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Pontifications

Pontifications

January 1970 Archives

Poll on Notre Dame controversy: Good news, bad news

posted by David Gibson

Which is which may depend on where you stand on this divisive issue. A new survey from the Pew Forum (main graf at right) shows that Catholics in general approve of Notre Dame’s decision to invite and honor Obama at […]

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Chrysler: Bad cars, great skyscraper

posted by David Gibson

In reporting in the wake of 9/11, I did a piece on the skyscrapers of New York, and spoke with the people at the Skyscraper Museum, which was about to move to new digs at the World Trade Center when […]

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BREAKING: Judge Noonan to deliver Notre Dame Laetare address

posted by David Gibson

But he won’t receive the prestigious medal, as he has already has it. Instead the federal judge (appointed by Reagan) and author of several excellent books, especially his Newman-esque treatise on the development of doctrine, “A Church that Can and Cannot Change,” will “deliver an […]

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Obama the Conservative

posted by David Gibson

Since everyone else is honoring the momentous, history-changing and completely fatuous journalistic landmark known as “The First 100 Days Milestone” of a presidency, let me dip my toe in the water. Or rather, let me cite some others who beat me […]

Aborted fetuses fly over Notre Dame

posted by David Gibson

Yes, that’s right. According to PoliticsDaily’s Kaitlynn Reily (see post below) it has come to this: “At around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, I heard the droning noise of a small plane and looked out my window to see one flying low […]

Glendon’s daughter: Don’t mess with Mom

posted by David Gibson

Over at PoliticsDaily.com, Mary Ann Glendon’s daughter, Liz Lev (at right), has penned a tart defense of her mother’s decision to decline the Laetare Medal from Notre Dame–the highest honor given an American Catholic–because she would share the stage with Barack […]

In praise of (Benedict’s) folly…

posted by David Gibson

An op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times, by the religious affairs correspondent of DW-TV, Germany’s international state broadcaster, takes a different angle on what most consider Pope Benedict’s various missteps with Muslims, Jews, and Catholics, and on issues like AIDS and condoms. […]

Campus speakers: Double-standard?

posted by David Gibson

Rocco also has a Providence Journal story about former GOP congressman (and former Catholic, I believe) and outspoken immigration opponent Tom Tancredo not being allowed to speak at Dominican-run Providence College. A PC spokesperson, Pat Viera, indicated the student group asked […]

Here’s an eye-catching foto

posted by David Gibson

But Father Angelo Idi of Vigevano, a bastion of neo-fascist sentiment in Northern Italy, is making no apologies, according to Austrian Times: Fascist Father Angelo Idi, 51 – who once saw off a charity box thief with a truncheon at […]

Moving on: Notre Dame looking for Glendon replacement

posted by David Gibson

The response from Fr. Jenkins: “We are, of course, disappointed that Professor Glendon has made this decision. It is our intention to award the Laetare Medal to another deserving recipient, and we will make that announcement as soon as possible.” […]

Mary Ann Glendon bows out of Notre Dame event with Obama

posted by David Gibson

Catholic World News has the story, and the text of Glendon’s letter to UND president Fr. John Jenkins: Dear Father Jenkins, When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, I […]

Gay marriage and Champagne

posted by David Gibson

What do they have in common? As Rhode Island’s Bishop Thomas Tobin explains, nothing. Homosexual marriage is more like Chianti. (Or is it oysters and snails, Antoninus?) In any case, Bishop Tobin seems to be emerging as one of the bullier […]

Jesuit weekly: Church should consider married priests

posted by David Gibson

America magazine, the Jesuit weekly that has taken serious heat from Rome (and in particular Joseph Ratzinger) in recent years, this weeks shows again that in the year of its centennial, it remains a rare venue for serious discussion of […]

