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Pontifications

Pontifications

Pop Culture Archives

Apologia pro vita sua…Kinda

posted by David Gibson

 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. […]

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Signs of the times: Obama’s eye

posted by David Gibson

Yes, this photo of Obama ostensibly eyeing a young woman (apparently a 17-year-old delegate from Brazil–where are her parents?!) at the G-8 Summit is the hottest Google search item. And of course the question of what Obama was thinking is a leading […]

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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.

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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 […]

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, […]

Farrah’s funeral mass

posted by David Gibson

It took place at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and seemed to represent everything about Farrah Fawcett, and the Catholic imagination–if you can imagine that combo. I can, or I would like to. For […]

Obama’s new church: St. Elsewhere’s?

posted by David Gibson

Or St. Nowhere’s? In a report disputed by the White House, TIME’s Amy Sullivan writes that the much-anticipated decision on where the Obama’s would worship has been settled, and instead of joining a congregation in Washington, Obama will do like W. and […]

Michael Jackson…Pop theologian?

posted by David Gibson

Anthea Butler makes the case at ReligionDispatches: We loved the music, but the trash sold much more. Yet, for all of the crass tabloid fodder, Michael was his best when singing these hopeful songs that called listeners to become better […]

Michael Jackson’s faith

posted by David Gibson

The pop icon was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, but according to some accounts had been “disfellowshipped” for various infractions. Last fall it was reported that Jackson had become a Muslim and changed his name to Mikaeel: The 50-year-old singer, who has […]

Michael Jackson, tortured genius

posted by David Gibson

Sad life, sad death–great music. So much people are saying, but the music says it best. YouTube has a site dedicated to his videos here, and it’s interesting that the most popular ones are of a later vintage. Many are superb. […]

Farrah Fawcett, RIP

posted by David Gibson

The actress who began as everyone’s favorite pinup (mine, too–I’m of that vintage) has died after a long and public battle with cancer. Hers was a remarkable journey, really, from those blow-dry feathered hairdos to really superb acting roles to the latest […]

Sarah Palin: Last (wo)man standing?

posted by David Gibson

Now that the GOP hopefuls are flaming out, is Sarah the saviour? A new Pew poll shows Palin well ahead of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich among Republicans, with 73 percent favoring her as opposed to 57 and 55 percent […]

GOP infidelity month: Gov. Mark Sanford

posted by David Gibson

From the “Department of What Was He Thinking?!” here comes South Carolina’s Republican governor and a GOP hopeful for president, admitting that his five-day off-the-radar escapade was to visit his Argentine lover–not to hike the Appalachian Trail, as aides said. Unbelievable. […]

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 […]

Was Nixon anti-abortion?

posted by David Gibson

Well, sort of. Newly released tapes show that in the wake of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, Tricky Dick worried that legalized abortion would lead to “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw abortion as “necessary” […]

Is Neda a martyr?

posted by David Gibson

The simplest answer to that question is “yes.” Neda Agha-Soltan died terribly and publicly while at a protest for freedom against a repressive regime. Her story has spun around the globe, drawing broad support and rallying the reform cause at […]

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.” […]

Happy Father’s Day! Here’s what you missed…

posted by David Gibson

No doubt you Dads got wonderful gifts and lots of love, but will any of you smell like a Holy Father? You could if the family had thought to buy Fred Hass’ private formula, The Pope’s Cologne, the recreation of […]

Promoting fatherhood: Obama’s family values

posted by David Gibson

If the new Focus on the Family CEO loved Obama’s family values a few days ago, how much more will he love him now that he’s pushing so strongly for responsible fathers? “When fathers are absent, when they abandon their […]

“We want to see more families like Barack Obama’s.”

posted by David Gibson

Who said it? Not Focus on the Family’s old lion of the religious right, but his successor as CEO, Jim Daly. (Pictured at right in a Denver Post photo.) As the Denver Post reports (via Dan Gilgoff at US News), Daly’s remarks […]

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 […]

Iran: Revolution on?

posted by David Gibson

Watching history unfold is one of the great benefits of modern media. The Daily Dish has wall-to-wall updates, including links to neocons apparently pleased with Ahmadinejad’s “victory”–spare no effort to confirm one’s bias. The NYT is here with the latest on supreme […]

