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All Catholic commentary from September 2003

Beyond reproach?

Confronted with the evidence that a child-molestor had apparently been working for him in the Vatican Secretariat of State, Bishop James Harvey tells the Dallas Morning News: "I presumed everything was OK, that there wasn't anything to it or the accusations were false." Are you sick and tired...

YOIKS!!! AVAUNT!!! WE ARE UNDONE!!!

The fiendish plot of the Polish Pope to assume the mantle of Holy Roman Emperor of Europe has been undone by a particularly astute example of British intuitive analysis of Catholicism appearing in the U.K. Spectator. We must not fear! It is still not too late!! But having been uncovered, we...

End of the Anglican era?

Theo Hobson, in a provocative essay published in The Guardian, argues that the recent arguments within the Church of England, over openly homosexual bishops, reflect a deeper problem that Anglicanism cannot solve. It's all over, Hobson argues. The Anglican tradition cannot survive. The whole...

One thing for sure: they're not Catholic

Once again the Guardian deserves credit for publishing a truly eye-opening report on the Anglican crisis. This time the insight comes from the Archbishop of Canterbury himself. After admitting that things are "messy" in the Church of England these days, Archbishop Williams says: If you're...

Imperfect mirror

A Washington Times story tells us that in Iraq: "The new Cabinet exactly mirrors the Governing Council's ethnic and religious breakdown with 13 Shi'ites, five Sunni Arabs, five Kurds (also Sunnis), one ethnic Turk and an Assyrian Christian." That doesn't quite mirror the ethnic and religious...

An answer for Alabama

Phyllis Schlafly offers a simple, logical solution to the Ten Commandments controversy in Alabama. You can't say that her proposal is unconstitutional; it's based explicitly on a clear provision of the Constitution. You can't say it's anti-democratic; it wouldn't work unless a majority of the...

The news that fits

Did you notice, in today's "News Bytes," the New York Times report about an anti-religious art exhibit in Moscow? We thought it was an interesting story. That's why we covered the issue, in CWN, three weeks ago. The CWN story was dated August 12. Sure, I'm bragging. But there's more to it. CWN...

Headscarves in Catholic schools

Courtesy of Fox News, we have a transcript of this on-target commentary from news anchor David Asman: The Council on American Islamic Relations, known as CAIR, is an organization determined to stamp out prejudice against Muslims in America. Anti-Muslim bias is a nasty side effect of the war on...

No Mas(s)

Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a Catholic school, has capitulated to the forces of secularism without a shot even being fired. The university said it will end the practice of Mass being said in the new dental school building, which was partially funded by state and federal money,...

The learning curve, continued

A priest of the Diocese of Portland, Maine, has been removed from his parish for cavorting with nude minors at a camp in the 1980s. Father John Harris was serving at Our Lady of the Lakes Parish in Oquossoc at the time of this removal. Father Harris may be familiar to readers of Catholic World...

Beachheads

Australian Catholics rent their rainbow sashes in agony last month when two orthodox priests were appointed auxiliary bishops of Sydney. Bishops Julian Porteous and Anthony Fisher, O.P., were consecrated yesterday, occasioning an amusingly huffy op-ed that scolds Archbishop George Pell for...

Bryan has issues

Although his first trial was voided by a deadlocked jury, St. Louis archdiocesan priest Bryan Kuchar was recently found guilty on three of six counts of statutory sodomy with a 14-year-old boy. Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan discusses various aspects of the trial: In his taped...

Ave Maria and the new Eden

The Boston Globe has a story today on the opening of Ave Maria University in Florida this week. It gives the short version of the story of its founding, talks about Tom Monaghan, interviews some local kids who are going there. But then, for some reason, the reporter has to find a negative take. I...

GOP: no longer Reagan's party?

Every presidential-election year, the Manchester Union Leader stirs things up. They're at it already for the 2004 campaign. In a Sunday editorial based on a conversation with the Republican National Committee chairman, the Union Leader makes the argument-- based on very words of the GOP boss--...

White House judicial nominee drops out

Miguel Estrada, who was nominated by the White House for a federal judiciary post, has withdrawn, recognizing that his nomination will probably be stalled forever by a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. Score one for the Democrats, led by the allegedly Catholic Ted Kennedy, who are blocking...

