How Liberal is Catholicism, Really?

Last month, I wrote about a Catholic church's attempt to rebrand itself as a hip, welcoming institution. At the time, I noted that the clergy were striving to broadcast an aura of tolerance without changing any of their actual rules.More recently, I mentioned a conservative archbishop urging liberal and moderate members to quit the church. Much debate ensued, but there was at least one person who felt I was being too harsh:Catholic social doctrine is only "conservative" on a very … [Read more...]

Why Liberal Catholics Should Leave the Church

I knew that the Catholic church was having recruitment problems, but not like this. Charles Chaput, the ultraconservative archbishop of Philadelphia, gave a speech in which he encouraged liberal and moderate Catholics to leave the church:"[W]e should never be afraid of a smaller, lighter church if her members are also more faithful, more zealous, more missionary and more committed to holiness."Losing people who are members of the church in name only is an imaginary loss," he continued. … [Read more...]

Make Catholicism Cool Again

I've written about the decline of Catholicism and the church's attempts to stay relevant. The latest such attempt is playing out in Brooklyn, as you can see in this puff piece:The two Franciscan friars, complete with floor-length robes, stood behind the bar outside the 100-year-old church taking cash and slinging cans of Coors and Lime-A-Ritas in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.The diocese of Brooklyn called in the friars to revitalize the Holy Family Slovak Church in Greenpoint, which was on … [Read more...]

Repost: The World Is Changing and the Churches Are Afraid

[I'm taking a break from the blog to bond with and care for my new son. Please enjoy this classic post! I'll check in periodically to answer comments.]Last week, a Daylight Atheism commenter (thanks, Nathaniel!) pointed out that my post "Aid in Dying" had been cited on a blog on the Patheos Catholic channel, Public Catholic, whose author, Rebecca Hamilton, is a member of the Oklahoma state legislature. Needless to say, she was perturbed:Last night, when I googled euthanasia, I came … [Read more...]

The Rush to Canonize Mother Teresa

Surprising no one, the Vatican has declared Mother Teresa to be a saint.Under the church's rules, canonization requires two verified miracles. But the evidence that the church has put forward as proof of her miraculous powers is less than completely convincing:The [first] approved miracle involved Monica Besra, a 30-year-old Kolkata woman who said praying to the nun cured a stomach tumor. The Vatican committee said in October 2002 that it could find no "scientific explanation" for the … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: September 3

• Michele Bachmann says Christian conservatives will never win another election if Hillary Clinton wins this one. From her mouth to God's ears!• On Radiolab this week, "The Girl Who Doesn't Exist": Alecia Faith Pennington escaped a conservative-Christian/sovereign-citizen homeschool cult, but her parents deliberately never got her a birth certificate, a Social Security number, or any other ID. How do you prove to the world that you exist?• Humanity is solving … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: June 19

• "As I went walking, I saw a sign there And on the sign it said: '© Ludlow Music, a subsidiary of the Richmond Organization, Member ASCAP. All Rights Reserved.' But on the other side it didn't say nothing, That side was made for you and me."• The Cool PopeTM says your marriage is invalid because you don't hate divorce enough, you bad, bad people.• A debilitating vaccine-caused injury is miraculously cured by hidden cameras. (My favorite part is her claim that the shot … [Read more...]

How Catholic Hospitals Flout the Law

I've often written about the life-endangering refusal of Catholic hospitals to perform abortions, even when a pregnant woman is facing sepsis or hemorrhage and nothing can be done to save the fetus (see here, here and here). Now the ACLU in partnership with MergerWatch has released a new report, Health Care Denied, that reveals the full scope of the problem (HT: Butterflies and Wheels):Today, one in six hospital beds in the United States is in a Catholic hospital. In some places, such as … [Read more...]

Movie Review: Spotlight

Spotlight tells the true story of four journalists at the Boston Globe who broke the story of how the Catholic church protected priests who molested children. Their reporting proved the complicity of Cardinal Bernard Law, the archbishop of Boston who'd been quietly shuffling pedophile clergy from one parish to another for decades, and led to an explosion of copycat reporting as cities and towns throughout the country and the world realized the same evils were happening in their midst.Stories … [Read more...]

What the Catholic Church Did in the Shadows

Although it slipped out of the headlines for a while, the Roman Catholic church's plague of priests raping and molesting children hasn't gone away. This week, we got a jolting reminder of that:Two Roman Catholic bishops who led a central Pennsylvania diocese helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by more than 50 priests or religious leaders over a 40-year period, according to a grand jury report issued on Tuesday.The grand jury's report, which is based on documents … [Read more...]