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All Catholic commentary from May 2011

How Do We Know Our Faith?

This is hard for us. Every day we come across people who make the wildest assertions about what is true and not true with respect to faith in God, Jesus Christ, Mary, the Saints, Christian morality, hell, heaven and so much more. Many people sound absolutely certain about these things, one way or...

Ex-Bishop William Morris is Right

Following an unwelcome Apostolic Visitation of his diocese, Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba, Australia decided he would retire early. He was then promptly removed from office. In consequence, Morris complained that the Vatican had conducted an “inquisition”. He’s...

Of all the Rutten ideas

While Catholics all over the world are still celebrating the beatification of Pope John Paul II, curmudgeonly columnist Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times is unhappy because proper procedures were not followed. Proper procedures, it seems, would require the Vatican to consult Tim Rutten before...

Newmanesque

Perhaps I've already mentioned that, when I grow up, I want to be like John Henry. It is impossible to read the great Cardinal Newman’s writings even for a few minutes without seeing some important point expressed better than you’ve ever seen it expressed before. Newman is definitely a...

Can the Pope remove bishops? Yes, but...

Twice in barely more than a month, Pope Benedict XVI has taken a highly unusual step: removing a bishop from his office. Early in April he ousted Bishop Jean-Claude Makaya Loemba from leadership in the Diocese of Pointe-Noire in the Congo. Last week he removed Bishop William Morris from the...

The Exegesis of the Reformers: Authority Redux

In an article in the March 2011 issue of First Things, Timothy George argued that we can enrich our faith by reviving the way the Protestant reformers read the Bible (see “Reading the Bible with the Reformers”). George is the Dean of Beeson Divinity School at Stamford University....

Say hey!

Today is the 80th birthday of Willie Mays.  If you're a baseball fan of a certain age, you need no explanation to understand the relevance of the date. If you're not a baseball fan, you might not understand anyway.  The young Willie Mays caught everything. Time catches up even with...

Beating Private Judgment’s Dead Horse

OK, I admit it. I’m into this topic right now (see, in the past week, this and that). I had another exchange with a Protestant who believes that the meaning of Scripture is fairly plain, and—since Christ promised he would send the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth (Jn...

The surprising outcome of Bishop Lahey's trial

Most of us were caught off guard on Wednesday, May 4, when Bishop Raymond Lahey pleaded guilty to child-pornography charges and announced that he wanted to begin his prison term (a 1-year minimum) immediately. But some people were evidently not surprised. And therein lies a tale. In the 20...

How to Establish Authority in a Church

I intended to give the poor Protestants a break, but now I read that the Lutherans are imploding or exploding, depending on your point of view. It seems that the two largest Lutheran “churches” in America have broken up, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Evangelical...

Private Judgment and the Rise of Relativism

To round out my recent discussion of Protestantism and private judgment, I think it will be helpful to say something about the strong connection between Protestantism and the rise of relativism. There are several important historical factors which led over time to what Pope Benedict XVI...

A unique book for a unique subject: Ruth Pakaluk

The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God: that unique title should prepare the reader for a unique experience. The book begins with a short biography of Ruth Pakaluk; continues with dozens of her letters to family, friends, and acquaintance; and concludes with the texts of several of her...

Books Across My Desk: College Kids, Nuns, Doctors and Angels

Several books have come across my desk in the past year which I’ve decided not to review thoroughly, but from which others might benefit significantly, or which otherwise merit brief notice. Tastes in reading—and the uses to which we put it—vary widely. Sex & the Soul: This...

This Month, We Absolutely Must Make Our Case

I don’t like to—and seldom do—use the On the Culture blog to discuss finances, but I do want to make sure that everyone understands how important it is for us to have a strong showing in May. The pertinent facts are simple: In the first quarter of this year, January...

The Key Points in Universae Ecclesiae

It is difficult for me to be sympathetic to the endless quarrels over the liturgy. I like to think this is because the only factor of real concern to me in liturgical celebration is whether or not we imitate Christ by our obedience. But I must also admit that I am not particularly liturgically...

How to Discuss the Liturgy

Inevitably the publication of Universae Ecclesiae has stimulated heartfelt exchanges on the liturgy, and once again I have seen a tendency (though not generally in the public posts on CatholicCulture.org) for each side to denigrate the other. The presumption, too often, is that those who oppose...

Amnesty discards its own credibility

After years of showing a leftward political tilt, Amnesty International has toppled over completely. The group's annual report for 2001, as CWN reported yesterday, criticizes the Vatican for failure to abide by the terms of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since there aren't many...

Mindless Ways of Limiting God

In The Idea of a University, Blessed John Henry Newman had occasion to discuss three attitudes toward knowledge, as it relates to God, which must be corrected if the idea of a Catholic university is to be rendered intelligible. The first is the attitude, perhaps even more prevalent today, that...

Two new documents on the scandal, one glaring omission

Two important documents on the sex-abuse crisis emerged this week. Unfortunately both were seriously flawed, because they paid little or no attention to a key issue—no, the key issue—in the scandal that has plagued the Catholic Church for more than a decade. In a call for the...

Renewed Obedience to Ecclesiastical Superiors

Every Catholic, including lay persons, is supposed to be obedient to his or her ecclesiastical superiors in the matters over which they have authority. For all Catholics, this requirement of obedience applies to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to whatever the Church formally teaches on...

The Pfleger Case: Do you realize how different this is?

I am not at all sure the reaction of our users to the news of Fr. Michael Pfleger’s reinstatement is justified. Their Sound Off remarks range from incredulity to the assertion that Fr. Pfleger has “won”, to sharp criticism of Cardinal Francis George for reinstating a...

Ripples from the John Jay study: Don't understate the bishops' culpability

In an exchange with David Gibson of Commonweal Cardinal Francis George of Chicago gives the impression that the John Jay report was rough on the American hierarchy: “It shows where the bishops were derelict in attending to the full scope of the tragedy.” It does? Maybe I missed that...

Human Dignity?

The language of “human dignity” has been very popular among ethical thinkers of the past couple of generations, though it is increasingly under attack now. Part of the reason is that dignity is necessarily a vague or nebulous concept, which can be developed in a wide variety of...

mystery movie

Ruth Kolpack doesn’t understand why she was dismissed from her post as a religious-education instructor for a Catholic parish in the Madison, Wisconsin diocese. Brent King, a spokesman for the diocese, has an answer for her. Kolpack, he reports, had given public support to the ordination...

Daniel Maguire: 'preposterous and disingenuous'

Daniel Maguire is an unhappy man. Again. Or perhaps, still. Maguire—who is inexplicably still allowed to teach theology at Marquette despite his abandonment of his priestly vocation, his relentless enthusiasm for unrestricted legal abortion, and his embarrassingly mediocre intellectual...

A not-so-rare mistake

The news agency provides the stories, but the individual newspapers are free to substitute their own headlines: that’s the way the system works. But sometimes the newspaper editors are happy with the headline that comes over the wire with the story. An AP story running this weekend began...

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