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Pontifications

Pontifications

Bishops Archives

Moving on, and many, many thanks…

posted by David Gibson

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 means, in short, that […]

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Calvin at 500, Calvinism 2.0

posted by David Gibson

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 […]

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The Pope and the Prez: Together again for the first time

posted by David Gibson

The meeting between the spiritual and political leaders is on shortly. Which one is spiritual, which political? Obama has invoked Jesus more than Bush did, at this point. And with his pointed encyclical on the economy this week, Benedict ruffled some […]

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Are social encyclicals binding?

posted by David Gibson

It is a good question, and an honest question that many may wonder about, both inside and outside the Catholic orbit. I wince at the “social” qualifier,” but Joe Carter, a Baptist, poses the questions well at the First Things […]

George Weigel and the (Curial) Chamber of Secrets!

posted by David Gibson

Parody is hard, but over at Vox Nova, Morning’s Minion nails it with this “fabulous” version of George Weigel’s red-pencil deconstruction of the encyclical. A taste: Justice and Peace was angry. Very angry. Skulking in the darkest corners of the […]

Roma locuta: Is anyone listening?

posted by David Gibson

Is the pope’s new encyclical on economics and social justice the proverbial tree falling in the unpopulated forest? That’s the question I pose in my follow-up at PoliticsDaily on what, if any, impact Caritas Veritatis might have. An excerpt: This […]

Pope Benedict: Liberal, schmiberal!

posted by David Gibson

At Mirror of Justice, Rick Garnett has a good critique of my “Pope is a Liberal” piece: No doubt, the Pope’s views on many questions regarding the organization and regulation of the economy put him well to the “left” of the American […]

Encyclical upshot: Is the Pope a liberal?

posted by David Gibson

That’s the question I pose, and try to answer, in this essay at PoliticsDaily: But what is clear, whether one reads every word or just excerpts, is that the pope is a liberal, at least in American political terms. He […]

Benedict’s “word cloud”

posted by David Gibson

The folks at CNS put together an awesome “word cloud” of Caritas in Veritate to get to the heart of the matter. Sometimes a graphic is worth a thousand words, or in the case of this encyclical, 30,000.

Text of the encyclical, “Caritas in Veritate”

posted by David Gibson

Here, in an easily searched version. Analysis and excerpts to come. ENCYCLICAL LETTERCARITAS IN VERITATEOF THE SUPREME PONTIFFBENEDICT XVITO THE BISHOPSPRIESTS AND DEACONSMEN AND WOMEN RELIGIOUSTHE LAY FAITHFULAND ALL PEOPLE OF GOOD WILLON INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENTIN CHARITY AND TRUTH  INTRODUCTION […]

Vatican runs a deficit

posted by David Gibson

The Vatican City State reported a deficit of $22 million for 2008 as a consequence of the “global economic-financial crisis,” RNS reports. Maybe Obama can offer a stimulus package when he meets the Holy Father on Friday? Or will tomorrow’s […]

Commonweal editor on Obama meeting

posted by David Gibson

Paul Baumann, editor of Commonweal and participant at last week’s Roosevelt (that’d be TR) Room confab with the current POTUS in the White House, weighs in with the real deal on what went down in his essay, “Yes, Mr. President”: […]

Kudos to Christiansen

posted by David Gibson

The editor of America, Drew Christiansen, SJ, has a knockdown post on last week’s meeting between Obama and select members of the Catholic press (and one WaPo religion writer). It’s a particular examen of the profession and the church rather than Obama. […]

Model priests, long lives, short shrift

posted by David Gibson

Speaking of priests-as-monks…Boston radio station WBUR has this grim news for the priests there: BOSTON — The Boston Archdiocese has admitted that, within two years, it won’t have the money to pay for the care and housing of its elderly […]

Contraindication: Papal honor for abusive prelate

posted by David Gibson

Pope Benedict has to his credit always been brutally frank about his disgust over sexually abusive clergy, and in his talks for this year for the Priest he has made the personal holiness of clergy a touchstone. Remember his Way of the […]

BREAKING: Nuns investigate Vatican!

posted by David Gibson

Okay, that’s a joke. Actually, it’s the other way around. (You knew that, right?) But friends in the religious community have suggested that turning the tables might not be a bad idea. The reason for the asperity is set out […]

“Freedom and Catholicism”

posted by David Gibson

That is the title of Michael Sean Winters’ fascinating essay at NCR on Cardinal Gibbons’ 1887 sermon delivered in Rome at Santa Maria in Trastevere (my old neighborhood church, alas). The ocassion was the consistory elevating Gibbons, of Baltimore, to […]

Bernardin and Obama and “Common Ground” (UPDATE)

posted by David Gibson

The current president has cited the late cardinal before, most recently in his speech at Notre Dame: “He was a kind and good and wise man,” Barack Obama said then of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. “A saintly man.” And the “Common Ground” […]

Karl Malden, beloved actor–and pastor, of sorts…

posted by David Gibson

Like too many people, I suspect, I never watched “On the Waterfront” straight through until well into adulthood. And probably just as well, because I could appreciate it–and the labor priest and activist Fr. Pete Barry, played by Karl Malden, […]

Priest pushback on Pope letter?

posted by David Gibson

Benedict XVI’s rather pious letter opening the Year for Priests is beginning to elicit some reactions–diplomatic but also clearly stating that the pontiff’s invocation of the Cure’ d’Ars as a model priest may not be terribly relevant for working priests today. The […]

Year of St. Paul ends with revelations…

posted by David Gibson

First, Benedict XVI confirms that tests done on bone fragments from a tomb venerated as that of the Apostle–but often considered more legend than fact–belonged to a man who lived between the first and second century. “This seems to confirm the […]

