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All Catholic commentary from April 2003

details

The manager of a Catholic diocesan newspaper resigned recently when auditors discovered that the paper's bookkeeper had embezzled funds. The weekly newspaper's editor, Steve Paradis of Longwood, a 12-year employee, was not involved in any wrongdoing, said Carol Brinati, a spokeswoman for the...

Lord, who sinned?

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...

self-appointed watchdogs

"Theologically naive students now act as self-appointed watchdogs of orthodoxy," complains the National Coalition of American Nuns. The Catholic League consists of "self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy," a Commonweal editorial declares. Newsday editorial board member Bob Keeler fulminates...

Whaddaya mean, "self-appointed??

If you're baptized and confirmed, what more "appointment" do you...

Watered-down Scripture readings

We're at the height of the spring flaw. The melting snow is rolling down the hill-- right through the fieldstone walls of my basement. The sump pump is working all day. I have to keep checking the water level, to make sure the furnace isn't getting wet. Then I go to Mass, trying to keep my mind...

America's newest bishop

"I'm going to crack some heads," the newly appointed bishop said, when asked how he would deal with sex-abuse allegations. "Let me tell you, all those pansies at the seminary better start packing their bags right now, because when I get there..." APRIL FOOL! No, of course it never happened....

prelatic punditry

Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, who last June compared American journalists to Nero, Diocletian, Stalin, and Hitler, now says that "frightening economic interests" are behind the war. "The true motives for this conflict," he opines, "are already emerging, and there are frightening...

Diocesan attorneys hand over files

Acting well in advance of a court-imposed deadline, diocesan lawyers released all files associated with the sex-abuse allegations. "If there's anything else they want, they only need to ask us," said diocesan spokesman... APRIL...

Tainted money

The Boston archdiocese has refused to accept a donation from Voice of the Faithful because-- if the Boston Globe story is accurate-- the group is interfering with archdiocesan fundraising. OK, I admit I'm confused. If I offer to give you money, how does that interfere with your ability to...

Guilty as charged

When pressed to explain his earlier statement, the bishop responded, "I lied." APRIL FOOL! It never happened, of course. During the past year, dozens of bishops have testified under oath, and been asked to explain discrepancies in their public statements. Not one has ever confessed, simply,...

taking the high road

Kentucky priest Fr. James Sichko has dropped the defamation suit he'd brought against a layman responsible for a website on which Sichko was accused of being "actively involved in the homosexual culture that exists in Lexington." Sichko's decision earned praise from newly installed Bishop Ronald...

Shameless Plug Dept.

The Italian monthly magazine Jesus reports that the Pope's coming encyclical on the Eucharist has been a badly kept secret, with several Roman news agencies reporting on it before the official Vatican announcement. But Jesus mentions one news organization in particular for its coverage, and it...

Take a ticket; get in line

The Diocese of San Bernardino has filed suit against the Boston archdiocese, because Boston chancery officials didn't warn their California counterparts about the track record of the infamous Rev. Paul Shanley. No doubt the lawyers are happy about the new lawsuit. Insurance companies are...

More on Boston vs. VOTF

From today's Boston Herald Moreover, Lennon has definitively ordered Catholic Charities to turn the money down, a spokesman said. The reason for the order is that Voice of the Faithful, by raising money for charitable work independent of the archdiocese, is driving a wedge between the bishop...

re: Bishop vs. VOTF

To be fair, Diogenes, I think the Boston Herald oversimplified a bit. What the archdiocesan spokesman implied was that by encouraging Boston Catholics to boycott the Cardinal's appeal and instead give to the VOTF Fund so that they could attach strings to it, VOTF is making itself a middleman...

Cardinal Mahony's idea of cooperation

And now for something completely different: The Los Angeles archdiocese is trying to withhold confidential files from prosecutors in a sex-abuse inquiry. The arguments raised by archdiocesean lawyers are roughly the same as the ones rejected by Massachusetts judges when the Boston archdiocese...

so sue me

"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...

the latest from Our Lady's university

As reported in today's news bytes, the University of Notre Dame is conferring its highest award upon Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, the longtime Commonweal editor and defender of dissent from Humanae Vitae (see the second news byte link). No informed Catholic should be surprised. Still, why not...

When a bishop sues a bishop...

Thus far, the Boston archdiocese has always asked courts to throw out sex-abuse lawsuits, on free-exercise-of-religion grounds. How would that argument play out in the lawsuit brought by the Diocese of San...

crimes against humanity: then and now

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...

sentimental in Seattle

In a remarkable display of ecumenical sensitivity, the Archdiocese of Seattle has banned the singing of "The Old Rugged Cross," the hymn composed by the Methodist minister George Bennard in 1913. The reason? Are Seattle liturgists suddenly inflamed with zeal for Gregorian chant and sacred...

