friend, whose alma mater is the University of Notre Dame, wrote me
this morning: "Apparently, Pope Francis gave some crazy
interview in which he implied that Catholics should not be
'obsessed' with ND football. A sure sign the end of all things
is nigh." He did not send a link to the original comment in
Italian, so I cannot verify.
is rumored that the word of the month for September is "credibility".
It's not clear how credible those rumors really are.
recent decades, there have been serious cuts to the funding of good,
sharp satire. One reason is that it's difficult to satirize a culture
that would make most forays into the satirical arts look like a pale
imitation of the madness that holds sway. A recent example is the
case of a former British soldier who is now, well, something else
former trained soldier has swapped her Territorial Army beret for a
veil and become Britain's first transgender Muslim woman. Lucy
Vallender used to be called Laurens and says she is finally 'true to
herself' after a sex change three years ago. The 28-year-old is now
married to a Muslim man she met on an online dating site, but he did
not know she was once a man when they wed.
of course he didn't. Because that would likely exhibit some sort of
"gender bias", right? Except I doubt that was part of the
equation. But if this story were an equation, we'd have to use the
"≠" sign as nothing adds up.
of changes, the former Crystal Cathedral is undergoing many
Crystal Cathedral was to [Robert] Schuller what Graceland was to
Elvis. Now it has been bought by the Roman Catholic Diocese of
Orange, which has long coveted having a cathedral that sat at the
center of its vast footprint of 1.2 million Catholics.
name has already been changed to the Christ Cathedral. But the work
of liturgical consultants, priests and architects to transform a
temple so closely identified as a symbol of Schuller's sunny,
uniquely Southern Californian theology into one that conforms to the
traditions of the Roman Catholic Church has just begun.
exterior will always be the Crystal Cathedral, at least for a while,"
said Duncan Stroik, a professor of architecture at Notre Dame and
editor of the publication Sacred Architecture Journal. "Catholic
on the inside, but kind of Protestant on the outside."
who have taken on the project recognize that their assignment is a
intimidating one, but they also have faith: They can turn the Crystal
Cathedral into the Christ Cathedral.
the entire story on the LA
site. It is heartening to read the comments by Dr. Stroik, who is
leading the way in the revival of great Catholic architecture, as
evidenced in part by his recent book, book, The
Church Building as a Sacred Place: Beauty, Transcendence, and the
which was reviewed
for CWR by Dr. Amanda Clark earlier this year.
Hollywood out of ideas? Has it tapped out when it comes to fresh
cinematic adventures for the masses? I'd say the answer is tilting
hard toward “Yes” when there
is a remake of Left Behind currently in the works.
And it stars Nicholas Cage. Yes, the Apocalypse is upon us, and it
will cost you $10.00 to experience for two hours.
light of recent events and the reaction of some, I propose that
Matthew 16:18 (New Jerusalem Translation) be re-written as follows:
I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my
community. And the gates of the underworld can never overpower it, up
and until a twenty-first century pope gives a lengthy interview which
fractures the very foundation of said community and destroys the
faith of millions and plunges the world into darkness and confusion
not seen since said pope's comments about atheism a few months
bit wordy, I suppose, but I'm sure the original Greek will flow like
honey. (And, please, spare me the angry e-mails. Just leave angry comments. We need more comments. I get paid by the comment.)
Cut of the Week comes courtesy of mushy, trendy, lefty
“Evangelical” author and know-it-all, Brian McClaren: “We
have a Catholic priesthood more concerned with keeping women out of
the priesthood as the world is destroyed by carbon gases. … We have
evangelicals with the audacity to say that homosexual people are
ruining marriage. I think anyone who says that should be laughed off
the stage. Heterosexual people do that on their own, thanks.” No
word if McClaren and Jody Bottum are working on a book together yet.