Nixon on Catholics: “Split down the middle”

posted by David Gibson

And that was back in 1973! Another fascinating bit of transcription from recently-released tapes of conversations between Nixon and Billy Graham, this time focusing on Nixon’s take on Catholics of the day. At America magazine’s blog, Jim Martin has the […]

Notre Dame’s fundraising: Thank you, Obama?

posted by David Gibson

As part of the protests over Barack Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame, one alum, David DiFranco, launched a website to get ND pres Father John Jenkins fired and to tally donations withheld from the university as a way of quantifying […]

Benedict XVI and Barack Obama

posted by David Gibson

Together again, for the first time, on July 10: VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI will welcome U.S. President Barack Obama to the Vatican July 10 for an audience scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Obama will visit Italy […]

Banning burqas: France’s secular dogmatism

posted by David Gibson

French president Nicholas Sarkozy wants to ban burqas–the head-to-toe covering worn by some very conservative Muslim women. The burqa, he says, is a symbol of “enslavement,” adding: “I want to say solemnly that it will not be welcome on our territory.” […]

The Bishops according to Bill

posted by David Gibson

William Donohue, the outspoken head of the right-tilting Catholic League, has a neat thumbnail sketch of the politics of the bishops conference. It is contained in an email message he sent to USNews’ Dan Gilgoff, apropos of Dan’s post arguing […]

Was Pius XII a saint? More Jewish-Catholic tensions

posted by David Gibson

The canonization process for the wartime pontiff is an ongoing source of drama–and tension. The latest dust-up concerns remarks by Fr. Peter Gumpel, the Jesuit promoter for Pius’ cause for sainthood, who blamed Jewish pressure for the delay in the controversial pope’s […]

“Hell-raiser in a collar”

posted by David Gibson

That’s how this Plain-Dealer profile describes the Rev. Bob Begin, Cleveland’s “rebel priest,” who has grown savvier as he has grown older, but still with the same zeal on behalf of his flock. The story focuses on Begin’s campaign to fight Bishop […]

Pope to clergy: “After God, the priest is everything!”

posted by David Gibson

Benedict XVI, in his letter today proclaiming a “Year for Priests,” puts forth Saint Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney–the Cure’ d’Ars–as the model, since this year is also the 150th anniversary of the death of that remarkable French pastor. On the other hand, centering the Year […]

Osservatore editor stands by Obama comments

posted by David Gibson

The editor of the Vatican daily has taken a lot of heat for his coverage of Barack Obama and his comments that Obama is “not a pro-abortion president.” In a lengthy Q-and-A with Delia Gallagher (a veteran Vatican hand, formerly […]

Notre Dame gets a pass from Bishops

posted by David Gibson

Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, a Chicago native and in line to be the next president of the U.S. bishops conference, foresees some informal discussions about the Notre Dame-Barack Obama invite flap, but nothing substantive or punitive. I suspect some side […]

The Bishops’ Dispirited Agenda

posted by David Gibson

That’s the title of an “On Faith” column by Tom Reese, the Jesuit political scientist cited in the post below on the bishops spring meeting in Texas. Father Reese’s take is that the bishops’ agenda “will keep it busy but […]

Bishops meet: Leadership from a flock of shepherds

posted by David Gibson

The U.S. hierarchy gathers for its spring meeting tomorrow, in San Antonio, in the wake of one of the most divisive and ugly stretches the Catholic Church has seen since, well, Joseph Bernardin was alive. And the bishops themselves have […]

Decommissioning Latin: Killing a dead language?

posted by David Gibson

Rome should switch from Latin to English, Thomas G. Casey, SJ, argues in this America essay, “Ave atque Vale.” Casey, an Irish Jesuit and professor of philosophy at the Gregorian University in Rome, notes that Italian is understandably the Vatican argot, but Latin […]

Vatican employees: No rest for the…weary?

posted by David Gibson

Q: How many people work at the Vatican? A: About half of them. Ba-da-boom! Only that rimshot was reportedly delivered by Pope John XXIII himself. Though I’ve never found the citation, it is–as we say at the tabloids–too good to […]

Internal Vatican grudge match: Who you calling a relativist?

posted by David Gibson

The excommunications surrounding the abortion for a nine-year-old Brazilian girl who was raped and impregnated with twins by her stepfather continues to roil Rome. Back at the time, a top Vatican official, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Academy […]

Quote of the Day, Part II: “Serpentine secularism”

posted by David Gibson

Pope Benedict XVI has a way with words, but also sound bites (who knew?!), from “the dictatorship of relativism” slogan on the eve of the conclave to this formulation from his homily for the Feast of Corpus Christi: “Today there arises […]

SF Catholics facing a Holocaust?

posted by David Gibson

The write-up is from CWNews, via the San Francisco Chronicle: A week after the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of a 2006 San Francisco Board of Supervisors resolution “urging Cardinal William Levada, in his capacity as […]

Tiller’s clinic to be anti-abortion museum?

posted by David Gibson

From the NYT: Troy Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, said on Wednesday that his group, which had long fought to close the clinic, was considering trying to buy the squat, beige building to perhaps turn it into a memorial […]

Obama Catholic official: TOO pro-life

posted by David Gibson

That is the judgment of Frances Kissling, she of Catholics for a Free Choice, now rebaptized Catholics for Choice, on the appointment of Alexia Kelley as Director of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Health and Human Services. Kelley […]

A Catholic judge’s response

posted by David Gibson

Re the post below on the “problem” with Catholic justices on the Supreme Court…Cathleen Kaveny at dotCommonweal points to a response that Judge John T. Noonan (who gave the Laetare “address” at Notre Dame) provided when he was petitioned to […]

