By Phil Lawler
Showing most recent 200 items by this author.
Cardinal Ladaria did NOT say that it would be wrong for a diocesan bishop to bar a pro-abortion Catholic from receiving Communion.
History often repeats itself, but as circumstances change, things may look different the second time around.
The point is that the Eucharist has already been politicized, by the public figures who profess their “devout” Catholicism while defending and promoting the slaughter of unborn children.
Now the question is whether the policy will be enforced: not just the letter of the law, but the intent. Will a Vatican official still be allowed to accept donations to his “personal charity” or to an institution that he sponsors?
One by one the Vatican officials who were questioning Becciu’s moves were eliminated; for months, the sostituto himself— the man they were all investigating— survived
In the campaign for effective reform of the Roman Curia, the first order of business should be to rein in the excessive powers of the Secretariat of State.
When should the Catholic Church bow to orders from the state? I offer a simple answer to that question: Never.
The letter-writing campaign might have been a good idea, twelve months ago. But our bishops were silent then, when the ethical decisions were being made. Now the vaccines are on the market, billions of dollars have been invested, and the promotional campaign is in full swing. This campaign comes far too late.
Isn’t it revealing, though, that the one liturgical option liberal Catholics cannot abide is the option for the ancient liturgy?
The showdown in Southwark was particularly shocking, but the same sort of conflict has been taking place in many other places— usually, I’m say to say, with similar results.
If you are an adult, raised in the Catholic Church, you can remember the splendor of the liturgical traditions. But a young child cannot; those precious memories have not been formed, thanks to the Covid lockdown. The child has been taught to be docile, to be withdrawn, to avoid strangers (and even friends), perhaps even to stay away. Isn’t that roughly the opposite of the message we want to convey to our children during the Easter season?
Everywhere but in Rome, responsible officials have learned that the cover-up only compounds the crime. Unfortunately, while we still know very little about the financial machinations that provoked that astonishing police raid, we now know that Vatican officials have gone to great lengths to conceal the truth.
Liberal Catholic activists can always summon up the energy to profess surprise that the Church teaches what the Church teaches. But I confess that I am not at all surprised by the silence of the bishops who have sworn to uphold the Church’s teachings. The pattern is all too familiar.
Did St. Patrick wait for the permission of the druids before he lit the Easter fire on the hill of Slane?
“Are these activities not the ones that Tocqueville more or less predicted would characterize the kinder and gentler despotism that awaits us at the end of history?”
What does it say about our society when the Covid vaccines— and other vaccines, and popular medications, and processed foods, and cosmetics— are prepared with the use of abortion-tainted cell lines?
All the other calls for investigative commissions and policies and forced resignations of Wuerl and McCarrick miss the point. As long as Nighty-Night Baby is kept on his feet by his brother bishops, they are all still playing "let's pretend."
This year’s budget for the Archdiocese of Washington includes $2 million for the “continuing ministry” of Cardinal Donald Wuerl— who resigned from active ministry nearly two years ago amid what polite people call “questions” about his role in the McCarrick scandal.
How do Facebook and Twitter and Google thrive? How do they generate revenues? The superficial answer is that they sell advertising space. The more accurate answer is that they are selling you, the user— selling you to those advertisers.
No one will be fired for declining the vaccine, the update assured us; no one would be punished for conscientious objection. But for those interacting with the public, “alternative work solutions” would be found. In other words you would be removed from your job.
The sedate atmosphere in the room changed radically when one reporter— more alert than others, no doubt, and more comfortable with the Latin language Pope Benedict used— let out a gasp. The Holy Father had delivered a thunderbolt of his own.
“The tweets [by Cupich] were a call to arms for his brother bishops, but no other US bishops took up the gauntlet, at least not publicly.”
In a remarkable example, Pope Francis reveals his sympathies. The abandoned mother who is “not willing” to remarry— in other words, the woman who holds fast to her marital vow even at sacrifice to herself— is the villain of the piece.
We all know, at this point, what our bishops SAY about Catholic politicians who promote abortion. What we want to know now is what— if anything— they will DO.
Is Covid a dangerous disease? Absolutely! But once we have taken reasonable precautions, it is essential for us as Christians to stop worrying about a force that we cannot control.
Catholics boldly proclaim that every human being has the right to life. But no one has a “right” to escape death.
If you believe that the emergency restrictions in place where you live constitute a violation of your right to worship freely, don’t be too quick to blame the civil authorities. The blame might lie with your bishop.
