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Commentary by Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J.

Showing 72 articles by this author.

remarks on the gospel according to judas

Mar. 21, 2007 - A week ago, we Jesuits of the Pontifical Biblical Institute were informed in the course of a regular community meeting that our main lecture hall would be in use on March 20 at the request of a former faculty member (Salesian Father Frank Moloney) for the public launch of a novel he had...

yukking it up with the Swallow Patrol

Jul. 12, 2006 - Some folks just LOVE taking offense. And they know unfailingly where to find it. From this week's NCR: Emotions ran high among some participants in the Pentecost noon Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Minnesota last month. There were tears, a break in the orderly queue to receive Communion,...

Pagels

Apr. 24, 2006 - In CWN's Forum, I explain why Professor Elaine Pagels should not be taken as a serious commenter on the Gospel or Judas, or 2nd century Gnosticism, or indeed on any subject in which historical accuracy is important. Simply put, she cooks her sources. Real scholars...

Liberal Jesuits & the Late Pope

Apr. 4, 2005 - May the Lord preserve our pontiff and give him lifeand make him blessed upon the earthand deliver him not to the will of his enemies. Sinéad O'Connor, during a 1992 appearance on SNL, ended her performance of a Bob Marley song by ripping a photo of Pope John Paul II top to bottom while chanting...

The Bishops vs. the Bible

Jul. 5, 2004 - Sporadically insightful polemicist and purveyor of scholarly fraud Garry Wills says the popes read the Bible wrong. Modern "right to life" issues -- abortion and contraception -- are nowhere mentioned in either Jewish or Christian Scripture. Pope Pius XI said they were, in his encyclical Casti...

a demurral

Jun. 28, 2004 - A recent Washington Post article juxtaposes contrasting views on the communion wars held by a prominent lay author and a high-profile Jesuit: In a public debate in Washington yesterday, papal biographer George Weigel said the bishops had "moved the ball forward a little bit" with the...

Defectors in place

Aug. 1, 2003 - Andrew Sullivan posts two e-mails from gay Catholics announcing their decisions to leave the Church in response to the Vatican's document contra same-sex marriages, and then adds his own hesitations. I feel my own conscience getting closer and closer to making the same decision. It tears me...

Aphorism

Jul. 13, 2003 - Weak men are apt to be cruel, because they stick at nothing that may repair the ill effect of their mistakes. -- George Savile, Marquis of...

The lady doth protest too much, methinks

Jul. 6, 2003 - Card-carrying intellectual Anna Quindlen joins Maureen Dowd in crayoning for us in bright orange letters that she is not, repeat not, in the least rattled by the reasoning of Justice Scalia's dissent: The most notable aspect of Scalia's decision was not its prejudice or its prurience but its...

More on Maureen

Jun. 29, 2003 - Maureen Dowd's exceptionally ungracious rant against Justice Scalia (see below) would be somewhat understandable if she were the loser venting her exasperation -- i.e., if Scalia had written a gloating majority decision that obliterated Dowd's fiercely-held personal hopes. In such case her...

Secondary Detonations at the NYT

Jun. 29, 2003 - Maureen Dowd learns of Scalia's dissent and flips out: Most Americans, even Republicans, have a more tolerant and happy vision of the country than Mr. Scalia and other nattering nabobs of negativism. Their jeremiads yearn for an airbrushed 50's America that never really existed. (The pedophile...

The Clerical Old Boy Network: A Modest Proposal

Jun. 27, 2003 - This from a Dallas Morning News article on the clerical culture: Most bishops grew up in an era in which priests learned to unquestioningly trust and look after the interests of brother priests. They formed a fraternity of faith whose human weaknesses were fodder for club gossip but no one...

Yesterday's Double Defeat

Jun. 27, 2003 - Not surprisingly, some of the most tersely pointed commentary on the culture wars can be found in Justice Scalia's dissents, each of which may stand as a battlefield monument to the vanquished in the serial defeats of the Culture of Life -- not, however, that Scalia (qua justice) is himself a...

A Great Step Backward

Jun. 26, 2003 - Michael Kinsley has a well-reasoned piece on the Supreme Court's affirmative action debacle: The Supreme Court took these Michigan cases to end a quarter-century of uncertainty about affirmative action. What it has produced is utter logical confusion. The law school dean testified that "the...

