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All Catholic commentary from May 2008

the medicine chief will see you now

Your Inner Arapaho in need of healing? Feeling anxious about the future of the Beta Star Bundle? Not to worry. OTR's got you covered. A faithful reader, having peered into the offerings of the Catholic Action Network, found herself routed to Missouri's Rockhaven Ecozoic Center, whence she sent...

Vision Book Cover Prints

congestive heart failure

The current NCR features a review of a new book on the history of the American Jesuits: Fr. Schroth, a Jesuit himself and a familiar NCR contributor, proceeds chronologically with 15 chapters spread across four sections. Founded in 1534, recognized by papal bull in 1540, the Society sent...

beleaguered

Anglican Bishop Gene "Don't Change the Subject" Robinson, while launching his autobiography, puts aside his customary reticence and submits to an interview: "I've met, what, probably 300 gay, partnered clergy here in the Church of England, and I could tell you stories that would make you weep...

Why Mary Matters

A thousand questions can be raised about Mary, the mother of Jesus. We can discuss what it means for her to be full of grace, or why she was immaculately conceived and assumed body and soul into heaven. We can examine her role in our redemption from the virgin birth to her suffering at the foot of...

wright & wrong

In his 1956 presidential campaign against Eisenhower, taxed with criticism from Rev. Norman Vincent Peale (the "Evangelist of Optimism"), Adlai Stevenson retorted: "Speaking as a Christian, I find the apostle Paul appealing and the apostle Peale appalling." Stevenson's quip deserves to be...

making a splash

She's responsible for a great deal of the disfigurement of the visual aspects of American Catholic life. She began her career as Sister Mary Corita Kent, and ended up, famously, as Corita. Seldom has ingenuousness been so carefully affected. Never was infantile spontaneity more rigidly...

the undead

In a Time magazine article titled "Is Liberal Catholicism Dead?," David van Biema proposes that the American era of progressivist Catholicism is coming to a close. He reasons that liberal Catholics rejected unpopular teachings in favor of the values of the ambient culture, and, in so doing,...

primates & ungulates: putting the order back in ordination

"This is a book by a good pastor who knows his sheep and accepts them as equals." So reads a blurb written by a professor of theology in praise of Aussie bishop Geoffrey Robinson's new book. In most Anglo-American jurisdictions, as we know, a shepherd can be sent to prison for treating his...

Cardinal Dulles Bids Farewell

I was deeply impressed by Avery Cardinal Dulles’ farewell address as Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham University. Cardinal Dulles has held this post for twenty years, and has delivered the last thirty-nine of the semi-annual public lectures associated with the...

The Future, seen through bifocals

Look at this picture-- no fair peeking at the web address-- and tell me what you see. It's recreation time at the Old Folks' home, right? Wrong! It's a scene from the closing liturgy at the West Coast conference of Call to Action. This, my friends, is the cutting edge of progressive...

On Being Bubba

Politics is important, certainly, but it is also frequently ugly and even more often amusing. Thus the cover story in a recent issue of Newsweek was devoted to the question of whether Barrack Obama has a sufficient “bubba” quotient to be elected President. With arugula serving as Obama’s symbol...

outreach

How do you circumvent the ticklish decision presented by a pro-abortion Catholic's public approach to the Communion minister at Mass? Simple. You arrange for the pol to say planted and dispatch the minister to him. From the Washington Times's account of the Nationals Park Mass: Sen. Edward M....

Deep Freedom and Political Liberty

Jesus Christ says: “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:32). He also says: “Truly, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin” (Jn 8:34). This does not sound like the American notion of liberty, the freedom...

relief

Meanwhile, back at the Busted Halo, a young Catholic braces herself to receive some bad news from her lesbian mother. But it turns out it's only apostasy. "I need to tell you something." My mom said. "Okay." I prepared myself for something tragic, when instead I heard, "I’m not Catholic...

with a modest generosity

An extraordinary on-line archive, The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, now makes available (and searchable) the records of London's main criminal court from 1674 through 1913. There's a staggering amount of material to play around in. Keyword "Romish" produced 102 records, including the following...

