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SC Update: Priest’s letter on sinfulness of Obama voters officially repudiated

posted by David Gibson

The public letter by a Greenville, SC, pastor, Father Jay Scott Newman, saying those who voted for Obama should go to confession if they are to receive communion, has been repudiated by the adminstrator of the Diocese of Charleston. (The […]

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SC priest: Voted for Obama? No Eucharist for you!

posted by David Gibson

Father Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Greenville, SC, wasn’t waiting for the bishops to figure out what they should do. He sent a letter to his parishioners telling them that if they voted for Obama […]

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Priest faces excommunication over women’s ordination stand

posted by David Gibson

Maryknoll priest Fr. Roy Bourgeois faces excommunication, according to the CDF. NCR has the story, based on a letter Bourgeois sent to the Vatican. According to Bourgeois’ letter, which is dated Nov. 7, the congregation has given the priest 30 […]

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Pope Obama I? Well, sort of…

posted by David Gibson

Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory suggests that Obama’s victory is a foretaste of what will happen in the Catholic Church–once we get around to electing an African as pope. As Richard Owens reports from Rome… Archbishop Gregory, who in 2001 became […]

The future of Catholic politics?

posted by David Gibson

It looks like it could be a social justice Catholic like Tom Perriello, who has scored a narrow and remarkable upset victory over Virgil Goode in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District…Read more here.

UPDATE: Bishops scotch politics debate…

posted by David Gibson

Debate in Baltimore is off. Via RNS. Check it out here…

Catholics and Politics: What now?

posted by David Gibson

That’s the big question, and here are some answers–and more questions–in my analysis at Progressive Revival.

Chaput to the Papist: “A quieter approach has not been effective…”

posted by David Gibson

Denver Archbishop Chaput not only criticizes Obama’s positions, but also the bishops’ conference for not speaking out forcefully–as the Archbishop does in this interview with young Thomas Peters, a.k.a. the “American Papist” and one of the more popular bloggers among […]

Kentucky bishop condemns Obama effigy

posted by David Gibson

Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of Lexington has joined with local community leaders in condemning the act of hanging in effigy the Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, which occurred on the University of Kentucky campus Oct. 29. “The reprehensible and […]

Vatican embraces Freud: Anything for a gay-free priesthood!

posted by David Gibson

…A major component of the new document, reported today by CNS, is to screen out men who, as Rome put it before, “are active homosexuals or who have “deep-seated” homosexual tendencies.” The document says psychological testing was appropriate in “exceptional […]

Battling Bishops, Episode LXVII

posted by David Gibson

“As the day of the great convocation drew nigh, the proclamations of high churchmen rang out across the Land…” Yes, it’s getting intense, even a bit medieval, if you like Bishop Finn’s Muslim crusader analogy. The Globe’s Michael Paulson has […]

Who speaks for the Catholic Church?

posted by David Gibson

It’s hard to tell, given the number of “alternative” voter guides out there. CNS’s Nancy Frazier O’Brien has a good and genteely-titled overview, “Do plethora of voter guides confuse or clarify issues for Catholics?” But that headline doesn’t convey the […]

Gay priest loses everything–except his faith

posted by David Gibson

Father Geoffrey Farrow is the Catholic priest who two weeks ago revealed from the pulpit that he is gay and opposed to Proposition 8. That ballot proposition would overturn the California Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year allowing same-sex marriage. […]

NEWS FLASH: Pope may allow women lectors!

posted by David Gibson

That’s one intriguing element in the final message from the Vatican Synod on the Bible to the world’s Catholics. It was news to me–weren’t women already reading at mass? But yes, Proposition 17 (there is a Proposition 8, but I […]

Cardinal Egan: Do as I say…Not as I do?

posted by David Gibson

If New York’s Cardinal Edward Egan wasn’t in Rocco’s list of 50 bishops who have effectively (or explicitly) said Catholic can’t vote for Obama, then he is now. Via Gary Stern’s “Blogging Religiously” site (Gary is the religion writer nonpareil at […]

