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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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When Benny met Barry: “I’ll pray for you!”

posted by David Gibson

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 […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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” […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Saint Francis and Obama

posted by David Gibson

And the connection? Islamic Cairo, 800 years ago. My colleague Paul Moses, a religion writer and journalism professor, is set to publish a book about Francis of Assisi’s encounter with the sultan of Egypt, Malik al-Kamil, during the Fifth Crusade […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Sotomayor: Reax roundup

posted by David Gibson

Notre Dame law professor and Obama supporter Cathleen Kaveny tells the Chicago Trib’s Manya Brachear that Sotomayor’s “shows you that you can’t put Catholicism in the U.S. in a box.” Indeed, whatever the level of the nominee’s practice, she seems to […]

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 […]

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 […]

Howdy, cowboy!

posted by David Gibson

Er, yer Holiness, sir… Must be spring in Rome, as Benedict brought out the saturno, so-called because of its resemblance to the planet. From today’s weekly general audience. [Photo via CNS/Reuters]

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 […]

ND reax: “Is it possible for us then to join hands in common effort?”

posted by David Gibson

That’s the challenge President Obama laid down. What is the answer? Powerful speech of genuine substance and gracious delivery that put hecklers to shame. Who will take up his challenge? Will any bishops step forward? Or who? Thoughts? What struck […]

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 […]

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” […]

The Pope in the Holy Land: Two verdicts

posted by David Gibson

At PoliticsDaily.com, Elizabeth Lev (the daughter of Mary Ann Glendon) titles her analysis “How Israel Could Have Been a Better Host to Benedict,” and as the title suggests, takes aim at Israel and some Jewish leaders for undermining that leg of […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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) — […]

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, […]

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. […]

“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 […]

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 […]

In praise of (Benedict’s) folly…

posted by David Gibson

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

Mary Ann Glendon bows out of Notre Dame event with Obama

posted by David Gibson

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

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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

posted by David Gibson

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

A Pagan responds…

posted by David Gibson

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

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 […]

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, […]

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

posted by David Gibson

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

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

posted by David Gibson

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

Debunking the Vatican-Obama ambassador report

posted by David Gibson

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

A priesthood returning to its roots?

posted by David Gibson

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

Blairs Glitch Project: Church faux pas on condoms and gays

posted by David Gibson

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

Another kind of Passion…

posted by David Gibson

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

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 […]

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

posted by David Gibson

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

Apostasy afoot on Quebec

posted by David Gibson

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

Playmobil Passion? Nein!

posted by David Gibson

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

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., […]

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 […]

Pope: Investigate the Legionaries of Christ

posted by David Gibson

The Vatican has officially launched an investigation of the Legionaries of Christ, the controversial, scandal-ridden order whose late founder, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, was last year found to have fathered a child out of wedlock. He is also suspected of […]

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 […]

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 […]

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” […]

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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

Benedict connects with Africa

posted by David Gibson

That seems to be the upshot of coverage. Having dispensed with condoms, he has spoken strongly and movingly about the great social problems facing the continent, and the specific countries he has visited–first Cameroon and now Angola. NCR’s John Allen […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

Thoughts for this Friday in Lent:

posted by David Gibson

I gave a parish talk last night on conversion, and what it means–to me as a convert, to us as Catholics (especially during Lent), to the modern world, and what it meant to the first Christians of Jesus’ day. Conversion […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Carnevale cocktail: A final Dolan mixer before Lent

posted by David Gibson

I’m not much for Mardi Gras–too old, too tired, too many hangovers. And that’s just the French Quarter. I, however, can’t take much forced revelry, either. But before Ash Wednesday strikes, let me point you to a Tim Dolan post I missed […]

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 […]

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 […]

Is the Devil in the details?

posted by David Gibson

What do you see when you look at this picture of Pope Benedict XVI? I swear I didn’t get it, and had to ask for help. But Catholics with more sensitive (or suspicious) eyeballs saw Devil’s horns on the pope’s […]

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 […]

Reax to Pope to Jews: “Could do better…”

posted by David Gibson

That is certainly my sense of Benedict’s address at the Vatican this morning to U.S. Jewish leaders. The meeting was the latest and probably last high-profile effort to soothe Jewish-Catholic relations in the wake of the pontiff’s outreach to the […]

Text of Pope’s meeting with U.S. Jewish leaders

posted by David Gibson

The official text, delivered in English, today: Dear Friends, I am pleased to welcome all of you today, and I thank Rabbi Arthur Schneier and Mr Alan Solow for the greetings they have addressed to me on your behalf. I […]

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 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

Father Maciel scandal: A father to more than his flock?

posted by David Gibson

The late Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, the venerated and vilified founder of the powerful conservative Catholic order, the Legionaries of Christ, may have been a father in the biological as well. At American Papist, Thomas Peters confirms rumors circulating in […]