In this pontificate, in Belarus as in China, Vatican diplomats seem anxious to preserve amicable relations with a repressive regime, even it means sending loyal prelates out to pasture.
The keepers of fashionable public opinion have encouraged us obsessively to put our trust in flimsy face masks, our hope in the pharmaceutical companies working to produce vaccines. What might happen if we put the same communal energies into prayer?
With the award, Notre Dame was testifying to the world that Sheen, by his participation in a show that advanced the “pro-choice” agenda, had “illustrated the ideas of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.”
Father Pacholczyk the “serious reasons” that might weigh in favor of taking the vaccine, for “an elderly person or someone with multiple health issues.” Most people do not fall into those categories.
While bishops have been restricting access to the sacraments, and explaining that the restrictions will save lives, Hennessey questions how many souls are being lost in the process.
When a new bishop is appointed, he is given instructions from Rome about what will be expected of him. Specifically, my friend suggested, perhaps he is told “which bodies are to stay buried.”
From a Catholic moral perspective, the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are clearly objectionable; to use them is to become involved in causal chain that began with an abortion.
"During the Covid-19 pandemic, the world is unwittingly conducting what amounts to the largest immunological experiment in history on our own children."
Meanwhile a precedent has been set. When the next confrontation comes (and does anyone doubt that it is coming?), government officials can say to Church leaders: “You accepted the state restrictions; why can’t you accept these few new rules?”
Bad news sells, and Covid has provided editors with a bonanza of bad news. It’s clickbait. It’s panic-porn. It’s obsessive.
I was stunned and dismayed earlier this year, when one diocese after another shut off access to the sacraments. If it happens again I want to be ready. Who’s with me?
If he defied the restrictions, political leaders would have condemned him for endangering the public, thus strengthened public opinion in their favor, and made it even harder to win a political campaign against the restrictions.
Hamburger goes on to explain how “the administrative state” harbors an inherent bias against religious institutions— and why that is not a mere happenstance but the result of deliberate policy decisions.
Insofar as it is true that cash gifts from one bishop to another are “customary,” that custom is an invitation to corruption and it should be abolished.
#1. Establish policies, procedures, and protocols to prevent the worship of false gods from ever happening again.
Only rarely does the Secretariat of State lose internal battles at the Vatican, and this is unquestionably a loss.
When candidates promise to put pressure on the Catholic Church to ordain women, to employ active homosexuals as youth ministers, and to silence priests who oppose abortion, you can safely believe them.
In the eyes of Her Majesty’s government, some “support groups” must be exempted from the lockdown, but not groups that derive support from communal prayer.
It is possible to square what the Pope said with the Catholic tradition. But it isn’t easy— particularly when the Pope and the Vatican let the widespread misinterpretation of the remarks stand uncorrected.
It seems to me those “more progressive Catholics” get together every day in the faculty lounges at Boston College, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Fordham, and a dozen other Catholic universities.
That two Roman Pontiffs would ignore a rule, rather than amend it, is neither a crime nor a scandal. But it is an oddity.
He is, in effect, relinquishing any claim to territory that the opposing forces have already occupied— and thus creating new obstacles for any Catholics who seek to regain that territory in the future.
At a time when the Vatican is struggling to regain public confidence about its financial probity, cynics might wonder whether he was chosen for these sensitive posts because he is likely to crack down on any signs of financial impropriety, or because he can be relied upon not to notice them.
So if a politician disagrees with pro-life lobbyists on the proper legislative path to ending abortion, he should not forfeit all Catholic support. Fair enough. But suppose a presidential candidate not only refuses to outlaw abortion, but promises to preserve free and unrestricted access to the procedure, pledges to guarantee government subsidies, welcomes support from the abortionists’ lobby...
In the current pontificate, I submit, it has become simply impossible to square the Pope’s statements with those of his predecessors.
The same ideological anger that prompts rioters to pull down statues of Christopher Columbus is also motivating the desecration of Catholic churches.
In many respects the Becciu case mirrors the case of Theodore McCarrick, the last prelate to be stripped of his privileges as a cardinal. In both cases the Vatican’s disciplinary action leaves the Catholic world wondering: Who were his sponsors and protectors? And when will we know the full truth about his use and abuse of ecclesiastical power?
The apostles didn’t stop celebrating the faith, despite threats of legal punishment. Insofar as they are our models, neither should we.
At a time of deep national divisions and high political tensions— a time when teenage boys can become the objects of a nationwide hate campaign— the courts have given Congressmen a dangerous license to be reckless.