News Bytes

Whatever you do, don't miss our "News Bytes" section today. There, all in one place, is as thorough a collection of war-related news and analysis as you can find anywhere. Tell your friends: You can browse the internet yourself, checking all the news sites, or you can just read News Bytes...

Avoiding the obvious

From today's Boston Globe: There is substantial documentary evidence that, at the time of his transfer, Boston church leaders knew Shanley had spoken favorably about sexual relations between men and boys, but it was not clear whether they also knew about child abuse accusations. But it...

What if...

Listening to the denial of reality in the press conferences of the Iraqi information minister (not unlike the press conferences of some US bishops), I was struck with wondering what a similar press conference would sound like, perhaps the press conference of Sauron's information minister after the...

Shame!

Rod Dreher in National Review's The Corner relates this email he received from a reader: "I'm writing to relay a story from my mother-in-law who lives in El Paso, Texas. As you might know El Paso is home to Fort Bliss where some of our POW's were stationed. Well due to the shortage of priests at...

a missed opportunity

Twenty years ago today, the Holy Father issued a remarkable letter, now largely forgotten, to the bishops of the United States on the state of religious life in our country. After recalling the praiseworthy deeds of religious from colonial times (and noting that the Church in the U.S. was...

So far away...

Iraqi (Dis)Information Minister Mohammed Sayid al-Sahhaf insists that as of April 3-- which, we should notice, is well after April Fool's Day-- US forces are "not within 100 miles" of Baghdad. Hmmm. Interesting. But just to give credit where credit is due, if they're not within 100 miles,...

Global what?

Official records through the end of March show that this winter was the coldest in Massachusetts in over 60 years. Today it's snowing here; we had to scrape the ice off the car this morning. What was that you were saying about global...

isn't she cute?

When the news broke that the rape of female cadets had become nearly as commonplace at the Air Force Academy as midterms or maneuvers, it came as a shock to most Americans accustomed to thinking of the service colleges as bastions of the very best. So writes Newsweek columnist Anna Quindlen in...

Force of law, law of force

Archbishop ("There is no such thing as a just war") Martino's successor as the Holy See's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Archbishop Migliore, has told that unprophetic organization that we need "the force of law and not the law of force." I do not know if Dennis Kucinich is...

Quite a turnaround

Wasn't it just last year that Cardinal Mahony of LA was castigating Cardinal Law for failing to open his files and cooperate with authorities and that if he had been guilty of that kind of coverup he'd resign his office? Just yesterday the state of California passed legislation that stalls the...

Acceptable risks?

Maybe you already saw the story mentioned in our News Bytes: Cancer researchers have found evidence that women who use birth-control pills for a decade apparently double their risk of contracting cervical cancer. Remember the artificial sweeteners called cyclamates? About 30 years ago,...

Committed to Scripture

"We're Christians -- we're Nicene Christians, we're creedal Christians, we're orthodox Christians..." Culture war veterans will reflexively stiffen at the words, recognizing that, whoever this speaker may be, whatever his agenda, he wants to rob us of our inheritance. The verbal chloroform is...

ars longa

gaily rises I me mind melted ice and imprisoned inners freed gaily rises me guilt as me mind awoke and passions receded you gaily splash about in these rising torrents... a tear joyfully falls in ecstasy drifting down my cheek to your lips and as they meet and fuse Edified?...

LOUD AND CLEAR

The ordinarily responsible journalist John Allen submits an oddly off-balance article about a private symposium on priestly sexual abuse held at the Vatican this past week. The piece is focused not on what was communicated about the crisis itself but almost exclusively on the fear that, in...

Using the Law

In New Hampshire, a man was arrested for blocking the sidewalk in a protest outside the Manchester cathedral of Bishop John McCormack. It's a misdemeanor charge; no big deal. Except that... Depending on the circumstances, that man might have been accused of violated the federal FACE (Freedom of...

Whose experts?

At a closed-door session in Rome last week, Vatican officials listened to what various "experts" had to say about the sexual abuse of children. (No doubt CWN will carry a report on that meeting later today.) The US bishops sent along 2 of their own favorite experts: Fathers Stephen Rossetti and...

Mockery of the Mass

From a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story about a liturgical service held by the Women's Ordination Conference: She began the service wearing an alb and stole, but later dropped them on the sanctuary floor, saying that the church will not let a woman wear those symbols of priestly...

Quis custodit custodes?

Researchers have identified a pattern in the molestation crisis afflicting the Roman Catholic Church: most of the victims are older boys. So begins an article by Rachel Zoll from March of last year. Hardly a surprising finding, you might think, but that's because you're not in the sex abuse...

Honor

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...

post-modern pedophilia

Have you ever stopped to think why you don't want a child molester working in your diocese as a priest? As usual, you're wrong! Let Father Rossetti explain it to you (from America, 9 September 1995): Just as the banishment of lepers was fueled by medieval myths, the hysteria surrounding child...

death on demand

"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...

