From Denver to the Main Line

Call it the "Rocky Mountain Time Zone syndrome."Journalists in the region know that it's scandalously rare for news events and trends that break in the Rocky Mountain West to gain traction in the elite news outlets of the urban Northeast and the West Coast.But the massacre at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999 was different. The national press came to Littleton, Colo., and stayed -- forced to wrestle with ancient questions of good and evil, as framed in the unfathomable acts of … [Read more...]

Rome ponders iMissal app

When it comes to liturgical details, the Vatican has clear guidelines about sacred objects that are blessed for use during a Mass."The Church has always sought," notes the Book of Blessings, "to ensure that all those things that are involved in any way in divine worship should be worthy, becoming and beautiful. ... Those objects that through a blessing are set aside for divine worship are to be treated with reverence by all and to be put only to their proper use, never profaned."This … [Read more...]

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, pro-lifer

There is nothing particularly newsworthy about a coalition of pro-lifers releasing a public manifesto that criticizes politicos who support abortion rights.Nevertheless, a full-page advertisement in the New York Times during the 1992 Democratic National Convention raised eyebrows because a few prominent Democrats endorsed "A New American Compact: Caring about Women, Caring for the Unborn."One name in particular jumped out in this list -- Kennedy."The advocates of abortion on demand falsely … [Read more...]

That other speech at Notre Dame

It was hard to ignore the papal bull condemning the slave trade, which was read to American Catholic leaders gathered in Baltimore in 1839.Pope Gregory XVI proclaimed that "no one in the future dare to vex anyone, despoil him of his possessions, reduce to servitude, or lend aid and favor to those who give themselves up to these practices, or exercise that inhuman traffic by which the Blacks, as if they were not men but rather animals, having been brought into servitude, in no matter what way, … [Read more...]

Hiding behind altars

If you want to cause trouble for American bishops, stick them in a vise between Rome and the armies of dissenters employed on Catholic campuses.But the bishops had to vote on Ex Corde Ecclesiae ("From the Heart of the Church"). After all, they had been arguing about this papal document throughout the 1990s, trying to square the doctrinal vision of Pope John Paul II with their American reality. Rome said their first response was too weak, when it came to insisting that Catholic schools remain … [Read more...]

Not a Catholic ‘Mass factory’

Catholics who treasure ancient liturgies smirk and call them "Mass factories."These churches are visions of horizontal utilitarianism, their flat, plain walls broken by patches of metal and glass while rows of chairs face ultramodern altars. The faithful are more likely to see balloons drift to the rafters than clouds of incense veil images of Jesus, Mary and the saints.Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Dallas is certainly not a "Mass factory," as both critics and fans of this poor but lively … [Read more...]

Catholic college culture wars

Anyone trying to understand the Catholic college culture wars can start with last spring's commencement address by Cardinal Francis Arinze at Georgetown University.Media coverage was guaranteed, since many list the Nigerian prelate as a top contender to succeed Pope John Paul II. Who knew he would dare to mention sex and marriage?"The family is under siege," said Arinze. "It is opposed by an anti-life mentality as seen in contraception, abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. It is scorned and … [Read more...]

Faith Crisis in Blogosphere

The news from Rome infuriated the most quotable Catholic, gay, HIV-positive, political conservative in cyberspace.But Andrew Sullivan knew where to find comfort after the Vatican's recent reminder that gay unions are in no way "similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family." He poured out his frustration at and his online community responded."Times are terrible," wrote a Catholic priest. "The church says gay people are not permitted to get … [Read more...]