The compleat contemporary liturgist is faced with a choice: He can use the words “thee” and “thine,” or he can suck the beauty out of the poetry. It’s no contest.
Just a few weeks ago the archbishop effectively ruled that everyone had a rational basis for fears. Now he says that rational basis is gone. But it isn’t that simple. Many Catholics are still afraid, and the archbishop can’t flip a switch to turn off their fears.
Every four years partisans SAY they are frightened by the possibility that their rivals might come to power. This year I think they mean it. For faithful Catholic Americans, at least, there is reason to be fearful.
He was unimpressed with academic colleagues who, he chuckled in wonderment, “wouldn’t even know how to change a shock absorber.” Then again he was also unimpressed with his own academic achievements, and congenitally incapable of self-promotion.
Whatever their weaknesses, the nuns who taught my grammar-school class also adhered to Sister Deirdre’s vision. There was never any doubt in my mind— because the sisters reminded us often— that they wanted all of us, their students, to go to heaven; and that they saw their teaching mission as their own way to get there.
Archbishop Vigneron said that the Second Vatican Council had “established that no one ‘even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.” I beg to differ. That’s what Vatican II SAID. What was actually established was precisely the opposite.
Did I mention that Bransfield is a protégé of the disgraced former cardinal, Theodore McCarrick? And did I mention that we are still waiting for the Vatican’s promised report on how McCarrick rose to power and influence?
McCarrick claimed that he had the support of Cardinal Ratzinger. He said that the Vatican official “clearly leaves to us as teachers, pastors, and leaders whether to pursue this path.” That was false.
The Catholic bishops who say that Biden should still be allowed to receive Communion— and they are, apparently, still the majority in the US bishops’ conference— argue that it is wrong to politicize the Eucharist. That is certainly true. But when the issue of Communion has been politicized— by a candidate who trumpets his Catholic faith, who runs advertisements about the inspiration he receives from that faith— how should prudent bishops react?
The public meetings that build up our culture— the concerts and parades and lectures and religious rituals— are still banned or tightly restricted. The public events that tend to destroy that culture are allowed.
When a Covid vaccine becomes available, this statement by the English bishops will be quoted by zealous lawmakers campaigning to make the vaccine mandatory—and thus to deprive the English people of the freedom to make their own medical decisions for themselves and for their children.
Years ago, a friend who is a priest explained why he had run into difficulties with the archbishop in a different diocese. “If he’s a Catholic, I’m not,” my friend said. “And if I’m a Catholic, he’s not.”
Despite stretching to well over 4,000 words, the Vatican document does not mention God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Church, the sacraments, prayer, or even charity; even the word “Christian” does not appear in the text.
This is a very important discussion for American Catholics during a time of national crisis, and America on Trial is a very important book. It belongs on the syllabus for any source about the American Founding.
This judicial logic scoffs not just at the Arkansas law, “but at what nature and nature’s God have wrought.” Pay careful attention to that phrase: nature and nature’s God. Because it’s a reminder that this legal madness strikes at the very foundation of the American Republic.
There’s a strong tang of anti-Catholic bigotry in the air these days. The hostility can take overt and brutal forms (beating people as they pray), or it can take subtle and sophisticated forms (issuing regulations that effectively prevent public prayer). The one nourishes the other.
Sohrab Ahmari (who knows something about the topic, having lived through the Islamic revolution in Iran), charges that today’s leftist activism is not really a revolution at all, but “a reactionary putsch.”
After Espinoza there’s no longer an excuse. Educational choice is an issue whose time has come.
So today the “spirit of Vatican II”— which may or may not reflect the teaching of the Council, but is certainly not in continuity with perennial Catholic doctrine— is in the ascendant. But this situation could not have arisen if the defenders of Catholic tradition had not failed to insist on authentic Church teaching.
Would you like to hear what the US bishops’ conference has said about the most immediate threats to religious freedom?
The chaplain didn’t say that Floyd’s death was NOT prompted by racism. He simply remarked that the evidence is not conclusive. For that he was banished from the campus. For that he was given a public reprimand by his own archdiocese, which announced to the world that his statements “were wrong.”
Suppose, at some future date, the panjandrums of public opinion decide that certain books should no longer be available. With a few keystrokes, Amazon (or its competitors) can make that happen. Is there anything about the recent behavior of large tech companies that gives you confidence this could never happen?
If you went to Mass last Sunday, or visited Grandma in a nursing home, and now you’re worried about a persistent cough, you can be tested— at your own expense. The results will NOT be confidential.