Another Catholic commencement, another bishop boycott

posted by David Gibson

This time it is Archbishop Alfred Hughes of New Orleans who has said he will boycott graduation at Xavier University because they are giving an honorary degree to Donna Brazile, the veteran Democratic political strategist and Catholic and New Orleans native […]

Bishop D’Arcy: Notre Dame made “terrible breach” with the church

posted by David Gibson

That’s the latest blast from the Bishop of South Bend, Bishop John D’Arcy. The statement concludes: As I have said in a recent interview and which I have said to Father Jenkins, it would be one thing to bring the […]

Angels & Demons, Howard v. Donohue

posted by David Gibson

But which is the Angel and which the Demon? The feud before the May 15 premiere of “Angels & Demons,” the latest film version of a Dan Brown novel is heating up. (My take from last year: Brown is actually […]

Do you believe in global warming?

posted by David Gibson

Earth Day is tomorrow, Wednesday, April 22, and the folks at Pew have a poll out showing who think the Earth is warming and who doesn’t, and whether they think we (humanity) have anything to do with it. Not surprisngly, […]

Obama and “Bo-bama.” A Prez and his Dog.

posted by David Gibson

C’mon, whatever you think of Barack, you’ve got to love this shot. No? Yeah, I knw Ted Kennedy gave them the dog. But it’s for the girls. Read Michael Shaw’s analysis at the HuffPost.

The real Susan Boyle: Her parish priest’s testimony

posted by David Gibson

Here, from Catholic News Service, is a wonderful story about the amateur talent shocker and Internet sensation, Susan Boyle. It’s from the mouth of Father Basil Clark, her parish priest in Scotland, who says he has seen stunned faces like those of […]

Mass of Reparation for Notre Dame’s Obama invitation. Wow…

posted by David Gibson

Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando is going to lead a Mass of Reparation linked to Notre Dame’s invitation to Obama. This whole thing has truly gone into an alternate universe. The mass is May 3 at 6:00 p.m. in the […]

Finding Obama’s ambassador to the Vatican

posted by David Gibson

After all the rumors and misdirection about who Obama will or can’t or won’t pick, Eric Gorksi of the AP has a very good and realisitc look at the process and possible candidates here. The lede: Since the United States and […]

Porn star dies, Catholic theologian jumps on the grave

posted by David Gibson

Marilyn Chambers, who went from the “Ivory Snow” poster mom to star of the porn classic, “Behind the Green Door,” died on Easter Sunday. She was 56. A fulfilling life? She was a mother in ral life it seems, but never […]

Obama nixes Jesus? Of crosses and urban legends

posted by David Gibson

So the latest Obama-hates-God “story” making its way around the conservative blogosphere is that the president ordered religious symbols covered during his policy speech on the economy at Georgetown this week. The clear implication is that, obviously, Obama is an […]

Montreal Cardinal: Abortion sometimes only choice

posted by David Gibson

Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte made the comments in reference to the widely-publicized case of the nine-year-old sexually abused girl in Brazil impregnated with twins by her stepfather. In his interview with Quebec’s Le Devoir newspaper (click here for the original en […]

Rush Limbaugh as Saint Francis?

posted by David Gibson

The right-wing crock jock does love animals–don’t get between Rush and his cat, Punkin. So it’s no surprise that he is the latest celebrity plugger enlisted by the Humane Society in its campaign to underscore the link between faith and the […]

Move to oust Notre Dame’s president

posted by David Gibson

While the chief goal of the more strident opponents of Obama’s scheduled appearance at Notre Dame’s commencement has been to get the president dis-invited, a new effort is being organized to fire university president Father John Jenkins, CSC. The campaign […]

“To Whom Shall We Go?”

posted by David Gibson

That was the question Simon Peter posed to Jesus, and it is Archbishop Dolan’s motto. Heraldry maven Fr. Guy Selvester at “Shouts” has the fascinating whys and wherefores of the symbols of the coat of arms: The red saltire or “X” shaped cross […]

Church “honoring” Bill Richardson?