Bishops respond to priests' talk about celibacy

Bishop Wilton Gregory has responded to the Milwaukee priests who called for consideration of optional celibacy. I think his letter, which you can read in full here does an adequate job of upholding the Church's teachings and makes several key points, including the obvious one that married clergy...

Back to School

Rev. John "Saint Sebastian's Angels" Harris began a voluntary leave from his Maine parish after reports surfaced that he laid aside his cassock when recreating with boys at a private camp. Parishioners in the Rangeley area had no idea that Harris was under investigation, said Anthony Jannace...

... and nothing but the truth

We now have a broad sampling of what happens when American bishops are forced to give depositions under oath. Today's latest headline story shows Archbishop Flores to be a bit more short-tempered than his average colleague, but otherwise he fits well within the pattern. Lawyers are paid to...

St. Mychal the Martyr

Pastoral Outreach fans will remember Father Ken Waibel's rookie season (throws left, bats left) back in 1997. He penned a letter to his Diocese of Lexington (Kentucky) parish protesting the purity of his apostolic itinerary: As I returned from vacation, I discovered that someone had received a...

Catholic centerfolds, maybe?

An old friend and current CWN reader (to whom we'll happily give credit, if he wants), writes: Today's Wash. Post has an item reporting that one of Mapplethorpe's lovers is auctioning nude photos of Schwarzenegger on Ebay. Going to Ebay, one finds that the seller has linked his offering to...

Mother Teresa's anniversary

Mother Teresa died 5 years ago today: September 5, 1997. So this is as good a time as any to remember what she said to Washington's power elite, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, at the National Prayer Breakfast in February 1994. I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is...

bull's eye

USCCB President Wilton Gregory laments the media's preoccupation with sexual abusers who are Catholic clerics. Amy Welborn's comment thereon is irreducibly succinct. It's unfortunate, but totally understandable, that a Catholic bishop can't raise this point without giving the appearance of...

The other side of ugly

US bishops haven't covered themselves with glory in the course of the scandal. But that doesn't mean that the lawyers representing sex-abuse victims are without fault. Far from it. In Boston, the stage was set today for a meeting at which Archbishop Sean O'Malley would present a final offer,...

Our Nantucket Dream: a gay bishop lectures us from the hot tub

Like me, [American Catholics] sense that the American experience is not appreciated in Rome, and that the Vatican's top-heavy, centralized mode of administration has proved impractical. Of late, liturgical issues have been the touchstone of such unrest. I sense a malaise, an unhappiness among...

The Scandal heats up in Ireland

The Scandal in Ireland has now taken on a heavy political cast. The head of an independent commission set up by the government is accusing the government of Prime Minister Bertie Ahern of rendering her inquiry powerless. For Ahern's part, he says that part of the problem is that there has been...

Confidential to Bill C.

Nope, try...

Angels with dirty faces

A third Maine priest has been identified for his participation in the St. Sebastian's Angels web site. The other two had been known for years, but this one was identified by a member of, surprisingly, Voice of the Faithful who compared a list of email addresses of Maine priests with email...

Punishing an innocent man?

A New Hampshire priest reinstated to his parish has no kind words for Bishop John McCormack. Father Paul Gregoire says it was the Vatican's insistence on his rights and on conducting a fair investigation that led to his exoneration from accusation that he abused a woman in the 1970s. The priest...

Episcoponics

Give source and context: Certainly a monetary settlement is only part of the process of healing. That is why the Archdiocese will continue to offer psychological counseling to victims. A. St. Irenaeus on the Valentinian Gnostics. B. St. Augustine on the Donatists. C. Cardinal...

Inspiration from Episcopal "Presiding Bishop" Frank Griswold

"I find it illuminating to think of these webs of relationship which constitute our lives as being forcefields of energy in which our various perspectives and ways of embodying the gospel constantly interact-- challenging and enlarging one another and thereby more fully revealing God’s truth....

Shameless commercialism

In exchange for a $166 million payment, the City of New York has designated Snapple as its official beverage. In our efforts to stay on the cutting edge of business innovation, CWN is prepared to open negotiations with beverage producers. For a mere fraction of the cost-- say, $1.66 million...

Santorum and the Raj

Abolition of the punishment for homosexual behavior "would open the floodgates of delinquent behavior, and be construed as providing unbridled license for the same..." No, that's not Senator Santorum speaking. Come to think of it, how can Santorum be "imposing his religion," if Hindus take...