The Boston Globe's Pulitzer

By February of last year, close observers were confident that office wall-space was being cleared at the Boston Globe for the inevitable Pulitzer. The only surprise in yesterday's announcement was that Donna Morrissey did not pocket an award for Best Supporting Actress. Some personal reactions...

Anybody home?

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....

Do you feel their pain?

More enlightenment from Father Stephen "Reintegration of Pedophiles" Rossetti, on restoring child-molesters to ministry (America, 9-9-1995): There are child molesters who are dangerous and perhaps evil men. ["perhaps" is a nice touch, Father!] But the vast majority are troubled people,...

Everything's Coming Up Roses

Two wholly unrelated recent news items: Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf insisted US claims of being near the airport were untrue. "Their lies are endless," he told a news conference in Baghdad. He added that Republican Guard forces had engaged coalition forces in the area...

Heaven-Haven

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. --...

Conspiracy theory

A remarkable number of my sincere Catholic friends think that the Globe won its Pulitzer by leading an anti-Catholic conspiracy in the media. The Globe is anti-Catholic. But the facts of the sex-abuse scandal were not produced by a conspiracy-- or at least not the sort of conspiracy my friends...

How the Learning Curve Got Bent

Rev. Stephen "I'm afraid of this witch hunt for gays" Rossetti explains how the experts at the St. Luke Institute decided which priests were suitable for return to ministry (America, 9-9-1995): As noted above, Adele Mayer outlined several factors contributing to poor-risk candidates. Priests...

His Grace is napping now, please don't interrupt

A poll of 1,482 Catholic priests in Britain indicates widespread disagreement with the Church's moral teaching -- surprising, perhaps, to someone recently awakened from a 40-year coma, but to no one else. 43% of the respondents, e.g., actively oppose the orthodox teaching on contraception, and...

Who's next?

The one small shadow looming over an enormously successful military campaign in Iraq is the fact that no weapons of mass destruction have yet been found. And now a rumor is beginning to spread quickly: people are saying those weapons were taken into hiding in Syria. Wait a minute. If you're a...

Episcopalian Chernobyl

For those interested in the state of the Episcopal Church, one recent issue of the magazine Christian Challenge mentions: A young immigrant from Hong Kong joins an Episcopal parish in Boston and discovers that it is "a pro-gay/lesbian church." The Episcopalian Bishop of Pennsylvania, who writes...

The learning curve, cont.

It's painful to realize that criticism of the Catholic hierarchy in a New York Times editorial is smack-dab on target: Cardinal Roger Mahony is fighting in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to withhold records from criminal prosecutors investigating dozens of priests. Last year, Cardinal Mahony...

Unity by division

Catholic Charities in Boston has decided to defy Bishop Richard Lennon and accept a donation from Voice of the Faithful. It is not the first time they have defied the order by their local ordinary not to accept a gift from VOTF. What is the bishop's response? Will he fire the board members? Will...

We're #1!

CWNews.com is now the largest online Catholic news agency in the English-speaking world. If you measure by the actual number of stories read online, CWNews.com is the largest Catholic news agency in the world, period. Our leading competitors have seen their traffic drop in recent months. Our...

'"Father Creagh did not express remorse over the incident..."

Louisville Archbishop Thomas Kelly writes a 1983 memo regarding a priest who admitted to sexual abuse of a 15-year old boy. I told Father Creagh that I had to view this incident in what I regard is an excellent pastoral ministry at St. Albert's, and that it would not be my indication to...

expert vs. expert

Throughout the duration of the clerical scandal, the mantra of the experts has been, "In past decades, we thought pedophilia was treatable; now we know it's uncurable." R. Karl Hanson, one of the eight experts at last weekend's Vatican symposium on pedophilia, begs to differ. He believes that...

Predictive powers

Watching news films of the Iraqi children being liberated from prison, and scenes of Saddam's torture chambers, one recalls war predictions of some of our prelates: Archbishop Tauran: "a disaster" Archbishop Martino: "there cannot be a just war" Cardinal Etchegaray: "World War III" Bishop...

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

For a glimpse of how today's Jesuits are preparing themselves for Holy Orders, check out the pre-Lenten penance service at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. See if you can spot Father...

a doctor, not an expert

As clergy and laity alike turn to experts in this time of scandal, we might even more fittingly seek wisdom from St. Peter Damian (1007-72; proclaimed doctor, 1828), the doctor of the Church who (to my knowledge) discussed clerical scandal most extensively. Much as Diogenes has been distilling the...

Strawberry fields forever. And ever. And ever.

"False reports from Iraq undermine confidence in government and media" runs Raymond Schroth's slughead. He means ours, not theirs. [Lt. Gen. William Wallace] was acknowledging what others had felt for days: The stretched-out supply lines, the unexpected sand storms, the refusal of the...

YSL Pacifism

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...