Enemies Old & New

Jun. 24, 2003 - The following news items appeared in the New York Times, January 22nd, 1935, Sect. 6, p. 6. They merit reflection on what hasn't changed, and what has. JESUIT HOWLED DOWN BY NAZIS IN MUNICH Police Quell Riot at University Lecture -- Cologne Cardinal Assails Neo-Paganism MUNICH, Germany,...

Help My Unbelief

Jun. 23, 2003 - A Washington Times account reflects diverse perspectives on the bishops' accomplishments in the past year in dealing with the crisis: Progress has been "nothing less than miraculous," said Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. As miracles go, this one...

Has Issues

Jun. 16, 2003 - Pope Pius VI to the Bishop of Cork (John Butler), 9 June 1787. It is not to be believed, venerable brother, with what consternation and anguish of mind we have been seized and overwhelmed, ever since we have received authentic information, that such was the height of infatuation which your...

Calumny

Jun. 15, 2003 - "Gregory Peck, a star of quiet dignity," reads the headline of the NYT obituary -- a judgment as perspicacious as billing Sylvester Stallone as a world-class boxer. It is no disparagement of Peck's acting abilities to remember that, to his enduring shame, he was party to one of the vilest acts of...

my ways are not thy ways, pal

Jun. 11, 2003 - The hymn "For the Healing of the Nations" really exists, apparently. All that kills abundant living, Let it from the earth be banned: Pride of status, race, or schooling, Dogmas that obscure your plan. In our common quest for justice May we hallow life's brief span. What's the point...

Now I understand

Jun. 6, 2003 - Editor Tom Roberts weighs in with an unsurpassably perfect specimen of NCR reasoning. Cut this out and paste it in your scrapbook, kids: The Santorum incident at St. Joseph's illustrates as well as anything the difficulty in finding the perfect Catholic politician or the perfect Catholic...

Pro-lifers, Partial Birth Abortion, and Quiet Good Taste

Jun. 6, 2003 - Whenever I read protests that it's emotionally manipulative of pro-lifers to display photos of the concrete results of abortion, I'm reminded of Adolf Eichmann's testimony to his own squeamishness as evidence of his nobility -- this during his Nuremberg trial for crimes against humanity -- as...

Piling on

Jun. 3, 2003 - Since body-slams of Sidney Blumenthal's memoirs by Joseph Lelyveld, Michael Isikoff, and Andrew Sullivan have already been posted on this site, it may appear to be morose delectation to mention Christopher Hitchens' review. It is. I personally became powerfully nauseated by seeing Clinton up...

Bishops in partibus

May. 27, 2003 - WILLIAMS DENOUNCES GAY MARRIAGES shouts a headline in today's Telegraph (UK). The lead sentence is likewise dramatic: "The Archbishop of Canterbury and his fellow Anglican leaders denounced gay marriages yesterday in an effort to avert schism in the worldwide Church." Currently the text of the...

Brideshead Revandalized, or Excursion in Reality

May. 27, 2003 - Evelyn Waugh joins Shakespeare in the gallery of corrected classics: Hollywood is producing a major film adaptation of the Evelyn Waugh novel Brideshead Revisited. But it is taking a different approach to Granada, which made the hit television series. ... Andrew Davies, noted for the...

coyotes and culture wars

May. 26, 2003 - News item: Freshman students this fall at Wesleyan University in Connecticut will have the option of living in a new "gender-blind" facility -- one floor of a dorm accommodating up to 12 students, the Hartford Courant reported. The living space is reserved for students who don't want to be...

Another Olive Branch in the Eye

May. 20, 2003 - The National Catholic Reporter's John Allen gives us a head's-up on the latest speciment of In Yo Face liturgy: [The Austrian organization] We Are Church is back in the news for another reason. Despite John Paul's reaffirmation of church discipline on inter-communion in his recent encyclical...

deny, deny, deny...

May. 19, 2003 - The current New York Review of Books carries a must-read: Joseph Lelyveld's devastatingly thorough autopsy on Sidney Blumenthal's stillborn memoir, The Clinton Wars. What is interesting is not so much Blumenthal's failure as an author, but Lelyveld's psychologically convincing portrait of an...

Please leave suggestions for dialogue on my secretary's voicemail

May. 15, 2003 - The National Catholic Reporter's Tom Roberts reflects on the low morale of priests and solicits the advice of Fr. Robert J. Silva, president of the National Federation of Priests Councils: How to get beyond this awful moment? In a conversation over breakfast, Silva said he believes that priests...

mea culpa, sua culpa, tua maxima culpa

May. 11, 2003 - Today's New York Times carries a lengthy article reporting on an internal investigation into the scandal caused by dismissed reporter Jayson Blair. Here's the lead sentence: A staff reporter for The New York Times committed frequent acts of journalistic fraud while covering significant news...