Historian’s verdict: Catholic justices can’t be trusted

posted by David Gibson

That headline is perhaps too blunt a summation of an argument by the UCLA professor emerita of history, Joyce Appleby–but not by much. In a column in the Tallahassee Democrat, Appleby argues that Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination raises concerns because six of nine Supreme Court […]

Douthat’s abortion distinctions

posted by David Gibson

Ross Douthat’s column in today’s Times, “Not all abortions are equal,” goes where other Catholic pro-lifers often do not: In arguing that law and policy must make distinctions on abortions, as people do. “The argument for unregulated abortion rests on the […]

Vatican steps back on Obama love?

posted by David Gibson

Concerns that the Vatican seems to like President Obama a lot more than the U.S. hierarchy seem to be behind a rowback of sorts as L’Osservatore Romano. As RNS’s Francis X. Rocca reports: VATICAN CITY (RNS) The official Vatican newspaper emphatically […]

Will Obama resurrect the Catholic left?

posted by David Gibson

“Liberal Catholicism is an exhausted project,” Chicago Cardinal Francis George famously said more than a decade ago. As noted earlier, the eminent church historian John O’Malley argues that Barack Obama could be reviving the “spirit of Vatican II” that is associated with a “progressive” Catholicism […]

Obama and the spirit of Vatican II

posted by David Gibson

There have been several efforts to tease out connections between Barack Obama and Catholicism–not surprising given many clear affinities, if clearly not a wholesale overlap. Some have been more adept than others. John O’Malley, the Jesuit historian of the church whose […]

“You cannot prevent killing by killing.”

posted by David Gibson

“If anyone has an urge to kill someone at an abortion clinic, they should shoot me. … It’s madness. It discredits the right-to-life movement. Murder is murder. It’s madness. You cannot prevent killing by killing.” – John Cardinal O’Connor. It’s […]

Scott Roeder: Portrait of a zealot

posted by David Gibson

Anti-abortion and anti-government, Scott Roeder appears to be a bomb with a short fuse. The Wichita Eagle has the best profile up so far: The suspect in custody in connection with the slaying of abortion doctor George Tiller was a […]

The Mary Heresy: Papal support for Co-Redemptrix?

posted by David Gibson

A lobby of hyper-Marianists sees signs that Benedict XVI is open to declaring the dogma that the BVM “corempetrix” of humanity with her Son–that’d be Jesus Christ. From the Vatican, RNS’ Francis X. Rocca reports this week: At least 7 […]

Obama names Vatican ambassador: Miguel H. Diaz

posted by David Gibson

A banner week for Latino Catholics, and Barack Obama. The new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See (replacing Mary Ann Glendon) is a Cuban-born, 45-year-old associate professor of theology at St. John’s College in Collegeville, Minn. As Fr. Jim Martin […]

Sotomayor gets it from the Right…and the Left

posted by David Gibson

Conservatives are honing strategies to take down Sonia Sotomayor, and are coming up with some of the usual beauts: After several conference calls to talk strategy with other conservative leaders, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said they […]

Vatican editor: “Obama is not a pro-abortion president.”

posted by David Gibson

That is the judgment of the editor of L’Osservatore Romano, Gian Maria Vian, whose paper’s rather neutral (neutered, to some) coverage of Obama has been in decided contrast to segments of the American church–and no small cause of consternation to […]

Notre Dame reaction roundup

posted by David Gibson

The Vatican newspaper (hearts) Obama at Notre Dame: The newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, said the president also confirmed that pushing for a more liberal abortion law would not be a priority of his administration. The comments came in a L’Osservatore report […]

FULL TEXT: Judge Noonan’s Laetare remarks

posted by David Gibson

A brief and to-the-point reflection that I think bears reading–a real signpost for the day, and the era: Mr. President, Father President, Distinguished Faculty and Guests, Members of the Class of 2009, Families and Friends. Graduates, you know today is […]

The other Notre Dame speaker: Judge Noonan

posted by David Gibson

He was the last-minute replacement after Mary Ann Glendon’s last-minute cancellation. The federal judge and former Lateare Medal honoree (this was the first time since 1883 the medal was not awarded) was a very smart pick, and he did not disappoint. […]

Text of Obama’s Notre Dame speech

posted by David Gibson

Via the HuffPo: Below is the text of President Obama’s Notre Dame commencement speech, as prepared for delivery. Thank you, Father Jenkins for that generous introduction. You are doing an outstanding job as president of this fine institution, and your […]

Politics as Sacrament: WaPo story on the Church

posted by David Gibson

The title of my piece in Sunday’s “Outlook” section of the Washington Post is “Who Is a Real Catholic?” and it is already garnering some tough comments in reaction. That may be because in pointing to the assimilation/engagement trend in […]

Support for Notre Dame and Obama

posted by David Gibson

As cited below, retired Archbishop John R. Quinn, who wrote in support of the Notre Dame invitation earlier in America magazine, has sent a personal note to President Obama in which he says wants “to offer a different voice from […]

Text of Archbishop Quinn letter to Obama

posted by David Gibson

The text of Archbishop John Quinn’s letter of support to Barack Obama: The President The White House Washington, D. C. 20500 Mr. President, I am writing as a Catholic Bishop to offer a different voice from the often strident outcries […]

Angels & Demons: Read all about it right here

posted by David Gibson

So here’s the good news: It is safe to go see “Angels & Demons.” I didn’t think the novel of the same name was especially anti-Catholic, but director Ron Howard was apparently stung by reactions to “The Da Vinci Code” […]