Sex selection comes to America

posted by David Gibson

The New York Times reports on apparent evidence of sex selection among Asian immigrants, a cultural holdover from their home countries: The trend is buried deep in United States census data: seemingly minute deviations in the proportion of boys and […]

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 […]

Quote of the Day, Part I: The “responsible” white separatist

posted by David Gibson

“The responsible white separatist community condemns this. It makes us look bad.” –John de Nugent, an acquaintance of James W. von Brunn, who opened fire at the Holocaust Museum. Via Steve Waldman via The WaPo. PS: De Nugent also called […]

Carrie Prejean, Miss California slacker?

posted by David Gibson

Donald Trump has fired her for not fulfilling her duties. How tough is a beauty queen’s job? “This was a decision based solely on contract violations,” Keith Lewis, the executive director of Miss California USA said in a statement, citing […]

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 […]

More right-wing violence: Holocaust Museum shooting

posted by David Gibson

An 88-year-old man, James W. von Brunn, who is apparently known as a white supremacist, shot a security guard at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington this afternoon–near the Smithsonian and across the Mall from the White House. The Washington Post has […]

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 […]

Barack Obama: Prophet of our civil religion

posted by David Gibson

And he’s channeling Abraham Lincoln. At least that’s my angle, in a piece at PoliticsDaily titled, “The Gospel According to Barack.” Secularists worry that Obama has imbibed Bush’s faith-based Kool-Aid, conservatives rail that he’s (again) exalting himself as a false […]

iMessiah 3.0: The Third Coming

posted by David Gibson

Can you take still more sensuality and spirituality from the blog? The third generation of the iPhone is indeed here. The adepts at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco have seen the revelation: The new iPhone 3GS goes on sale […]

Eastern erotica for a Monday morning…

posted by David Gibson

Apropos of my earlier post on the death of David Carradine in somewhat ambiguous circumstances in Bangkok comes today’s NYT book review: It is on “The East, the West, and Sex: A history of Erotic Encounters” by Richard Bernstein, a fine […]

Scott Roeder and Osama bin Laden…

posted by David Gibson

The abortion doc killer and the 9/11 “mastermind”…More strange pairings? Maybe not. Bin Laden has been stuck in a cave in Waziristan or thereabouts for a few years, sending out audiotapes of threats periodically when he feels he needs attention–such […]

David Carradine and Thomas Merton…

posted by David Gibson

Both were well-known Westerners associated with Eastern spiritual traditions, both died accidentally in their rooms in Bangkok. That, it appears from news reports, is where the similarity ends, sadly: BANGKOK, June 5 — Thai police officers investigating the death of David […]

Be (gay) afraid (gay). Be (gay) very (gay) afraid (gay)…

posted by David Gibson

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is keeping count: “If, as the saying goes, people are policy, then we have no doubt where this White House stands. At last count, the Obama administration employed 36 open homosexuals.” As opposed […]

Radicalizing pro-lifers: The line from “Roe” to Randall Terry

posted by David Gibson

Why is anti-abortion violence spiking–with George Tiller’s death at the hands of alleged shooter Scott Roeder just the latest and most high-profile episode? Jon A. Shields, an assistant professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and author of an intriguing […]

Benedict’s kiddie kaffeeklatsch

posted by David Gibson

The pope meets with children every year about this time, taking a few questions and providing rare–and affecting–personal insights that he doesn’t offer up elsewhere. Last Saturday he met with 7,000 children from the Holy Childhood Association, which is affiliated with […]

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 […]

Scott Roeder’s mystery religion

posted by David Gibson

That Scott Roeder is mentally unstable, a devotee of right-wing, anti-government extremism, and a fierce opponent of abortion seem to be a few of the hard facts  we have on him. But the suspect in the killing of Kansas abortion doctor […]

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 […]

Is it okay to kill an abortionist? Seriously…

posted by David Gibson

Not a rhetorical exercise, especially not today. And not for the theocon journal First Things, which took up the question in seriousness in 1994 following Paul Hill’s killing of an abortion doctor in Florida. Hill said in his defense, “Whatever force […]

Tiller killing: Suspect may have right-wing ties

posted by David Gibson

Local TV reports are naming the 51-year-old suspect as Scott Roeder, and other reports indicate he may have been a member of the anti-government Freemen group who was arrested in 1996 after authorities found what were apparently bomb-making materials in his […]