The myth of the myth of the Red Scare

May. 10, 2003 - "It was a damn near-run thing." So replied the Duke of Wellington to a civilian's ill-judged remark (made after the battle) to the effect that English victory at Waterloo was a foregone conclusion. Most Americans are unaware that the much-derided Red Scare was both redder and scarier than...

Goodbye, St. Paul. Hello, Mr. Yuck.

May. 9, 2003 - Thanks for the Talking About Touching, link, Fr. W. Two aspects grate on me. First, there's the implicit notion that, in the clergy abuse crisis, the failure rests -- even in part -- with the children. Think of a corrupt police force that shakes down innocent motorists and then, in response to...

papal authority & its exercise -- or, what he said

May. 6, 2003 - For a balanced, shrewd, insightful, and eminently well-informed appraisal of Pope John Paul II -- including a judicious look at his conduct of office -- check out Prof. Ralph McInerny's essay amid the picturesque ruins of Catholic Dossier. (A suggestion: once you find the site, copy the text...

eyes left

May. 5, 2003 - Prof. Ronald Dworkin has an article in the New York Review of Books on the U. of Michigan affirmative action case before the Supreme Court that is curiously bashful of legal argument but full of heavy breathing on the political consequences. Right-thinking journalists and (law review editors) now...

told you so

May. 5, 2003 - It was bound to happen sooner or later. Are you paying attention, ICEL fans? Smith College students earlier this month made a decision some might find mystifying: Although Smith is a women's college, the students voted to change the language of their student constitution so that the pronouns...

"We don't do God."

May. 5, 2003 - Britain's Telegraph reports on the Labour Party's packaging crew. Alastair Campbell has banned Tony Blair from talking about God in public, according to two 50th birthday profiles of the Prime Minister. Downing Street's director of communications is afraid that Mr Blair could sound too much...

Day Six

May. 4, 2003 - From Thomas Day, Where Have You Gone, Michelangelo? (Crossroad, 1993): If a priest tries to dispense with medieval tradition and, instead, substitute something else (such as "Good morning" or "Good evening" or "Hello Folks" or even warm, welcoming remarks), he might really be trying to say...

consequences

May. 4, 2003 - One summer Sunday in 1979: She stepped up to the makeshift altar, made a sign of the cross, and began to say the liturgy. She lifted bread and, for the first time in earnest, uttered the words, "This is my body." Afterward, the community's regular priest -- whom the Catholic Church had removed...

Day Five

May. 3, 2003 - From Thomas Day, Where Have You Gone, Michelangelo? (Crossroad, 1993): In his cathedral, the bishop sat on an ornate throne that symbolized his authority in the diocese, but here again there were checks and balances. That episcopal chair (cathedra in Greek) was on the side, not at the center;...

Day Four -- why you can't negotiate with a liturgist

May. 2, 2003 - From Thomas Day, Where Have You Gone, Michelangelo? (Crossroad, 1993): I wanted to buy a new tie."Need some help?" asked the salesman (a semi-retired gentleman I know)."Yes," I replied, "I was thinking of something in a solid color," and then I showed him a few possibilities I had picked...

globotomy

May. 2, 2003 - Phil, I think the most dishonest line in that ediorial is the following: Santorum should take a tour of Pennsylvania, his home state, and see how many adoptive, blended, multiracial, second, and, yes, gay families he is insulting. The Globe insinuates that Santorum sees interracial marriage...

Stiff-necked conservatives and the NCR

May. 2, 2003 - I do not object to bishops being the ones who ordain, if it is understood that they represent the local as well as the universal church. I believe the validity of their act of ordaining is rooted in this relation to the church. It does not flow literally from an apostolic secession that imagines...

Day Three

May. 1, 2003 - From Thomas Day, Where Have You Gone, Michelangelo? (Crossroad, 1993): A surprising new trend: the glorification of the priest's throne. At the very center (the heart?) of so many newer or renovated liturgical environments -- especially those stark, science-fiction architectural spaces -- is...

useful idiots?