Catholic atheism: in the best of taste

It's hard to find a more reliable exponent of Somewhere-Over-the-Rainbow gnosticism than U.S. Catholic magazine. And it's hard to find a clearer example of U.S. Catholic's contribution to the schism that dare not speak its name than this month's interview with the thoroughly bogus Elaine...

Defender of the faith, friend of the poor

The US Senate is debating a proposal to provide vouchers that would allow parents in the District of Columbia to send their children to parochial shools. A spokesman for Sen. Ted Kennedy vows that the veteran lawmaker and his liberal allies "will use all the tools available to them to try to...

Can't we all just move on...?

Some of God's chillun still don't believe the bishops have their spiritual well-being at heart in dealing with non-traditional lifestyle choices. Portland (ME) priest Fr. John Harris was discovered in late 1999 to be running a scabrous web site for gay priests named St. Sebastian's Angels. The...

Sleuths at work

Thursday's newspaper headline: Al Qaida threatens new strikes on the US. Friday's newspaper headlines: US officials say al Qaida may be planning new strikes on the US. Now are you more confident about our intelligence-gathering...

Party unity

Conservative Republicans in California are facing a familiar request: They should support Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial campaign, because the muscular liberal can unite the party. This is the standard liberal ploy. They can't back conservatives, because conservatives are "divisive." But...

St. Francis, capitalist?

What are the intellectual origins of capitalism? Adam Smith, you say? The mercantilists? Some Italian scholars are advancing a startling new theory: that capitalism can be traced back to roots in Franciscan theology. It's a provocative idea, and while the argument is definitely uphill, it...

Dry the starting tear

From yesterday's Boston Herald: Attorneys in the Catholic Church sexual abuse settlement yesterday defended their one-third share of the $85 million accord, saying their "lawyers' payday" is diluted by the enormous cost of suing the Archdiocese of Boston. "We have had as many as 20 people at...

Whither thou loyalty?

Your Catholic Voice is a new grassroots political organization designed to "motivate, educate, and activate Catholic citizens for political and social participation." The group's president is Ray Flynn, former mayor of Boston and former Clinton ambassador to the Vatican. In an article on the...

A most curious appraisal

Jesuit Fr. Tom Reese, editor of America, on structures of accountability: The appointment of bishops by the pope is a modern innovation that has no basis in church tradition. Ever read the Gospel of St. Matthew,...

Don't try this at home, kids!

In 1995, the U.S. bishops published a statement called "Walk in the Light: A Pastoral Response to Child Sexual Abuse." Included were "some practical suggestions for developing simple action plans at the local level." My favorite is the following: *Promote the use of language in parish...

Aging without grace

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Bishop Wilton Gregory was the recipient of a petition signed by 14 priests opposed to obligatory priestly celibacy: The Southern Illinois Association of Priests ... mailed a letter to Gregory on Friday, urging him to "do all in your power to make the...

Good enough for government work?

A former prison warden discusses the difference between his own employment standards and those of the Diocese of Erie: David Bruce: You were in contact with an accused pedophile priest during your time as superintendent at SCI Albion. What happened?Former Superintendent Edward Brennan: The...

identity crisis

Remember Bill Clinton's decision to take his cabinet on a secular "retreat" midway through his first term in order to "discover our core values"? One might well wonder whether any man who had reached the age of 50 without awareness of his own principles would be likely to discover them through a...

ad aedificationem

The challenge for us is to discover in our own place and time what it means to be "poor in spirit" and "the salt of the earth" and what it means to serve "the least among us" and to "hunger and thirst for righteousness." -- From the Pastoral Letter of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, "Economic...

Patting our pointy heads

Peggy Noonan tells us what she said to the bishops who showed up for last week's Orthodox Catholic Petting Zoo: The non-Catholic public would probably assume that bishops and cardinals frequently talk with conservatives in the church. The non-Catholic American public would probably assume...

Muslims won't buy gay bishops

As if he didn't have enough trouble within his own Anglican communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury is now finding himself unwelcome on the interfaith-dialogue circuit as well. Islamic scholars are willing to sit down and talk with infidels, but not with infidels who appoint openly homosexual...

Around the blogs today

Here's what's new and interesting on Catholic blogs today: The always hilarious Jeff Miller gives his take on the eternal question: What if Adam had a blog? Leon Podles has an unusual recommendation regarding mandatory clerical celibacy and it has to do with Catholic priests for whom celibacy...