posted by David Gibson

The pro-choice Democratic–and Catholic–New Mexico governor is going to Rome next week with his archbishop, Michael Sheehan, to a special lighting ceremony at the Colosseum in honor of the state’s decision to repeal the death penatly. The effort was a […]

Susan Boyle has gone viral

posted by David Gibson

But if you haven’t, by some chance, seen the video of the audition from “Britain’s Got Talent” (or “American Idol” as we call it, complete with Simon), check it out. You likely know what’s coming, but I guarantee you’ll smile […]

Dolan the Diplomat

posted by David Gibson

True to form, at his first news conference as Archbishop of New York, held this morning before this afternoon’s installation Mass, Timothy Dolan was humorous, enthusiastic, engaged and–not swinging at every pitch. While many might see him as a “throwback” […]

The Passion of the Gibsons

posted by David Gibson

PEOPLE magazine reports that Mel Gibson (no relation, in so many ways) and his wife of 28 years, Robyn, have filed for divorce and joint custody of their one minor child, a nine-year-old boy. (They have six older children.) Granted, […]

“It sure beats sitting at home doing our last-minute tax returns…”

posted by David Gibson

That was Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s opening quip tonight–and not his only one–at the Vespers service this evening welcoming the city’s tenth archbishop (and lucky 13th bishop). The Times “City Room” blog has a fine play-by-play here, with lots of color and moving […]

A Pagan responds…

posted by David Gibson

Beliefnet’s own Gus diZerega, author of “A Pagan’s Blog,” has a very thoughtful (he’s nicer than I am, that is) response to my post below on Starhawk calling on Pope Benedict XVI to apologize for the church’s persecution of witches. […]

Obama at Georgetown blasts a culture of “instant gratification”

posted by David Gibson

His speech at the Jesuit university today on the economy (he is speaking as I write) evokes the themes of personal responsibility and the similarly “old-fashioned”–dare I say conservative?–values that he has reiterated since his inauguration. (It has been an interesting shift, […]

Wicca Smackdown: Starhawk calls out the Pope!

posted by David Gibson

She demands: Apologize or…Well, not sure what the stick is, but I wouldn’t want to find out. Starhawk, one of the nation’s most prominent advocates for Wicca, the modern-day reincarnation of neo-paganism, has an “On Faith” column at the WaPo today […]

Joy and hopes…

posted by David Gibson

At another U.S. parish, this time in Vermont, there is rejoicing over the dramatic and traumatic conclusion of the hostage ship captain held for five days by Somali priates. Richard Phillips (at right, with the captain of the USS Bainbridge) […]

Griefs and anxieties…

posted by David Gibson

The death of the young Angels’ pitcher, Nick Adenhart, and two others in the car he was driving, was one of those tragedies that hits you in the gut, even though it happens very day, everywhere–a drunk driver plowing into […]

Another Easter gallery…

posted by David Gibson

More superb pictures of Easter around the world via the Dallas Morning News…  

Catholic Identity Crisis resolved: An ID card!

posted by David Gibson

Yep, and you can get one from an organization called World Priest, which is the brainchild of Quantum Universal, a group of Catholic communications lay people in Ireland and the US, led by CEO Marion Mulhall, a fascinating person who is […]

And back to the sublime…If you like Peeps

posted by David Gibson

And who doesn’t? Personally, I snatch ’em up at the drug store for next to nuthin’ this week, open the wrapper and let them get nice and stale and snappy. Aged to perfection, I enjoy them slowly, like a fine […]

Easter Pageant: From the sublime to the…

posted by David Gibson

…Well, less sublime. My Easter weekend was busy with egg-decorating and egg-hunting and family gatherings, and, oh yeah, Mass. It was all greatly enjoyable, if more hectic than I want. But such is life, and that’s fine. Back to blogging, […]

The Crucifixion, human and divine

posted by David Gibson

Here is the “God’s eye” view of the Crucifixion, from the artists who brought us the Exodus-via-satellite, as posted for Passover here.  