Abortion doc killed in church; pro-lifers decry shooting

posted by David Gibson

George Tiller, the Kansas abortionist whose willingness to perform late-term abortions made him especially anthema to pro-lifers, was shot and killed as he served as an usher this morning at his church, Redeemer Luthern. He was reportedly shot by a […]

Kmiec-George Smackdown!

posted by David Gibson

Fellow pro-lifers, Catholic conservatives–and since the 2008 campaign political antagonists–Doug Kmiec and Robert George faced off in a “discussion” (not a debate) last night at the National Press Club in Washington. The discussion was titled “The Obama Administration and the Sanctity […]

Do I disgust you?

posted by David Gibson

Then you’re probably a conservative. But if you would slap me, then you’re probably a liberal. I think… Nicholas Kristof has the latest science on how our political and cultural leanings are products of our neurons: Would you be willing […]

“Father Oprah” goes Episcopal: UPDATE on marriage

posted by David Gibson

Father Alberto Cutie’, a.k.a. “Father Oprah,” the hunky South Florida priest with a popular television minstry on relationship advice and–it turned out–a girlfriend of his own on the side, has joined the Episcopal Church. That was fast. The AP reports: […]

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 […]

Esther, schmester: Carrie Prejean as Bible heroine

posted by David Gibson

Don’t see the connection? Check out my essay on the topic at PoliticsDaily. The lede: So why does it seem as though every prominent shiksa wants to be a Jewish queen? As in Queen Esther, a favorite heroine of the […]

Octo-mel: Gibson yuks it up over infidelity

posted by David Gibson

Okay, it’s one thing for uber-Traditionalist Catholic Mel to dispense with his marriage of 28 years and 7 children in private court proceedings. But what’s up with the talk-show parade to promote his latest squeeze, Russian musician Oksana Grigorieva, who […]

The new “Terminator” as a “sci-fi Nativity story”

posted by David Gibson

That’s the take from CT movie blogger Peter Chattaway on Terminator Salvation, which opens today: Regarding Terminator Salvation, director McG told mtv News that he and writer Jonathan Nolan were influenced by the stories of Luke Skywalker, Neo from The […]

Quote of the day: Synagogue bomb plotter’s sister

posted by David Gibson

    “Right now, to me he’s, like, the dumbest person I ever came in contact with in my life.”     –Wanda Cromitie, sister of James Cromitie, described as the leader of the foiled plot to bomb a synagogue in the Bronx. […]

Notre Dame: Have you no shame?

posted by David Gibson

I was okay with Obama. But now the Fighting Irish are in talks to be the first to play college football in the new Death Star, er, Yankee Stadium: Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame‘s athletic director, [told the New York Times […]

Saint Newt’s conversion: “Part of me is inherently medieval.”

posted by David Gibson

Many would agree, no doubt. But that line, from Dan Gilgoff’s conversation with Gingrich on his conversion to Catholicism, refers not to his political philosophy (that comes later) but to part of the appeal of the church for the former […]

Barack Obama: The second Catholic president?

posted by David Gibson

At the Immanent Frame, the sociologist of religion Michelle Dillon sees a “Catholic sensibility” in Obama’s commencement address at Notre Dame: “I am not thinking of Obama’s references to the “imperfections of man” and to “original sin,” or to the […]

PBS v. “Mass for Shut-Ins”?

posted by David Gibson

Do they really want to go there? The Public Broadcasting Service’s board is to vote in June on a  recommendation to “strip the affiliation of any station that carries ‘sectarian’ content,” as the Washington Post account has it. And apparently […]

Jesus in a Cheeto: Miracle or substantiation “con”?

posted by David Gibson

Yes, another “Cheesus,” and again in Texas. We had one here last July, though it was Christ on the Cross–more than blasphemous enough for me. (And what it means for Protestant theology on the Eucharist, God knows.) This week’s version […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The “anti-Mom” as a new anti-abortion icon

posted by David Gibson

Ayelet Waldman’s essay in the New York Times’ “Modern Love” column a couple years ago was even more irritating than the usual fare in that space–which of course makes you watch it, the way some people watch Fox News or […]