To live in peace with child molesters

Still more insight from the Rev. Stephen "Helping Hand" Rossetti on irrational prejudice toward child molesters (America, 9-9-95): A Christian perspective suggests the need for society and church to take a reasoned response with an informed compassion and a willingness to delve into the...

The fierce independence of Boston Catholic Charities

Why would the board of Catholic Charities in Boston defy the bishop? Welll... For the last available budget year (2002), Boston Catholic Charities received $38.7 million in revenue. Less than $1 million came from the Archdiocese of Boston. Almost $24 million came from government contracts...

Plus ça change...

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

Let me repeat the question

Journalist Paul Janensch begins a column with a protestation that does more credit to his familiarity with college basketball than awareness of ecclesial reality. Before you accuse me of Catholic-bashing, I should tell you that I was educated by the Dominican sisters and the Jesuit fathers and...

The Book of Gomorrah, nn. 1-5

Far different from contemporary experts' insights into the scandal is the teaching of the doctor of the Church, St. Peter Damian, in his treatise on clerical scandal. St. Peter begins by distinguishing the four degrees of the sin against nature, the most grave being the homosexual act. While...

Sleepless Nights Dept.

What role should Ecuador have in post-war Iraq? Post your answer...

Not a parody

Perhaps [child molesters'] presence in society can ultimately be healing for us. They challenge us to face an unconscious and primal darkness within humankind. Our inability to face this darkness causes us to stereotype and banish all who embody our estranged dis-passions. In the past, this...

A Second Opinion

The conclusion of the address with which Judge Arthur Brennan sentenced serial sex abuser Fr. Gordon MacRae to 67 years in prison: I conclude that you, Mr. MacRae, remain an extremely dangerous and high risk sexual offender. The compulsiveness and repetitiveness of your sexual assault against...

But it didn't...

Cardinal Ratzinger gave an interview to an Italian news agency about the war in Iraq. It starts:"The war could have gone differently. Today's arms can destroy many people, as has already happened", said Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. Yes, but it didn't...

America's other big problem

Now that Saddam Hussein is gone, what's America's biggest foreign-policy challenge? American troops are now deployed in Colombia, searching for US citizens who are being held by rebel guerrillas there. The leftist guerrillas-- who are defined by the US State Department as terrorist...

Ratzinger retiring?

For several years, the Vatican press corps has floated occasional rumors that Cardinal Ratzinger would soon resign as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Usually the rumors specify that his successor would be Cardinal Christoph von Schönborn, who now heads the Archdiocese of...

Do condoms kill?

According to a UN study, the countries in sub-Saharan Africa where condoms are most readily available (Zimbabwe, South Africa) are also the countries with the highest rate of HIV infection. The countries where condoms with the smallest supplies of condoms per adult male (Senegal, Benin, Ghana)...

The Book of Gomorrah, nn. 6-10

St. Peter Damien's view of clerical scandal is a bit different from that of the expert Diogenes quoted earlier today: O unheard of crime! O outrage to be mourned with a whole fountain of tears!.. What torment could be thought fitting for those who commit these great evils with their spiritual...

Give Source and Context

" It was kind of grim. We had to skip community prayer. Everyone had to have a good strong Scotch. That's what they needed most at that time." Edith Stein? Padre Pio? Maximilian Kolbe? (for the answer take a brief visit...

Bachelors Against Sexual McCarthyism

Another kindly pat on our pointy heads from the Rev. Stephen Rossetti (America 9-9-95): What should be done with priests who sexually abuse minors? The very thought of returning them to ministry, or even to society, is appalling to many. "How can you even think of returning such men to...

The Last Stand

Odd... I get so forgetful... is +Fidel Castro the former Archbishop of Boston, or the present Bishop of Manchester? Or the Bishop of St Petersburg? Or the Archbishop of Los Angeles? Or the Bishop of Saginaw? Or Albany? or Rochester? Or... ""We have been defending ourselves for 44 years and have...

A Nun with What It Takes

It's not that there's NO good news out there. Just that sometimes you have to look for it. -FrW "Dozens of secular humanists and atheists were locked out of a meeting Wednesday at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul because their gathering didn't fit the mission of the Catholic women's...

Lepers, Molesters, and You

Fr. Stephen Rossetti (America, 9-9-95) on clerical sex abuse: Fearing contagion, Hawaii's government sent the victims of Hansen's disease [leprosy] to a settlement on the island of Molokai. The fear, a mixture of clinical facts and centuries of misinformation, fueled an irrational response to...

A Catholic Moment - missed

The Spectator [UK] notes that the Church of England has scored great points with the appointment of its new Archbishop of Canterbury (who has been scored by trads for unorthodox views, but is indeed undoubtedly gifted and articulate) while the 'recently fashionable' Roman Catholic Church in...

On the looting of the Iraqi Museum

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...

