Rolling Stone, Alan Dershowitz, and Catholic Priests

By now, virtually everyone has heard of the Rolling Stone fiasco, with its explosive article, “A Rape on Campus,” having been unmasked as deeply flawed. Although the magazine featured a long story about campus sexual assault, the police found no evidence to substantiate the allegations of rape at the University of Virginia.Perhaps fewer are familiar with the case of Alan Dershowitz, the well-known Harvard Law professor who tells his own frightening story of a false accusation. Dershowitz’s reputation for integrity, built over the course of a lifetime, was recently threatened by an uncorroborated allegation of sex with an underage woman. While that accusation has now been stricken from the record, Dershowitz notes that “you can’t unring a bell.” His sterling career and good name having been called into question. Continue Reading »

An Apology for the Catholic Church’s Patriarchy

Patriarchy refers to rule by men. It is an accusation often levelled at the Catholic Church, an institution led by a class of male-only priests distinct in status. Priests decide on disagreements over dogma, administer God’s forgiveness of sins through the sacrament of confession, and institute the Eucharist at Mass—some of the most important Church activities. For most people, this is patriarchal and unwelcome in our age of gender equality. Continue Reading »

Richard John Neuhaus and the Priestly Vocation

Twenty years ago today, on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Richard John Neuhaus was ordained a Catholic priest. Cardinal John O’Connor ordained Father Neuhaus in 1991 at St. Joseph’s Seminary, just north of the city in Dunwoodie. Exactly one year previous, on September 8, 1990, Cardinal O’Connor had received Richard into full communion with the Catholic Church, in a ceremony held in the private chapel of the cardinal’s residence… . Continue Reading »