Hiking salvation: Lost, but how I’m found

posted by David Gibson

The tale of three-year-old Johua Childers, who was lost in the deep Missouri woods with wild things and no food or water for more than two days, riveted the public the way such stories do. As the parent of a […]

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 […]

The uses and abuses of Newman

posted by David Gibson

Cardinal John Henry Newman is, in death, and like Saint Paul in life, all things to all people. I am a great fan. But those who might see themselves as my polar opposite–say, the watchdogs of the Cardinal Newman Society–also embrace […]

Dom DeLuise, RIP

posted by David Gibson

Maybe I am of a certain age now, but Dom DeLuise was a favorite. And the testimonies of his colleagues–the likes of Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner–is enough to guarantee his comedic legacy. But do they make ’em like that […]

Women as Swiss Guards? They could make this look good…

posted by David Gibson

And they say the Catholic Church never changes…Which is why when the commandante of the Swiss Guards suggests women could be Swiss Guards–the all-male corps that has protected popes since 1506–opens the possibility, it makes headlines. VATICAN CITY (AP) — […]

Do you pray?

posted by David Gibson

The National Day of Prayer is today, Thursday, May 7, and though it is a thoroughly politicized event run out of Focus on the Family–read Dan Gilgoff’s USNews report on the maneuverings this year now that Barack Obama in the White […]

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, […]

The Three-Minute Confirmation Stick

posted by David Gibson

All about Supreme Court nominees and the “A-word.” That word is not “awesome.” But this segment is. Hat tip to Cathy Kaveny at dotCommonweal, a “Daily Show” devotee. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c […]

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 […]

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 […]

Pope in the Holy Land: “Keep your head down–in prayer”

posted by David Gibson

That’s my walkaway in this scene-setter for Benedict’s trip to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories, which is being recognized as the most difficult and risky of his pontificate–not least because of some of the baggage he himself will bring. […]

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 […]

The Garden of Eden?

posted by David Gibson

According to a new genetic survey, DNA tracing indicates Eden–and the first humans–emerged somewhere along the border between what is today Namibia and Angola in southwestern Africa (pictured above). Maybe it didn’t look like that eons–or 6,000 years–ago. The New […]

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 […]

Abortion rights support falling, gun rights support rising

posted by David Gibson

The latest Pew survey shows a significant drop in the support for abortion rights, with the percentage of Americans saying abortion should be legal in all or most cases declining from 54 percent last August to 46 percent today: The […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.” […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Full text of Holy Cross head’s letter to Obama

posted by David Gibson

Here is the full text of the 13-page letter (click at the end of this page for the rest) to President Obama from the Rev. Hugh W. Cleary, C.S.C. Superior General of the Congregation of Holy Cross, which oversees Notre […]

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 […]

“Who painted it?”

posted by David Gibson

Hillary’s first major gaffe as Secretary of State! It’s not fair, but this is a blog. And the icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most famous miracles in the church, the pride of Mexico (and beyond) and […]

Catholics skew liberal–even the churchgoers

posted by David Gibson

That’s the upshot of a Gallup Poll analysis just released here hooked to Obama’s upcoming Notre Dame commencement address. On the “moral acceptability” of abortion and embryonic stem cell research, Catholics mirror the wider populations, with 4 in 10 saying abortion can […]

Ayres and Obama, together again…sort of.

posted by David Gibson

The former Weather Underground activist/terrorist/educator/paller-around was invited by a student groups to speak at Boston College–but the event was canceled, as The Globe reports. At First Things, they see irony–in their inimitable way (and really, don’t try to imitate it)–as […]

Three saints of the day: Climacus, Rahner, Bowman

posted by David Gibson

Or would-be saints, perhaps “will-be” saints, in the case of Karl Rahner, who died 25 years ago today, and Sr. Thea Bowman, the African-American Franciscan, who helped to found the Institute of Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University in New Orleans. […]

Villanova beats Duke: There is a God…

posted by David Gibson

And he is obviously Catholic. But the proof of her existence will come tonight if Gonzaga beats North Carolina. Read it and weep. Brackets here…

Superstition and Religion: My take at the WSJ

posted by David Gibson

From today’s “Houses of Worship” column, which is titled “Is One Man’s Faith Another’s Superstition?” I try to explore the difference between religion and superstition, or witchcraft, an issue that the pope raised in Angola last week. An excerpt: The […]

