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All Catholic commentary from October 2011

Women priests? America ducks the question

America magazine is distraught over the news that the cathedral in the Phoenix diocese will no longer use female altar servers. An editorial in the Jesuit journal announces: “The rejection of altar girls disregards the counsel of the Second Vatican Council that the charisms of the baptized...

Anti-Catholic Sports Reporting?

Phil Lawler is right. When secular reporters cover Catholic issues, they frequently get things wrong. I refer, for example, to Phil’s new eBook, Misinterpreting Catholicism. But Phil’s examples pale into insignificance compared with this brief story from our own local paper in Manassas, Virginia,...

The US bishops stick with a losing political strategy

My college tennis coach never tired of repeating his simple strategic guide: “Never change a winning game; always change a losing game.” If what you’re doing is not working, he said—and his logic was impeccable—you should be doing something else. That advice came to...

Taking the Gamble

I don’t usually get excited one way or another about gambling. But there is no question that it can ruin lives and, for some people, become a fixation which is perilously close to a real addiction. So can drinking alcoholic beverages, another potential destroyer that I don’t think...

What is Special about What We Do?

The bottom line is that you can’t get what CatholicCulture.org offers anywhere else. This is a case we need to make effectively to our users if we expect them to dig deep to support this Catholic apostolic work. Let me make that case now. No potential supporter will doubt the importance of...

Please: prosecute abusers, but also false accusers

Pittsburgh’s Bishop David Zubik “no factual basis for the allegation.” But that’s not all. The bishop’s accuser apparently has a long criminal record. He has made questionable accusations in the past, and the prosecutor reports that in the Zubik case,

Did German bishops snub the Pope?

In the past two weeks a report has been making the rounds on Catholic blogs that a number of German bishops deliberately snubbed Pope Benedict XVI, refusing to shake his hand, during the Pontiff’s September visit to their country. I’m happy to say that the reports are inaccurate. Pat...

Mixed Morality in the Peoria Adoption Solution

Yesterday Catholic World News reported that the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois would let Catholic Charities there turn over its staff and adoption/foster care caseload to a new organization. The new group will comply with a State law requiring equal treatment for gay couples. There is good news and...

Survey results: the Pavone controversy

Early this week we wrapped up an informal survey in which we asked Catholic Culture readers about their perception of the controversy involving Father Pavone and Priests for Life. Among the readers who responded: 12.7% chose: “Father Pavone is an effective pro-life leader; his bishop...

Us vs. Them: Montgomery County & Lockheed Martin

Most of us seldom see what goes on behind the scenes in Federal politics, but watching our more accessible local politics often gives us a clue. Last week in Montgomery County, Maryland, money talked and the County Council listened. In its broad outlines, this is as ugly an example of...

A simple rule of journalism: It's not news until it happens

On October 12, L’Osservatore Romano posted an article with this revealing subtitle: The following are excerpts from the conference to be held in Rome on 13 October in Palazzo Luchesi, opening a series of lectures called "Thursdays at the Gregorian", translated from...

Fundamentalism and the Abandonment of Reason

Is fundamentalism a significant problem? Do we even know what fundamentalism is? Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil drew my attention to it at the end of September when he asserted that, in Asia at least, “the greatest danger is precisely religious fundamentalism”. Archbishop Menamparampil is the...

Ten Percent and Falling: Dissident Priests

I find the Irish and Austrian parallel interesting: Dissident groups of clergy in each country claim roughly 10% of priests as members. In Ireland, the Association of Catholic Priests claims 540 members out of 4,700 priests, or about eleven percent. The Austrian Priests Initiative claims 400...

Needed: a sense of urgency about religious freedom in US foreign policy

Not a single Christian church remains standing in Afghanistan. A decade ago, American troops began a military campaign in that country to oust the oppressive Taliban regime. Well, the Taliban have been ousted—at least from the central national government—and the new government is...

Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, SJ: Abandon Yourself to this Book

Ignatius Press has just come out with a new edition of Jean-Pierre de Caussade’s oustanding work of spiritual direction, Abandonment to Divine Providence. This work, written in the 18th century by a French Jesuit, has become one of the great classics of Catholic spiritual reading. Not only...

The SSPX, Jews, and Authority

Since Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of Saint Pius X has yet again made a number of anti-Jewish statements, various Jewish leaders are calling for the Pope to suspend talks with the SSPX. This is an unfair reaction. The head of the SSPX, Bishop Bernard Fellay, has long since made it...

Time to start worrying about the Pope's health?

Last week I advised CWN readers not to waste time worrying about the news that Pope Benedict was towed down the aisle on a rolling platform when he celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s basilica. It was obviously a concession to his advanced age, I said, but apparently nothing more. This week...

Toward the New Evangelization, with Courage

Recently Pope Benedict has highlighted the importance of a new evangelization, something which figured importantly also in the thought of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II. On October 16th, the Pope closed a conference on evangelization by announcing a new Year of Faith to begin next...

Spare us from Vatican economic analysts

The Catholic Church does not claim teaching authority on matters of economics and finance. When the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace issues a statement on the world’s financial markets, faithful Catholics are not bound to accept the economic analysis it contains. However, it would...

Shooting the Messenger: What the Church teaches about her own authority

Phil Lawler and I have had some very negative responses to our commentaries on Monday’s recommendation by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace to establish a new stratum of world government to regulate certain aspects of the global economy (see PL, Spare us from Vatican economic analysts...

Violence Religious and Secular

The Pope’s address at the interfaith pilgrimage to Assisi today is must reading. In it he identified two main sources of new forms of violence in the world today. Both are particularly apt topics for an interfaith pilgrimage. The first is the tendency to use religion as a justification for...

Did Bishop Finn deserve indictment?

Two weeks have passed since the indictment of Kansas City’s Bishop Robert Finn. The bishop’s critics are demanding his resignation, while his defenders protest his innocence. Let’s step back a pace, and put the matter in perspective. The indictment of an American bishop is a big...

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