U.S. Catholics: Let Obama speak (and keep abortion legal)

posted by David Gibson

That’s the overwhelming verdict of the latest poll on President Obama’s invitation to speak this Sunday at Notre Dame’s commencement. The Quinnipiac University Poll shows that say Catholic voters favor keeping Obama on the program by a margin of 60-34–even […]

Obama’s commencement address

posted by David Gibson

This is it. Really. Only it’s the commencement at Arizona State–a university that decided not to give Obama an honorary degree, in contrast to what Notre Dame will do on Sunday. The honorary degree issue is becoming the favored talking point […]

Benedict as Reagan

posted by David Gibson

That is the trope taken from Pope Benedict’s words today in the Aida refugee camp. The full text is here. And as Cindy Wooden writes in CNS: While Israeli officials, citing security concerns, forced organizers of the event at the camp […]

Benedict among the Christians

posted by David Gibson

For me today’s events–in Bethlehem and the Occupied Territories–are highlights of this papal trip to the Holy Land. Much of the focus is, inevtiably, on the pope’s relations with Islam and Judaism–not the best, especially in the latter case–and it […]

Catholics FOR Notre Dame! Better late than never…

posted by David Gibson

It is more than six weeks since Notre Dame extended an invitation to President Obama to deliver the commencement address, sparking outrage from conservatives. And that address is now just five days away. BUT…Notre Dame supporters are just now officially out of […]

Ave Maria Town: Roman Catholic and…un-American?

posted by David Gibson

Ave Maria Town in southern Florida is the newly-constructed enclave of pure-land Catholicism founded and funded by former pizza magnate Tom Monaghan, and it has drawn its fair share of criticism since construction began in 2005. Even many conservatives are […]

Obama’s speech at Notre Dame: A sneak preview

posted by David Gibson

By great good fortune, or the designs of Providence, the text of President Obama’s commencement address this coming Sunday at Notre Dame has fallen into my hands. It is a powerful exposition of Obama’s approach to the most controverted aspect–for […]

Forgive trespasses? Alan Keyes and 21 others arrested at Notre Dame

posted by David Gibson

The perennial fringe candidate of the Republican right, Alan Keyes, was arrested today along with 21 others who entered campus to protest Barack Obama’s commencement invitation and refused to leave. As Chicago Breakng News reports: Keyes was among a group of […]

FULL TEXT: Archbishop Raymond Burke’s speech at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

posted by David Gibson

  KEYNOTE ADDRESS OF THE MOST REVEREND RAYMOND LEO BURKE, D.D., J.C.D. ARCHBISHOP-EMERITUS OF SAINT LOUIS PREFECT OF THE SUPREME TRIBUNAL OF THE APOSTOLIC SIGNATURA NATIONAL CATHOLIC PRAYER BREAKFAST   “CELEBRATION OF THE TEACHINGS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH”   WASHINGTON, […]

Obama=Hitler? A debate rages…

posted by David Gibson

The Obama-Hitler meme has been repeated ad nauseum during the Notre Dame commencement controversy, threatening to become a self-sustaining corollary to Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies. It is the verbal equivalent of the gruesome anti-abortion plane banners being flown around campus, […]

Bishop Wenski’s Notre Dame “reparation” homily

posted by David Gibson

The homily from Sunday’s mass is posted. Here is the full text…(I’d pasted the wrong text before…mea culpa.) As Amy Welborn said, the reparation idea is kind of strange, and Bp. Wenski seems to try to finesse it. But it still […]

Obama supporters: Russell Shaw wants an apology

posted by David Gibson

Our Sunday Visitor’s Russell Shaw, a longtime conservative Catholic journalist and observer–and often trenchant critic–of the American scene says Obama supporters should apologize for saying Catholics could support Obama because the president has, and will, do nothing but expand abortion, […]

Notre Dame “reparation” Mass: Bishop Wenski explains

posted by David Gibson

The Mass of Reparation for sins against the culture of life, and specifically for the Notre Dame invite to Barack Obama, took place Sunday evening at the Cathedral of St. James in Orlando. [NB: I had the date wrong in earlier version […]

Scottish Cardinal on the uses of controversy

posted by David Gibson

Cardinal Keith O’Brien has always had a knack for making headlines, and he recently explained why he likes to use “colourful imagery” in pronouncements on issues such as abortion and stem-cell research, as he has done lately: “Churchmen have been speaking out against […]

If no FOCA, what now for the anti-abortion movement?

posted by David Gibson

The relevant text of Obama’s 100-day newser (excerpt below, from HuffPo) indicates that the dreaded FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) is not in the offing, at all. When many of of suggested that was the case (as I did here) […]

“America” on Notre Dame: Beware neo-Donatists!

posted by David Gibson

In a powerful editorial just up on their website, the editors at America magazine decry the “sectarian Catholicism” that seems to be emerging, with the Notre Dame furor epitomizing the drift toward the insular self-righteousness of the Donatists of Saint […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.” […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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” […]

“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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Notre Dame outrage update: Cardinal George, Archbp Quinn, et al

posted by David Gibson

America magazine, as promised, has the official, redacted version of Fr. Cleary’s letter to President Obama here. It is much more successful, I think, largely thanks to editing. Better still, from my point of view, FWIW, is a commentary on the […]

Holy Cross head writes to Obama re Notre Dame

posted by David Gibson

When I first saw the text of the 13-page letter from U.S. Father Hugh W. Cleary, Holy Cross superior general in Rome, to President Obama, regarding Obama’s scheduled commencement address at Notre Dame, I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. It […]

No “Capitol punishment” on communion

posted by David Gibson

There have been a growing number of reports that Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann has asked Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington (and Bishop Paul Loverde of nearby Arlington, Va) to bar former Kansas governor and future Health and Human Services chief Kathleen Sebelius […]