Twittering the Passion

posted by David Gibson

I will give in and sign up for Twitter at some point, sooner rather than later. But this is the sort of thing that gives me pause: NEW YORK (AP) — Experience the Passion of Christ — in 140-character bursts. […]

Bishop Zubik: “I beg you–the church begs you–for forgiveness”

posted by David Gibson

Those were some of the extraordinary words of Bishop David Zubik at an extraordinary “Service of Apology” held earlier this Holy Week in St. Paul’s Cathedral in Pittsburgh for anyone hurt or abused by the church. This is not out of character for […]

“What is it like to let Jesus serve you?”

posted by David Gibson

Fr. Jim Martin poses that question at the America blog in light of the painting below. He writes: The answer is in the look on St. Peter’s face, in this my favorite painting, by Ford Madox Brown of the scene from the […]

Debunking the Vatican-Obama ambassador report

posted by David Gibson

Reports have circulated for the past couple of weeks that the Vatican has rejected three would-be ambassadors to the Holy See put forth by the Obama Administration. It apparently started with an April 2 NewsMax report that cited Massimo Franco, author […]

A priesthood returning to its roots?

posted by David Gibson

Today is Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday, as it is popularly know, though that descriptor seems as odd as “Good Friday.” Maundy actually comes from the Latin word mandatum, which refers to Jesus’ words to the Apostles as he washes their […]

Blairs Glitch Project: Church faux pas on condoms and gays

posted by David Gibson

Cherie Blair, Catholic wife of the former British PM and recent convert Tony, in December spoke at the Angelicum in Rome despite some protests over her pro-life bona fides. Now she tells The Times of Malta she is “saddened” by the pope’s […]

Exodus: A God’s-Eye View

posted by David Gibson

I posted this photo last year, but what are holidays like Passover and Easter about if not reliving traditions? The ancient is new every year. So this makes Year Two. “I am Tradition!” as good ol’ Pope Pius IX would have put […]

Confession: My Cross of Palms

posted by David Gibson

Three days after Palm Sunday and I still can’t figure out how to make a decent cross from the fronds. I suspect this is evidence of an incomplete conversion. Last year a nice lady stood in the vestibule after mass […]

Take the Easter Quiz!

posted by David Gibson

And see how many you get right. Via Christian History. A couple teasers: 1) Around the year 326, Emperor Constantine ordered the traditional site of Christ’s crucifixion and burial to be excavated and a church to be built there. According […]

My “Desert Island” blog

posted by David Gibson

That phrase strikes me as contradictory–or the kind of one-portal option you’d get in China. In any case my choice would be Andrew Sullivan and his “Daily Dish.” And this is why. Sullivan calls this video, from the Antwerp rail station, “A Cheney […]

The Templars and the Shroud?

posted by David Gibson

No, this isn’t a “Da Vinci Code” post about the upcoming “Angels & Demons” schlockfest. Seriously, it seems the Templars–the Forrest Gumps of history and conspiracy theories–were custodians of the Shroud of Turin centuries back. Secretly, of course. CNS has […]

Is Easter pagan? Or was it?

posted by David Gibson

The subhead of this informative Christian History essay says it all: “The historical evidence contradicts this popular notion.” But it’s worth reading the whole thing should you be called on to give reasons for your beliefs, which has been known […]

Wait till next year? Nah. Play ball!

posted by David Gibson

So maybe God isn’t a Catholic–or maybe she is, but felt Catholics could use a lesson in humility (another one?!) and thus Villanova had to lose, badly, in the Final Four and North Carolina had to continue its dynastic ways […]

“Only loss is universal…”

posted by David Gibson

The full quotation, from a NYT op-ed this morning about the great Italian novelist Ignazio Silone and his experience of a devastating 1915 earthquake like that which struck the Abruzzo yesterday, runs: “Only loss is universal, and true cosmopolitanism in this […]

