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Pontifications

Pontifications

January 2009 Archives

Galileo gets his due…

posted by David Gibson

Pope John Paul II had already “rehabilitated” the astonomer, condemned by the Inquisition in 1633. But as we approach his 450th birthday on Feb. 15, the Vatican is pulling out the stops for Galileo Galilei, the Italian scientist who proved […]

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Bishop Williamson: From the Whale’s Mouth

posted by David Gibson

Bishop Richard Williamson, one of the four newly-rehabbed Rad-Trad bishops at the heart of the furor over their anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying views and Pope Benedict’s outreach to them, has apologized–sort of. Williamson has written to Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, Benedict’s point man […]

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FOCA Follies

posted by David Gibson

In the wake of Barack Obama’s election victory, the pro-life movement seemed thoroughly disorganized, if not dispirited–until salvation arrived in the form of the Freedom of Choice Act, a.k.a. FOCA–a bill that would coerce Catholics into performing abortions, force the […]

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Another Holocaust-denying SSPX leader

posted by David Gibson

This time an Italian priest with the inimitable name of “Abrahamowicz.” (As they say in the newspaper biz, you can’t make this stuff up–hard as we might try.) Indeed, Fr. Floriano Abrahamowicz, a pastor and spokesperson for the Society of […]

Bishop Williamson: We win!

posted by David Gibson

That’s more or less the sense one gets from reading the latest column, “The Re-Incommunication,” from the most notorious of the rehabilitated schismatic bishops, Richard Williamson. Williamson, an English-born convert from Anglicanism, has been the poster bishop for the ultra-Tradtionalist […]

And now for something completely different…

posted by David Gibson

Over at dotCommonweal, Fr. Komonchak started a caption contest for this shot from Wednesday’s General Audience. The lion cub came courtesy of the Medrano Circus, whose acrobats apparently performed a little something for the pontiff. Amy Welborn also has a […]

Catholic-Jewish relations continue to deteriorate

posted by David Gibson

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has broken ties with the Vatican. Though there may be some hope in light of the pope’s comments earlier today. Here’s the AP story: JERUSALEM – Israel’s chief rabbinate severed ties with the Vatican on […]

Benedict XVI explains his SSPX strategy–such as it is

posted by David Gibson

The post below focused on accounts of Benedict XVI’s statements vis-a-vis Judaism and the SSPX rehabilitation effort which has ocassioned such controversy and pain. But the CNS story that just moved focuses on his remarks at the general audience on […]

Elie Wiesel: “The Vatican did it intentionally.”

posted by David Gibson

“What the intention was, I don’t know.” That’s the reaction from Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel, in an exclusive interview with Reuters about the furor over the rehabilitation of the anti-Semitic Traditionalists. Powerful stuff, strong words that need to […]

Pope in damage control mode

posted by David Gibson

At today’s weekly general (public) audience, Pope Benedict XVI weighed in with remarks aimed at distancing himself from the Holocaust denials of one of the recently un-excommunicated ultra-right “Tradical” bishops. Here’s the AP account: VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI […]

Kasper not so friendly to Williamson

posted by David Gibson

Cardinal Walter Kasper, the German prelate who heads the Vatican’s ecumenical office, has called Holocaust-denying statements by one of the newly-rehabbed right-wing bishops “stupid” and “unacceptable.” Cardinal Kasper–a pastorally-minded man who was touted as “Kasper the Friendly Pope” by oddmakers […]

Traditionalists and anti-Semitism: Hardly strangers

posted by David Gibson

Much of the furor over the rehabilitation (of sorts) of the right-wing schismatic bishops by Pope Benedict XVI has focused on anti-Semitism, particularly the Holocaust-denying statements of Bishop Richard Williamson. (And he has some other quirks, like denying that two […]

Pope Benedict and Vatican II: Another view

posted by David Gibson

Did anything happen at the Second Vatican Council? That’s the debate underlying the burgeoning disputes over the pope’s latest moves–the lifting of excommunications on four far-right schismatic Traditionalist bishops. In the post below on the topic, I cited comments by […]

Chief Rabbi: Vatican must examine its conscience

posted by David Gibson

A sharp call from head of the first Orthodox center to engage in religious dialogue with Rome: Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, reacting to the uproar over Pope Benedict’s reinstatement of four right-wing schismatic bishops, one of whom is a Holocaust-denier, took […]

Rewriting history: Vatican II gets a makeover at 50

posted by David Gibson

Fifty years ago today, Sunday, January 25, 1959, “Good” Pope John XXIII anounced to a small group of cardinals at a prayer service in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls to close the week of prayer for Christian […]

