September 13, 2018

Some things that happened this summer: (1) We discovered our bishops cannot be trusted with even the smallest things, like the health and moral formation of seminarians. (2) My son went to France with the clear instruction that in exchange for my part in making his trip possible, he was to stop at Gibert Joseph and pick us up some good used books to share.  He brought me home Dans le Secret des Borgia.  All things old are new again. (3) I… Read more

August 9, 2018

In all the excitement of every bishop in the world’s credibility imploding in one fell swoop, I haven’t gotten in on the death penalty conversation.  I’m going to the leave the theology at this: I believe in the hermeneutic of continuity.  We read the new in light of the old, and therefore a valid reading will take into count the compendium of centuries of thinking on this topic.  Nothing to be afraid of here. But of course the Catechism is meant… Read more

August 2, 2018

Happy August!  For our entertainment, the USCCB has issued a fresh statement on the terrible, no-good, very-bad ex-Cardinal McCarrick.  Below is Cardinal DiNardo’s statement in full, annotated.  Let’s see how things are coming: “The accusations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick reveal a grievous moral failure within the Church. They cause bishops anger, sadness, and shame; I know they do in me. Wonderful.  We have to start somewhere. They compel bishops to ask, as I do, what more could have been done… Read more

August 2, 2018

I have often wondered why something so simple as getting young adults engaged in parish life is such a mystery to the Church.  (I am not speaking of the problem of young people leaving the church by the age of twenty, which is a different problem.)  In my present parish, getting the young adults involved and active in parish life has taken a little time under the new pastor’s leadership, but it’s not rocket science: Do the Catholic + Give… Read more

July 31, 2018

Catholic University has taken back the honorary degree it gave McCarrick.  Let’s use some critical thinking: McCarrick has a long history of involvement at CUA, dating back to his own student days and including stints as chaplain and dean of students. McCarrick’s promiscuous and harassing behavior was an “open secret” so open even ordinary laypeople knew about it. CUA gave him an honorary degree anyway. Two possibilities: Somehow McCarrick was a predator in New Jersey but squeaky-clean in DC, and… Read more

July 28, 2018

As long as we’re asking people to come clean about what they knew and didn’t: I didn’t know about McCarrick.  I get a fair bit of Catholic gossip here and there, but the whole “open secret” of McCarrick’s beach house in NJ and the promiscuity of the clergy was not something that came to my ears specifically, that I recall. (Prior to last month — now of course I’m hearing it.)  I have a relative who was a major donor… Read more

July 25, 2018

I have seen surprisingly little homophobia in the McCarrick scandals, but then again I’m selective in my reading.  Rod Dreher’s piece on the response of the bishops, “Among the Apostolic Bureaucrats”, gives a hint of it in one of the preserved comboxes he shares.  I’d like to take a moment to talk about sane Catholic thinking where same-sex attraction and clergy corruption intersect. Begin by reading Humanae Vitae, which turns 50 today.  Happy birthday to a short and user-friendly encyclical. … Read more

July 18, 2018

The New York Times has come forward with the first round of investigative reporting on Cardinal McCarrick.  Points to note: The victim interviewed by the Times is Robert Ciolek, one of the two priests who were previously bound by confidentiality agreements as part of their settlements with the dioceses they sued for sexual harrassment.  So this is not a case of previously-silent priests or seminarians coming forward. It is good that the dioceses have lifted the confidentiality agreements.  Hardly a deluge of… Read more

July 2, 2018

Rod Dreher has a McCarrick follow-up post sharing e-mails from priests who have contacted him to say We want to end this corruption, but we don’t know how. Your bishop won’t listen to you. You have no place to go if your clerical career is ruined. Your friends and family may not believe you, since widespread denial is part of the problem. Dreher writes: Even after all that the public has learned since 2002 about what’s behind the façade of the… Read more

June 24, 2018

This morning I had the pleasure of being present when Bishop Robert Gugliemone announced the creation of (yet another) St. Peter’s Basilica, suitably proclaimed on the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, the diocese of Charleston’s patron saint. Updated to share a link to the proclamation: And Bishop Gugliemone’s homily: Here are a few quotes from the bishop’s homily, pulling inspiration from the example of St. John the Baptist.  On the miraculous conception of the saint, but… Read more

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