Cohabitation, Confession, Communion

For generations, people in pews knew what to call it when folks "shacked up" before marriage -- "living in sin.""Sin" is a harder word to use, today.The Catholic archbishop of Santa Fe, N.M., recently raised eyebrows with a mere letter reminding his flock that cohabitation is a grave sin that Catholics must take to confession or there will be eternal consequences. Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan's priests read his sobering words from their pulpits on April 3, the fourth Sunday of Lent -- the … [Read more...]

Orthodox bishop on hot spot

When an Orthodox bishop enters a sanctuary, he is traditionally greeted with the following words chanted in Greek -- "eis polla eti, despota."In English this means, "Many years to you, Master." Witty bishops in the Orthodox Church in America have started using this sentiment as the punch line in a joke about the impact the episcopate can have on their egos."What happens to a guy?", said Bishop Jonah, during the church's All American Council in Pittsburgh. "You put him on a stand in the middle of … [Read more...]

Searching for Catholic sins

One tough challenge that Catholic shepherds face, Pope Benedict XVI said this past Lent, is that their flocks live in an age "in which the loss of the sense of sin is unfortunately becoming increasingly more widespread."The pope has consistently described the forces at work as "pluralism," "relativism" and "secularism.""Where God is excluded from the public forum the sense of offence against God -- the true sense of sin -- dissipates, just as when the absolute value of moral norms is relativized … [Read more...]

One thing about Lent

Faithful fans of ESPN's "Mike & Mike in the Morning" know that former NFL lineman Mike Golic takes great pleasure in skewering his urbane shrimp of a partner, Mike Greenberg.But in recent weeks, the sarcastic jabs by the University of Notre Dame graduate began drawing an ominous canned response from the producers -- a doomsday choir chanting "Golic's going to hell."You see, Golic vowed to make a big sacrifice this year for Lent, the 40-day penitential season that precedes Easter. When he was … [Read more...]

Thou shalt not say ‘adultery’

Journalist Pamela Druckerman didn't think it would be hard to discuss sex issues with Alain Giami of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research.After all, he was one of the top sex researchers in a nation known for its freewheeling, laissez faire attitudes about matters of the heart. However, Giami silenced her when she used a dangerous word."What do you call 'infidelity'? I don't know what 'infidelity' is," he said, in what the former Wall Street Journal correspondent later … [Read more...]

Old sins in confession

St. Peter Damian was a man with a mission.The church reformer was appalled by the sexual immorality of his fellow clergy and their superiors, who often refused to warn the faithful and allowed the guilty to go unpunished. He condemned all sexual immorality, but especially the priests who abused boys after hearing their confessions.Damian poured his concerns into a volume called the Book of Gomorrah, which ended with an appeal to Pope Leo IX for reform.The year was 1051. The pope praised Damian, … [Read more...]

Hypocrites are us

Talk about bad timing.On the day after former Congressman Mark Foley entered an alcohol rehab program, his beleaguered staff received a package. With reporters watching, they unpacked a framed copy of one of his most famous pieces of legislation -- a bill requiring a crackdown on sexual predators, including those who exploit minors online.And all the people said: "Hypocrite!""It's hard to talk about the Foley story without talking about hypocrisy," said journalist Jeremy Lott, referring to the … [Read more...]

Cliffs notes for confession

It's time for the Catholic bishops to go to confession.It's time for all of the Catholic priests to go to confession.Actually, with Easter a few weeks away, this is a time when all Catholics are supposed to go to confession.But most of America's 65 million Catholics no longer know or no longer care that their church requires them to go to confession at least once a year in order to receive Holy Communion. Confession is especially important during this season of Lent.If bishops and priests want … [Read more...]