The pope on condoms: What he could have said…

posted by David Gibson

And it’s already been said, quite well, by the U.S. bishops, in their 1987 statement “The Many Faces of AIDS.” Father Tom Reese points to it in his post at “On Faith,” when he writes: “After clearly stating that the […]

Equal opportunity bishops: RNC’s Steele is boycotted

posted by David Gibson

Michael Steele, the ostensibly pro-life Catholic and, also ostensibly, the new hope of the GOP–though that’s dimmed considerably since he won election as head of the RNC–is being boycotted by Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger of Evansville, Indiana. Steele is to be the keynoter at the local […]

Really early warning on abusers: “Even an island is too good for these vipers”

posted by David Gibson

That is just one of the remarkable and poignant quotations from Tom Roberts’ new story at NCR on a old topic–clerical sexual abuse–and an even older warning, from back in the 1950s. In correspondence Roberts dug up between Fr. Gerald […]

The Archbishop regrets…

posted by David Gibson

“Never mind.” That seems to be Archbishop Burke’s take on his explosive interview with Randall Terry of Operation Rescue in which he took Obama voters and his brother bishops in the U.S. to task for being softies. Rocco has the […]

Phoenix Bishop says Notre Dame prez “disobedient”

posted by David Gibson

A remarkable development in the Obama-to-Notre Dame saga, via Thomas Peters, the “American Papist”: Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix has sent Fr. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, an email saying his invitation to Obama to speak at the May 17 […]

Archbishop Burke to Terry: Be liberal in denying communion

posted by David Gibson

That’s the thrust of Archbishop Raymond Burke’s message to Operation Rescue’s Randall Terry, who released video of his interview this week. Terry, who is leading one of the more eye-popping campaigns against Obama’s Notre Dame appearance, had promised “candor and clarity” […]

Notre Dame’s exit strategy: Invite Gingrich instead

posted by David Gibson

Hey, the former House Speaker, pro-death-penalty, thrice-married, GOP comeback kid is making it official and becoming a Catholic this Saturday at St. Joseph’s Church, the venerable Capitol Hill parish. The WaPo’s Chris Cillizza has The Fix. Media Matters details Gingrich’s […]

Bishop D’Arcy to boycott Obama at Notre Dame

posted by David Gibson

Bishop John M. D’Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, which includes Notre Dame, has released a statement on the university’s invitation to President Obama to deliver the main commencement address and receieve an honorary degree on May 17. (Full […]

Text of Bishop D’Arcy’s statement on Obama at Notre Dame

posted by David Gibson

Here is the text of Bishop John M. D’Arcy’s has released a statement on Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama to deliver the main commencement address and receive an honorary degree on May 17: Concerning President Barack Obama speaking at Notre Dame graduation, […]

Notre Dame and Obama: Of Absurdities and Ayatollahs

posted by David Gibson

Father Tom Reese, SJ, a well-known commentator and savvy political scientist of the church, makes the pointed point that objecting to the Obama invite on the grounds that it violates the bishops’ document “Catholics in Political Life” is “absurd. He […]

“Casting the first stone”

posted by David Gibson

That’s the title of the latest column by Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl, in which he laments the polarized state of discourse in the Church–and begins to sketch a remedy by using an effective illustration: At a recent clergy gathering, the principal celebrant […]

Brazil church officials defend approach to child rape victim

posted by David Gibson

The excommunications surrounding the abortion resulting from the case of a 9-year-old girl raped by her abusive stepfather and impregnated with twins were correct and the pastoral care of the child caring and sensitive…And the Vatican official who publicly criticized […]

Benedict in Cameroon, Day 1: Pope Leo?

posted by David Gibson

Not to worry–unlike the feisty cub the pope sported with in the Vatican last month, this one at right (AP foto via Rocco) isn’t going to hurt a bit. Such are the marvelous incongruities of a papal visit to a […]

The Cardinal blasts, then meets, the President

posted by David Gibson

Chicago Cardinal Francis George, leader of the U.S. bishops conference, yesterday warned that Obama’s move to lift a last-minute Bush “conscience clause” regulation for health-care workers would be “the first step in moving our country from democracy to despotism.”   […]

Christine Quinn: Not Irish enough–or too gay?

posted by David Gibson

The speaker of the New York City Council, a pretty powerful and savvy lass, is also about as Irish as they come. But she’s openly gay, too. Which means she can’t march in New York’s annual March 17 Eire-extravaganza up Fifth Avenue […]

More excommunications miscommunication

posted by David Gibson

Another coda to the terrible story of the 9-year-old girl in Brazil whose serially abusive stepfather impregnated her with twins, leading her mother to take her for an abortion on the advice of doctors who said her life was at […]

Rock and a hard place: Pope says laity can’t fill priest vacuum

posted by David Gibson

Benedict XVI today announced a “Year for Priests”– a fine idea, though one that apparently also comes with a tough message for lay people dealing with a shortage of priests, and the Eucharist. First, the announcement. According to the Vatican […]

SSPX leader (heart) Pope Benedict

posted by David Gibson

I may not have loved the pope’s letter explaining his views and action regarding the SSPX controversy (as many have noted here) but the SSPX gave it two thumbs-up. Via Zenit.org, here is the full text of the statement from the superior-general […]

Vatican spokesman on the SSPX letter

posted by David Gibson

Here is the official account of the statement by Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, that accompanied the pope’s letter of explanation on his remittance of the excommunications of the SSPX bishops: FR. LOMBARDI: POPE FEELS HIS RESPONSIBILITY AS PASTOR […]

