The High Price of Establishment

I happened to be in London when the Church of England voted to reject female bishops. The verdict came as quite a surprise. Women have been ordained as priests in the Church for twenty years, and allowing them to become bishops would certainly seem to be the next logical step. Twelve years of negotiations between “reformers” and “traditionalists””apparently a way of life in the C of E”had culminated in a compromise under which dissenting parishes not wanting to be under the authority of a female primate could request hierarchal supervision by a male… . Continue Reading »

What the Pope Really Said About Christmas

The Pope’s new book, Infancy Narratives, was released on November 21. The day’s headline of the Daily Mail? “Killjoy Pope crushes Christmas nativity traditions: New Jesus book reveals there were no donkeys beside crib, no lowing oxen and definitely no carols.” CNN’s online story followed suit. The New York Daily News repeated the claim about the animals, adding not that the pope agreed with some historians on an earlier dating of the birth of Christ but that “the Christian calendar has Jesus’ birth year wrong, Pope Benedict XVI claims in a new book.” … Continue Reading »

The End of the Age of Great Bibles?

Growing up in the 1980s, it seemed there were a few basic Bible translations different Christians in my circles used. My Evangelical friends had the New International Version (NIV), we Lutherans had the Revised Standard Version (RSV), and my fundamentalist friends had the King James (KJV). My Catholic friends had their own various translations, either the official New American Bible (NAB), the Jerusalem Bible, or the Douay-Rheims. Many people also had the paraphrase The Living Bible on hand… . Continue Reading »

The Down Syndrome Community’s Abortion Rift

It all comes down to abortion. That’s what my late father-in-law always said. No philosophical disagreement, no policy debate, no theological quibble rivals our fundamental and unbridgeable divide on the question of abortion. No other issue carries half as much baggage in the public mind. Not taxes, not health care, not immigration, not war, not peace. In the final tally, it all comes down to abortion… . Continue Reading »

The (Sacred) Void

From the beginning, Christians have had to decide how they want to relate to culture. Many of us make this decision subconsciously based on events, belief systems, and personal experiences that form who we are. In his well-known book Christ and Culture, H. Richard Niebuhr identified five possible ways in which Christians have chosen to view and interact with culture… . Continue Reading »

Sacred Language for Sacred Acts

It was just about a year ago that U.S. parishes began using the new translations of the third edition of the Roman Missal”an implementation process that seems to have gone far more smoothly than some anticipated. Wrinkles remain to be ironed out: There are precious few decent musical settings for the revised Ordinary of the Mass … . Continue Reading »

Interview with Paul Hensler on Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko

The martyr Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko was born in 1947 to a devout Roman Catholic family in northeastern Poland. The young Jerzy entered the Warsaw seminary in 1965 after graduating from high school and was ordained a priest in 1972. In 1980, he began serving the St. Stanislaus Kostka parish in the Zoliborz district of Warsaw, just as Poland’s Solidarity labor union started to challenge Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe… . Continue Reading »

President of the Economy

In 2010, Republicans won a historic victory in the midterm elections, gaining sixty-three seats in the House and six in the Senate. They netted six governorships and twenty state legislative bodies. Although local factors always matter, this was an unusually nationalized campaign, driven by widespread concern over President Obama’s trillion-dollar deficits, health care mandates, and bank takeovers… . Continue Reading »

Begin the Apocalypse!

Two weeks ago in this space, while still processing Election 2012, I wrote of my relief at the outcome, not because I approved of it, but because it provided a bit of needed clarity. Faced with a challenger whose most daring political strategy was to cultivate vagueness in his relentless pursuit of all things beige, and an incumbent gleefully willing to launch a daily barrage of splattering, oozing color bombs heedless of what or whom they hit“or whether their tints were environmentally toxic or even true“the voters chose “sound and fury” over “nothing.” … Continue Reading »

Brother Joseph of Molokai

With the recent canonizations of Father Damien of Molokai and Mother Marianne Cope, the time has come to recognize Brother Joseph, who worked with them in that remote leper colony. The spiritual life having its paradoxes, the reason he should be recognized is that he would not want any recognition. By becoming more aware of this saintly man, we may become more appreciative of the vocation of the religious brother, which in turn helps us to focus more fully on Christ… . Continue Reading »