Catholic Charities employees: giving the gift of death

A moderate amount of ink has been spilled on Boston Catholic Charities' acceptance of a gift by Voice of the Faithful. More noteworthy, perhaps, is the material cooperation in the culture of death by some of those associated with Catholic Charities. According to tray.com's public federal election...

testing

Excuse me while I experiment with live links. I am a technological troglodyte so I'll probably mess this up. THE...

testing -2-

WHOAH! I did it. It will be a MIRACLE if I ever manage that...

A Dallas Holy Week

Check out the website of Blessed Sacrament Church in the City and Diocese of Dallas, TX., paying particular attention to the schedule of Holy Week observances; and, as you do, bear in mind that the Pastor, Father Paul L. Weinberger, is the ONLY PRIEST...

Busy weekend

Make sure you read "Off the Record" entries for Saturday and Sunday. (Just use the handy date menu up above.) There are some excellent entries, including detailed information on political donations by Catholic Charities workers to pro-abortion politicans; the looting of Baghdad's museums and whose...

On Empowering Perverted Priests

The St. Luke Institute's Fr. Stephen Rossetti has more to teach us about why we've got it wrong (America, 9-9-95): The media described the child-molester priest James Porter as a "monster." One expected him to appear as a voracious, menacing figure who would strike terror in people's hearts....

A meditation for Holy Week

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...

Tax help, please?

Would you prefer to pay income taxes at a 5.3% rate, or 5.8%? A stupid question, right? But there it was, right at the top of the form as I filled out my state tax returns for 2002. Only in...

Re: Tax help, please?

It does seem silly at first, Phil, but it was placed there by one of the few remaining Republicans in Mass. state government. Since so many liberals were opposed to reducing the state income tax in a ballot question a few years ago, this was an opportunity to let them put their money where their...

Quick is the most important thing

In Sunday's Boston Herald there was an article about the renovations to Boston's St. Anthony's Shrine, a Franciscan chapel serving the downtown area. (I don't have an online link to it.) It has long been a popular place for working folks to attend lunchtime Masses or go to Confession. The...

Brevity, the Soul of Something or Other

Gee, Domenico; I think I've always agreed with you up til now! Perhaps three times a week, I celebrate our 7AM Mass here. There's a congregation of 30-40, and I celebrate in twenty minutes, wiith or without a homily (really, a fervorino). The later 8:30AM and Noon Masses I celebrate in half an...

Re: quick Masses

I don't have a problem with short Masses, per se, Fr. Wilson, as long as they are reverent. The Carmelite chapel at the mall in nearby Peabody, Mass., has short Masses that don't seem at all irreverent. And it's been years since I've been to St. Anthony's in Boston. It's just that the guy in...

Going, gone ...

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...

The Arab perspective

For the past month or so, hackers have been wreaking havoc on the new English-language web site of Al Jazeera. Apparently these hackers think that, since the US is at war with one Arab country, it's "patriotic" to shut down the flow of information coming from a different Arab country. (And you...

The evil day

On this date each year I recall the time when I received a threatening letter from the IRS, saying that I had failed to report $810,000 in income for the previous year. I wondered, for a moment, whether possibly I had won a lottery, and nobody had told me. If someone could show me to that...

The learning curve, cont.

Boston's archdiocesan newspaper, the Pilot, is singing that old song again. In an editorial comment on the Pulitzer Prize awarded to the Boston Globe for its coverage of the sex-abuse scandal, the Pilot points out some of the issues that the Globe did not cover. Among them is this familiar...

The Lidless eye of the Boston Globe turns our way

The Boston Globe published its latest paean to Voice of the Faithful on Sunday. Amid its usual praise of the group and defense of it against all comers, there was a surprising reference to us here at Catholic World News.A Pembroke woman, Carol McKinley has started an anti-Voice of the Faithful...

What, me worry?

What, me worry? Fr. Stephen Rossetti, president of the St. Luke Institute, gives his take on child molester recidivism (America, 9-9-95): In the 10 years in which Saint Luke Institute has treated over 300 priests who have sexually molested minors, we currently know of only 2 who have...

The US bishops speak out on tax equity

Yesterday the American bishops' conference issued a tough statement on US tax policy, saying that excessive income taxes put intolerable burdens on families. Oh, wait. That's wrong. Yesterday the American bishops' conference didn't say anything at all about excessive taxation. And not just...

Voice of the Faithful

What happens when an organization dedicated to giving faithful Catholics a voice in the Church turns off the...

Propaganda has its limits

The last I heard from him, Muhammed Saed al-Sahhaf, the Information Minister for the defunct Iraqi government, was saying: "There are no American infidels in Baghdad." Then he disappeared from the scene. Too bad, because the man had a definite flair. It isn't easy to keep a straight face while...