“Ressourcement” or “Aggiornamento”? A final note on condoms

posted by David Gibson

Well, let’s hope it’s final. Just as a bit of housekeeping, it seems that after editing and changing some of Pope Benedict’s comments on condoms when he was in Africa–and prompting an uproar–the official text is back to what the pope […]

A shout-out for “Shouts in the Piazza”

posted by David Gibson

Many of you know Rocco Palmo’s “Whispers in the Loggia.” Well now you can visit Fr. Guy Selvester’s “Shouts in the Piazza,” which he has resucitated by popular demand. Father Guy in a parish priest in my native New Jersey […]

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 […]

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 […]

Obama’s stem cell qualifiers…clarifying?

posted by David Gibson

In his press conference last night President Obama took a question from The Washington Times’ John Ward about his controversial stem cell decision last month–an announcement that left me, and many others, rather cold. Obama’s response was intriguing in that he […]

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, […]

The turtle [tortoise] stays in Africa

posted by David Gibson

But I think they finessed it pretty well. John Thavis has a blog post, and auto-corrects that it is a “tortoise” not a turtle. If you don’t know the difference, you are probably not interested in this story anyway. At […]

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 […]

Notre Dame students (heart) Obama

posted by David Gibson

While the CNS (Cardinal Newman Society, not Catholic News Service) starts a petition against Obama delivering the commencement address at Notre Dame in May, and while commenters at this blog and elsewhere vent that this is the end of support […]

Religion or Superstition?

posted by David Gibson

In his homily Saturday in Luanda, the pope confronted the delicate question of superstition in African culture: Today it is up to you, brothers and sisters, following in the footsteps of those heroic and holy heralds of God, to offer […]

Obama to give commencement address at Notre Dame

posted by David Gibson

This should get the Irish fighting, along with lots of other Catholics. Or am I wrong? Via The South Bend Tribune: Obama will be the principal speaker and the recipient of an honorary doctor of laws degree at the university’s […]

He got a turtle!

posted by David Gibson

The pope gets treated, well, like a pope. A group of Pygmies showed up as Benedict XVI was leaving Cameroon in an unscheduled visit with an unexpected gift: a live turtle to take back to the Vatican. John Thavis of CNS reports: The […]

Pope in U.S. dominated religion coverage in 2008

posted by David Gibson

Nothing else was close. Benedict’s April visit to the U.S. took up 37 percent of the religion newshole, while religion stories from the campaign accounted for 21 percent, according to an analysis of the mainstream media in 2008 conducted by […]

The Feast of St. Joseph

posted by David Gibson

As noted before, I’ve developed a great affection for St. Joseph, whose feast day is today. It is also, of course, Joseph Ratzinger’s name day (or onomastico, in Italian), and Benedict XVI, as we now call him, took note of that […]

Natasha Richardson dies at 45

posted by David Gibson

It had seemed inevitable for some hours, but still terrible now that it is confirmed. The New York Times coverage is here, the WaPo here. Prayers for Liam Neeson and their two sons and the family.

UDATE on pope-condom comments

posted by David Gibson

THURSDAY UPDATE: John Thavis has a good look at the whole Vatican “redaction temptation” issue as regards the pope’s “official” comments.  It’s called, “There they go again…” PREVIOUS ENTRY BEGINS HERE: As the pushback against the pope’s statements about condoms worsening the spread of […]

An evangelical supporter’s disappointment in Obama

posted by David Gibson

David P. Gushee, a well-known and widely-respected ethicist and evangelical voice who supported Barack Obama, expresses what sounds like some buyer’s remorse in a March 16 column at USA Today titled, “Mr. President, we need more than lip service”: “I […]

Study: Believers fight death to the last

posted by David Gibson

But is it fear or faith that makes them do it? A new study from The Journal of the American Medical Association does not go into the motivations, but its findings are drawing notice: As The Times account has it: Terminally ill […]

The Irish according to The Simpsons…

posted by David Gibson

“It always comes down to transubstantiation versus consubstantiation.” Leave it to Lisa to sum it all up. Last one for the day. Couldn’t stop myself. Tip to the Dish. Erin Go Bragh!  