Obama’s Mexico City repeal: A pro-life policy?

posted by David Gibson

President Obama today fulfilled a campaign promise by repealing the so-called “Mexico City policy” that prohibits U.S. funding for overseas non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide abortion as part of their services or as part of their maternal care counseling. (Hence […]

Cardinal to President: Outlaw adultery and divorce!

posted by David Gibson

Well, that’s one way to read Cardinal George’s Jan. 13 letter to Obama, in the post below. In the letter (ZENIT text here) Cardinal George writes: “We stand firm in our support for marriage which is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong […]

Bishops’ strategy on Obama: Good Cops, Bad Cops?

posted by David Gibson

So the Catholic hierarchy in the U.S., through its president, Chicago Cardinal Francis George, welcomes the incoming President-elect just before his inauguration with a respectful, constructive letter, dated Jan. 13, setting out hopes for collaboration and working together on a […]

Pro-Life Day’s “Battle of the Ads”

posted by David Gibson

Today’s annual “March for Life” on the Mall in Washington marks 36 years since the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and it takes place against concerns about “abortion fatigue” among the public, and “battle fatigue” among the troops, as […]

Bishop Gene Robinson’s prayer

posted by David Gibson

Sarah Pulliam at Christianity Today has video of the prayer of the gay Episcopal bishop, whose inclusion in inaugural events was expected to be as controversial as Rick Warren’s. But Warren could do worse than Robinson. Though we almost weren’t […]

Grading Obama

posted by David Gibson

Even more than most inaugural addresses, today’s speech by the new president will be greatly anticipated but, like most of these addresses, little remembered. Though who knows, Obama could join the ranks of JFK, FDR, and even Lincoln (especially the […]

Of Protestants and Presidents…

posted by David Gibson

Tomorrow’s inauguration will be historic for many reasons, the most obvious being the installation of the nation’s first African-American president. What will not change, however, is the Protestant monopoly of the event. The new president is a Protestant (though in […]

Secret Agent Man, RIP

posted by David Gibson

Patrick McGoohan has died, the actor best known (well, to me) for his role in the 1960’s CBS serial, “Secret Agent,” which is today perhaps best remembered by others for the unforgettable Johnny Rivers theme, “Secret Agent Man.” McGoohan (and […]

Israel in Gaza: “The Boss has lost it.”

posted by David Gibson

That phrase is from Ethan Bronner’s NYT analysis this morning of Israel’s strategy going into the Gaza campaign, which has now been suspended. It is meant to be a boast of sorts, not recognition of a mistake. It comes from […]

Allegations: Alaska is a dumping ground for predator priests

posted by David Gibson

A long-simmering story has burst into the open with the filing of a lawsuit alleging that the Jesuit order used Alaska as a “dumping ground” for abusive priests. According to coverage in the Anchorage Daily News, this week’s lawsuit is […]

Should we invade Canada?

posted by David Gibson

The jet splashdown in the Hudson yesterday was one of those riveting spectacles, such that I almost felt sorry for George W. Bush since no one seemed to pay attention to his farewell address. (Okay, I didn’t feel too bad.) […]

The Vatican likes Facebook, too…

posted by David Gibson

And not just because Jesus has his own page. An Italian priest writing in the Vatican-approved Jesuit journal, La Civilta’ Cattolica, says that “Basically, Facebook incarnates a utopia: that of always staying close to those people we care about in […]

“Jesus added you as a friend on Facebook…”

posted by David Gibson

Are you friends with Jesus? Jim Martin, my Jesuit friend, is. Finally. Yep, here’s the Big Guy’s page…And here’s what Father Jim has to say about it over at America’s blog: On the one hand, I was delighted. Who wouldn’t […]

The 111th Congress: We’ll know who to blame

posted by David Gibson

A Pew Forum survey of the religious make-up of the new Congress shows that the 535 members generally reflect the country’s religious demographic, though Catholics–24 percent of the population–comprise 30 percent of the House and Senate. But here’s the kicker: […]

“Life and death for people in Gaza is the same…”

posted by David Gibson

Those are the words of Fr. Manuel Musallam, a parish priest in Gaza, in an interview with Caritas Internationalis following the destruction of a Caritas health clinic by an Israeli F-16 fighter jet. According to a Caritas release, which also […]

Bishops who should resign: VOTF names names

posted by David Gibson

The leading national church reform group has issued a release calling on five U.S. bishops to step down from their job, and for former Boston archbishop, Cardinal Bernard Law, to resign his various ecclesial offices in Rome. The reform group […]