Cardinal Egan on celibacy: “A perfectly legitimate discussion.”

posted by David Gibson

New York’s Cardinal Edward Egan a closet liberal? Who knew?! Well, he’s out now. In a 30-minute interview with a NY radio show–part of Egan’s valedictory tour as he prepares to leave office–His Eminence did indeed say that celibacy is “a […]

Pope on the defensive…and it’s not pretty

posted by David Gibson

Benedict XVI’s letter to the world’s bishops (official text released today) was a good idea and probably inevitable, as no one was happy and the furor was not going away, inside the church from the highest echelons to the lowest. Did […]

Pope’s letter on SSPX excommunications: The official text

posted by David Gibson

The official text, published today by the Vatican: LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH concerning the remission of the excommunication of the four Bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre Dear Brothers in the […]

Brazil abortion story update: “We are killing childhood”

posted by David Gibson

Catholic News Service has the best coverage I’ve seen (no surprise) that clears up many of the confusions of the previous coverage (and in my post) about the nine-year-old Brazilian gril who was raped by her stepfather, impregnated with twins (she […]

Obama splits the baby. And denounces cloning.

posted by David Gibson

So in the earlier thread on Obama’s stem cell order today, “Reaganite” took me to task for wondering about the possible paths Obama would choose: “Please don’t pretend to us that there is any doubt or suspense in your mind […]

Nine-year-old girl raped by step-dad, has abortion: He is spared, excommunications for everyone else

posted by David Gibson

That’s the upshot of a story that is roiling Brazil, as a nine-year-old girl who was raped by her stepfather and became pregnant with twins received an abortion. There are conflicting reports as to whether the girl was excommunicated–this Irish Times […]

Vatican on Sebelius? Pax Romana…

posted by David Gibson

The Holy See doesn’t seem to be getting its rochet in a twist–yet–over Kathleen Sebelius. Religion News Service’s man in Rome, Francis X. Rocca, writes in an RNS blog post titled “Vatican [heart] Obama?” that items in L’Osservatore Romano on […]

Naumann v. Sebelius: The Battle of the Kansans heats up

posted by David Gibson

Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann devotes his weekly column to Obama’s choice of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a pro-choice Catholic, to be secretary of Health and Human Services. The column pretty well summarizes his disappointment and the history of their […]

Mahony: Williamson is persona non grata in LA

posted by David Gibson

Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles has announced that Richard Williamson, the Holocaust-denying bishop of the right-wing SSPX sect, is “hereby banned from entering any Catholic church, school or other facility, until he and his group comply fully and unequivocally with […]

Catholic conundrum: Conservatives like Obama

posted by David Gibson

Obama’s choice of Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius to be HHS secretary was long-rumored after Tom Daschle’s withdrawal. But now that it’s a fact it is likely to set off another round of the Catholic Culture Wars, since Sebelius is a […]

The Fall of Rome? NY and sex abuse payouts

posted by David Gibson

Behind all the justifiable hosannas for Archbishop Timothy Dolan as he prepares to take over as leader of the Archdiocese of New York is a looming financial crisis in the form of a bill in Albany that would lifte the […]

SSPX Bishop Williamson apologizes. Sort of…

posted by David Gibson

The Holocaust-denying schismatic Traditionalist was just kicked out of Argentina, which seems unjust to me, despite Williamson’s noxious views. Today, back in his native England, Wiliamson issued an apology, via ZENIT (an arm of the Legionaries, which has had its […]

Pope Benedict criticizes the criticizers

posted by David Gibson

The pontiff is taking unnamed critics to task, as per this CNS story, “Pope cautions against destructive polemics in the church.” The pope, speaking in German at his noon blessing Feb. 22, asked for prayers to St. Peter so that […]

And the winner is…Tim Dolan! (Who knew?)

posted by David Gibson

In perhaps the worst-kept secret in recent church history, Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan was named to succeed Cardinal Edward Egan in New York. Dolan confessed that he’d known for 9 or 10 days, which is a long time to keep […]

Bishop Tobin’s chat with Obama: Did he really say that?

posted by David Gibson

The journalistic device of the imaginary interview with a VIP or celebrity or dead person who you’ll never be able to talk to in real life is a risky one, even for the best writers. Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin […]

Sebelius to HHS: Pro-lifers on alert?

posted by David Gibson

The New York Times is reporting that the mass-attending, barred-from-communion, pro-choice Catholic governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, is President Obama’s pick to run the Department of Health & Human Services. She replaces Tom Daschle, another pro-choice Catholic–but with reservations–whose nomination […]

Pope meets Pelosi: Something for everyone

posted by David Gibson

In a much-anticipated encounter, Benedict XVI met House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a private meeting at the Vatican. No photos–officially–and just a 15-minute chat after his weekly public audience. (Besides, Pelosi already got her baciamano shot last April.) And as […]

Is this any way to run a railroad?

posted by David Gibson

The Church’s revenge on journalists? The paranoid in me suspects that’s what is at work in the never-ending, almost-here, gotta-be-today anticipation of the announcement of a new New York archbishop. Today was DEFINITELY it. Rocco expected it: “Good morning…you might […]

Vox populi moves Vatican: New Linz bishop withdraws

posted by David Gibson

The Austrian priest whose appointment earlier this month caused an uproar due to his earlier remarks about Katrina being the fault of sinful Lousianians (among other things he said) has asked that his nomination as the new auxiliary bishop of […]

SSPX: Did tough talk win papal concessions?

posted by David Gibson

A fascinating in-house SSPX interview with Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the schismatic right-wing order, shows he was taken by suprise by Benedict’s sudden lifting of the excommunications. Why? As Reuters’ Tom Heneghan has it in this FaithWorld post, Fellay […]