Notes on the Healing Professions

The September 1 issue of the never-more-ironically-named Mother Jones magazine carries a profile (not available online) of one of its heroes, the New York abortionist William Rashbaum. In keeping with the pieties of the Leftist catechism, we learn that he's committed... Where once he did...

Bishops, Boys, and the Bat Phone

Former Phoenix Bishop Thomas "Always Our Children" O'Brien leaned on (then Father) John Ladensack to play along in the obstruction of jus ... I mean, the non-judgmental approach to healing game: Because he expressed concerns about an accused priest working with children, Ladensack said his...

toward a more inclusive ministry

Mark Shea draws our attention to a deeply disingenuous article in which an Australian Jesuit laments that the door to ministry is often closed to gays -- a door he attempts to unlock from inside. Those familiar with gay propagandist John Boswell's technique will recognize the moves. You start...

Unfair stereotypes?

This is interesting. A gay advocacy group says the secular media has "unfairly" stereotyped homosexuals in its coverage of the clergy sex-abuse scandal. The researchers claim that homosexuals are not more likely to commit child abuse than heterosexual men. Of course, that claim obscures the...

a cloud no bigger than a man's hand...

This from Australia: South Australian priests may be legally compelled to tell police of child abuse that they learn about in the confessional under laws being introduced to State Parliament today. Priests and church workers are currently exempt from mandatory reporting laws relating to child...

Russia's old-boy network

Suppose I told you that half of Russia's top government officials are former military officers. Would that strike you as a fact worth noticing? But if I said that, I wouldn't be telling the truth. The truth is even more striking. In an op-ed article in the Wall Street Journal (available only...

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos likes "The Passion"

There is an English-language translation now available at National Review Online of the Italian-language interview with Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos regarding Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion." The cardinal gives his personal endorsement of the movie and debunks claims that it is...

On limiting damage to the spiritual sphere

Last September the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston, when Cardinal Law was still in charge, ran an editorial in disparagement of the reform group Voice of the Faithful. The editors (correctly) cast doubt on VOTF's claim to be faithful to Catholic teaching by citing the manifestly dissident...

Milton, Lewis, and the Liturgy

"Go in the Peace of Christ, and have a nice day!" Among the greatest gifts of the abundantly gifted C. S. Lewis was the ability to revive long-dead aspects of the Western imagination and make them not only comprehensible but even attractive to modern men. My own intuitions about how a priest...

Murder must not advertise

The "teaser" on page 2 of today's New York Times tells the whole story: Kate Michelman said she would step down as president of Naral Pro-Choice America, after 18 years heading teh group, which advocates abortion as a right for women. Take careful note of that last phrase. Why does the Times...

Suicide bombers as political tacticians, not religious fanatics

Robert Pape, a U. of Chicago political scientist, has an interesting and somewhat disturbing op-ed column in today's New York Times. His contention-- based on a careful study of nearly 200 incidents over 12 years-- is that suicide bombing is not usually the work of religious fanatics....

Buying textbooks?

Are you shocked by the cost of college and high-school textbooks? So are we. We can't do much about those costs, but if you'd like to do us a favor, you can buy your books the CWN link to Amazon.com, and receive at least the slight satisfaction that CWN receives a small commission on your...

My pet peeve (for today)

The 2004 campaign season is already beginning, and we can expect to see plenty of stories about public-opinion surveys. In an extraordinary number of cases, reporters will mangle the meaning of the polls. This particular story is taken from the Boston Herald, but you can find similar errors in...

Mandatory child abuse in Boston?

Archbishop Sean O'Malley, who rode into Boston on a white horse looking like a potential hero, is quickly revealing himself to be anything but. Remember the "Talking about Touching" program, which introduces grammar-school students to explicit discussion of sexual perversion-- under the guise...

Questions for the day:

St. Athanasius refused to share the Eucharist with those who rejected the true teaching of the Catholic Church. • If he were alive today, and fully informed about what is being taught and preached, how many American parishes would St. Athanasius put off limits? • Was St. Athanasius wrong?...

He deserved it?

Ah, now we know what the legal defense for the guy who killed John Geoghan in prison will be: He deserved it. Joseph Druce's lawyer says his client was sexually abused by three men as a child, including "a man with a religious affiliation." And, get this, these three guys will testify on Druce's...