Here's the most important argument against the Bostock decision: not that it is a usurpation of Congressional authority (although it is), nor that is will produce disastrous public policy (although it will), but that it is patently false.
Children are a product of love, a sign of hope, an indication of faith in Providence. To fear children is to succumb to the culture of death.
Was it explained to the lay faithful, in terms that they could understand, why they could not enjoy their rights? Absolutely not. Apparently no one has felt it necessary.
Do you want to know what I find baffling and reprehensible, Archbishop Gregory?
“The men that came to the program were there because they had sexually abused young boys,” the psychiatrist said. He didn’t say they abused young people. He said young boys.
During the past several weeks loyal Catholics that there is a tension— at the very least— between the edicts of public-health officials and the independence of the Catholic Church. The USCCB apparently hasn’t noticed.
Then something happens. Something that brings things back into perspective. Something like the Eucharistic famine of the past few months. Suddenly the provision of manna is no longer routine; suddenly attendance at Mass is exceptional. We reach what catechists today call “a teachable moment.”
For the past forty years liberal Catholics have told us that the pro-life cause is not sufficient reason to deny anyone the Eucharist to prominent Catholics. Yet for the past forty days we have been told that the pro-life cause IS sufficient reason to deny the Eucharist to everyone.
Would you be comfortable taking a vaccine that was derived from placental cells? tobacco leaves? bone marrow? insects? or the dismembered bodies of aborted children?
There is a clear and obvious explanation for the drop in contributions to the Peter’s Pence collection, quite apart from the worldwide recession. Prudent donors are leery of sending high-dollar contributions to the financial equivalent of the Keystone Kops.
The Vatican needs money. The donors need answers. If the Vatican doesn’t give, the donors won’t, either.
“I heard that there were problems at St. Pat’s College,” Cardinal Pell recalled in his 2016 testimony. He chose to keep his silence about those problems. In much the same way, in the 1980s and 1990s, dozens if not hundreds of informed Catholics (myself included) “heard that there were problems” with “Uncle Ted” McCarrick’s handling of seminarians in the Newark archdiocese. We had no direct evidence, and the problem was not our direct responsibility, so we too kept our silence.
So we know that something has been done to some employees, because of something those employees had done. And that’s all we know— or rather, all we would know, if we relied on official Vatican sources for our information.
The idea that parental authority is subject to State control is repugnant to the common sense, to Christian teaching, and to American law.
The OSV headline conveyed the impression that a bioethicist had given the green light for Catholics to use a CO19 vaccine derived from fetal tissue. That that is not what the bioethicist said
Is the bishop serious? Does he expect husband and wife to remain a sterile 2 meters apart? Does he know what marriage is?
That “fruit of friendly encounter” that Cardinal Parolin cited may taste sweet for Communist Party officials— and for Vatican officials intent on pursuing the same policy— but for many thousands of Catholics it is bitter.
On the basis of our pitifully inadequate knowledge of this disease, we have embarked on the most radical set of public policies—apart from all-out war— in the history of the human race.
Cynics might question why the Vatican would be offering proposals to restructure the global economy, at a time when the Vatican is having so much trouble putting its own financial affairs in order.
Archbishop Listecki has said that since it's impossible to distribute Communion in parking lots with appropriate safety and reverence, parking-lot Masses should not be celebrated. That's a non sequitur.
Michael Pakaluk notices that political leaders, if they follow fashionable opinions, will have a strong inclination to continue the national shutdown indefinitely.
In a typical parish church dozens of people could attend Mass without violating “social-distance” guidelines, and in some of our cavernous cathedrals that number could safely be multiplied.
Another conflict of authority has arisen: a conflict between the undoubted authority of the bishop to set standards for ministry in his diocese, and the equally certain right of the laity to have access to the sacraments.
And when that announcement finally came, another unique response: a ripple of somber applause ran through St. Peter’s Square. Applause for a life well lived.
Just a few months ago, at the Amazon Synod, we heard pleas for the ordination of married men, based on the argument that the faithful must have access to the sacraments. Why wasn’t the same imperative felt during the pandemic: the need to take special measures to ensure that the sacraments were available?
There is no scientific reason why we can’t have a morally acceptable vaccine. The question is: Will we demand it?
In a climate of hysteria, a fresh and balanced perspective— in particular, a distinctly Catholic perspective— is especially valuable. So I’m pleased to pass along something from Thomas More College.
Bishop Strickland: “This report by the Lepanto Institute must be proven to be false. If what Lepanto says is accurate then we should call for a thorough investigation of CRS.”
