May 15, 2019

I need your help with getting a door unlocked. I’m a parishioner (and at last check parish council member) at a large and historically-significant parish.   Thanks to renovations over the years, there are three wheelchair-accessible entrances feeding the parish church.  Unfortunately, since November of 2017 all three of those doors have been locked.  The only way to get into the building during Sunday Mass or Saturday Confession is to either walk up a short flight of stairs (seven if I… Read more

May 11, 2019

Dear Young Person I’ve Watched Grow Up, I want to tell you today about a thing that happened before you were born. Way back when I was your age, I was pretty much anti-abortion.  Many of my friends, like you, were pro-choice.  Sometimes we’d debate, because teens and college students like to discuss important issues and take a stand.  One time early in college, a friend asked me to drop her off downtown for an appointment, which was a normal… Read more

April 18, 2019

In the aftermath of the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, several wealthy donors have stepped forward to fund a sizable portion of the rebuilding project. While this generosity is inspiring for some and consoling for others, it has also spurred harsh criticism: If you really loved Jesus, you’d spend that money on the poor. How can anyone in good conscience devote so much wealth to such a vain pursuit? It is a valid question, and one I’d… Read more

February 17, 2019

I’ve been reading about your plight in the New York Times.  So let’s go ahead and clear something up right now:  Most Catholics don’t give a rip who it is you’re not having sex with. We know that abstinence is hard.  Those of us practicing NFP probably don’t have a ton of sympathy for you, because at least you aren’t obliged to spend all night lying in bed next to the person you’re not having sex with, but when we can get… Read more

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

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