May. 1, 2003 - I don't think Cohen has a consistent political philosophy of which Santorum fell afoul; as the article's title ("Intolerance Swaddled in Faith") suggests, he is using the "faith = intolerance" equation to alarm those who are programmed to feel alarm at the loss of their sexual liberties -- far and...

gay marriage and

May. 1, 2003 - Richard Cohen takes a shot at Rick Santorum. And misses. In advancing religious arguments for public policy, Santorum and others foreclose both debate and compromise -- the basic ingredients of democracy. If you think, simply as a matter of faith, that homosexual sex ought to be a crime, then...

Don't trade in your old Bible

May. 1, 2003 - Floating around the Internet recently is a so-called "Lord's Prayer based on Peshitta Gospels/Aramaic Texts," which is advertised as "translated by Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz." Here is the version as it came to me: Father-Mother! Birther and Breath of All, Create a space inside us and fill it...

choice

Apr. 30, 2003 - Jack Fowler writes about Holy Cross College and pro-choice honorand Chris Matthews. Amy Welborn's comments on the "personally opposed" dodge are worth reading as...

Day Two

Apr. 30, 2003 - From Thomas Day, Where Have You Gone, Michelangelo? (Crossroad, 1993): I can remember the time, back in my youth, when good Catholic boys who sensed at least the hint of a calling to the priesthood would have "pretend altars" in their bedrooms. These boys, in the privacy of their rooms, would...

up to scratch?

Apr. 30, 2003 - In U.S. Catholic magazine, Bob Smietana writes an only mildly patronizing article about the return to orthodoxy among younger Catholics. [M]any of the parishioners at St. Thomas have chosen to be "intentionally orthodox" -- embracing official Catholic teaching on a whole range of issues,...

retreat opportunity

Apr. 29, 2003 - Catholic men interested in discerning a more serious commitment to Christ might consider a retreat weekend, June 26-29, 2003, given by seven young and orthodox Jesuits in Waupaca, Wisconsin. Pope John Paul II's Message to Youth: A Jesuit Retreat will include Stations of the Cross, Liturgy of the...

Day One

Apr. 29, 2003 - Thomas Day's book Why Catholics Can't Sing caused a minor sensation when it appeared in 1990. Less so the sequel, Where Have You Gone, Michelangelo? (Crossroads, 1993), which deals with the liturgy wars. Many of the mordant observations Day makes in the latter volume bear repetition, and I hope...

laying down smoke

Apr. 28, 2003 - The Boston Globe discusses a talk at Harvard Divinity School plugging women's ordination. Boston College's Dr. Stephen Pope is quoted on the subject: "I don't think that women need to wait for the Vatican to change its regulation restricting ordination to males," he said, "before they can...

The Long Good-Bye

Apr. 27, 2003 - I disagree strongly with the recommendations made by clergy-abuse expert Dr. Bill Marshall in a recent interview, but his arguments are free of cant and deserve a reasoned response. Marshall was one of the experts who spoke at the Vatican's workshop earlier in the month. Among his...

Eerie

Apr. 27, 2003 - Re-reading yesterday's OTR discussion, I was reminded of the following passage in James Hitchcock's 1995 essay, Conservative Bishops, Liberal Results: If at almost all times in the history of the Church, a concern for orthodoxy has been paramount, the contemporary Church has an eerie feel about...

Science, Prescience, and the Care of Souls

Apr. 26, 2003 - A recent Washington Post story tells of an earlier bishop of Manchester, New Hampshire, who not only expelled an abuser priest but wrote several letters to his fellow bishops advising them not to give the offender another crack at the flock. The Post's interest is primarily in the supposed...

Brit Pinks hand Stalin a late victory

Apr. 23, 2003 - A BBC television drama called The Cambridge Spies not only glamorizes the Stalin-era Soviet moles Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and Anthony Blunt by portraying them as heroic anti-Fascist idealists but fabricates a grotesquely partisan picture of 1930s England, according to a story in...

The Futility of Euphemism

Apr. 22, 2003 - An arresting paragraph from a CNN story on the Peterson murder case: Regarding the killing of the unborn child, the complaint states, under the heading Termination of Pregnancy: "During the commission of the murder of Laci Denise Peterson, the defendant with knowledge that [she] was pregnant...

NOW objects to Peterson double-murder charge

Apr. 20, 2003 - The head of the National Organization for Women's Morris County chapter is opposing a double-murder charge in the Laci Peterson case, saying it could provide ammunition to the pro-life lobby. "If this is murder, well, then any time a late-term fetus is aborted, they could call it murder," Morris...