Pope and condoms: The Full Monty

posted by David Gibson

As usual, CNS’s John Thavis has the fullest and best account in this analysis: YAOUNDE, Cameroon (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI’s declaration that distribution of condoms only increases the problem of AIDS is the latest and one of the strongest […]

Natasha Richardson injured skiing, and rumors abound

posted by David Gibson

 Actress Natasha Richardson apparently suffered some sort of head injury while skiing north of Montreal, but after dire reports that she was in critical condition or worse, it seems she’s now taken a plane back to New York with her […]

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.”   […]

Was the Pope right about condoms and AIDS?

posted by David Gibson

Following up on the previous post about Benedict saying condom distribution aggravated the AIDS epidemic, here are a few references: Richard Owen’s Times of London report on Benedict’s comments today note that when a Vatican official made similar claims a […]

Pope: Condoms make AIDS epidemic worse

posted by David Gibson

During the in-flight newser to Cameroon for his first African trip, Benedict XVI responded to six questions, one regarding the urgent issue of AIDS in Africa. His response, via CNS: “One cannot overcome the problem with the distribution of condoms. […]

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day–without a hangover!

posted by David Gibson

At BustedHalo, Mike Hayes–son of Irish immigrants, he knows from Irish, tells you how, with five ideas. Before anything, of course, avoid green beer. But who would drink that anyway? You’d be sure to wind up driving the porcelain bus like the […]

St. Patrick: Did he exist? What did he look like? Does it matter?

posted by David Gibson

At America magazine, author Jon M. Sweeney examines what we know of the Saint’s life, and what is fanciful–but perhaps just as important. Both the hard facts and the fanciful legends about Patrick have the power to fascinate and instruct; […]

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 […]

“Cheney Asserts Obama Has Raised Security Risks”

posted by David Gibson

That’s the headline on the Times story regarding Cheney’s remarks on CNN on Sunday. Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that President Obama had made the country less safe, asserting that the new administration’s changes to detention and interrogation programs […]

Stem cell decision: “People need a fairy tale.”

posted by David Gibson

That is one quote that Peter Steinfels cites in his excellent column today, “In Stem Cell Debate, Moral Suasion Comes Up Short,” about Obama’s stem cell decision. (My critique here). A taste of Peter’s focus: The more challenging objection — again, not […]

The conservative future…?

posted by David Gibson

The second story from the Sunday Styles is “Little Mr. Conservative,” about 14-year-old Jonathan Krohn–the hot-ticket on the conservative circuit after his thrilling three-minute performance at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Bigger than Rush? Jonathan, a slight, home-schooled only child […]

The liberal past…?

posted by David Gibson

The “Sunday Styles” section of the NYT had two stories out front, which present stark contrasts, both unsettling. One is “Where to pass the torch?” about 70s-era abortion rights activists seeing the ambivalence or indifference of the younger generation of women, […]

The “invisible hand” of market-based morality

posted by David Gibson

Newt Gingrich wants to pay pregnant teenagers to take prenatal vitamins and stay healthy so the government avoids expensive costs when babies end up in neonatal intensive care units.He also wants to pay poor children to read, and says the […]

Michael Steele, RNC chair–and pro-choice Catholic?

posted by David Gibson

GOP chairman Michael Steele has had his share of woes in the weeks since he was elected with the aim of re-making the party. He bowed down to Rush, got skewered by Comedy Central (and has yet to show up […]

New NYT op-ed columnist: Young, Catholic, and really smart

posted by David Gibson

He’s Ross Douthat, erstwhile Atlantic editor and blogger and a serious upgrade from William Kristol, who started badly–not entirely unexpectedly–and went down from there during his year-long stint, which ended–not entirely unexpectedly–a couple months back. I’d hoped that Douthat would get […]

“Assisted suicide” or “Assisted homicide”?

posted by David Gibson

In Georgia, a sting operation snares members of the “Final Exit Network.” The Times has the story, and it doesn’t sound like euthanasia. On emotional issues like this, an over-the-top case can change the national discourse is this such a […]

Coulter v. Maher: The Blond leading the Blind

posted by David Gibson

Or is it vice versa? I guess we’ll have to wait for video of the 2009 Speaker Series, which features right-wing harridan Ann Coulter against left-wing God-baiter Bill Maher. Now there’s a choice. The NYT has a story (and photos […]