Another kind of Passion…

posted by David Gibson

The toll in the earthquake that struck the beautiful Abruzzo region of Italy is nearing 100, with another 1,500 injured and 40,000-50,000 homeless. NYT report here… The epicenter was in L’Aquila, a picturesque Medieval fortress hill town, where most of the […]

Illuminations of Faith

posted by David Gibson

Also via dotCommonweal, two posts from Father Joseph Komonchak, a church historian at Catholic University of America and a man with a keen eye and pen: The first regards an article in the Washington Post on an exhibit at the National […]

Packed pews on Palm Sunday But who are those people?

posted by David Gibson

That’s the question Peggy Steinfels posed in a post-Passion Sunday post over at dotCommonweal. She was casting about for fellow curmudgeons, but found surprisingly few despite her set-up: Every year I forget that half the church is full of people […]

The Vatican and Notre Dame

posted by David Gibson

What has Rome said about the Notre Dame controversy over the Obama invitation? Nothing. And that’s the useful point that CNS’s Vatican buro chief, John Thavis, makes in this blog commentary. There’s been no Vatican statement, and the Vatican newspaper […]

Notre Dame solution: Rename the University!

posted by David Gibson

And Bishop Thomas G. Doran of the Diocese of Rockford, Ill., has a couple of suggestions in the letter of protest he sent to Fr. Jenkins, president of Notre Dame. After expressing his outrage (old hat by now), Bishop Doran […]

“Blessed” John Paul? Not yet. But patience…

posted by David Gibson

On this, the fourth anniverary of the death of Pope John Paul II, a time that brought millions into the streets of Rome chanting “Santo subito!“, the beatification process is moving, but not as quickly as some might hope. Benedict […]

Apostasy afoot on Quebec

posted by David Gibson

Some would say this has been happening for a while in the once thoroughly Catholic province, but a few recent stories out of the Vatican seem to have pushed some Catholic Quebecois over the edge and into formally disavowing the […]

Playmobil Passion? Nein!

posted by David Gibson

So get this: An evangelical pastor in Germany does a little “customizing” of some of those popular Playmobil toy figures to make Bible scenes–including a Passion–and the company wants to shut him down. Unfair? Or unfair use? The National Post […]

Barack Obama: Our first Muslim president?

posted by David Gibson

That’s the positive spin one could put on a new survey from the Pew Forum which shows that 11 percent of Americans still believe Obama (who is a professed and profesing Christian) is a Muslim. That’s almost unchanged from last […]

Speaking of March Madness…

posted by David Gibson

Here is a moving story about the storybook Villanova guard, Scottie Reynolds. The unbelievable story of Scottie Reynolds begins some years ago with a decision made by a young and scared teenage woman. She was from Alabama and pregnant with […]

March Madness? Follia di Marzo? April Fools’?

posted by David Gibson

Actually, a blog post from CNS previewing the first volleyball rally ever to be played in St. Peter’s Square. Three hundred kids aged eight to 11 were to play on 16 makeshift courts in the square between 8:30 and 10 a.m., […]

iFaith…Yes, an Archdiocesan iPhone app…

posted by David Gibson

It’s an iPhone application from the Archdiocese of New Orleans. From the release: Want to know what’s going on in the Archdiocese of New Orleans? Fire up iFaith and tap “latest news” to read all of the latest Archdiocesan news […]

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Thank you for visiting Pontifications. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Faith, Media and Culture Prayer, Plain and Simple Happy Blogging!!!   ...

posted 2:38:01pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Moving on, and many, many thanks...
So...my recent vacation and related absences also coincided with an offer from PoliticsDaily.com to cover religion for them, as editor Melinda Henneberger announces here in her roundup on the site's very successful first 100 days. That ...

posted 8:29:24pm Aug. 02, 2009 | read full post »

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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