statement released by Cardinal Law after the announcement that Bishop O'Malley would become is successor in Boston. Notice anything missing? The cardinal never indicates that he endorses the archbishop-elect. And that's probably just as well. Cardinal Law is...

Jun. 26, 2003 - And here's a really big surprise: the Archdiocese of Boston, which has convinced plaintiffs' lawyers to hold off on further legal action while an out-of-court settlement is discussed for sex-abuse victims, isn't quite ready to make a concrete offer yet. Soon,...

Apt metaphor

Jun. 23, 2003 - From today's Boston Herald: ``Our efforts toward the implementation of the charter and the essential norms are in full throttle,'' Minneapolis Archbishop Harry Flynn said of the U.S. church's protocols to curb abuse. Exactly. What would happen if you took the engine out of your...

No Comment Dept.

Jun. 18, 2003 - No comment except: "It seems I've heard that song before." From the New York Daily News, June 17, 2003, Re: Bishop Thomas O'Brien's plea bargain to stay out of jail the first time: "O'Brien offered his resignation before signing the agreement, but Pope John Paul II refused to accept...

Roll over! Sit!

Jun. 14, 2003 - Uh oh. According to a New York Times report, other members of the bishops' National Review Board are joining in the calls for Gov. Keating's resignation. (Gov. Keating, an experienced politician, must know what's happening: Somebody is working the phone lines.) Keating's offense, his...

Not lapdogs. But will they heel?

Jun. 14, 2003 - A Boston Globe story about the tiff between Gov. Keating and Cardinal Mahony contains this nugget: Rev. Thomas J. Reese, editor of America magazine, a Jesuit weekly, said any move to depose Keating would be very controversial because he was chosen for his independence. ''He was never supposed...

Comparison chopping

Jun. 5, 2003 - A quick review: * Howell Raines supervises the reporters of the New York Times. One reporter misbehaves, Raines is charged with inadequate supervision, a public furor arises, and Raines is forced to resign. " Bishop O'Brien supervises the clergy of the Phoenix diocese. Many clerics...

The flock calls the shepherd

May. 24, 2003 - 1) Under heavy pressure from a persistent, noisy, and energetic pro-life protest campaign, Worcester's Bishop Daniel Reilly decided not to attend commencement ceremonies at Holy Cross College, where the pro-abortion news commentator Chris Matthews was the main speaker. 2) After the ceremony,...

A bishop faces prison?

May. 12, 2003 - The lead item in today's News Bytes is a headline we've been expecting for months: A bishop is facing a jail term. But wait. This story isn't about the sex-abuse scandal. It's about drunk driving. Now drunk driving is not a good thing. But one line in the story caught our attention: " No...

Smooth talker

May. 8, 2003 - Donna Morrissey, who handled public relations for the Boston archdiocese through the darkest days of the sex-abuse scandal, has left that post. Naturally, reporters are asking: Did she jump or was she pushed? The Rev. Christopher Coyne, who has replaced Morrissey on an interim basis, would not...

Pilot error

May. 7, 2003 - Boston's archdiocesan newspaper, the Pilot, has been a staunch defender of the bishops' conduct in the sex-abuse scandal, and a vociferous critic of the bishops' critics. Fair enough. But when a Pilot editorial suggests that other American institution need to learn from the bishops' example,...

Gotcha

Apr. 30, 2003 - Phil, I have studied the returns from the 2000 Senate election. And I'm afraid they support my argument and undermine yours. If the people of Boston aren't especially ready to tolerate someone who lies under oath, misleads the public, and engages in unprofessional conduct, how do you explain those...

Progress report

Apr. 29, 2003 - Just over a year has passed since the leaders of the US bishops' conference, after meeting with Vatican officials, endorsed this statement (among others): the Pastors of the Church need clearly to promote the correct moral teaching of the Church and publicly to reprimand individuals who...

On what subject?

