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All Catholic commentary from February 2006

Liberal Diplomacy and the Church

On January 30th in Washington D.C. the New America Foundation held an event titled “The Real State of the Union Address: A No-Nonsense Assessment of U.S. Foreign Policy and Call to Action”. One of the panelists at the event was Wendy R. Sherman, a former Clinton advisor during his...

Vision Book Cover Prints

great moments in Church history (Detroit section)

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...

suffering for the fiction

Lefty Catholics have been strangely gleeful over the kybosh given the theory of limbo -- strangely, that is, given their embrace of Karl Rahner's notion of the Anonymous Christian, which serves as a kind of bedtime stuffed animal for thumb-sucking theologians. In recent decades, of course,...

Bad Habits: a Jesuit on the Deformation of the Liturgy

Maryland Province Jesuit Father Vincent Capuano has a provocative essay in the Adoremus Bulletin called "Bad Habits: Can we correct liturgical abuse in religious communities?" The topic has much broader impact than the title suggests. It's definitely worth a read. "In religious houses," says...

"I thank thee, Lord, that I am not as other men ..."

Nice line by Wilfrid McClay, from On The Square: We are all too aware of how the righteous hatred of hatred can degenerate into an even more poisonous and manipulable form of hate, precisely because it is insulated from self-examination by its own sense of righteousness....

avoiding Oprah's wrath

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...

at the flicks with the friars

Brokeback Mountain, as you all know, tells the story of a young Belgian nun (Audrey Hepburn) sent to a Congolese mission hospital, where she has a seconal-induced dream about two bisexual drovers who spend their holidays trading paint in the Wyoming altiplano. Disgusted, she relates the...

everybody loves roger

Cardinal Roger Mahony has been in the forefront of ensuring the safety of parishes and parish schools through the establishment of the Office of Safeguard the Children and the adoption of rigorous archdiocesan policies. Cardinal Roger Mahony in the forefront? Sez who? Well, Cardinal Roger...

the Dismayed Catholics file

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...

the learning curve, cont.

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...

Higher Finance

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...

Stop the Presses: Hans Küng Speaks!

Dissident theologian Hans Küng has read Benedict XVI’s first encyclical and found it “respectable”. We are so pleased. We had feared a bad review. For his part, Küng had feared Pope Benedict’s first effort might reveal the Catholic hang-up on human sexuality which Küng has opposed for three...

secondaries

Commonweal has its knickers in a twist over Fr. Richard Neuhaus's "Gays in the Priesthood." Weigel's "Truce of 1968" is a neoconservative myth, akin to the notion that a lack of American resolve lost Vietnam or that Ronald Reagan's principled belligerence ended the cold war. The idea that...

The Cacaphony of Life

It is nine-fifteen in the evening, and I finally have some quiet time to reflect and write. Or maybe not. My teenaged son, an aspiring musician, has just decided to start his piano practicing for the day. Earlier there was a lull in the general commotion, so I got my spiritual reading in when I...

prayer, fasting, and politics

"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...

and here's another thing to worry about

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...

stoking the fires with the Danish cartoons

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...

safety first on Boston's sidewalks

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...

just what San Francisco needs

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...

bad enough

Spokane's Jesuit university is displaying a spirit of lexical innovation in the basketball arena that some faculty have deemed "inappropriate," according to this AP story: Fans of No. 5 Gonzaga have been asked to stop yelling "Brokeback Mountain" at opposing players. The...

Building a Catholic Action Plan for Reform

Among the concerns of many Catholics across the world is how to faithfully deal with a bishop who manages his diocese in a manner that undermines or offers little support to the teachings of the Church or its disciplines and norms. Many Catholics feel called to action, but nearly as many feel that...

mocha smiles

Bishop Richard Sklba does Cartagena, Colombia, and generously shares with us the insights he brought back to Milwaukee: In the course of my six daily visits to Saint Peter Claver's tomb, I gradually began to understand how infected we are as Americans by the constant presumption of unearned...

never say never

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...

blame the messenger

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...

"As Perfect Sacrifices go, Father, that was pretty bad."

A couple weeks ago I linked to Fr. Vincent Capuano, S.J.'s excellent article on liturgical abuse in religious communities, which appeared in the Adoremus Bulletin. Capuano's analysis is principally focused on the liturgical celebrant, on the complex mixture of motives in response to which the...

a teachable moment

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...

deathbed testament

Another outstanding Successor of the Apostles casts a discerning eye on the pastoral necessities of the faithful and decides that what they really need is ... sterility. Encouraged by Pope Benedict's encyclical on love, a Roman Catholic bishop and a group of Christian intellectuals in France...

semper fi

In spite of sizable political and cultural obstacles, Australia has a Minister of Health who is a Catholic, and whose Catholic convictions gave him the gumption to block approval of the abortion pill RU486. According to the NCR's John Allen, it looked like the good guys had their act together for...