Obama’s stem cell flop

posted by David Gibson

How many ways did Barack Obama go wrong in yesterday’s policy change on stem cell research? Here are a few of the larger themes, and some able dissections of them: ONE: Why didn’t Obama say more about the promise of […]

Portrait of Shakespeare? Funny, he doesn’t look Catholic…

posted by David Gibson

Is this the only image of the Bard from life? Time magazine reports on the portrait, unveiled today in this newly-discovered–or rather attributed–portrait of William Shakespeare, whose likeness had heretofore never been rendered. (The NYT has a news update.) Shakespeare is […]

Obama as a Nazi? Bill Donohue goes there…

posted by David Gibson

The Catholic League statement was prompted by today’s stem cell research order. According to League president Bill Donohue: “Obama has stepped on a slope so slippery that many of his supporters may eventually regret he did so. It is not […]

ARIS 2008: Americans are faith freelancers–Catholic adherence in decline

posted by David Gibson

“Believing without belonging” has been the American religious mantra for years, and the real-time effects of that anti-“religion” (or anti-institution?) bias was never so apparent as in the latest American Religious Identification Survey. ARIS 2008 surveyed more than 50,000 Americans […]

A Purim spiel

posted by David Gibson

Monday at sundown marks the start of the Jewish festival of Purim, drawn from the story of Queen Esther and recounting the deliverance of the Jews from disaster at the hands of the Persians. As The Jewish Encyclopedia notes, this is […]

Faith as Stress-buster? See, Lent is good for you!

posted by David Gibson

The latest neuroscientific study (such research may be the economy’s lone growth industry) indicates that religious faith can help people chill when things go wrong–and that they will go wrong is one of life’s few guarantees these days. According to this story […]

Now here’s a real stimulus package…

posted by David Gibson

David P. Goldman says we need to procreate ourselves back to prosperity. At First Things, Goldman chides Republicans for all the failed and weak-kneed responses to the outrage that is (in his view) the Obama economic program. The cause of […]

Conservatives are a crackup!

posted by David Gibson

Well, only if you’re not a real conservative…For everyone else, it’s a bit like watching–well Comedy Central. The Rush-Steele matchup (Rush by TKO in the first, if you were out getting a snack) is the driving narrative, thanks also to […]

Welcome, Amy Welborn

posted by David Gibson

Okay, so we got (or are getting) Newt Gingrich, we lost (or are losing) Lindsay Lohan, but the day finishes with the biggest free agent signing of the off-season as Beliefnet snares blogger extraordinaire Amy Welborn. Amy’s longstanding site, “Charlotte […]

Win some, lose some: Lindsay Lohan, born Catholic, to become Jewish

posted by David Gibson

So we get Newt, and now lose Lindsay. I’m still trying to weigh the merits of the swap. Here’s the story via The Daily Mail: Lindsay Lohan is converting to Judaism in a bid to prove her devotion to Jewish girlfriend […]

Saint Newt? Gingrich to swim the Tiber

posted by David Gibson

It’s one heckuva parenthetical aside buried in the NYT Magazine’s lengthy profile of Newt Gingrich. But here it is, in its entirety: (A Baptist since graduate school, Gingrich said he will soon convert to Catholicism, his wife’s faith.) Wow. I’d […]

Whose party is it, anyway?

posted by David Gibson

The new RNC chairman Michael Steele got into a smackdown with Rush Limbaugh over who is the de facto leader of the GOP. Guess who backed down? Mr. Steele bristled after a questioner on CNN referred to Mr. Limbaugh as […]

Saint Barack?

posted by David Gibson

  Hey, they’ll help cut down on the utility bills we can’t pay… Andrew Sullivan has the “Face of the Day”: An image of U.S. President Barack Obama depicted as a saint is seen on a ten inch tall votive […]

Designer Babies: Beyond “Octo-Mom”

posted by David Gibson

Signs of the Apocalypse: The LA fertility clinic that is advertising its ability to give you the baby you’ve always wanted. Blond hair? No problem? Blue eyes? No sweat. Well, maybe they can’t do anything about sweating. But the owner […]

Ideas for Lenten Practices

posted by David Gibson

For many years this site, “Sacred Space,” a ministry of the Irish Jesuits, has been one of my preferred sites for contemplation and prayer. Well, really the only one. Its simplicity and Ignatian orientation draw me back time and again, […]

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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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