Even as we make sacrifices, even as we fight to ward off a deadly epidemic, we should bear in mind two essential truths. First, all of us will die. Every victory over death is only a temporary one. Death is a part of life. Second, there are things worse than death.
Why is it that at a time when many pious Catholics are begging for a chance to participate at Mass, and many conscientious pastors are willing to oblige them, our bishops are steadily pumping the brakes?
Day-care centers-- very efficient mechanisms for spreading infection-- are expanding services, while churches are closed. Thus we show our priorities.
The role of the Church is to remind a confused and panicky population that the Lord is in charge— that our encounter with Him is infinitely more important than a possible encounter with a virus.
Why make it so easy for the Beijing regime to turn a papal prayer into a propaganda tool?
Ireland’s former president, Mary McAleese, has written to Pope Francis, warning that she will leave the Catholic Church if she finds that the Vatican failed to warn the world about abuses at the L’Arche community. Her threat prompts several thoughts.
It’s theoretically possible that some energetic researcher could search the voter rolls and determine which percentage of the local clergy chose to participate in the primary of a party whose leadership is firmly committed to legal abortion on demand, same-sex marriage, and gender ideology.
Having escaped from a self-destructive lifestyle, a former homosexual asks why the Church did not help him earlier-- and why priests still encourage other young men to explore the same perilous path.
A frontal assault on religious liberty, and a grave challenge for Australian priests.
Every believing Catholic recognizes the Eucharistic liturgy as the source of his spiritual life. But do we think of the Sunday Mass in our parish as the summit of our spirituality? Is this the best we can do? Really?
Boeing fired an executive whose subordinates apparently took the company's mission lightly. If only Catholic bishops were held-- or, better, held themselves-- to the same standard!
In short, Pope Francis did not, as some journalists reported, “close the door” on the possibility of ordaining married men. He left the door precisely as it was: ajar.
Under Bishop Barron's proposal, the bishop is not asking: “Does this site contradict established Catholic doctrine?” Instead he is asking: “Do I approve of this site’s approach?” The difference is enormous.
Welcome to the new, transparent Vatican regime, the regime of dialogue, the regime of accountability.
Having been joined to the EU since its creation, COMECE takes that the existence of that political body for granted, and any suggestion that the EU should be abandoned is, implicitly, a suggestion that COMECE might be disbanded as well.
Questions that might have been asked about Cardinal Sodano can now be asked about Cardinal Sandri, and those questions will linger over the next conclave.
What worries me about the USCCB initiative is the possibility that the bishops will set up their own guidelines for the CPCs that seek their support. Inevitably those guidelines will exclude some CPCs and encourage others.
It might not be easy to find the political middle ground on the abortion issue, but it is easy enough to find the extreme. Because thanks to Roe— with a nod to the complicity of the liberal media— the extreme is now the status quo.
The leftists might still be out in force this week, doing their best to disrupt the March. But at least now the mainstream media will be aware that if they choose to promote the “two-minute hate,” that decision could prove costly.
This grand papal plan— a response to what Pope Francis called an era of “epochal change”— would involve a serious bid to address climate change, to protect the environment, to stimulate “ecological conversion” of the sort contemplated by the Amazon Synod.
Has anyone ever heard a bishop apologize for a lie?
That’s nearly $1 million in gifts— large cash gifts— provided by two prelates who are now living in disgrace, to other prelates who remain in good standing.
His 2017 essay on the “ecumenism of hatred” was an embarrassment to the Vatican: a vitriolic piece, marred not only by its tone but also by its spectacular ignorance about American political affairs.
Could someone please explain to me why, on the day that we celebrate the name of Jesus, we don’t celebrate the name of Jesus?
For years the Vatican has asked the faithful to support the Pope’s needs, emphasizing his charitable projects— and then invested the returns in London real estate, a shady Italian bank, a bankrupt hospital, and, yes, a film about Elton John
After decades of misbegotten family policies, the US now leads the world— by a wide margin— in the one category most likely to produce societal disaster.
When a new acquaintance tells you that he was raised as a Catholic but drifted away, because “I had some troubles with what the Church teaches,” you don’t immediately suspect that he is a monophysite.
The Pope could be thinking about ways to ensure that his policies will survive beyond his death or resignation— that he will ensure the "irreversible change” that his supporters hoped he would bring to the Church.
The moral argument against the CCHD has been made again and again and again and again. Every year the US bishops’ conference insists that the problems have been addressed, and yet every year there are fresh scandals.