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 […]

Pope to Israel? An “optimistic” Jewish voice

posted by David Gibson

Raymond Cohen, a top expert on relations between Israel and the Holy See, thinks Benedict’s planned visit this May to the Holy Land could happen. Cohen, a professor of international relations at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is at Boston College […]

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 […]

Galileo gets his due…

posted by David Gibson

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

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 […]

Another Holocaust-denying SSPX leader

posted by David Gibson

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

Bishop Williamson: We win!

posted by David Gibson

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

And now for something completely different…

posted by David Gibson

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

Catholic-Jewish relations continue to deteriorate

posted by David Gibson

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

Benedict XVI explains his SSPX strategy–such as it is

posted by David Gibson

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

Elie Wiesel: “The Vatican did it intentionally.”

posted by David Gibson

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

Pope in damage control mode

posted by David Gibson

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

Kasper not so friendly to Williamson

posted by David Gibson

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

Traditionalists and anti-Semitism: Hardly strangers

posted by David Gibson

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

Pope Benedict and Vatican II: Another view

posted by David Gibson

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

Chief Rabbi: Vatican must examine its conscience

posted by David Gibson

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

Rewriting history: Vatican II gets a makeover at 50

posted by David Gibson

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

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 […]

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 […]

Catholics and Jews and Gaza, Part Two

posted by David Gibson

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

Gaza Strip=Concentration Camp?

posted by David Gibson

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

Pope’s popularity: Is the thrill gone?

posted by David Gibson

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

Quote of the Day

posted by David Gibson

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

Haight update: Vatican action “not definitive”

posted by David Gibson

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

Is the Vatican pro-Hamas?

posted by David Gibson

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

Vatican issues “punitive” measures against NY Jesuit

posted by David Gibson

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

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 […]

Papal visit to the Holy Land: Another victim of the violence?

posted by David Gibson

The escalating warfare in the birthplace of the Prince of Peace may claim another victim: Benedict’s visit to Israel this May. According to CNS, Vatican sources have said a worsening of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict could alter the pope’s travel plans. […]

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 […]

REALLY Original Sin

posted by David Gibson

Scandals galore, the Fall of Man, the Pope on Original Sin (as per Cathleen Kaveny at dotCommonweal)–how did it all happen? Answer: Evolution made us do it. From Natalie Angier’s science column in the NYT: Deceitful behavior has a long […]

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 […]

A Theory of “Devolution”?

posted by David Gibson

Turns out dinosaurs were stay-at-home dads. According to this Washington Post story: Did oviraptor daddies look forward to trips to the park? Alas, that’s a question the fossil record can’t answer. But it does appear that many dinosaur fathers spent […]

Last-minute gifts!

posted by David Gibson

Yes, if you’re really stumped, you can get (or get me) a Sarah Palin wall calendar! Or not. Perhaps a “Calendario Romano 2009″ with the “Priests of Rome”–one clerical hunk per month? I got these every time I went, as […]

Is iPrayer a Killer App?

posted by David Gibson

. It had to happen: The iPhone–a.k.a. the Jesus Phone–gets an iBreviary, and with a Vatican imprimatur. The Times of London has the story: The Vatican has approved a computerised prayerbook for a new generation of gadget-loving Roman Catholic priests. […]

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 […]

Is the Shroud of Turin real?

posted by David Gibson

The Discovery Channel opens up what many–including the Vatican–had taken to be a settled question, namely whether the famous Shroud of Turin is truly the burial cloth of Jesus. “Unwrapping the Shroud: New Evidence,” airs Sunday (today), Dec. 14, at […]

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 […]

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, […]

UPDATE: Lennon needed no “forgiveness”–at least not from the Vatican

posted by David Gibson

Updating yesterday’s Beatles post…A letter to the editor in today’s NYT, clarifying that while the Osservatore Romano was trying to be generous, they still didn’t quite ” get” what Lennon was saying: November 25, 2008 You Can Make It O.K. […]

What is the point of interfaith dialogue?

posted by David Gibson

Pope Benedict XVI gave an insight into his thinking on this topic in a letter to a friend and co-author, Marcello Pera, philosopher and former president of the Italian senate and an agnostic (perhaps even an atheist) who has nonetheless […]

Vatican “forgives” Lennon…

posted by David Gibson

That’d be John, not Vladimir. (Yes, I know, and it’s Lennon, not Lenin.) And “forgive” would be the hedder on the Reuters version of the story about L’Osservatore Romano’s remarkable appreciation of The Beatles on the 40th anniversary of The […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

No gays, no way: Vatican on homosexual priests

posted by David Gibson

When the 2005 Vatican document on homosexuals and the priesthood came out, there was some debate over what Rome meant by its terms–such as “deep-seated” homosexuality, and whether the church wanted to bar even homosexuals capable of living a chaste […]

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 […]

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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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