Blue State, Red Bishops

posted by David Gibson

Another Pennsylvania Catholic bishop is weighing in against pro-Obama Catholics. This time it is the other side of the Keystone state from Scranton’s Bishop Martino. In the Diocese of Greensburg, Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt has issued a statement decrying the […]

50 Bishops advocate “single-issue” voting

posted by David Gibson

…Out of 197 active diocesan bishops. (The issue is abortion, if you couldn’t guess.) That’s Rocco Palmo’s count in the latest edition of The Tablet. He gathers his numbers from a review of interviews as well as their writings.

Papal Preacher on sin, civility, and the Christian politican

posted by David Gibson

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa is a Franciscan Capuchin priest and since 1980 the Preacher to the Papal Household. In that job, he preaches weekly during Lent and Advent to the Pope and the cardinals, bishops and prelates of the Roman Curia. […]

Catholic bishops: A pox on both parties on abortion…

posted by David Gibson

A statement today from top leaders of the American hierarchy seems to say that neither side has the best–or most Catholic–approach to abortion. Or that’s how it reads to me. “Both opposing evil and doing good are essential obligations,” write […]

“Religious” cleansing: The ongoing nightmare of Iraqi Christians

posted by David Gibson

For Iraq’s Christians, “the Surge” has been more like “the Purge” as ethnic and religious fighting continues to decimate this ancient and once-thriving Christian population. Before the U.S. invasion, Iraqi Christians numbered about 1.5 million. Now the figure is less […]

“Battle of the Bishops,” UPDATE

posted by David Gibson

Earlier today at Progressive Revival, I wrote about the latest round in “The Battle of the Bishops.” Now it looks like things are getting really raucous…A remarkable story, via Whispers, about Scranton Bishop Joseph F. Martino, who has become one […]

“Religion of the Word” vs. “Religion of the Book”?

posted by David Gibson

Or, “Catholics aren’t like Jews or Muslims…” That is one of the divides emerging during the current Synod on the Bible being held at the Vatican. (The formal title of the meeting of some 250 bishops and sundry experts is […]

Saint Sean’s first miracle?

posted by David Gibson

The Red Sox stunned the Rays with an amazing 8-7 comeback win last night! Joy in Beantown! Faith at Fenway! Read the Globe coverage here. But was it perhaps something else that forestalled a renascent Curse? Such as this man, […]

LOL: The Al Smith Dinner and Post-Partisanship

posted by David Gibson

Check out coverage of last night’s Al Smith Dinner at “Progressive Revival” including links to video and transcripts. Samples: McCAIN: “Even in this room full of proud Manhattan Democrats, I can’t shake that feeling that some people here are pulling […]

An Archbishop for Obama!

posted by David Gibson

Does that make him a bad Catholic? He is African, a Nigerian to be precise. And in this interview with NCR’s John Allen (both men are in Rome for the Synod on the Bible), Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, […]

Is Barack Obama the new Al Smith?

posted by David Gibson

That’s the question I ponder at Progressive Revival ahead of tonight’s 63rd Al Smith Dinner tonight in New York…And why Catholics no longer need apply for a meal ticket at this glitziest of Catholic political events…

Was More a bore? (In “A Man for All Seasons,” that is)

posted by David Gibson

Speaking of English saints (or would-be saints, as in the case of Newman, below)…In today’s NYtimes, reviewer Ben Brantley broaches the unspeakable: Is it heresy to whisper that the sainted Thomas More is a bit of a bore? Even Frank […]

The Rabbi and the Pope(s)

posted by David Gibson

“The first Jew to address a Vatican synod said on Monday that wartime Pope Pius XII should have done more to help Jews during the Holocaust.” That’s the lead on the incisive Reuters story about Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen of Haifa, […]