Gaza News Flash! “Joe the Plumber” is on the case…

posted by David Gibson

Only now he’s Joe the Journalist. (Well, he wasn’t really a plumber, either.) As Sarah Pulliam reports, Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, a.k.a. “Joe the Plumber” of campaign fame, told a local Ohio TV station that he plans to report from the […]

Catholics and Jews and Gaza, Part Two

posted by David Gibson

Fellow Beliefnet blogger Brad Hirschfield of “Windows and Doors” takes issue with aspects of my post about a Vatican official’s explosive comparison of Gaza to “a big concentration camp.” Brad is at his civil best–no mean feat considering the topic–but […]

Gaza Strip=Concentration Camp?

posted by David Gibson

The Vatican’s chief spokesman on justice and peace issues, Cardinal Renato Martino, has made waves (and added to doubts over a May papal visit to the Holy Land) by comparing the Gaza Strip to “a big concentration camp.” (CNS has […]

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, 1936-2009

posted by David Gibson

Father Neuhaus, the founder of the conservative ecumenical journal of religion and politics and culture and everything else, First Things, died this morning. The magazine longtime second-in-command, Jody Bottum, has this announcement: Fr. Richard John Neuhaus slipped away today, January […]

Pope’s popularity: Is the thrill gone?

posted by David Gibson

The number of pilgrims and tourists coming to see Benedict XVI is declining steadily, raising alarms about the pontiff’s diminished appeal. According to this CNS story, figures released by the Vatican show that just over 2.21 million people saw Benedict […]

Quote of the Day

posted by David Gibson

“I don’t golf. As a matter of fact it leads many people to wonder if I’m really validly ordained.” — Detroit’s Archbishop-elect Allen Vigneron, in an interview upon being introduced to succeed Cardinal Adam Maida, who is still widely remembered […]

Mother of God: No easy job

posted by David Gibson

Today’s Feast of the Epiphany marks (in the Western Church) the revelation of God in human form–Jesus–to the world, through the symbol of the Magi, the Wise Men or Kings from the East who come to the manger bearing gifts. […]

SCANDAL? Catholic teacher fired for marrying a divorced guy

posted by David Gibson

That’s the story out of San Antonio and the Express-News (via the DMN blog). It seems that less than a week before her Nov. 22 marriage, 25-year-old Marquis LaFortune (pictured with her husband-to-be) was told she would be fired from […]

Haight update: Vatican action “not definitive”

posted by David Gibson

According to a Jesuit spokesman in Rome, via this CNS story, the action against Fr. Roger Haight reported below is “a suspension” rather than a final punishment. The process is ongoing, as a committee of three (unnamed) U.S. Jesuit theologians […]

Is the Vatican pro-Hamas?

posted by David Gibson

Or just pro-Palestinian? Or anti-Israel? Or are they distinctions without a difference? As the violence continues in Gaza the prospects for a papal visit to the Holy Land, anticipated for May, grow more remote. In his weekly analysis, Vaticanista Sandro […]

Vatican issues “punitive” measures against NY Jesuit

posted by David Gibson

Over at dotCommonweal, I have posted a report on further Vatican penalties against the Jesuit theologian, Roger Haight: Now Haight is barred from writing at all on theology, and he can’t even teach at a non-Catholic school. Which means he’ll […]

Church: The Best Hangover Cure!

posted by David Gibson

Feeling a little hangdog this morning? Overindulged last night? Bubbly? Booze? Any other “Killer Bs”? So you swear this is the dawning of a new day. It is a new year, after all. And right on cue, here’s your surefire […]

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Calvin at 500, Calvinism 2.0
If you thought you knew John Calvin--who turned 500 last week--you probably don't know enough. For example, that he was French, born Jean Cauvin. And if he was in fact scandalized by dancing, he was also a lot more complex than that. I explored ...

posted 11:53:35am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

Apologia pro vita sua...Kinda
 In my defense, I've had computer outages and family reunions and a few days of single-parenthood, which is always a bracing reminder of what many parents go through all the time. And this weekend it's off for a week's vacation. Anyway, ...

posted 10:51:36am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

When Benny met Barry: "I'll pray for you!"
The first word via Vatican Radio and first image (that I saw) via Rocco: Speaking to Vatican Radio, Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi said "moral values in international politics, immigration and the Catholic Church's ...

posted 12:54:28pm Jul. 10, 2009 | read full post »

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