I enjoy reading nearly
anything by the Anglican Scripture scholar N.T. Wright, and his
recent interview with Christianity Today about the Psalms
is no exception:
Are songs and poems from the
ancient Near East really sufficient for shaping our worldview today?
There is a prejudice in much of
contemporary Western society that imagines that humankind grew up
sometime in the 18th century, that everything before then is
sort of silly, and that everything after then is
sophisticated, intelligent, and informed by science.
But what is true today was true in the
first century: There was a clash of worldviews. The early Christians
discovered themselves drawn into the Psalter's ancient Jewish way of
seeing God as both totally other than the world and
radically presentdangerously presentwithin it. And of
course, this very description of God is also the description of
Jesus. The Psalms enabled the first generation of Christians to
navigate the world of their day, a world not all that
different from our own.
new book is titled The Case For the
New York Times'
reporter, Laurie Goodstein, is
one of the most anti-Catholic, unfair journalists writing for a
major newspaperbut only because Maureen Dowd is not a journalist.
summers ago, I met composer Frank
La Rocca, a convert to the Catholic Church and Emeritus Professor
of Music. California State University. His most recent album, “In
This Place,” is a glorious, beautiful collection of sacred
music. Highly recommended!
enemy of great is good.” I know it's not original with
Nick Aliotti, but I do like the saying. I also
like what I'm seeing from the Oregon Ducks football team this year,
even if I'm not allowed to use their new $68
million athletic facility (paid for by Oregon's wealthiest
Catholic), which is just a few minutes from my home. And, yes, I've
taken classes (in philosophy) at the University of Oregon, so I
really am a Duck. Sorta. Kinda.
charge against Pius XII can be proven wrong.” What do you expect a
devout Catholic to say? Except that the
man who said it, Gary Krupp, is Jewish, not Catholic. Fascinating
might a Jew who is strongly attracted to Christianity decide to not
convert? The story
of philosopher Franz Rosenzweig is instructive in many ways. Jews
who do decide to become Catholic, Roy Schoeman told me years ago, do
not usually “read themselves into the Church”, as do many
it is rare although not unheard of for a Jew to "read"
himself into the Church. More frequently it requires extraordinary
interventions on the part of Heaven, in the form of miracles,
apparitions, or theophanies, to convince them. As St. Paul said, "For
Jews demand signs and Greeks [i.e. Gentiles] seek wisdom" (1 Cor
that entire September 2007 interview on Ignaitus Insight.
Christianity in the United States between the world wars a robust,
vigorous, and deeply lived faith? William
Alexander Percy, the uncle of novelist Walker Percy, didn't think so,
Gene Fant writes in a First
goes straight to the throat of the deep South’s cultural
Christianity with bare knuckles and brutal prose. He was concerned
about the demise of religion in the lives of the young people he
knew. He termed this sort of pseudo-faith as filled with “the
ghosts of dead phrasessalvation, washed in the blood of the Lamb,
He descended into hell, the resurrection of the body, born of the
Virgin Mary.” He knew even in the pre-World War II era that a
cultural religion is no religion at all but is a winking form of
hypocrisy that finds thin consolation in a genial Sunday morning
service that is detached from either the life of the mind or the
reality of the work-a-day world.
is not to say, of course, that all Christians were winking hypocrites
then, just as they aren't now. But it does make much better sense of
what transpired in the Sixties, which would not have happened had
there not been plenty of fallow ground. Two books that discuss this
history and offer many compelling insights are Ross Douthat's Bad
Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics
(2012) and Russell Shaw's American
Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall, and Uncertain Future of
Catholicism in America (Ignatius
of American history, here is a fun exercise: ask a young
personanyone under the age of sixtythis question: “Which
political partyDemocrat or Republicanintroduced the 13th
Amendment, abolishing slavery?” Or: “Which of the two parties
established the Ku Klux Klan and fought against the suppression of
that group?” Then show
them this graphic. It's not that I'm pro-Republican, but rather that I'm pro-history. And we Americans are illiterate zombies when it comes to history.
pope's meeting with an eight-member
council of cardinals in early October may well result in a number of
the creation of the council, along with two other new advisory bodies
(see sidebar), is any indication, structural reform is high on this
pope’s to-do list. Announcing the cardinals’ council, the Vatican
said it would consider not only changes in the Roman Curia the
central administrative machinery that assists the pope but also
“the government of the universal Church.”
Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, is the only American member of
the group. Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa,
Honduras, is its coordinator. Other members include Cardinal Giuseppe
Bertello, an Italian cardinal who heads the “Governorate” of
Vatican City State; Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai;
Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia; Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo
Pasinya of Kinshasa, Congo; German Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich
and Freising; and Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa,
archbishop emeritus of Santiago, Chile.
tuned, as the meeting begins in less than a week.
do God and Bigfoot have in common? A
there a commercial radio station out there that plays music anything
like Marty Haugen's? If there were, would any self-respecting
teenager listen to it? The notion that today's popular liturgical
music appeals to youth is laughable on its face. Young people at the
century's turn ridicule it mercilessly as much as it deserves. Of
course the Catholics on college campuses do play it, but only because
they have no choice. They belong to a lost generation born after 1965
and know nothing better.” So writes Dr. Joseph P. Swain in his new
Treasure: Understanding Catholic Liturgical Music (Liturgical
Press, 2013). Look for a CWR interview with Dr. Swain in the near
future. To get a sense of the book, read his 2007 CWR article, “Music
is an Uncompromising Meritocracy”.
Pelosi (D) recently invoked divine authority while criticizing
Republicans working to bring a semblance of fiscal responsibility to
the federal budget:
a most incredible thing. I said yesterday at a press conference on
this subject, I said: unless we it was in Houston, I go to Mass
wherever I go, and at the pulpit, the priest said, in
Houston, Texas not one of your liberal bastions he
said: ‘I think it’s important for people, not just to come to
Mass on Sunday and pray, but when they leave here not to
prey on people,’” she said.
it isn’t exactly what they are doing: preying on people,” she
other news, Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of
the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome, in
interview with The
indicated quite clearly that Pelosi should be excommunicated:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, when recently questioned at a
press briefing about the moral difference between what Dr. Gosnell
did in murdering a baby born alive at 23 weeks as compared to the
practice of aborting a baby moments before birth, refused to answer.
Instead she is reported to have responded: “ As a practicing and
respectful Catholic this is sacred ground to me when we talk about
this. I don’t think it should have anything to do with politics.”
How are we to react to such a seemingly scandalous statement? Is this
a case where Canon 915 might properly be applied? [Editor’s
of the Church’s Code of Canon Law states that those who are “
obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted
to Holy Communion.”]
Certainly this is a case when Canon 915 must be applied. This is a
person who obstinately, after repeated admonitions, persists in a
grave sin cooperating with the crime of procured abortion and
still professes to be a devout Catholic. This is a prime example of
what Blessed John Paul II referred to as the situation of Catholics
who have divorced their faith from their public life and therefore
are not serving their brothers and sisters in the way that they must
in safeguarding and promoting the life of the innocent and
defenseless unborn, in safeguarding and promoting the integrity of
marriage and the family.
the entire interview.
what percent do you think firearm-related
homicides have increased since 1993: 20%? 40%? More? Not
homicides declined 39 percent and nonfatal firearm crimes declined 69
percent from 1993 to 2011, the Justice Department’s Bureau of
Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. Firearm-related homicides
dropped from 18,253 homicides in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011, and nonfatal
firearm crimes dropped from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to
467,300 in 2011.
