Dear Bishop Tobin: Ranting Right Back Atcha!

"Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!" declares the LORD. -- Jeremiah 23:1Look, I totally get what Bishop Tobin was going for here, and I think it is valid to remind people that an hour at Holy Mass is distinct from strolling the midway on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore; that it warrants something better of us than water bottles and Bermuda shorts.But this is a destructive and unpastoral piece of writing. It's really difficult to square … [Read more...]

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Climb Down from a Catholic Ledge: For every Koch, there is a Sarah

Participants in New York City's June 1-4 "Sacra Liturgia 2015" gathering received a letter from Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Cardinal Sarah was appointed to that position by Pope Francis in November of 2014.The letter reads in part: When The Holy Father, Pope Francis, asked me to accept the ministry of Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, I asked: "Your Holiness, how … [Read more...]

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Bishop Finn Resigns: Bishop Accountability Begins

With the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, "bishop-accountability" begins. Pope Francis will choose his successor.This comes right on the heels of headlines announcing that confirmed abuse allegations against Catholic priests were in the single digits for 2014. One allegation is too many, but clearly the zero-tolerance measures put into place over the last ten-or-so years, and the laicization of hundreds of bad priests under Pope Benedict XVI is having the desired effect.As to the … [Read more...]

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Poverty, Paradoxical Prosperity and the Super Bowl

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of chatting with Jen Fulwiler on her radio show.We covered a lot of ground in 18 minutes, in particular touching on a topic that deserves some lively thought -- assuming one ever has time to think -- on the paradox of good intentions: we in the church serve the poor and advocate for them. We devise programs and policies meant to lift people out of poverty and into prosperity, and when we are very successful at it, then as a church we suffer.We suffer … [Read more...]

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Missional Church: Cardinal Dolan and the Parade

When Jesus rescued the adulterous woman from an angry mob intent on stoning her to death, he was very quiet about it. He wrote something on the ground -- perhaps the sins of the men with the stones? Words in which they might recognize themselves and their own sins and offenses?"But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in res … [Read more...]

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Catholicism and Nationalism Do Not Really Mix – UPDATED

The neighborhood where I grew up was a block of "mutts", and my own family boasted Irish-Italian-English-Scots-German muttage, but if you asked any of us "what are you?" the answer, our answer would have been "Catholic" and our Catholicism precluded all of our other labels, including "American." Our culture was American, yes, but it was first-and-foremost "Catholic". We didn't have a flag hanging out the door, but we had a Saint Jude on the doorstep, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the kitchen. … [Read more...]

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