Our motto: Working to Rape You Less

St. Luke Institute president Fr. Stephen Rossetti on re-integrating pedophile priests (America, 9-9-95): Fortunately, most of the priests who offend against minors do not have these negative treatment indicators [i.e., evidence of violent behavior, low I.Q., low capacity for insight, sexual...

Source and summit

Read the Holy Father's new encylical, and you have a fresh reminder that the Eucharist is the "source and summit" of Catholic spiritual life. For a stark contrast, take another look at Cardinal Mahony's pastoral letter on the Eucharistic liturgy. Is he talking about the same topic? One...

Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated

The indispensable web site, The Smoking Gun, which exposes all kinds of public and not-so-public, but humorous documents has stumbled on a CNN boo-boo. Like most news organizations, CNN prepared a set of mock-up pages of obituaries for famous figures Among them were obituaries for Dick Cheney,...

False witness

Another first in the sex-abuse scandal: a bishop has been sued for slander. Two women in the Erie, Pennsylvania diocese have brought the legal charges against Bishop Donald Trautman and his predecessor, Bishop Michael Murphy. (You can find the story-- with a bit of searching-- here.) They...

No denial

Look carefully at the latest public statement from Bishop Carlson. Notice what the bishop does not say. He does not deny the substance of the Weekly Standard report that he has told Sen. Daschle not to identify himself as a Catholic. So we can still hope-- and pray-- that the report was true....

Happy Easter!

The CWN staff won't be posting many comments these days, as we prepare for the celebration. May all of our readers enjoy all the blessings of the glorious Easter...

Urbi et Orbi message

Surrexit Christus! Click here to read the Holy Father's paschal message to the city and to the world (Urbi et Orbi). Once you arrive at the site, either scroll down or click "traduzione in lingua inglese" for an English...

NOW objects to Peterson double-murder charge

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...

Got a minute?

For Easter Sunday reading, it's tough to beat the famous Easter sermon of St. John...

text

I had meant to include the text of Bishop McCormack's...

Not exactly a spiritual crisis, but...

The chocolate tastes good today, and I'm about to invest heavily in ice cream after a 40-day layoff. St. Augustine said that it is a sin to fast during Eastertide. I'm tempted to say that I shall never fall into that sin. But that would be presumption. So let's just say I'll examine my...

The Futility of Euphemism

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...

Outrageous?

The background: Sally Beres claims she lost her job as parish secretary 20 years ago after she reported her pastor's use of kiddie porn to the then Bishop of Erie, Michael Murphy. The same pastor was arrested in 1999 for -- don't be shocked -- possession of kiddie porn. Sally Beres (and two...

Priests vs. People

The priests of one of America's most gay-friendly dioceses have issued a statement of support for their embattled bishop. While saying they respect the efforts of others in the abuse crisis, the statement said the priests believe "we will all be best served by the stability of continued...

Archbishop Kelly

Archbishop Kelly has reason to be very uncomfortable with this subject. He should be remembered as the official who granted an annulment to Rudy Kos, who claimed, although he had lived with his wife for five years, that his marriage was unconsummated. Evidently, this marks one out as material for...

selectively reading the Constitution

The Wall Street Journal carries a thoughtful piece pondering whether some of the most liberal legislators in our country are seeking to impose an unconstitutional religious test on judicial...

De Pravda

"The cardinal has been upfront with no hidden agenda," said Noel Wychico of St. Louis of France parish in La Puente. "It's all been said and done and handled well. The Catholic community is healing and moving on." A truly inspiring testimonial. To whom does it refer? Cardinal Roger Mahony of...

Brit Pinks hand Stalin a late victory

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...

Father feels his oats

The story of Sally Beres and the Diocese of Erie continues to unfold. Beres, you will remember, claims to have reported to diocesan authorities in 1982 that Fr. Robert F. Bower, the Newman Center chaplain to whom she acted as secretary, was into gay porn. Two days after notifying the diocese she...

a paper anniversary

One year ago today, the Holy Father delivered an address to the cardinals of the United States on the clerical abuse scandal. Among other things, he said: It must be absolutely clear to the Catholic faithful, and to the wider community, that Bishops and superiors are concerned, above all else,...

Wanted: GOP backbone

What's astonishing about the controversy swirling around Sen. Rick Santorum is that no other nationally prominent Republican leader has come to Santorum's defense. Here's what Santorum said, roughly: If the government doesn't put legal restrictions on consenual sex acts, that means the...

Voting on Santorum

The Vote.com site is running a poll on Santorum. You can choose between two options: Say he's a bigot, and should be removed from his leadership position; or say his remarks were taken out of context, and he should be allowed the remain. You don't get the option of saying that his remarks were...

Exactly!

On his own blog, Andrew Sullivan makes a perceptive observation about the Santorum brouhaha: Now what is the real difference-- in Santorum's moral universe-- between contraception and non-procreative sex, i.e. sodomy? I don't see any myself. Nor do...

refreshing clarity of witness

Actually, if you know where to look, it's not at all hard to find religious leadership boldly witnessing to traditional values in the Santorum affair. Unfortunately, it's the leader of a Mormon sect disagreeing with Santorum over the value of polygamy....