Apr. 26, 2003 - Fr. Mankowski, earlier today you asked: "In any of the USCCB's deliberations on the subject, has one syllable been spoken about the possibility of damnation?" In context, it's obvious what you meant by "the subject." But it got me thinking: Can you (or anyone else) think of any subject that...

Apr. 24, 2003 - Phil, Santorum's comments are also-- clearly, obviously-- in line with his Catholic faith. So the options are: a) Church leaders will give him strong public backing. Soon. Real soon. OR b) Church leaders will tacitly admit that anyone who adheres to Catholic teachings is dead meat,...

False witness

Apr. 18, 2003 - Another first in the sex-abuse scandal: a bishop has been sued for slander. Two women in the Erie, Pennsylvania diocese have brought the legal charges against Bishop Donald Trautman and his predecessor, Bishop Michael Murphy. (You can find the story-- with a bit of searching-- here.) They...

Apr. 17, 2003 - Phil, let's go one step further: After he released his pastoral letter, Cardinal Mahony got in a fairly pubilc fight with Mother Angelica of EWTN, who was critical of cardinal's approach to the Eucharist. Based on your reading of Ecclesia de Eucharistia, whose side do you think the Pope would...

Propaganda has its limits

Apr. 16, 2003 - The last I heard from him, Muhammed Saed al-Sahhaf, the Information Minister for the defunct Iraqi government, was saying: "There are no American infidels in Baghdad." Then he disappeared from the scene. Too bad, because the man had a definite flair. It isn't easy to keep a straight face while...

The learning curve, cont.

Apr. 15, 2003 - Boston's archdiocesan newspaper, the Pilot, is singing that old song again. In an editorial comment on the Pulitzer Prize awarded to the Boston Globe for its coverage of the sex-abuse scandal, the Pilot points out some of the issues that the Globe did not cover. Among them is this familiar...

Whose experts?

Apr. 7, 2003 - At a closed-door session in Rome last week, Vatican officials listened to what various "experts" had to say about the sexual abuse of children. (No doubt CWN will carry a report on that meeting later today.) The US bishops sent along 2 of their own favorite experts: Fathers Stephen Rossetti and...

So far away...

Apr. 3, 2003 - Iraqi (Dis)Information Minister Mohammed Sayid al-Sahhaf insists that as of April 3-- which, we should notice, is well after April Fool's Day-- US forces are "not within 100 miles" of Baghdad. Hmmm. Interesting. But just to give credit where credit is due, if they're not within 100 miles,...

Avoiding the obvious

Apr. 3, 2003 - From today's Boston Globe: There is substantial documentary evidence that, at the time of his transfer, Boston church leaders knew Shanley had spoken favorably about sexual relations between men and boys, but it was not clear whether they also knew about child abuse accusations. But it...

When a bishop sues a bishop...

Apr. 2, 2003 - Thus far, the Boston archdiocese has always asked courts to throw out sex-abuse lawsuits, on free-exercise-of-religion grounds. How would that argument play out in the lawsuit brought by the Diocese of San...

Cardinal Mahony's idea of cooperation

Apr. 2, 2003 - And now for something completely different: The Los Angeles archdiocese is trying to withhold confidential files from prosecutors in a sex-abuse inquiry. The arguments raised by archdiocesean lawyers are roughly the same as the ones rejected by Massachusetts judges when the Boston archdiocese...

More on Boston vs. VOTF

Apr. 2, 2003 - From today's Boston Herald Moreover, Lennon has definitively ordered Catholic Charities to turn the money down, a spokesman said. The reason for the order is that Voice of the Faithful, by raising money for charitable work independent of the archdiocese, is driving a wedge between the bishop...

Guilty as charged

Apr. 1, 2003 - When pressed to explain his earlier statement, the bishop responded, "I lied." APRIL FOOL! It never happened, of course. During the past year, dozens of bishops have testified under oath, and been asked to explain discrepancies in their public statements. Not one has ever confessed, simply,...