You might not have believed that plans for the beatification of a revered prelate could be turned into another reason to mistrust the hierarchy. But our bishops have managed to do it.
During a frenzy of anti-Christian violence, seven illiterate men were convicted of killing a Hindu leader-- despite the fact that Maoist rebels claimed credit for the murder. They remained imprisoned for years, their appeals ignored by local officials in a region dominated by Hindu nationalists. Now-- thanks largely to the efforts of a CWN correspondent-- the nation's high court has ordered their release.
The purpose of the ceremony is to provide encouragement for the faithful. As things stand, regrettably, this beatification would more likely to cause discouragement.
The punishment of Bishop Bransfield is "for his own spiritual good and his own healing as a man who professes to follow Christ."
The Vatican had claimed a substantial victory when the Egmont Group admitted the Vatican agency as a participant in the international exchange of information about suspected money-laundering. Now that victory has been reversed.
The Advent season builds up naturally toward the explosion of joy on Christmas Day. But when the bright lights go on in early December, Advent fades into the background.
If you can concoct an innocent explanation for Pope's involvement in the Zanchetta case, please let me know. I can’t.
So clearly there IS some resistance in the US hierarchy— if not to the Pope’s leadership, at least to the rhetoric being churned out by papal supporters.
We know where to look for the documents in question. They’re in the files of the apostolic nuncio in Washington, and/or the offices of the Roman Curia. It shouldn’t take a year to dig them out.
If the papal nuncio convinces American bishops to swallow their concerns and stifle their questions, that would be a grave disservice both to the Pope and to the faithful Catholics of the US.
But what if your goal is to spread the Catholic faith? Then the German bishops are, as a group, miserable failures. Mattingly notes that 216,078 Germans formally renounced their Catholic faith last year.
Prayer brings us together, in ways that we do not fully anticipate or understand. So I conclude that we should all be asking for prayers more often.
The world is going to laugh at us anyway. So it’s better to be laughed at for what seems (to the unbelieving world) an excess of piety or compunction or zeal, than for leaving the one truly important project undone.
Is it possible that the Vatican’s financial affairs could be so chaotic, so imprudent, so palpably corrupt? The entire story offers a portrait of blundering, amateurish crooks.
“Faced with such an evident scandal, it is impossible that a Catholic bishop would remain silent,” he writes. Yet most bishops ARE silent.
If I could call on dozens of tenured professors from Notre Dame, Georgetown, Fordham, and Villanova to defend me at a moment’s notice— with all the PR machinery of their schools behind them— I wouldn't worry too very much about the “outsize influence” of some lone critic with a blog.
Yet again the Amazon Synod— controversial though it is— has been bumped off the top place in our list of the week’s headline stories by a stunning and scandalous development at the Vatican. In fact, two stunning and scandalous developments.
"If God’s dream is the redemption of humanity,…" Thus begins a telling sentence in a semi-official Vatican journal. God's dream??
Father Martin is consistent in his own way: always challenging the Church’s authoritative teaching obliquely, always encouraging others to question or to ignore that teaching, yet always innocently protesting that he is merely raising “interesting” questions, not answering them. He uses studied ambiguity to undermine orthodoxy. And now, when challenged, he takes refuge behind the authority of other, more powerful prelates— who are using the same subversive technique.
If the Pachamama images were pagan idols— set up before the altar of a Catholic church— then it was right and just to destroy them.
The discussions of the Amazon Synod continue, with calls for the ordination of married men gaining support. The final votes on the Synod’s proposals are still a week away, and the daily press briefings do not convey the full story of what has happened inside the Synod hall, so it may be...
Two noteworthy columns today by veteran Vatican-watchers covering the Amazon Synod: John Allen of Crux explains how German prelates have outsized influence in the discussions of the Amazon Synod—particularly when the subject is priestly celibacy. And Sandro Magister of...
Questioned about the Pachamama icon that has become the most visible symbol of the Amazon Synod, Father Giacomo Costa told reporters that it was an image of “an indigenous woman who brings life.” The Synod spokesman added: “Nobody said it was the Virgin Mary.” I beg to...
Back in June 2016 I made a prediction about the next Vatican scandal: This time the subject will not be sex, but that other rich lode of corruption: money. Then the police raid on Vatican offices was followed by the resignation of the Vatican’s top police official. We still...
Yet again, an unexpected and unsettling news story snatched top billing from the Amazon Synod in the week’s Catholic World News coverage. Last week it was the police raid on the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. This week it was the stunning claim, by an influential Italian journalist,...