Going, gone ...

Apr. 15, 2003 - George Will has some grim observations on the future of Europe: The populations of 14 European nations are declining, and the declines are driven by powerful social values and trends that would be difficult for governments to reverse, were they inclined to try, which they do not seem to be. The...

A meditation for Holy Week

Apr. 14, 2003 - Who knows not Love, let him assay And taste that juice, which on the crosse a pike Did set again abroach; then let him say If ever he did taste the like. Love is that liquour sweet and most divine, Which my God feels as bloud; but I, as wine. -- George Herbert (1593 -1633), "The...

On the looting of the Iraqi Museum

Apr. 13, 2003 - Assyriologists will feel a sadness at the damage to the artifacts at the Iraqi Museum which, if not keener or more profound than that of others, is more sharply focused. A few remarks. *England had much less warning of aerial bombardment and the threat of invasion in 1939 than did Iraq in...

Plus ça change...

Apr. 10, 2003 - The people of Crete unfortunately make more history than they can consume locally. --"Saki" (H.H. Munro),...

YSL Pacifism

Apr. 10, 2003 - In 1999, movie reviewer James Bowman criticized Terrence Malick's film The Thin Red Line for retrofitting World War II infantrymen with Vietnam-era moral postures. Bowman remarked that Malick's characters belonged "not among the citizen soldiers who actually won the war but to the post-60's...

Heaven-Haven

Apr. 8, 2003 - A nun takes the veil I have desired to go Where springs not fail, To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail And a few lilies blow. And I have asked to be Where no storms come, Where the green swell is in the havens dumb, And out of the swing of the sea. --...

Anybody home?

Apr. 8, 2003 - A Milwaukee parish staged a mock-Mass two weeks ago where a sacramentally-vested woman directed the agit-prop as part of a "World Day of Prayer for Women's Ordination." That's only a symptom. Here's the deeper problem: St. Matthias agreed to host the prayer service, according to pastor Fr....

death on demand

Apr. 7, 2003 - "We don't have conversations," said Joy Davis, a former employee of Dr. Tucker. "Sometimes the employees faint. Sometimes they throw up. Sometimes they have to leave the room. It's just problems that we deal with, but it's not talked about." Abortionists kill more than they realize. Thanks to...

Honor

Apr. 7, 2003 - Today's Mass reading of the story of Susanna and the Unjust Judges prompted this thought experiment: imagine that you're a regimental officer in the British Army in India, say, in 1880, with civil jurisdiction over a certain area. A brother officer is accused of assaulting a native woman. An...

crimes against humanity: then and now

Apr. 3, 2003 - From a speech by the late Malcolm Muggeridge, given at the University of San Francisco in 1978: If people are only considered to be economic entities whose value is measured by the quality and/or quantity of their productivity, then what conceivable justification is there for maintaining, at...

so sue me

Apr. 2, 2003 - "Boston recognizes its mistake but our diocese should not have to pay for this mistake," [spokesman Fr. Howard] Lincoln said of the decision of the Diocese of San Bernardino to sue the Archdiocese of Boston. Diogenes (below) rightly points us to St. Paul's eminently relevant question (1...

Lord, who sinned?

Apr. 1, 2003 - Ecclesiam tuam, Domine, miseratio continuata mundet et muniat reads last Monday's collect. "God of mercy, free your Church from sin, and protect it from evil," says the Sacramentary. Odd. Why should the ICEL translators want to suggest that it's the Church that is enchained by...

sales slip enclosed

Mar. 31, 2003 - A recent CNS story contains the following paragraph: As for whether or not the church should examine its current practice of ordaining men who may have a homosexual orientation, Bishop Galante said, "Orientation itself is not an impediment to ordination. ... Is there anything that says God...

Mommy, where do homilies come from?

Mar. 30, 2003 - The reading list blogged last Wednesday by Diogenes provides a pretty good inventory of the intellectual furniture installed into their students by most English-speaking seminaries. Basil Pennington makes the roster five times; no Ignatius Press author gets on the scoreboard. The prospective...

Studdock as Pecksniff

Mar. 21, 2003 - Readers of C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength will remember the scene in which Mark Studdock, momentarily released from the degradations of Belbury, resolves to restore his self-regard by taking a high-hand with the upright Cecil Dimble: "The idea of being annoyed with the Dimbles occurred to...

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