Poor Clare nuns to be deported?

Here's a weird story. Two Korean sisters living in a cloistered convent in Cleveland may be forced to leave the country by the Dept. of Homeland Security. Their request for visas as religious workers has been denied. (Stories making this out to be an anti-terrorism thing and focusing on the...

Editing the Ten Commandments

If there's anything the French people love more than their food, it's their language. So it's amusing to see the continuing campaign by leading French culinary authorities to drop "gluttony" from the list of the seven deadly sins. Maybe it's just a publicity stunt. The people circulating a...

service

This poem in last month's First Things makes a good point, deftly. Liturgical Dance NotesBalletic slim with gently nubile curvesAnd sweetly graced extensions of long limbs--They sway, step, bend to syncopated hymns.Their mothers beam. How well, they think, dance servesGod's glory (and their...

Liar's Poker

Here's a story worth watching. Last summer, the Archdiocese of Boston's Msgr. Michael Smith Foster was accused of sexual abuse by a man named Paul Edwards. Foster was placed on leave while the accusation was investigated, then re-instated, then placed on leave again when new testimony emerged,...

The unforgivable sin

Newsday reports that Bishop William ("Mansions") Murphy of Rockville Center, NY, has regularly summoned priests to his office for a stern talking-to if they are guilty of a particular offense. Is that offense: Denying the Resurrection Failing to make confessions available to parishioners for...

Who's telling the truth?

Here are the facts, as reported by the San Antonio Express-News: Jerrilyn White was working as a secretary in a parish within the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas. She charges that a priest assigned to that parish, Father Michael Kenny, had affairs with several women, including herself. White...

Why not O'Malley

Why was Boston's Archbishop Sean O'Malley not on the list of new cardinals? I think there's a simple explanation. There have never been two cardinal-electors-- two cardinals eligible to vote in a papal conclave-- from the same archdiocese. (Oops! Correction: There was one case. In 1998,...

Loss & Gain

The First Amendment protects Erie Bishop Donald Trautman's denunciation of three putative whistleblowers, Judge William Cunningham ruled Tuesday. Sally Beres, Ann Caro, and Helen Rusnak had claimed that Trautman slandered them by characterizing them as liars. The background is wearyingly...

Scottish surprise

According to this Web site, there have been two Scottish cardinals since the beginning of the twentieth century: Archbishop Gordon J. Gray of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh (1969) and Archbishop Thomas J. Winning of Glasgow (1994). It surprises me that Archbishop Keith O'Brien of Saint Andrews and...

another cardinal-elect, another comment on sexuality

One "sexuality issue" about which the Nigerian cardinal-elect has spoken is feminine immodesty. Decrying the "degrading morality in the Catholic Church, particularly among the women," Archbishop Okogie of Lagos (according to this article) preached against immodest attire and "implored those in...

Why not O'Malley, cont.

As I mentioned below, there's a strong precedent against having two voting cardinals from the same archdiocese. However-- as an alert reader has pointed out-- the Pope broke that precedent yesterday when he named Archbishop Peter Erdo of Budapest as a future cardinal-- while the retired...

Smoke signal

This weekend, in an interview with Tim Russert of MSNBC, Republican commentator Tucker Carlson said that President Bush is "functionally pro-choice," since he "doesn't really care" about the abortion issue. That comment came from a Bush supporter, with plenty of friends in the executive...

An abuser unafraid of the consequences?

The Scandal continues in western Massachusetts with an investigation in Richard Lavigne, a priest who went to jail for molesting two brothers. The question being asked is when Diocese of Springfield leaders knew about Lavigne's abuse. A confidant of the former bishop says the diocese knew back in...

A disappointed Aussie

The Bishop of Canberra, Australia, is disappointed that Archbishop George Pell of Sydney was named a cardinal. (On the other hand, I'm thrilled.) Bishop Pat Power calls himself a "progressive" who thinks the "spirit of Vatican II" has been betrayed by the current Pope and his like-minded...

Children of the Dawn

Are you a Catholic who hasn't felt comfortable with the Church but is looking for ways to reconnect? If so, The People of the Promise want you. POP, which describes itself as "a Eucharistic-centered worship community," is one of those 1970s-style living room parishes in the Boston area....

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