The Shanley Monologues: Words Have Meaning

Student organizers at Providence College wanted to perform The Vagina Monologues as part of the V-Day effort to raise funds for organizations working to end violence against women. Providence College President Brian Shanley uttered something of a monologue in response, beginning with the word...

conformity, and its rewards

Notre Dame's new president John Jenkins recently strayed past the liberal toddler gate by suggesting an institutional reappraisal of the Vagina Monologues. I thought his remarks overly cautious, but judging from the reaction, you'd think he'd lynched Desmond Tutu or had been caught torturing...

the comfort of ritual

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...

skepticism -- or, how a parricide eats his young

Homilists, though normally timid herbivores, tend to charge when wounded. Stung by having been put on waivers by the Holy See, Thomas Gumbleton in his latest offering sinks his dentures into the Gospel of Mark (1:41). The result isn't pretty: To know Jesus in today's Gospel requires us to...

Prayers at the Foot of the Altar

From the Missale Nonoxynolense (Redondo Beach: 2009), translated from the demotic Californian by Sr. Marie-Eugénie de l'Assomption, SL. I come to the coffee-table of the Lord   To God who gives joy to my youth.Plows are tacky, but I love a beaten sword;   So strum...

dinkum et iustum est

A group of 1970s-vintage Australian Lefty Catholics delated Cardinal George Pell to the CDF for dissenting from the doctrine on the Primacy of Conscience as expounded by Saint Robert of Mapplethorpe. Spokesbeing Frank Purcell accused the Archbishop of Sydney of fostering an "Eichmann mentality,"...

one of the saddest days of his excellency's life

Springfield-Cape Girardeau Bishop John Leibrecht tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of his efforts to prevent Fr. Marek Bozek from jumping ship to join the St. Stan's schismatics: The 75-year-old Leibrecht said he feels a "personal betrayal" in Bozek's decision. On the morning Bozek gave...

God Is Love: From Philosophy to Action

By now you’re either well into Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est or you’re very likely to let it slip entirely. For those who might not get to it—or who may wonder if they should—let me summarize the encyclical. In the process, I’ll explain why there are parts of this...

help wanted

From the classified ads section in the NCR: WORSHIP COORDINATOR -- Sisters IHM seeks qualified person to serve as Worship Coordinator for a congregation of women religious. Duties: direction and vision of liturgical and spiritual events in the Motherhouse through fidelity to the IHM community’s...

So who's not on the list?

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...

he's a victim!

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...

Nearer My God to Thee

McDonough and Bianchi's sympathetic sociological study of American Jesuits, published in 2002 and titled Passionate Uncertainty, found the contemporary Society of Jesus to be an association of talented but directionless bachelors. They wrote: What has come close to disappearing is the...

when good news is bad news

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...

Europe's suicide

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...

return to sender?

The Irish Independent is reporting that "informed Vatican sources" say that Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who was passed over for a red hat this week, is headed for Rome to take up "a senior position in the Curia." The 60-year-old Dubliner is considered to be in line to head one of two...

make that medium-rare

There's no such thing as a bad abortion, in the view of the über-feminist Katha Pollitt, and she doesn't hide her alarm and disgust with those of her comrades who are sweetening their language for reasons of political expediency: The trouble with thinking in terms of zero abortions is that you...

'twas brillig

Fr. Tom Reese, S.J., former editor of America magazine, takes his vorpal blade in hand and sets out to slay the Bandersnatch: Myth: Homosexuality caused the abuse crisis. Fact: No one knows the exact percentage of priests who are homosexual. Well, it's a "fact" that Pierre is the capital of...

what went wrong?

Newsweek scratches its reportorial scalp and tries to figure out why support for Roe v Wade is slipping. It seems too many folks, alas, are still hung up on the moral issues at stake: The pro-life movement has done an effective job of showing that a fetus is not just a "blob of tissue," says...

looking for God in the "winter period"

Bill Cork alerts us to an article in Commonweal by Lawrence Cunningham titled "Catholic Spirituality: What Does It Mean Today?" In spite of a couple sour toss-aways, it's a fairly balanced look at the resurgence in Catholic piety in its manifold forms. Cunningham uses "spirituality" in a broad...

Le trou de gloire est arrivé, eh?

They're faithful priests, except where they're not. A group of Canadian clergy with what are euphemistically called "ecclesiological problems" has nailed the Jolly Roger to the mast: In an unusual public dissent with their leaders, 19 Quebec Roman Catholic priests published yesterday an open...

on the verge of panic

The Supreme Court today ruled that federal extortion and racketeering laws cannot be used to ban demonstrations at abortion clinics. It was an 8-0 decision, in which Justice Alito did not participate. As if in anticipation of the ruling, U.S.A Today ran a breathlessly alarmist editorial yesterday...

Fr. Potato Head

A friend alerts me to the link in seattlecatholic.com to this brilliant piece of editorializing by Fr. – excuse me – the Very Reverend Thomas Faucher in the Idaho Statesman. Father takes the opportunity to broaden his audience from the usual Sunday Mass crowd at St. Mary’s to let us know...

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