both fatal and nonfatal firearm victimizations, the majority of the
decline occurred during the 10-year period from 1993 to 2002. The
number of firearm homicides declined from 1993 to 1999, rose through
2006 and then declined through 2011. Nonfatal firearm violence
declined from 1993 through 2004 before fluctuating in the mid- to
of interest, in light of many dubious assertions about the need for
more gun control:
2004 (the most recent year of data available), among state prison
inmates who possessed a gun at the time of the offense, fewer than
two percent bought their firearm at a flea market or gun show. About
10 percent of state prison inmates said they purchased it from a
retail store or pawnshop, 37 percent obtained it from family or
friends, and another 40 percent obtained it from
an illegal source.
report from the Bureau of Justice also notes, “From
1993 to 2010, males, blacks and persons ages 18 to 24 were most
likely to be victims of firearm-related homicide.
head of the Anglican communion, The
Most Rev Justin Welby, has been pondering the social “revolution”
in the realm of marriage and same-sex relationships, and while he
remains confused about many aspects of it, he apparently is convinced
that traditional-minded Christians should take the blame for the sins
Most Rev Justin Welby told an audience of traditional born-again
Christians that they must “repent” over the way gay and lesbian
people have been treated in the past and said most young people
viewed Christians as no better than racists on the issue.
Welby, who as a young priest once opposed allowing gay couples to
adopt children, said the church now had to face up to what amounted
to one of the most rapid changes in public attitudes ever.
insisting that he did not regret voting against same-sex marriage in
the House of Lords, he admitted that his own mind was not yet “clear”
on the wider issues which he was continuing to think about
28, 2013) also reports, “And he admitted that, despite its strong
official opposition to allowing same-sex couples to marry, the Church
is still 'deeply and profoundly divided' over gay marriage.”
There's also the matter of a 500-year-old division over King Henry
VIII's divorces and marriages. But I suspect that's not as relevant as
being relevant today, when relevancy really, really matters.
is the New York
wrong about the Catholic Church? Because
it is drunk.
won't link to the page (as it contains too much vulgarity and I don't
need the complaints), but I simply cannot pass over this recent quote
from Miley Cyrus: “Times
are changing. I think there’s a generation or two left, and then
it’s gonna be a whole new world.” Ah, to be twenty and brainless
of a new world, a professor of geography and environmental systems
argued that overpopulation is “nonsense.” That was stunning
enough, I suppose. Proof that the end of the world is nigh? It was
published in the New
Maybe someone is drunk.
for some heavy reading? Consider the essay, “The
Poverty of Liberal Economics” by
neoconservatives are therefore right to insist that a sound economy
must give ample scope to the self-expression of human dignity through
economic creativity. They are also right to affirm that economic
freedom is a sine qua non of such creativity. No less an authority
than John Paul II has said so in his social encyclical Centesimus
Nevertheless, the neoconservatives go wrong by assuming that what I
will call “liberal economics” is the best context for
understanding what economic freedom is. By “liberal economics,” I
mean the theory, going back in all essential respects to Adam Smith,
according to which the market alone organizes the economic life of
society, not by marshaling the coercive power of the state, but by
maximizing individuals’ freedom to enter into informed, mutually
beneficial contractual exchanges for specific economic purposes
decided by “self-interest.”
to say, it has something for everyone.
the just-released USCCB document, “Stewards
of the Tradition Fifty Years after Sacrosanctum
from the Committee on Divine Worship:
the Extraordinary Synod on the twentieth anniversary of Vatican II in
1985 and ever since, a key term surfaced for interpreting both the
documents of Vatican II and the nature of the Church: communio.
This is fittingly applied also to the Sacred Liturgy, which builds up
and expresses the Church. Used in a variety of ways and contexts in
subsequent Church documents, the term communio
often refers to the relationship of the baptized as incorporated into
the Trinity of persons who are the one true God. This is what
constitutes the Church: that we are rooted in the very life of our
Trinitarian God, experiencing most profoundly in the celebration of
the Eucharist the reality of being "many parts, yet one body."
the entire text.
politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it
wishes to do the work of God, it becomes, not divine, but demonic.”
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Truth
(Ignatius Press, 2004).