A holy kind of anger

Anyone who has turned on talk radio, scanned the headlines or visited Capitol Hill lately knows that millions of Americans are angry.Democrats are mad at Republicans who are mad about President Barack Obama's health-care plans. Democrats are mad at other Democrats who are raising questions about hot-button issues in the legislation, especially questions about tax dollars and abortions. Republicans are mad about lots of other things and they have YouTube videos to prove it.Right now, … [Read more...]

Layers of Catholic denial

Every day the headlines and cartoons seem to get worse.Every night stand-up comics crank out more nasty one-liners.So it's sad, but not shocking, that a Catholic priest told the Boston Globe about a partygoer who dressed up as a pedophile priest at Halloween.It's open season. Even though priests know they shouldn't take it personally, it's hard not to, said Father Donald Cozzens, a veteran Catholic educator who led a graduate seminary in Ohio."It's hard to imagine how this can end any time … [Read more...]

For God’s sake, let’s tell the truth

Archbishop John Foley was speaking to an audience of Catholic communications officers and editors, so he made sure that he didn't bury his most important statement.The first principle of dealing with the news media, he told a Vatican conference in 2001, was simple: "Never, never, never tell a lie." Then the president of the Pontifical Office for Social Communications offered more advice that would prove to be prophetic."Truth will always come out," he said. "Failure to tell the truth is a … [Read more...]

A priest keeps his collar

Father Mark Pearson can see trouble coming as he walks the sidewalks of Boston.He can see some faces harden after people make eye contact and then see his clerical collar. Some look away in disgust. A few men deliberately switch to a collision course. Pearson said one or two angry pedestrians have spat on him."If someone is upset, they may find a way to bump into you or give you a shove," he said. "Then they say sometime like, 'Oh excuse me, FATHER. Hey, did you molest anybody today, FATHER.' … [Read more...]

Degrading the Catholic bishops

Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings rarely cover religious rites, but they would certainly show up if Rome decided to use Pope Benedict XIV's "Degradatio ab ordine pontificali." This 1862 rite for the "Degradation of a bishop" is not for the liturgically faint of heart. In it, a bishop who had committed disgraceful acts was stripped of the symbols of his office -- mitre, crosier and ring. The prelate leading the rite would say: "Rightly do we pull off thy ring, the sign of fidelity, since … [Read more...]