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All Catholic commentary from March 2007

miraculously marvelous ME

Boston College recently hosted a panel discussion titled "Called to Be Catholic: Practices that Nourish Women's Spirituality." Alumna Kate Carter shared. [Carter] referenced author Sue Monk Kidd's idea of the "feminine wound," which asserts that merely being born female puts women at a...

Vision Book Cover Prints

Unexpected Riches

One late summer’s day in 1997, A. J. “Sandy” Mackinnon borrowed a derelict dinghy from the sailing club at the English school where he had just finished his sixth year of teaching. His plan was to row and sail a score or so miles down the Severn River. Over a year later, in the same Mirror dinghy,...

a leader in a time of scandal

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...

yes, minister

Maurice Child's application was refused on the grounds, it was said, that in his interview with the Chaplain-General he was asked what he would do for a dying man, and answered: 'Hear his confession and give him absolution.' The correct answer was: 'Give him a cigarette and take any last message...

everything you have to lose

St. Cecilia's Abbey is a convent of contemplative Benedictine nuns (connected with the Solesmes congregation) located on the Isle of Wight, south of Portsmouth, England. A website gives a history of the foundation and a glimpse of the monastic life. It's obvious from the start that these gals...

conflict of interest

An 83-year-old Jesuit priest named James Jacobson is being sued by children whom he sired in the 1960s while a missionary in Alaska. Accused of fathering as many as five, Jacobson admits his relations with several women but disputes the nature of the contact. From the Anchorage Daily...

Pacifists, Ecologists and Ecumenists: Antichrist at Work

The retired Archbishop of Bologna, Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, says the Antichrist presents himself as a “pacifist, ecologist, and ecumenist.” He said this in the Lenten Retreat he finished preaching on March 3rd to Benedict XVI and the leaders of the Roman Curia. After the final session, the Pope...

Better Late than Never Dept.

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---...

self-indulgence and spiritual harm

Salt Lake City's Monsignor Robert Bussen has made it a project to address the particular affective needs of Monsignor Robert Bussen the marginalized: Father Bob, as everyone calls him, knew the Catholic Church had little credibility with gays, given its opposition to same-sex marriage and the...

Falling into the Pit

I didn't have Archbishop Anders Wejryd in mind when I wrote my column interpreting Cardinal Biffi's comments on pacifists, ecologists and ecumenists. (Biffi used these "ists" as examples of how the Antichrist manifests himself in our times.) No, Archbishop Wejryd, the head of the Swedish Lutheran...

don't ask me, pal, i just work here

Via Gerald Augustinus: Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony takes advantage of the Religious Ed Confab for an on-line chat with adults. The arch-evangelist in action: Moderator: From Denny: Why can only men become priests, and not women?Cardinal Mahony: The moderator has better answers than I do...

relaxation at last

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...

kissling's cousins

"The Catholic right is uglier and meaner than anyone on the religious right, worse than the Falwells and Robertsons," said Kissling, who stepped down as president of the organization March 1. "The viciousness of the [William] Donohues, the Deal Hudsons, the George Weigels and the [Fr.] Richard...

any way they can both lose?

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...

nambla-pambla

Now here's a Thinking Catholic who knows his Crit Legal Theory. Multiple pederast and former L.A. priest Michael Baker is claiming California's foul lines are skewed in favor of right-handed hitters: A former Roman Catholic priest said in court Wednesday that the rights of homosexuals have...

What Women Really Want

In order to preserve our sexual liberties, our legal and medical establishments have striven mightily to keep the nature and consequences of abortion from being widely known. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the consistent refusal of abortion clinics to provide full information on the...

numbers game

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...

no news

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...

Comparing Ghettos

Well, here’s something I have an opinion on. Recent news stories have highlighted the criticism by German bishops of Israeli treatment of Palestinians. Some bishops have made reference to their own country's history in voicing their concerns. The uproar among Jewish leaders has been so great...

trust me

Yanked back from Australia, where he went on the lam after an extended vacation, Fr. Francis Guinan of the Diocese of Palm Beach is facing charges that he and his fellow priest Fr. John Skehan fleeced their parish of more than $8 million. Assisted by remarkably complaisant bookkeepers -- one of...

oversight

A recent editorial by the National Catholic Reporter on financial auditing of parishes concludes with the following point: Transparency is essential to the health of the community. Your Uncle Di couldn't agree more. The Left's commitment to the process of auditing does have limits,...

decisions ...

"Remind me -- why do we want it to die?" A perplexed young woman at the For Choice blog is uncertain about her ... catechism ... and solicits readers' help for a "more rounded view" of the issue. I am strongly pro-choice; I believe a woman should be able to terminate a pregnancy no matter how...

that voice inside

The folks who brought you Brokeback Lent in 2006 are at it again, helping the faithful orient themselves spiritually for the season ahead. You'll want to take careful notes from this year's Ash Wednesday Sermon, which includes learning of a sort you're unlikely to find, e.g., in the papal...