Archbishop Naumann: No Communion for Governor Sebelius

Archbishop Joseph Naumann has instructed Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to refrain from receiving communion until she repents for her support of abortion. Though the order was given in August of last year, Archbishop Naumann made the matter public in a column in the diocesan newspaper on May...

benched

The National Abortion Rights Action League has officially endorsed Barack Obama's candidature. They've taken a good long look at his pro-abortion enthusiasms and clearly they like what they see. Clinton told NBC News she was "disappointed": BRIAN WILLIAMS: Senator, you lost out on the...

Contraception and the Catholic Vision

On May 10th, Pope Benedict XVI called Paul VI’s landmark encyclical On Human Life an act of courage which has “become a sign of contradiction.” He made his remarks at a conference on the fortieth anniversary of the encyclical held at the Pontifical Lateran University. While many Catholics still...

liberties

Should students with moral objections to abortion be obliged to contribute to abortion insurance as part of their school plan? The issue is heating up at Harvard (tip to Pewsitter). In the past two weeks, Harvard students opened their mailboxes to find a blue "opt-out" card as part of the...

faith time

The most amusing aspect of the presidential campaign season is the exquisitely awkward shamelessness with which the candidates cynically fake a connection with the ordinary citizen. For Republicans, this takes the form of pretending to a sympathetic familiarity with pop culture; for Democrats,...

non-prophet

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, has been outspoken in critcism of the Argentine government. Now Madame President is slapping back: Buenos Aires, May 15, 2008. CNA The government of Cristina Kirchner has decided to "chastise" Church officials in Argentina for...

all wet

Water, we are informed, is "powerful wet stuff." But the Dufflepuds who make that profound observation in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader have nothing on Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who favors us with the revelation that "the Social...

in harm's way

A "discomfiting threat to free speech," say the editors of the New York Times. They're rattled by the recent Supreme Court decision upholding a law against child pornography. Kiddie porn is bad, they admit, but the law is broad enough to include virtual porn, and that shivers their...

ad dubium

The Vatican Secretary of State has issued a two-sentence statement concerning the interpretation of the 2005 Instruction on the non-admission of homosexual persons to Holy Orders. In response to "numerous requests for clarification," the Holy See made clear what was clear from the outset, that...

slow recovery

I'm pleased to see rumors surfacing that Pope Benedict has plans to install some guidelines for the concelebrated Eucharist in order to initiate a "return to the original meaning of concelebration, which is a sign of unity of priests." The problem is the blurring of the ikon of priestly...

headline rewrite

Pope Benedict attacked by Catholic Church’s most senior theologians That's the headline of the latest sensationalistic story in the Daily Telegraph. And just in case you missed the reference to the "most senior theologians," the first paragraph offers a reminder: One of the Catholic Church’s...

Opinion, Privacy, America and God

After last week’s column on contraception, I received some emails from people who insist that the decision to contracept is purely private, and so the Church has no business attempting to control our behavior. Reading these emails led me to wonder if such people will ever understand that the moral...

contradiction

In the current First Things, Caitrin Nicol reviews Steve Talbott's Devices of the Soul, in the course of which she quotes a book by Martha Beck called Expecting Adam, which tells "how a couple of bright young grad students barreling down the fast track at Harvard were derailed by the arrival of a...

Would the European Union Rather Die than Switch?

The European Union finds itself in a dilemma. Ideologically it is almost viciously anti-family. But as a practical matter, the decline of family life is destroying Europe. The most recent study to bear this out is the second annual report released in mid-May by the Institute for Family Policy in...

special occasion

On the feast of Corpus Christi, communicants knelt to receive the Blessed Sacrament from Pope Benedict. That break from the usual Vatican practice-- ordinarily the faithful approach the Holy Father standing to receive Communion-- prompted a good deal of comment. But a Catholic News Service story...

The Numbers Game

I’ve noticed a lot of numbers in the news lately, and I only trust about half of them. For example, I don’t believe Economy magazine’s estimate that Padre Pio’s shrine will consistently outdraw the Marian shrine at Lourdes in future years. The shrine may outdraw Lourdes while Padre Pio’s...

Political Prudence

I have just returned from the Virginia State Republican Convention, at which delegates selected the Republican candidate for the seat in the U.S. Senate currently held by Republican John Warner, who will not run again. The two candidates for the nomination were the semi-pro-life former Governor of...

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