Be careful what you pray for

"Lay witness," "lay apostles," "committed Laity" -- phrases heard over and over since the Council. What happens when that committed lay witness takes unexpected forms, and even starts addressing genuine problems in the Church, is that things get interesting indeed. I have written an essay on a...

another paper anniversary

Today is the first anniversary of the final communique of the extraordinary meeting between the cardinals of the U.S. (and the USCCB leadership) and the heads of various curial dicasteries. Some excerpts: Even if the cases of true pedophilia on the part of priests and religious are few, all the...

Papally-mandated Visitation

Well, I lived through the last one. It was peculiar. The Holy Father mandated it in the early 1980s -- evidently he thought American seminaries needed it. It was nonsense. The Visitation team consisted of a couple of mediocre bishops and seminary faculty from other seminaries. Their final report...

Trust me!

The Archbishop of St. Andrews-Edinburgh, M. Rev. Keith O'Brien, writes to his clergy, seconding the opinion that "we seem to having now a second opportunity for putting into effect the teachings of the Second Vatican Council" but mentioning "two problems about which I am intensely concerned."...

Is he talking about us?

In his latest weekly column for the National Catholic Report, John Allen scolds various other journalists for contributing to the spread of a story-- evidently untrue-- about a pending reconciliation between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X. Allen remarks: The story is not...

Science, Prescience, and the Care of Souls

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...

a-CHOO!

Deceased Rockville Centre bishop John McGann is alleged to have misinformed the Diocese of Palm Beach about the history of a predatory priest. Fr. Matthew Fitzgerald is accused of abusing boys in Long Island and then, after his transfer, in Florida: An internal Palm Beach Diocese memo,...

Church personnel? Third door on your left.

The National Catholic Reporter posts an account by Gill Donovan of a Common Ground Initiative conference on the changing identity of the priest. Among the background comments was the following by an anonymous clergyman. "This past autumn, I was at the annual meeting of the National...

The learning curve, cont.

Fr. Mankowski's earlier post (below) raises the question again: What happened between the 1950s (when Bishop Brady and Fr. Fitzgerald had the right ideas and the right policies) and the 1980s-1990s (when bishops were routinely protecting perverts)? Cardinal Law told us that both society and...

Calling Hollywood

There's a really promising movie in the works. And we can help make it a reality. Leonardo DeFillipis, a very talented Catholic film producer, has made some beautiful short films on saints like John of the Cross and Maximillian Kolbe. Now he's finishing off a bigger project: a feature film...

Collegiality update

An AP story dated December 12, 2002, from the last days of Cardinal Law's tenure as Archbishop of Boston, discussed his loss of authority and the calls for his dismissal: "Most Catholics would be pleased to have him step down,"said Bishop Joseph Imesch of Joliet, Ill. "Unfortunately, people...

He really said that?

Sometimes it's astonishing what bishops will say... There is oneChurch in the United States-- in fact, one Church in the world. That one Church is holy, catholic, and apostolic. And to deny any one of those signs of the Church is to indicate a lack of understanding of, or interest in,...

glimmer of hope

I for one would be interested in hearing his Excellency's explanation of what is involved in being Roman Catholic in one's own way. I can't honestly say the comment disturbs me; I actually find it hopeful: offering a glimmer of hope that I might not really be in the same Religion as some of...

On what subject?

Fr. Mankowski, earlier today you asked: "In any of the USCCB's deliberations on the subject, has one syllable been spoken about the possibility of damnation?" In context, it's obvious what you meant by "the subject." But it got me thinking: Can you (or anyone else) think of any subject that...

Fr. Fitzgerald (Servants of the Paraclete founder)

The late Fr. John Hardon, S.J., wrote A Prophet for the Priesthood, a biography of Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, the founder of the Servants of the Paraclete (referred to in Fr. Mankowski's post earlier today). The book is available from Eternal Life. According to this review of the biography, Fr....

Eerie

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...

The Long Good-Bye

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 indeed

Yes, Fr Mankowski: eerie indeed. Nothing could be clearer today than that our religious discourse has been thoroughly corrupted. The Holy Father arrives, hundreds of thousands swell the adulatory hordes, they even applaud his message -- yet we know how well his words are heeded. I'm convinced...

when candor goes on holiday

Palm Beach Post editorial writer Dan Moffett plays the shell game: Fifteen years ago, Frank Richards was a Catholic priest in the diocese of Nashville, Tenn., who rose to become principal of Knoxville Catholic High School. He and another priest, Edward J. McKeown, have confessed to sexually...

Reference, please?