Wisdom: The Fruit of Maturity

I’m now old enough to be ready to reject the culture of youth. I was struck again by the limitations of youth when I was helping a high school junior with a school paper on the liberal arts this past weekend. The difficulty he had conceptualizing the rather abstract categories required for the...

who he?

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...

Scientific Morality?

More evidence of the ills of the scientific establishment comes from Paolo De Coppi, an Italian expert in stem cell research. De Coppi claims that it took him seven years to get a paper published on his extensive experimental evidence that stem cells derived from amniotic fluid are more promising...

the night cometh

You're standing in the room, and the woman is on the table, and the vacuum aspirator is turned on. The doctor goes in her body, and then there is that point where they turn the aspirator on, and you see the look on the face of that woman. The absolute awareness of every person in the room at that...

beware the comfort zone

"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...

hit count

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...

right, proper, reasonable, inaccessible

There's an interesting discussion bouncing around the blogs concerning a faulty rendering of a word in the English translation of Pope Benedict's apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist -- a fault that, in the circumstances, is just a little too tendentious to be accidental. It concerns the...

a sower went out to sow ...

Maledictus XVI, reads the badge brandished by the chap in the photo above. He's punning, of course, on the Latin moniker of Pope Benedictus, telling us he's "Accursed" instead of "Blessed." Pretty much par for the course. The shtick was part of a demonstration held in...

di to the defense

Yes, it's a sad incident recounted below. But in this case, the head man is innocent: (CBS) LOS ANGELES. A woman severely burned when her skirt caught fire while she was praying near a statue of a Catholic saint can seek punitive damages against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, a judge...

metaphysician hunt?

From Duxbury, Massachusetts, home of America's first squeezable contact lens wetting solution container, comes ... I'm not sure what: Dr. Kendra, that is, is it not, a Roman collar ...? Reverend Dr. Kendra Vaughan Hovey is the founding Elder High Priestess and Metaphysician of the First...

for your child's benefit

From the online Cultural Diversity in Nursing Bibliography, a synopsis of the children's video A Peacock in the Land of Penguins: Based on the book by Barbara Hateley and Warren Schmidt. Perry the peacock, his co-workers, the penguins, learn diversity in the workplace. I'll just bet they...

a question of emphasis

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...

Contraception: Why It's Wrong

The recent debate over contraception between Fr. Thomas Euteneuer of Human Life International and nationally syndicated talk-show host Sean Hannity has brought to center stage an issue which most Americans—and most Catholics—simply do not understand. Let’s review what’s wrong with...

The Case of Billionaire Fred Nassiri

Fred Nassiri immigrated to the United States from Iran in 1962 at the age of 20 and went on to become a fashion magnate who is one of America’s largest wholesalers of designer labels. He is now a billionaire, but a billionaire with a difference. It seems that Nassiri, despite his material...

hugs all around

Mark Steyn writes about his baffling experience with NPR and other lefty talk radio call-ins. The problem isn't battling contrary opinions, but fanning away the emotional vapor so as to find an opinion solid enough to battle: As a lady called Kay put it: "We have a lot of work to do then so...

The nightmare of religious belief

Diogenes has commented before on the strangely unchallenged habit of atheists, liberals, and devotees of scientism to reserve to themselves the position of final arbiters of true opinion – of the grounds of true opinion. As Uncle Di rightly points out, a simple commitment to studying history, let...

the australian regrets

Ouch. The Tablet reports that Australia's newest archbishop submitted to a national newspaper a book review (to make matters worse, a review of Dawkins' The God Delusion) that contained passages apparently pinched from the LRB: Embarrassing similarities have been found between an article...

let a hundred flowers bloom ...

... provided they're the same shade of pansy. Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori took the highly unusual step Thursday of invalidating the election of a bishop in the tradition-minded Diocese of South Carolina, which has rejected her authority because of her liberal...

