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All Catholic commentary from November 2010

what 'preventive medicine' prevents

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,...

questions of perspective

Two of today’s CWN headline news stories deserve a bit of comment: In London, a court is being asked whether a Christian couple was rightly barred from serving as foster parents because the couple said that they would not tell children that homosexuality is acceptable. How quickly the...

a spokesman for himself

This is pretty simple, really. If you're the press spokesman for a public figure, and your boss is getting bad press, you have two options: You can blame yourself. Or you can blame the boss. Let's take it for granted that the boss created problems for himself, by making...

Defining the University

I found the little symposium of Christian college presidents in First Things fascinating (November 2010). The new presidents of King’s College, Baylor University, and Catholic University of America were invited to submit very brief statements of the defining purposes or missions of their...

The Opportunity to Serve

At our church, typically a volunteer altar boy (or two) assists at Mass on weekday mornings. On one day late last week and another early this week, no altar boy showed up. When this occurs, the permanent deacon often takes care of the responsibilities—but occasionally a stalwart member of...

The Eucharist and the Empty Tomb

Catholic apologists are indebted to Glenn B. Siniscalchi, a Ph.D. candidate in systematic theology at Duquesne University, for reminding us all of the importance of the early celebration of the Eucharist as a proof that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. In general, arguments about the...

be a man

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...

A Meditation on Marriage

A young couple looks at marriage through the eyes of romance. The freshly-minted bride and groom foresee a great adventure which will be lived in a whirlwind of joy. But looking back now on thirty-eight years of marriage (and by the grace of God still counting), I can honestly say to newlyweds...

making something out of nothing

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...

the Church as debating society?

 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...

an issue that hasn't been faced

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...

toll collection

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...

Ecclesiastical Sea Change

Stop and think about the most important news over the past few days. Is it that five Anglican bishops are set to enter the Church? No. Or how about a Syrian Orthodox bishop urging Christians to leave Iraq? Again, no. Or perhaps it is that the upcoming consistory of Cardinals will address sex...

when 200 > 250,000

On Sunday there were about 250,000 people in and around the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona, cheering for Pope Benedict. There were also about 200 homosexual demonstrators, staging a foolish “kiss-in” in an attempt to embarrass the Pope. Which group gained more media...

Single-issue journalism

The headlines tell the story: Italy: Cardinals to Ponder Response by Church to Sexual Abuse Cases (New York Times) Pope summons cardinals over abuse (AFP) ...

Hey, we're networking!

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...

the unpaid informer

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...

Academic Advisors to the CCHD? Here’s a Suggestion.

The USCCB has named Fr. Daniel Mindling as consulting theologian to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. This is another straw in the wind of renewed fidelity to the Catholic mission in the United States. Of course, it is a little odd that the CCHD needs a consulting theologian in the...

an American martyr for today's Church

Tomorrow, November 13, marks the 8th anniversary of the brutal killing of Mary Stachowicz.  Three years ago I suggested that the Chicago archdiocese should open a cause for her beatification. Bishop Thomas Paprocki, who knew her personally, has testified that "she died as...

I'm thinking of a word that begins with H

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...

campaign endorsement

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

planned pregnancies, unintended consequences, and Uncle Sam's bad image

Former President Bill Clinton, speaking about economic growth to an audience in the Philippines, makes a remarkable statement:  "You have a huge population, which is a positive..."  A large resident population is the key to economic growth. Yes, statistical data will bear...

the spiritual combat

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...

Changing Education Paradigms

You might appreciate this extremely clever video. I know that our local Catholic Montessorians enjoyed it very much. RSA Animate adapted it from a talk given by Sir Ken Robinson. I'm not familiar with the further work of either entity, but I very much appreciated this particular piece...and...

The USCCB: News from the Front

I was reluctant to go beyond expressing a simple hope that Bishop Gerald Kicanas would be passed over for President of the USCCB. After all, there has been nothing but confusion surrounding the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) in Chicago since I boldly predicted that Fr. Larry...

'preventive' medicine, continued

We’ve already noticed the drive by Planned Parenthood to have abortion recognized as a form of “preventive medicine,” thus qualifying the procedure for Obamacare subsidies. The implicit premise is that pregnancy is a disease. There are several things wrong with that...

The US bishops' shocking vote: no more 'business as usual'

The election of Archbishop Timothy Dolan as president of the US bishops’ conference might be regarded, years from now, as a watershed moment in the long campaign to restore the credibility of the American hierarchy. The “business as usual” approach pointed clearly toward the...

not too moderate

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...

pastors need not apply

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...

Basic Truths?

Archbishop Rowan Williams recently commented on the basic truths of Christianity. In a recent interview on Vatican Radio concerning the new Anglican Ordinariate, the head of the Anglican Communion had this to say about the differences that divide Christians: Christians are drawn closer together...

Theological Fidelity

The late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, founding editor of First Things, famously said that the solution to priestly sex abuse was threefold: “Fidelity, fidelity, and fidelity.” His point (among other examples of fidelity) was that if priests were faithful to their calling, they...

What the Pope really said about condom use

There are dozens of misleading stories abroad already, about a statement Pope Benedict made in a lengthy interview. Unfortunately, there will be many more misleading comments, based on these inaccurate first reports.  Did the Pope really say that condom use is sometimes justified? No; that's...

The Pope, the Condom, and the Elephant

We’ve been paying close attention to the reports of Pope Benedict’s comments regarding the use of condoms in certain special circumstances (see What the Pope really said about condom use). Among sound Catholic commentators, Janet Smith and Jimmy Akin were the first to weigh in, and...

The Vatican newspaper has betrayed the Pope

Pope Benedict has not changed the Church’s teachings, or even intimated that they might be subject to change. The Holy Father has not called for a new debate on the morality of contraception. He has not suggested that condom use might sometimes be morally justifiable. Yet today millions of...

Yet another Vatican PR debacle

Today millions of people have the impression-- a completely inaccurate impression--  that Pope Benedict has signaled a change in the Church's teaching on the morality of condom use.  How did this happen? I think the lion's share of the blame falls on the Vatican's own newspaper,...

a star is born

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...

The Pope's message turned upside-down

Today, what the world thinks Pope Benedict said is almost exactly the opposite of what he clearly intended. In Chapter 11 of his new book, Light of the World, Pope Benedict mounts a strong defense of his argument that condom use is not the appropriate means of fighting the AIDS epidemic. This...

In Peril of Being Wrong

The one thing I dread most as a writer on Catholic issues is the possibility of taking an incorrect position, and so leading others astray. I have no doubt that I have expressed one thing or another incorrectly in the past, introducing a weak or fallacious argument, getting my facts wrong, or...

Should the Pope clarify his remarks? He already did.

 Amid the furor about the Pope’s statement on condom use, perhaps you’re asking why the Holy Father didn’t say something clear and unequivocal. Why didn’t he condemn the drive to accept recreational sex, and rely on condoms for safety? Why didn’t he say something...

In Peril II: The Amazon Connection

Yesterday’s In Depth Analysis (In Peril of Being Wrong) explored reader complaints about my exposition of the Church’s position on contraception. Another type of problem, which surfaced around the same time, is represented by our connection with Amazon, which some readers have argued...

Why haven't you heard about THIS papal quote?

If you want to drum up controversy on the basis of one quote pulled out of the Pope's book-length interview Light of the World, how about this one, found on page 152: Homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation. Unlike the now-famous quotation about condom use, this sentence...

let me count the ways

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...

Maybe he's just shy

 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....

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