Prologue to Pope’s meeting with Jewish leaders

posted by David Gibson

In this story Reuters’ Vaticanista Phil Pullella has the lowdown ahead of Thursday’s critical meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and American Jewish leaders. Read transcripts of Pullella’s interviews with leading members of the Jewish delegation, and see a timeline on […]

Buon compleanno, Citta’ del Vaticano!

posted by David Gibson

“All I want is a small corner of the earth where I am master,” Pope Pius IX said in 1871, when the reunification of Italy had finally overwhelmed church resistance and the Papal States were no more. And a small […]

Second thoughts: LA abuse story and Iraq vet

posted by David Gibson

Last week I linked to a story from the LA CityBeat paper that was making the rounds indicating that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was engaged in an awful-sounding legal strategy to deny a possible abuse victim recourse to the […]

What do musical tastes tell about a Bishop?

posted by David Gibson

That’s the question I was asking as I tried to parse the latest blog posting from Bishop Richard Williamson, the un-excommunicated SSPX bishop who has become the focus of p.r. efforts by both the Vatican and his own confreres, who […]

Williamson removed as head of SSPX seminary

posted by David Gibson

SSPX leaders are continuing to quarantine the Holocaust-denying bishop, Richard Williamson. The Italian daily La Repubblica reports today that Williamson has been removed from the seminary in La Reja, outside Buenos Aries, which he had headed since 2003. What next?

Pope to meet Jewish leaders, Vatican source says

posted by David Gibson

In an important and I would think necessary step toward healing the Catholic-Jewish rift over the papal outreach to the SSPX, Benedict XVI is reportedly to meet next Thursday with leaders of the major Jewish organizations. A meeting with the […]

Has the purge begun?

posted by David Gibson

Not only has the SSPX started removing questionable texts on Jews from their websites, but word is now that clergy who refuse to adopt a new line are also getting the boot. Rorate Caeli cites Italian sources reporting that Father […]

Do they really want to go there?

posted by David Gibson

In Los Angeles, the U.S. attorney, Thomas O’Brien, has opened a federal probe of Cardinal Roger Mahony that is based on some questionable legal reasoning. Even Mahony’s foes concede that. But now it seems the LA Archdiocese is engaging in […]

“Recant?” Text of the Vatican statement on SSPX

posted by David Gibson

News reports of the latest Vatican statement on the SSPX Traditionalists and their standing and what they must do to enter true full communion centered on the Holy See’s demand that Bishop Richard Williamson, the most overt Holocaust denier, “recant.” […]

“The Mystery of the Jews” is no more…

posted by David Gibson

The SSPX “Tradicals,” whose anti-Semitic concoctions have landed their would-be new best friend, Pope Benedict XVI, in hot water, have apparently begun scrubbing the web of their worst musings. One article, “The Mystery of the Jews,” which I posted about […]

Egan leaving? “The piano is still here…”

posted by David Gibson

The buzz is a roar. The race to succeed Cardinal Edward Egan is nearing the finish line. And the winner is…! “Who knows?”, by a mile! Well, one sure bet is that the long-awaited announcement is nigh–Egan (he’s the one […]

Georg Ratzinger: “Lay off my brother!”

posted by David Gibson

Or that is more or less what the papstbruder told a German newspaper. Bild has the details on what Joseph’s protective older brother said in the interview. (Georg is three years older; a sister, Maria, died in the early 1990s.) […]

Vaticanista Sandro Magister blames the Curia

posted by David Gibson

This is how the preeminent Italian Vatican-watcher frames it: Double Disaster at the Vatican: Of Governance, and of Communication This is the upshot of the lifting of the excommunication for four Lefebvrist bishops. The isolation of Pope Benedict, the ineptitude […]

Bill Donohue blames “German guilt” for attacks on Pope

posted by David Gibson

That’s the typically pugnacious take of the head of the Catholic League in its latest release: “No one has been worse than the Germans. Reeking with guilt over the Holocaust, we now have the spectacle of German Chancellor Angela Merkel […]

Cardinal George on Bishop Williamson: “Deeply offensive”

posted by David Gibson

More reaction from the hierarchy, this time Stateside. Chicago Cardinal Francis George, president of the USCCB, issued this statement today: Statement of Cardinal Francis George, President USCCB Pope Benedict XVI has lifted the personal penalty of excommunication incurred by four […]

The Pope and the Jews: A failure to communicate?

posted by David Gibson

The Catholic “silence” over Benedict XVI’s self-made SSPX fiasco was raised earlier, with a focus on the relative absence of strong American voices. But overseas, at least, and from the Pope’s native Germany in particular, objections are being raised as […]

Confessions of an ex-Traditionalist

posted by David Gibson

This does not come from an angry ex-con-turned-lib, but from Austin Ruse, a stalwart of orthodoxy who writes regularly at The Catholic Thing. His latest column, “Up from Traditionalism,” is a must-read in light of the SSPX-Pope Benedict XVI controversies. […]

“Katrina was New Orleans’ fault”–another new Benedict bishop

posted by David Gibson

Oy vey. Benedict has just appointed a new auxiliary bishop in the Austrian diocese of Linz–the Rev. Gerhard Maria Wagner, 54, who thinks Katrina was punishment for New Orleans’ sins (and he hates “Harry Potter”, too). As Rocco notes, Linz […]

Silence and the SSPX: Where are the Catholic voices?

posted by David Gibson

Given the never-ending debate over Pope Pius XII and whether he was “silent” during the Nazi extermination of the Jews–or just prudent, as other claim–one woud think bishops across the world, and especially in the United States, would be speaking […]