Restoring the Sacred

If Italy has become a vast museum, it is a museum with artifacts that many still care about. A case in point is the St. Nicolo Cathedral in Noto, Sicily, which collapsed in 1996 after an earthquake had weakened the structure six months earlier. Noto is a lovely town on the southern slopes of...

nothing to see here, folks

Thanks be to God, we can now speak about HIV-AIDS as an illness that is indiscriminate in its reach and impact. Relax. He didn't mean it. That's Archbishop Wilton Gregory speaking, and his emotions, in this case, out-sprinted his diction. He wanted to express his satisfaction at the...

remember me as loving you

Via James Taranto: the gospel of inclusivity summons its bouncer to pitch out insubordinate obstacles to a hate-free community. A group devoted to social tolerance has been accused of being intolerant. The finger-pointing came after an altercation occurred at a meeting for the Fremont Alliance...

laetare

Part of the background to a puff piece on the ordination of a married Anglican convert for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles: In the 12th century, when the Catholic Church adopted a celibacy requirement, it was as much about protecting property as it was committing priestly intimacy to God, said...

mourning becomes mcbrien

Now this is a collector's item: Father Richard McBrien in sky-high dudgeon, indignantly defending the value of doctrinal unity. How did that come about? Because it concerns doctrinal unity in the Anglican Church, of course! First, the storm of controversy within Anglicanism should at least...

the parable of the Good Predator

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...

the planet

and me. James Massola: Did you ever think that Robert Drinan S.J., might have had the right idea -- a 'top down' approach -- he entered Congress, put forward a motion to dismiss Nixon, spent ten years there, was a visible person on the Hill. Do you ever think you should have done something...

Powerful Intercession

The postulator for the cause of Pope John Paul II has reported that many miracles attributed to the great pope's intercession have been submitted from Russia, including several cases dramatic enough to be formally studied by physicians. This is not surprising, and it matches the experience of many...

gotta love a good lawyer

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...

"Jesus can handle it."

"There's a lot of polarity in the Church," notes the U.S. Catholic, and it interviews Fr. Ron Rolheiser on the subject. "Whether as president of a seminary," we're told, "where the younger, more conservative students clash with older, more liberal faculty, or as a speaker, columnist, and author,...

Abortifacient Contraception?

I am indebted to several readers who responded to my column on contraception by pointing out that not all contraception is what it claims to be. Many abortifacient products are marketed as “contraceptives”. These products change the nature of the moral case. When I spoke of contraception as...

remarks on the gospel according to judas

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...

discord

The NCR's Chuck Colbert "reports" (if I may abuse the word) on Gregory Maguire and Andy Newman, a gay couple raising a family in Concord, Massachusetts. It...

my lawyers ate my homework

Stung by the LA Times article calling attention to differences in the description of a videotape submitted to the Vatican (for one purpose) and to the general public (for another), the Archdiocese of Los Angeles issues a protest: The Cardinal didn't do it: his lawyers did! The Tuesday, March...

titters

Judas poured scorn on the writer who claimed that he had seen Jesus walk on water, and another who suggested that while at a wedding feast in Cana he had watched the Master turn water into wine. These things never happened he declared.-- The Gospel According to Judas, p. 87. News reports now...

The Universality of Truth

Truth, of course, is the mind’s conformity with reality. It is hard to see why our age has difficulty with such an elementary concept. All falsehoods, including all forms of relativism, are simply mental deviations from reality. Within this proper understanding, there are still many aspects of...

bishops black-flag maguire

The First of April is nine days away; the following is not a prank. The USCCB's Committee on Doctrine has acted in defense of Catholic teaching: On June 19, 2006, Professor Daniel Maguire of Marquette University sent two pamphlets to all of the Catholic Bishops in the United States, one...

Crank up that rumor mill!

Last (Thursday) night, the Holy Father met with Cardinal Francis Arinze, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship; and Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the president of the Ecclesia Dei commission. If you had to guess why the Holy Father would want to have a discussion with these two...

form criticism

Fr. Francis Moloney, S.D.B.: This is a very significant question, Michael, because unfortunately the modern reader picks up a Gospel and reads it as if it were a 21st century history book, and this does a grave injustice to the text because never in the mind of the original authors were these...

How Traditionalists and Modernists Are Alike

An old saw reminds us that no matter which side of the barque of Peter we fall off of, we’ll drown. Port or starboard, left or right: the result is the same. That’s why both traditionalists and modernists are drowning in the same sea. Paradoxically, despite being mortal enemies, they are drowning...

c.s. lewis: hard words for dissenting priests

Excerpt of an address to clergy given at Carmarthen, Wales, Easter, 1945 (from God in the Dock). It is your duty to fix the lines [of doctrine] clearly in your minds: and if you wish to go beyond them you must change your profession. This is your duty not specially as Christians or as priests...

pulp it!

Christopher Howse reviews the Archer-Moloney Gospel According to Judas in the current Tablet (print edition). Reading between the lines, one can plausibly infer that Howse does not consider the book a triumph: The authors' narrative is interspersed by gospel quotations, picked out in red...

what a roman catholic is not

A retired professor of philosophy speaks to the question of conscience. But of course we do need to discriminate between mistaken and valid teachings of the magisterium. Well, no. If the magisterium is mistaken about teaching A, it has ceased, per omnia saecula saeculorum, to be a...

hit the road, jon.