“A Business Plan for the Catholic Church”

posted by David Gibson

Finally. And it’s thanks to lay people who are leading the way. Business Week has an excellent story on the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management (NLRM) and its founder and guiding light, Geoffrey Boisi: Along with issuing guidelines for […]

“Catholic, anti-abortion, and pro-Obama”

posted by David Gibson

Nicholas P. Cafardi, a civil and canon lawyer, and a professor and former dean at Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh, is a pro-life, pro-Obama Catholic. He joins Doug Kmiec as another high-profile conservative Catholic to endorse Obama–and put […]

Catholic Bishops offer a Five-Point Bailout Plan

posted by David Gibson

A strong statement from the head of the U.S. bishops domestic justice committee offers five conditions to guide any rescue/bailout package. In the Sept. 26 statement (it didn’t get much press; I just found it now via ZENIT), Bishop William […]

American in Rome: Democrats are “Party of Death”

posted by David Gibson

Former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, recently promoted to the Vatican as head of the Apostolic Segnatura (a kind of church Supreme Court, only more complicated) wastes no time making waves on the other side of the pond. In an […]

Eugenics lives! Louisiana lawmaker wants to sterilize the poor

posted by David Gibson

Rep. John LaBruzzo, a Republican from Metarie (David Duke’s old haunts) wants to pay poor women $1,000 to get sterilized. Why? Because people receiving food and housing assistance “are reproducing at a faster rate than more affluent, better-educated residents.” The […]

The Vatican’s “Midas touch”

posted by David Gibson

The Catholic Church may be the only institution doing well during the economic crisis. According to an exclusive from The Tablet’s Rome correspondent Robert Mickens, the Vatican may finally have learned (after decades of deficits and fiscal mismanagment and even […]

Vatican newspaper: “New economy” is a “sham”

posted by David Gibson

Looking for a Catholic–some would say traditionally Christian–point of view on the economic meltdown? The  church has long-standing teachings and resources that I think could be useful–and an antidote to some of the idolatry and fatalism of unfettered free-marketeering. (“Hey, stuff […]

Miami Archbishop: We’re not “party bosses”

posted by David Gibson

That is the bracing message from Miami Archbishop John C. Favalora in a Sept. 12 column that is the best rendering I’ve yet seen of how the church–and the bishops–can approach the elections. The statement is titled “Why we don’t take […]

Questioning Celibacy: VOTF calls for a debate

posted by David Gibson

Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), the grass-roots Catholic group that sprang up after the sexual abuse scandal, has always focused its mission on “structural change” and largely avoided hot-button doctrinal disputes. But VOTF is now raising the issue of priestly […]

Abortion? Gay marriage? It’s the (stupid) economy!

posted by David Gibson

Do the hot-button culture war issues like abortion and gay marriage matter? If you read only blogs or the news coverage (such as this NYTimes story, “Abortion Issue Again Dividing Catholics”) you might get the impression that these are the […]

Did you hear the one about the Pope and the Prophet?

posted by David Gibson

Joking about the Holy Father isn’t always funny, or a wise idea in Italy. An Italian comedian, Sabina Guzzanti, said nasty things about the Holy Father at a recent rally in Rome and according The Times of London account is […]

Abortion & Catholics: Big wedge–small impact?

posted by David Gibson

The furious division in Catholicism over abortion and the presidential election grows wider. But to what end? A front-page story in today’s New York Times is titled, “Abortion Issue Again Dividing Catholic Votes,” and yet evidence of how that is […]

Christian-omics?

posted by David Gibson

The turmoil on Wall Street is continuing, and even though it is closer to me than even Russia is to Alaska, I understand less than little about economics. And yet the human toll of the crashes and crises is poignantly […]

Orthodox: Right belief–wrong word?

posted by David Gibson

Has the term “orthodoxy” lost its meaning? It means “right belief,” or “correct doctrine.” But among Christians it has become a fighting word, and the media has misconstrued it–especially in the contested Catholic context–as a pejorative or, worse, a secular […]

