The Catholic Diaspora and the Tragedy of Liberal Catholicism

In a February 14 note to his people, Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., the archbishop of Chicago, commented on the question of “who speaks for the Catholic Church,” which had become a subject of public controversy thanks to the Obama administration’s “contraceptive mandate””which is, of course, an abortifacient and sterilization mandate as well. The cardinal noted the administration’s crude attempt to play divide-and-conquer with the Catholic Church in the United States, a ploy to which some nominally Catholic groups quickly acquiesced… . Continue Reading »

Obama: Pastor-in-Chief

I am not political. At least I try not to be. I do not spend time, nor do I enjoy, discussing national politics. Some do. Some pastors get so bogged down in such things that they never really get on to the business of caring for souls. Blogging about this colleague or that colleague, this president or that president, is not, in my estimation, pastoral care. … Continue Reading »

After Liberalism?

Can we sustain a vibrant, free, pluralistic society without the liberal dogmas of neutrality and diversity? Is there a vision of justice and international cooperation that does not lead us toward a thin and shallow cosmopolitanism? Are we able to defend the dignity of the individual without liberalism’s commitment to the isolated, autonomous, and atomized self? … Continue Reading »

Rick Santorum and Secular Natural Law

Rick Santorum recently criticized Obama’s worldview as a “phony theology not based on the Bible.” A few days ago, the Drudge Report resurrected a 2008 speech in which Santorum warned that Satan has it in for the U.S. Santorum’s blatantly religious comments have already made him an object of ridicule and will doubtless cost him support. My cynicism meter goes as wild as anyone’s when politicians talk like this. Still, I find it invigorating. … Continue Reading »

Using Ockham’s Razor as an Axe

I am sick of hearing about Ockham’s Razor. Not because I think it’s an unimportant thing to understand, mind you, but rather because it has been almost universally misunderstood and so is almost always misapplied. One example is the contemporary trend of reducing moral values to the inclinations present in individual experience”a modern lex parsimoniae with severe, rationalistic consequences… . Continue Reading »

Clerical Narcissism and Lent

Since the introduction of the new liturgical texts this past November, I’ve attended Mass in Australia, California, New York, Rome, Washington, and Phoenix, and in none of these venues have I detected any of the calamities confidently predicted by opponents of the new texts. Not only has there been no visible distress over “consubstantial”; the People of God seem to have rather quickly and painlessly adjusted to the changes, so that, three months into the process, it’s a rare “And also with you” that escapes the lips of an unthinking congregant. In fact, most of the people who’ve spoken to me about the changes have applauded them… . Continue Reading »

A Convergence of Conscience and Command

Since November, the 2012 election campaigns have become overcrowded with ideas and narratives, some silly, some frankly false and some fractured, leaking lofty nuance like helium. Distractions pay huge dividends, right now. The silly ideas are the ones accompanied by odd hysterics from what Jimmy Breslin used to call “the official women.” … Continue Reading »

Kevin Madigan’s Offenses Against History

At the end of the Second World War, when the Nuremberg prosecutors were gathering evidence for the upcoming trials, one of the many people they turned to for assistance was Pope Pius XII. They were not disappointed. The Holy See sent on massive documentation, recounting Nazi criminality, and the material given proved to be of great value… . Continue Reading »

True Reproductive Health

‘Reproductive health’ is the subject of numerous international conferences, United Nations meetings, agency reports, and NGO papers, yet the meaning of the term can vary widely”and very consequentially. Clarity about reproductive health is increasingly necessary as United Nations Member States seek to honor the Millennium Development Goals, one component of which is achieving universal access to reproductive health. This requires clarity about exactly what reproductive health is… . Continue Reading »

That Our Flesh Not Lead Us Into Despair

Paula Deen, the Food Network’s chubby “Queen of Butter” chef, took a grim drubbing for failing to disclose her Type 2 diabetic diagnosis made in 2008. It came to light three years later only after she made a paid endorsement of a Novo Nordisk diabetic medication and launched a web site, Diabetes in a New Light, linked from the Novo Nordisk home site… . Continue Reading »