Diocesan attorneys hand over files

Apr. 1, 2003 - Acting well in advance of a court-imposed deadline, diocesan lawyers released all files associated with the sex-abuse allegations. "If there's anything else they want, they only need to ask us," said diocesan spokesman... APRIL...

America's newest bishop

Apr. 1, 2003 - "I'm going to crack some heads," the newly appointed bishop said, when asked how he would deal with sex-abuse allegations. "Let me tell you, all those pansies at the seminary better start packing their bags right now, because when I get there..." APRIL FOOL! No, of course it never happened....

Archbishop Flynn speaks on sex abuse

Mar. 31, 2003 - AP reports: Flynn, speaking Saturday at Siena College, his alma mater in upstate New York, said critics still are talking about bishops who shuffled priests from parish to parish. "This is not an accurate or fair characterization of the bishops' actions in the last decade," Flynn...

Memo to Vatican officials re the Iraq war

Mar. 31, 2003 - As heir to the Anglo Saxon race that fought at Agincourt and Normandy-- and, by the way, liberated Rome, I do not choose to take military advice from Italians....

Can there ever be a just war?

Mar. 28, 2003 - Bill McGurn writing in the Wall Street Journal today observes a linkage between the Pope's and the Vatican curia's current view of just war and the change in the view of the death penalty. As we saw in the time immediately following the publication of the Catechism, the presentation on the death...

Now here's an original insight:

Mar. 28, 2003 - "Plante said that if Sherlock's known victims are teenage boys, it's likely that if there are other victims, they would also fit that profile. 'The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior,' said Plante, editor of Bless Me Father for I Have Sinned: Perspectives on Sexual Abuse...

Speak bigly and carry a loud soft

Mar. 27, 2003 - Another bold statement from the Vatican's last great hope for the world: the...

The learning curve

Mar. 27, 2003 - In case you missed the item in today's News Bytes, Massachusetts prosecutors are hoping to revive their case against Richard Lavigne, a suspended priest who has always been the prime suspect in the 1972 murder of an altar boy. Twenty years-- 20 years!-- after the murder, Lavigne was finally...

Reversed causality

Mar. 26, 2003 - Archbishop Tauran (see today's headline story) worries that the war in Iraq will lead to terrorism. And maybe in the spring, when the snow melts, that causes temperatures to rise? There was terrorism long before this war began. And (was anybody in Rome listening?) it was the threat of...

Heresy hunters?

Mar. 26, 2003 - If you enjoy Catholic rituals, but not Catholic teachings, you might find the American Catholic Church attractive. There's an actual organization by that name-- distinct (oh, yes; very distinct) from the Catholic Church founded on the Apostles. For an illustration of how quickly schism moves off...

Tick, tick, tick....

Mar. 24, 2003 - The war understandably dominates the news headlines, but if you look carefully-- see today's CWN News Bytes-- you'll notice that prosecutors are assessing the possiblity of bringing criminal charges against England's Catholic primate, in connection with the sex-abuse scandal. And California...

The religious-freedom defense

Mar. 24, 2003 - The Boston archdiocese is seeking to have sex-abuse lawsuits dismissed, on the grounds that secular courts can't judge the actions of religious organizations. From a Monday Boston Globe story: Mark Chopko, general counsel to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, adds that there is...

A bishop's golden parachute

Mar. 20, 2003 - Bishop Patrick Ziemann resigned in disgrace from his California diocese in 1999. But he still has friends in high places, according to a provocative story in the San Francisco Weekly. The story is unsettling; the word "blackmail" keeps popping into mind. And we're left asking a familiar question:...

Re: Rod Dreher 2 Adamec 0

Mar. 19, 2003 - Bishop Adamec has been as underhanded as any in shuffling pervert priests and seems completely unrepentant of it. He has steadfastly refused to admit he made any mistakes or took any outrageous action, despite being presented with clear evidence. He must believe that stonewalling, denials, and...

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