Did Pope Francis really really say that Jesus is not God? Eugenio Scalfari, who made this sensational claim, cannot be treated as a reliable witness. He is an atheist, a Marxist, not a Christian. Although he has interviewed Pope Francis several times, he has not recorded the sessions or taken...
Father Thomas Weinandy has long been a perceptive and courageous analyst of the current confusion that is spreading from Rome. And he has paid a price for his honesty. In 2017, the Capuchin theologian gave up his position as consultant to the US bishops’ doctrine committee, after making...
Years ago, at an inter-religious conference, I was befriended by a Muslim cleric who, when he learned that I had never met my father-in-law, promised to do his best to bring us together. (He fulfilled that promise, to no avail.) However, he also felt obliged to give me a warning. “My...
Hat tip to Siobhan O’Connor, the Buffalo whistleblower, for calling attention to the fact that the Vatican’s apostolic visitation of that diocese is “not subject to the recent instruction of the Holy See, Vos Estis.” Here’s one more demonstration that the Vatican...
This week’s most important CWN headline was not a big story. It was a huge story, a sensational story, a blockbuster. To be honest, I’m at a loss to explain why it hasn’t been given headline coverage throughout the media world. Police—the Vatican’s own police,...
A shocking, unprecedented scene: Vatican police raiding the offices of the Vatican’s own Secretariat of State, seizing documents and electronic devices. As usual the Vatican is tight-lipped about this latest scandal, disclosing only that the Vatican’s top prosecutor has been...
Pope Francis asked them not to do it. Two top Vatican officials told them they would be violating canon law if they did it. But this week the German bishops decided to do it anyway. And some people say that the threat of schism
Here’s what Pope Francis did NOT say, speaking to a group of Jesuits in Mozambique: Today I felt a certain bitterness after a meeting with young people. A woman approached me with a young man and a young woman. I was told they were part of a slightly leftist movement. She said to me in perfect...
Last week I asked which of the countless diocesan and parish programs and agencies is more crucial than the staff, bag, and spare tunic that our Lord told his apostles they did not need on their evangelizing mission. [Lk 9:1-6] Now I have a follow-up question. See if you can find the official...
“God will call the bad shepherds to account for his sheep and for their deaths.” Thus St. Augustine, in his sermon On Pastors. Do Catholic priests in America still read the Divine Office regularly? (I’m afraid I know the answer to that question. According to a recent survey,...
A reflection on the Gospel reading from this morning’s Mass: “Take nothing for the journey; no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.” With those instructions—not to mention to drive out demons and cure diseases—the Lord sent the Apostles...
Last week, at a friend’s suggestion, I reread The Edge of Sadness, by Edwin O’Connor. It’s not a great novel, but it’s a good novel, written from an unmistakably Catholic perspective. Of course, since the main character is a Catholic priest, it would be different to have...
Last week, the hottest topic for discussion in Catholic circles was the Pope’s response to speculation about an American schism. This week the story shifts to Germany, where the episcopal conference is threatening to defy the Vatican, and make its own “binding” decisions on...
Why are we even talking about schism? Who began this extraordinary conversation, and whose interests are served by it? Ross Douthat of the New York Times admits that he used the term “schism” long ago, as a theoretical possibility—which he now (rightly) regards as remote. But...
Writing for First Things about the Seattle suicide scandal, Father Paul Mankowski, SJ, puts his finger on the problem: the fact that the Eucharistic liturgy was used as a stage for a cause, with innocent children as bit actors. The priest involved says that he was not acquainted with the...
Although I was appalled by the Pope’s statement on the prospect of an American schism, one passage from that statement merits a bit more thought: The schismatics always have one thing in common: they separate themselves from the people, from the faith of the people of God. And when there was...
On September 11, while Americans remembered the victims of an Islamic terrorist attack, Pope Francis met with a members of a joint Catholic-Islamic committee dedicated to peaceful dialogue. (This is the group whose formal statement, endorsed by the Pope, proclaimed: “The pluralism and diversity...
“I am not afraid of schisms,” Pope Francis told reporters during his latest airplane press conference. Well, I am. And I’m afraid of any Roman Pontiff who isn’t afraid of splitting the universal Church. Which means that, yes, I’m afraid of Pope Francis. As we...
• Leila Miller, who has made some important contributions to understanding the disastrous effects of divorce, has now turned her attention to diocesan marriage tribunals, and the unmistakable problems associated with routine declarations of annulment. She has posted a revealing interview with...
