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Quick Hits: Priest falsely accused?/Religious test for White House?/Liturgical changes we need

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 21, 2016 | In Quick Hits

  • The highly publicized trials of Philadelphia priests are an instance of “prosecutorial lust,” according to reporter Ralph Cipriano. Since the trials began, Cipriano has been making a strong case that the key witness for the prosecution is completely unreliable. Now those strong arguments, which have been largely ignored by the secular media, have appeared in a Newsweek article that should shake any public confidence in district attorney Seth Williams. That key witness, Daniel Gallagher, has a long record of crime, drug abuse, and changing his stories. Yet his testimony, bolstered by some astonishing prosecutorial aggression, led to the conviction of four priests. Now the DA, Williams, has vowed to appeal the court ruling that overturned the conviction of Msgr. William Lynn-- despite the facts that a) this is the second tine the conviction has been overturned, and b) the priest has already served most of his sentence. There’s something very wrong here, and it’s good that the mainstream media have finally noticed.

  • Earlier this week I wrote about the prospects for a pan-Orthodox council: an unprecedented meeting of all the world’s Orthodox churches. Whether the ambitious plan for such a meeting is successful could be decided by a preparatory session next week, and it’s noteworthy that Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill himself will be attending that session. Perhaps even more noteworthy (for those who are following closely), the delegation from Moscow will include Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev, who has expressed serious misgivings about the pan-Orthodox council. The participation of the Russian Orthodox Church—by far the largest of the world’s Orthodox bodies—is critical to the success of any worldwide Orthodox council. Next week’s meeting could be a make-or-break session.

  • The crazier liturgical experiments that followed Vatican II have played themselves out in most American parishes. Yet now some of those failed experiments are being proposed again, as if they were new ideas. My very favorite author argues that active Catholics should promote their own policies to restore reverence, and suggests Three Liturgical Changes We Need Now. Leila is always right, of course. But if I were making the list, her #2 would be my #1.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: feedback - May. 28, 2016 1:02 AM ET USA

    What a great "contemporary re-translation" of the Acts! However I'm afraid that most diocesan bureaucracies (top to bottom) have long lost the sense of how ridiculous, useless and pointless are their obsessions with "programs," and how they can be completely detached from the simple sincerity of the Gospel.

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - May. 27, 2016 5:49 PM ET USA

    I enjoy it when such things are put in context. Take Muslim-on-Muslim conflict, for instance. To help understand what it must be like, suppose Catholics hiding behind bushes slaughtered Baptists on the way to church? What if 7th Day Adventists blew up a Methodist bus taking children to Sunday School? We should give thanks for the country we live in and do our best to keep it the way it is. That means opposing anyone who supports abortion and keeping God out of schools.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - May. 26, 2016 4:34 PM ET USA

    A beautiful country absolutely adorned with the splendor of Christianity turned into an ash heap of materialism. Is there a saint left there?

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jan. 23, 2016 4:39 PM ET USA

    It's been more than 20 years now since I've had to routinely suffer through liturgical abuse. Why did you have to bring it up? By the way, I prefer Leila's order in the list.