Strength of Mind and Body: Praying for the Pope, the Church, the World

Lourdes

  My eyes popped open at 3:01 am PST, the TV still on the overnight news. A few minutes later, a special report: POPE BENEDICT XVI TO RESIGN. If, as it seems now, the reports of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation are true, there is special reason to invoke the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes on this her feast day. According to the text of the pope's message, which has been posted on the website of Vatican Radio, the Holy Father---"after having repeatedly examined my … [Read more...]

Our Left Foot: Downton Abbey & Anti-Catholic Snobbery

no popery

Not a few American Catholic fans of Downton Abbey were taken aback by a couple of scenes in last night's episode from Season 3. [Spoiler warning, if you're a DA follower who's behind on your dvr.] When Lady Sybil's widower---the Irishman Tom Branson, who was also once the family chauffeur---announces his intentions to have their newborn daughter baptized a Catholic, he triggers an explosion of protest from Lord Grantham. "A left-FOOTER?" Robert blurts at the breakfast table. In later scenes, … [Read more...]

Dear Cardinal Mahony, Please Stop

ap-california-church-abuse1-4_3_r536_c534

As events in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles continue to unfold, Deacon Greg Kandra brings to our attention a post by Cardinal Roger Mahony published this morning on the cardinal's personal blog. In the immediate wake of Archbishop Jose Gomez's announcement that Cardinal Mahony had been relieved of all official archdiocesan duties as a result of his mishandling of the clergy abuse scandal in Los Angeles, Cardinal Mahony's blog post has, I am saddened to say, a particularly unpleasant note of … [Read more...]

“They Failed”: Thank You, Archbishop Gomez

Jose-Gomez_1610762c

Tonight, Archbishop Jose Gomez broke his silence on the recently released documents concerning efforts by his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, to cover up instances of clergy abuse. Like me, Archbishop Gomez found the documents "brutal and painful reading." He did not stop at repugnance, however, but in a letter to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, assigned accountability: "I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. … [Read more...]

Showing the Beauty of Virtue: Don Bosco’s Legacy of Care

Don Bosco si tinerii

In a week when the scandal of clerical abuse of young people is again in the headlines, it's particularly important to invoke the prayers of St John Bosco, patron of youth, whom the Church remembers today. And it's especially important for people like me, who raised some hackles this week by calling for more accountability on the part of bishops who enabled and perpetuated the scandal, to acknowledge the Church's much longer and larger legacy of ransoming children from abuse and caring for them … [Read more...]

The Cat & The Cardinal: Assigning Moral Culpability When the Will Is Ill

Carlos

My cat, Carlos, died last week. To be completely honest, I killed him---even though I was 2500 miles away and had not seen him since November. I found out about his passing in the way so many of us learn about death these days: on Facebook. My former landlady, who assumed the care of Carlos along with the countless other burdens my hoarding left in its wake, posted a picture of him in happier times, with a message that said, "RIP Carlos. You deserved a better end." It was a shock, and … [Read more...]

Vale of Tears or Vale of Soul-Making? A Book Review

The Lord Answering Job out of the Whirlwind 1825, reprinted 1874 by William Blake 1757-1827

The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life by Terryl Givens and Fiona Givens Ensign Peak, 2012 Can God make a rock so heavy He can't pick it up? That's the playground version of the questions raised by the apparent paradox an omnipotent Deity presents to the limited human mind. When you get older, and life drops the heavy boulders of sin and suffering and death into your path, the questions get more complicated. Why do the innocent suffer while the guilty go unpunished? Why, in … [Read more...]

Songs of Innocents and Expedience–UPDATED

Duccio, "Slaughter of the Innocents"

Remembering the Slaughter of the Innocents means mourning them all . . . or none of them. Herod, the king, in his raging, Charged he hath this day His men of might, in his own sight, All young children to slay. (The Coventry Carol) On December 28, the Church recalls the massacre of infants and toddlers recounted in the Gospel of Matthew. Having heard from the Magi of the birth of a great king, the tetrarch Herod, anxious to hold on to his precarious puppet rule of Judea under his … [Read more...]


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