Foreign Affairs carries an interesting analysis of Vatican foreign policy under Pope Francis, with a focus on the conflict in Ukraine. Victor Gaetan notes that the Ukrainian Catholic Church, led by Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevcuk, has been extremely critical of Russian intervention, while the...
In the latest effort to explain away an unguarded utterance by Pope Francis, Matteo Bruni, the director of the Vatican press office, told reporters how they should interpret the papal remark that “it’s an honor that Americans attack me.” In an informal context, the Pope...
August is traditionally a slow month for news, and then things heat up quickly in September. That’s certainly been the case this year. In today’s Catholic World News headlines you’ll find: Hints of paranoia: Former cardinal McCarrick denies wrongdoing, says his...
Having named 13 new members of the College of Cardinals, Pope Francis will—as of October 5—have named a majority of the cardinals who will elect the next Roman Pontiff. At least on paper, then, he has had a chance to ensure that the next conclave will elect a prelate who shares his...
After the publication of an an AP story about a man who received a blessing in a Catholic church just a few days before committing suicide, the Seattle archdiocese released a statement that read in part: The Associated Press story about Mr. Fuller is of great concern to the Archbishops because...
David Bentley Hart begins his Commonweal article by stating that he is not a Catholic, and he proceeds to give “traditionalist” Catholics a drubbing. But if you persevere to the end of the piece, you find some refreshingly blunt analysis of the prevailing Catholic approach to marriage...
The conviction of Cardinal George Pell on sex-abuse charges, despite the complete absence of evidence against him, was a shock and a black mark against the Australian justice system. The decision by an appeals court to uphold that verdict compounds the problem and the disgrace. The cardinal
When was the last time you heard new Catholic liturgical music that was beautiful, reverent, accessible, and easy to learn? Since the talented composer Paul Jernberg is a friend and neighbor, it happens to me often. Do yourself a favor, and watch at least the trailer for a video recording of a...
“However secularized a civilization may become,” writes Samuel Gregg in his excellent new book, “it can never entirely escape from the burden of its spiritual inheritance.” The civilization of the Western world is the product of a singularly fruitful marriage between faith...
This week I have received a political flyer aimed at “values voters,” heard a fundraising pitch from an organization that upholds family “values,” and sat through a sermon about maintaining Christian “values” in a secular world. The constant references to...
Pay careful attention to the statement by Msgr. Livio Melina regarding the radical change in orientation at the John Paul II Institute, where he, until recently, served as president: If the decisions taken by Archbishop Paglia are not revoked, then what they are saying is: ‘The interpretation...
“The growing plague of offense and disrespect in speech and actions must end,” says Archbishop Wilton Gregory in his highly publicized response to President Trump’s remarks about squalor in Baltimore. “I fear that recent public comments by our President and others and the...
First let’s put together a coalition of groups involved in airline travel: the airlines themselves, aircraft manufacturers, airport executives, unions representing pilots and flight attendants, air-traffic controllers, TSA agents, etc. Now let’s write a manifesto for them, demanding...
Yesterday I announced that I’m finished reporting on the scandals in the Catholic Church. The question naturally arises: then what will I do? (Before I answer that question, let me pause just a moment to thank the many people who have sent me supportive and complimentary messages....
I quit. For more than 25 years now, I have been reporting and writing about scandal within the Catholic Church. Yesterday, as I wearily wrote one more article about episcopal corruption, I realized how much the topic has come to nauseate me. I can’t do it anymore. Since the 1990s I...
Every day, it seems, I resolve not to write another column about corruption in the Catholic hierarchy. And then another story crosses my desk that makes my shake my head… and tackle the same tired old topic again. Take today’s news, that the Vatican has named Bishop Mark Brennan to...
In our CWN news coverage of the Vatican’s disciplinary action against Bishop Bransfield, we called attention to the fact that the announcement was made late on a Friday afternoon in July. If you’ve ever devoted any time at all to the study of public relations, you recognize the...
Massimo Faggioli teaches in the theology department at Villanova (when he is not trolling conservative Catholics on social media). Villanova is—or claims to be—a Catholic university. Those who teach in theology departments at Catholic universities are obliged to obtain the...
Sunday, July 20, 1969. Millions of Americans were in front of their television sets, watching coverage of the historic Apollo 11 mission. But it was a lovely afternoon in Boston, the Red Sox were hosting the Baltimore Orioles, and cheap seats were available in the distant right-field grandstand...
Just a few days after announcing that excavations inside the Vatican yielded no evidence to shed light on the disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi, the Vatican has now said that some human remains were found, and the investigation will continue. What’s going on here? The short answer: in...
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