For some reason my hometown newspaper hasn't covered the story. So could somebody please point me toward the statements in which Catholic bishops have praised Sen. Rick Santorum for his forthright defense of what the Church teaches? I'm sure there are dozens of these statements. Just one...

Irreference?

Sorry, Phil, I couldn't find a bishop to back Santorum, though Roberta Combs of the Christian Coalition has gone to bat for him. A click on the bishops' website shows they are far from idle, however: The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) today finalized the route it will follow on...

Educating Sean Hannity

Mary Jo Anderson has a great column on Worldnet Daily about talk-show host Sean Hannity and his bumbling efforts to "defend" Rick Santorum. (With friends like these...) Hannity proudly indentifies himself as a conservative Catholic, but his grasp of Church teaching is shaky-- particulary in...

Hannity -2-

Yes, Phil, but I noted an interesting point in that article. Hannity claims that his theological resource folk have told him that the Church is soft-pedaling the prohibition on homosexuality. We can well believe him, if he's consulting local priests. Sean Hannity lives in the Diocese of...

laying down smoke

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...

Kneeling and other personal preferences

This month's Chronicles magazine has a review of Ratzinger's book, God and the World, by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. I suspect that some loyal Novos Ordo Catholics will be a little mad at Woods. He does not fail to call Ratzinger on some of his more dismissive comments on communion in the hand, kneeling...

JERSEY SHOCK HORROR

The background is boring. Newark priest Fr. Gene Heyndricks pleaded guilty to the charge that he had solicited a 16-year-old male prostitute in Montreal. The usual boundary exploration problems. The reaction is stunning. The North Bergen Reporter quotes saddened Catholic parishioners who,...

gush

USCCB President Bishop Wilton Gregory on the new encyclical: I welcome it with great joy, knowing that it will be the source of rich meditation on the Eucharist this Holy Thursday and for many Holy Thursdays to come. Many Holy Thursdays to...

Day One

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...

"If gold ruste, what shal iren do?"

Father Jose Angel Salazar, a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi (pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Mathis, TX and member of the diocesan presbyteral council), has welcomed the recent CDF document on political life by giving $250 to the presidential campaign of Howard Dean. According to...

retreat opportunity

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...

The Santorum watch

On Worldnet Daily, within the space of 24 hours, columns by editor Joseph Farah and by Pat Buchanan have told the unvarnished truth about Sen. Rick Santorum: that he's being savaged for statements that are completely in line with Catholic teaching and with mainstream American public opinion....

Progress report

Just over a year has passed since the leaders of the US bishops' conference, after meeting with Vatican officials, endorsed this statement (among others): the Pastors of the Church need clearly to promote the correct moral teaching of the Church and publicly to reprimand individuals who...

CWN Quiz: Solve for X

Mahatma Gandhi said: "There is hope for a decent life only so long as" X is avoided. Sigmund Freud said that X is a "characteristic common to all perversions." The Washington Post once editorialized that X leads to "degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate...

We have a winner!

Less than 20 minutes after I posted the CWN Quiz (below), "Pseudodionysius" provided the correct answer: X = contraception Now the next question: How far have we progressed from 1930, when the Washington Post said such things about contraception, to today, when critics of Sen. Santorum...

Lose a few, lose a few

In the San Francisco Faith, Phil Sevilla tells a depressingly familiar story about a Catholic high school teacher named Lisa Newman who, after twelve years of teaching and coaching, has announced that henceforth she is Mr. Tim Newman, etc., etc. Lisa's lifestyle change may not be a common one,...

up to scratch?

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,...

Day Two

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...

choice

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...

skating made easy

"Ebony" Horton is a transsexual who, after pleading guilty to kidnapping and attempting to have sex with an 11-year-old boy, received probation and no jail time from the outrageously sympathetic Boston-area Judge Maria Lopez. A disciplinary hearing found Lopez guilt of lying under oath,...

gender bender

Diogenes, if you want the gut-wrenching background on the story of gender reassignment and transsexuality you must read As Nature Made Himby John Colapinto. This incredibly detailed book painstakingly follows the fraudulent doings of Dr. John Money, a psychologist (not a medical doctor) who...

Don't blame Massachusetts

No, no, Diogenes. I have to defend the city where I was born. Judge Lopez is charged with lying under oath, misleading the public, and unprofessional conduct-- in a case involving someone else's sexual perversion. And she's facing a likely 6-month suspension. Whereas just a few years ago,...

Gotcha

Phil, I have studied the returns from the 2000 Senate election. And I'm afraid they support my argument and undermine yours. If the people of Boston aren't especially ready to tolerate someone who lies under oath, misleads the public, and engages in unprofessional conduct, how do you explain those...

Priest on the run

One of our stories today is about an Ecuadorian priest who has been suspended from ministry after he skipped town to avoid a corruption investigation. Go ahead and read the whole story before continuing. Now ask yourself what would have happened if the situation had involved an American priest...

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