Bishops v. Politicians: An abortion alternative

posted by David Gibson

Fallout over controversial remarks on abortion by Joseph Biden and Nancy Pelosi are continuing. And not just in the political sphere. The U.S. Bishops announced yesterday that in light of the conflicts and debates they will address the topic at […]

“When does life begin?” Interesting question. But it doesn’t stop there…

posted by David Gibson

For all the wilful disparaging of the MSM by the GOP and its allies on the Christian right, there is a good argument to be made that the “media” (whatever that is, today) is reading straight out of the McCain […]

Jumping the shark? Frog on a cross is one animal the Pope doesn’t care for…

posted by David Gibson

Pope Benedict XVI is quite an animal lover (as we noted here). But he is also quite the esthete, and this sculpture, in a museum in Bolzano, the northern Italian town near where the pontiff vacations, apparently went too far […]

Doug Kmiec: “The better question is how could a Catholic not support Barack Obama?”

posted by David Gibson

Doug Kmiec, the former Reagan/Bush official and abortion-opposing Catholic who is supporting Barack Obama, has been the topic of much discussion, here at Pontifications and elsewhere. In today’s NYTimes, columnist Peter Steinfels interviews Kmiec. Here’s one of many fascinating–and likely […]

Abortion, Augustine and…Nancy Pelosi?

posted by David Gibson

And Aristotle, Aquinas, Archbishop Chaput and various Bishops, and Brokaw…All weigh in on the House Speaker’s response to Brokaw on Sunday morning’s “Meet the Press” (scroll to the end) in which he raised–yet again–the age-old question, “When does life begin?” Pelosi’s […]

Joe Biden and the Catholic Challenge

posted by David Gibson

By choosing the longtime Senate insider and foreign policy expert, Joe Biden, as his running mate, Barack Obama is also gambling that having a Catholic on the ticket will draw in some of the fence-sitting Catholics whose votes will be key to […]

Archbishop Chaput: More on the Politics of Abortion

posted by David Gibson

While Cardinal George, the president of the U.S. bishops conference, is otherwise occupied (see below), Denver’s indefatigable archbishop, Charles J. Chaput, is continuing to take the lead (it seems to me) as the most visible and outspoken member of the […]

Chicagoland Scandal, Part XXVI: Should the Cardinal resign?

posted by David Gibson

The Chicago Tribune, no Catholic basher–despite what the Sun-Times would have you believe–goes right up to the threshold, seeming to pose the question without giving an answer in an editorial today, “Confessions and Consequences”: The cardinal should insist that his […]

Scandal in Chicagoland

posted by David Gibson

The Chicago Tribune has the disturbing deposition by Cardinal Francis George and other coverage detailing what is being described as a “cover-up” of an abusive priest–but AFTER George presided over the passage of the 2002 charter to protect children, and […]

The New (Old) Liturgy: Father Martin explains it to you…

posted by David Gibson

Here on NPR, Jesuit priest and prolific author (check out his bestseller, “My Life with the Saints”) James Martin takes up the issue of the new prayers that will be coming (not too soon) to a Mass near you. (See […]

Abortion and the Catholic Voter

posted by David Gibson

The New York Times has a piece today about Obama and the Dems and their efforts to appeal to Catholic voters who may be turned off by the party’s pro-choice dogmatism. It includes comments from the much-pilloried pro-life, yet pro-Obama, […]

Lace-Curtain Irish…Shanty Cardinal?

posted by David Gibson

Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston and now a cardinal five years into his difficult tenure there, cracked wise in his installation homily about his “lace-curtain” pretensions given that he’d moved to Florida (Palm Beach, no less) from his posting […]

“Humanae Vitae”–The Pill, pedophile priests, and the real story

posted by David Gibson

An earlier post on the 40th anniversay of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on contraception and procreation, “Humanae Vitae,” referred to various doom-and-gloom scenarios that champions of the teaching attributed to our wayward rejection of the encyclical’s reasoning and conclusions. Among […]