Ignatius Loyola is a model of Jesuit integrity. Ignatius Loyola ran afoul of the Inquisition. But Jon Sobrino ran afoul of the Inquisition. ERGO, Jon Sobrino is a model of Jesuit integrity. That's...

faint tappings

A Chicago Sun-Times story about a family decimated by drunk drivers begins with the following three paragraphs: In court documents, the victim is referred to as "the fetus." But to Eileen Simmons of Aurora, she is baby Addison -- her beautiful, perfectly formed great-granddaughter who died in a...

mahony & the invisible video, again

I'd like to focus more closely on the curious case of Cardinal Mahony's two accounts (or, if you prefer, Cardinal Mahony's account in contrast with his lawyers' account) of the mystery video found in the room of child-abuser Fr. Lynn Caffoe at the rectory of St. Bede's Church in La Canada,...

entre nous

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice stands by one, and only one, dogma: If it's just between a woman and her god, what difference does it make what her religion...

rapes easy

The New York Times, I mean. The following appeared in an "Editor's Note" in Sunday's paper: The cover article in The Times Magazine on March 18 reported on women who served in Iraq, the sexual abuse that some of them endured and the struggle for all of them to reclaim their prewar lives. One...

wasteland

The Times of London reports that Germany is implementing an old Catholic idea to counter an ancient but newly troublesome problem: Desperate mothers are being urged to drop their unwanted babies through hatches at hospitals in an effort to halt a spate of infanticides that has shocked Germany....

subsidizing damage

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...

An Institute for Priestly Formation

I may be the last to know, but I wasn’t aware of the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University until I saw it profiled in the March 2007 issue of Inside the Vatican. The IPF is a very bright light on the horizon of priestly ministry in the United States. The Institute for...

It's quiz time

Class, pay attention! The news article headline reads as follows: Gay-Rights Activists Arrested After Sit-In at Seminary Now, which seminary is it? (a) Mount St. Mary's Seminary Emmitsburg, MD (b) University of St. Mary of the Lake (Mundelein Seminary) (c) St....

higher

In the NCR (subscriber-only content), a Jesuit professor of humanities reviews the state of his religious order. Since St. Ignatius Loyola and six fellow students declared themselves "friends in the Lord," and took vows in a Paris chapel in 1534, the Society of Jesus has faced two great crises...

the four-square gospel

The Rev. Thomas Gaisford was Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, from 1831 to 1855, and an accomplished classical scholar. The coda of his famous Christmas sermon at Christ Church Cathedral is notable for capturing -- indelibly, if inadvertently -- the world-view of the entire social class to which he...

The Obligatory Nature of Truth

Here comes that “truth” business again. I’ve been using Proverbs for spiritual reading lately, with the assistance of the excellent pastoral commentary available in the Navarre Bible. Chapter 19 verse 9 says: “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who utters lies will perish.” The...

bad conscience & the persistence of memory

Luther surely spoke very good sense when he compared humanity to a drunkard who, after falling off his horse on the right, falls off it next time on the left.-- C.S. Lewis OTR made recent mention of Jody Bottum's First Things article on the emergence in the U.S. of a "thin" Catholic culture and...

for a rainy day

Bishop Anthony Pilla took early retirement from the Diocese of Cleveland last year for health reasons he declined to specify, having filed amended tax returns under pressure. The Diocese is claiming his disputed bank account wasn't secret and wasn't misused. The Anthony M. Pilla Charitable...

justify my margins

This from Jonathan Rauch, writing in the current Atlantic: The battle lines appeared to have been drawn for a national culture war, waged by extremes of left and right over the heads of a marginalized center. A marginalized center? When a metaphor is that far out of control, you know the...

Hi, I'm Gerry, and I'll be your presider this morning!

The body of a murdered Polish student, 23-year-old Angelika Kluk, was found buried under the floor of St. Patrick's Church in Glasgow. The church's pastor, 66-year-old Father Gerry Nugent, claims to have had a sexual liaison with Kluk. Another man has been charged with her murder. From the...

HE can't be my ex-wife!

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...

Incorporation into the Sacred Mysteries

The Episcopal Diocese of Albany has just announced that Bishop Daniel Herzog entered the Catholic Church shortly after his retirement at the end of January. One can only imagine how much Holy Week will mean to Bishop Herzog this year. For the first time, the sacred mysteries in which he...

the deity that won't stay dead

Non-Theistic Liturgy is an idea -- or is it a non-idea? -- whose time has come. At least so the scholars that make up the Non-Theistic Liturgy Resources Working Group would have us believe. Or not believe. Anxious to protect a good faith atheism against doubts of doubt, the Working Group...

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