SSPX: A “pattern of anti-Semitism”

posted by David Gibson

That’s the only conclusion one can come to, I think, and that’s the one Fr. Jim Martin arrives at in his post examining a sampling of the “gibberish” (Cardinal Kasper’s words) on the SSPX sites. Fr. Martin links to one […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

Jump into the 2009 “Catholic Pool”!

posted by David Gibson

Inspired by William Safire’s annual Office Pool of predictions for the coming year, I am herewith inaugurating a “Catholic Pool” for 2009. Safire’s 2009 NYT pool column ran last Sunday, and you have to hand it to him for keeping […]

Fr. Richard McBrien: Liberal? Try “broad centrist”…

posted by David Gibson

Notre Dame’s well-known, highly-regarded–though not in some circles–theologian and commentator Richard McBrien spoke recently with the Globe’s Michael Paulson and, not surprisingly, fireworks ensued. Yet as often happens, it wasn’t so much anything McBrien said, as much as the apoplexy […]

Yes, Virginia, there WAS a Santa Claus…

posted by David Gibson

But he’s not quite like you’ve been told. He was St. Nicholas of Myra, in fourth-century Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), and as Kim Lawton of Religion & Ethics Newsweekly shows, some Americans are re-discovering a truly profound Christmas character: “St. […]

B16: Save the rainforest–Stop gay marriage!

posted by David Gibson

Interesting linkage (or wild leap, to some) that Pope Benedict XVI made in his annual address to the Roman Curia earlier today. The address is usually a look back at the highlights of the past year–or what the pontiff would […]

Farewells, Part Two: A Cardinal’s Funeral

posted by David Gibson

Avery Dulles, SJ, was laid to rest after a warm and moving funeral Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the third and final funeral mass for the beloved cardinal, theologian and convert. This picture from The New York Times coverage is […]

U.S. to Nuns to Vatican: We support Fr. Roy Bourgeois–and women’s ordination

posted by David Gibson

Whether Maryknoll priest Fr. Roy Bourgeois has been excommunicated or not remains a mystery. As I wrote here, the Vatican told him to recant for supporting women’s ordination–and attending one last July–and at last word he had gone to Rome […]

“Doubts” grow on Merz NRB op-ed

posted by David Gibson

Last week, I wrote about about a Boston Globe op-ed by Judge Michael Merz, head of the lay-led National Review Board that is supposed to ensure that the bishops follow their own policies on child protection. Merz’s view that the […]

Avery Dulles, RIP

posted by David Gibson

Word has come down that Cardinal Avery Dulles, SJ, one of the great figures of the Catholic Church, certainly in the United States, died this morning at the Jesuit infirmary at Fordham University in The Bronx. He was 90 and […]

NRB head: Sex abuse scandal? It’s history. Really.

posted by David Gibson

In an Op-Ed in today’s Boston Globe, the current head of the National Review Board, the blue-ribbon, lay-led group that is supposed to keep the bishops following their own policies on child protection, says Catholics have nothing to worry about–all […]

The Devil and Brooklyn’s Catholic Channel

posted by David Gibson

Sound like an odd couple? Not the way the new TV czar for my own Brooklyn diocese does it. Deacon Greg Kandra, a longtime CBS News and “60 Minutes” writer–and author of The Deacon’s Bench blog–was recently hired by Bishop […]

Thomas Merton, 40 years on…

posted by David Gibson

1968 was a true annus horribilis, as the Queen (upending Dryden) might have said, with the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King and the social upheavals surrounding the Vietnam War ramping up. Then, on Dec. 10, 1968, came […]

Can Catholics read the Bible?

posted by David Gibson

The short answer is, Yes, finally. The somewhat longer answer, as I detail in this cover story for America magazine, “A Literate Church: The State of Catholic Bible Study Today,” is “Yes–but they’re not doing it enough.” Check it out, […]

The FOCA Phantom: What will pro-lifers do without it?

posted by David Gibson

The focus of much of the Catholic right’s doomsday prophesying about Barack Obama, a.k.a. the anti-Christ (see Stafford, Cardinal Francis, et al) has been about the inevitability of Obama signing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which would enshrine Roe […]

Obama NOT “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic”? Cardinal Stafford reconsidered…

posted by David Gibson

Or that’s what NCR columnist John Allen tries to do in his weekly column out today. You’ll recall the outcry after the initial report of Cardinal Stafford’s remarks at CUA in Washington. Today, Allen argues that Stafford’s remarks must be […]

Is the Catholic Campaign for Human Development…Catholic?

posted by David Gibson

…That’s the doubt angry conservatives are trying to sow as a way to undermine the CCHD, the principal anti-poverty program of the U.S. bishops conference, and the Roman Catholic Church in America. Among the harshest critics are some bishops themselves, […]

Benedict XVI: Church can make better politicians

posted by David Gibson

That’s the pontiff’s message, delivered last weekend to a meeting of the Vatican’s department on the laity. Via CNS: “In a special way, I reaffirm the necessity and urgency of the evangelical formation and pastoral accompaniment of a new generation […]

Newsflash: Catholics read the Bible!

posted by David Gibson

…But still not enough of us, or often enough. The tools are there, even if the recent Synod on the Word in Rome didn’t deploy them. Here’s a Wall Street Journal piece I wrote for last Friday’s paper that may […]

Vatican cardinal: Obama is ‘Aggressive, Disruptive and Apocalyptic’

posted by David Gibson

Father Newman (see below) may have at least one big gun on his side, rhetorically if not canonically or theologically. According to the student newspaper of Catholic University of America, Cardinal Francis Stafford, a longtime American in the Roman Curia, […]

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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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