“And also with your spirit under my roof”…Welcome to the new Mass translations.

posted by David Gibson

Coming soon(ish), depending on subsequent approvals, all-new prayers and responses for the Mass, courtesy of that old-fashioned fellow, Pope Benedict XVI. Why this tradition-minded pope is pushing so many retro innovations is another topic. And I’m sure anything to do […]

Humanae Vitae at 40: The sound of one hand clapping?

posted by David Gibson

The most remarkable thing about last week’s 40th anniversary of the release of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s watershed encyclical upholding the ban on artificial contraception, is how little comment it aroused. That’s because birth control is at once a […]

Burke v. Lears, St. Louis v. NCR

posted by David Gibson

The case of the interdicts against Sr. Louis Lears, who attended an illicit ordination of women as priests, continues to heat up with a debate over NCR’s coverage of the story. Chief among the archdiocese’s critcisms is that they did […]

Women priests? The debate continues…

posted by David Gibson

Even as many Catholics watch with concern–and perhaps not a little schadenfreude–as the Anglican Communion at Lambeth splits up over homosexuality, back home in Rome and elsewhere the One True Church is still debating the issue of women and holy […]

Pope meets sex abuse victims: Is it enough?

posted by David Gibson

According to the latest AP report, Benedict XVI celebrated a private mass with four hand-picked sexual abuse victims on his last day in Australia: “He listened to their stories and offered them consolation,” the Vatican said in a statement. “Assuring […]

Orwellian Catholicism? Archbishop Burke and the secret videotapes

posted by David Gibson

Following up on earlier posts here and here about the canonical penalties against Sister of Charity Louis Lears, formerly of St. Cronan’s parish in St. Louis: National Catholic Reporter just broke a story that the archdiocese authorized someone to videotape […]

More bad news for Cardinal Pell

posted by David Gibson

This morning’s update on the widening Aussie sex abuse scandal, also via dotCommonweal: Australia’s ABC News has obtained police wiretaps of a conversation between Fr. Terence Goodall and Anthony Jones, the man Goodall allegedly raped in 1982. Cardinal Pell had […]

Australia’s Cardinal Law?

posted by David Gibson

The archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, often fills the role for the Catholic Church “Down Under” that Cardinal Bernard Law once did in Boston for the U.S. church: that is, a trenchant voice for “orthodoxy” and the commanding face […]

Aussie Bishop on American Catholics: “My overwhelming thought was that, if the church loses these people, it has lost its very soul.”

posted by David Gibson

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, whose lecture tour of the United States last month brought him critcism as well as praise thanks to his provocative book, “Confronting Sex and Power in the Catholic Church,” has returned home and has written up his […]

Dropping a bomb on his way out: Archbishop Burke and the case of Sister Louise

posted by David Gibson

If nothing else, the recently promoted (some would say “kicked upstairs) former archbishop of St. Louis, Raymond Leo Burke, at least has a sense of timing. Just before he was named to St. Louis in late 2003, then-Bishop Burke of […]

The GOP’s Catholic freefall

posted by David Gibson

There is so much to chew over in the latest batch of data from the Pew Forum’s prodigious Religious Landscape Survey, but combine the Pew’s numbers on Catholic party affiliation with a lesser-noted new survey from Georgetown’s CARA institute, and […]

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson: Reformer? Dissenter? Prophet?

posted by David Gibson

You decide. Click here for my interview with Australian bishop, Geoffrey Robinson, who just completed a U.S. tour to discuss his controversial new book, “Confronting Sex and Power in the Catholic Church.” Here’s an excerpt: Amid all the turmoil, you […]

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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!!!  

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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 means, in short, that I'll have to sign off from blogging h

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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 the new look Calvin in an essay at PoliticsDaily, "Patr

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, hence the long absence. Apologies to those who have chec

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 contribution in developing countries" were key topics of discussio

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