Monday, August 19

Decent review of Garry Wills by James Wood in the New Republic, except for one major weakness:

Wood, although critical of Wills, buys his version of ecclesiology, church history, and the picture he paints of what contemporary Catholicism is all about. He doesn't have the background to critique Wills' account of history (an error in review assignment in my opinion - Wood is an excellent reviewer, but most of the time, when major non-fiction books are reviewed, it's standard to assign the book to someone who has the expertise in the field to be able to tell if the author is getting his facts straight), and he doesn't have the understanding of Catholicism in general that's absolutely necessary to evaluate this book fairly to all concerned. The basic issue is this: Wills sets up a paper tiger to combat. He conflates way too much power, especially in terms of doctrinal develeopment and definition, to the papacy. As I've stated many times before, the history of the papacy is rocky and more men and movements than we can bear to think about have used it for their own ends. The role of the papacy has evolved as well - I hardly know a soul who disagrees, and that's the problem with Wills' take. He envisions this landscape in which he, lone soldier of integrity and fidelity to the truth of history, is waging battle against modern-day Ultramontanists who declare that Peter personally sat down and wrote the Nicene Creed. Not so.

What Wills does is, very simply, to blame doctrines and practices he doesn't like on an over-reaching papacy, ignoring the truth of historical development of doctrine and the role that the whole Church has played in the evolution and acceptance of those doctrines and practices.

I like James Wood, but he was the wrong fellow to review this book. Steinfels in Commonweal was much better.

Chat with my husband tomorrow, sponsored by Our Sunday Visitor - Details here.
Here's a link to Saturday's LA Times piece on Cardinal Mahony's record on pederast priests.

Here's a link to Dominico Bettinelli's takedown.

Parts of Bible re-written for text messaging youths

The book published later this month is called r father n hvn: up 2 d8 txts frm d bible.Simon Jenkins, editor of Christian webzine ship-of-fools.com, had the idea for the book after reading about a German pastor who preached a sermon to young people by sending them text messages."More and more Christians are using mobile phones to send friends brief meditations, prayers and spiritual encouragement," he said."We saw an opportunity to make the Bible accessible to today's youth culture, so we re-wrote parts of the Bible for a generation that rarely darkens the doors of the local church."

Pope prays for strength to see out his mission "until the end."

Once again dismissing speculation that he has any intention of resigning, the 82-year-old Pope, visiting his native Poland for perhaps the last time, said it was in God's hands how long his life and his pontifical ministry lasted."Most Holy Mother, Our Lady of Calvary, obtain also for me strength in body and spirit that I may carry out to the end the mission given me," the frail Pontiff prayed. The Pope spoke in a place that was instrumental in forming his religious mission, the Baroque hilltop Kalwaria sanctuary outside Krakow where his father took him as a boy in the 1930's to pray after the death of his mother.

If it's election season, it must be time for "Catholic" candidates to boast about how pro-choice they are:

Ehrlich's Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, is a staunch abortion-rights supporter - she scored 100 percent in one advocacy group's survey - and says she can use the issue to her advantage in the election."People in Maryland need to be clear about this," she said. "There is a clear distinction between my opponent and me." Townsend said she has no problem squaring her abortion position with being Catholic. "The great thing about this country is that my faith tells me what I should do for me, but also that we should respect what other people's faith tells them," she said.

Thirty-one bishops have removed priests since Dallas

Two months after America's Roman Catholic bishops adopted broad new policies to defuse a sexual abuse crisis, 31 bishops say they have moved swiftly to remove or suspend 114 priests, throwing dozens of parishes into turmoil, according to a survey of the nation's dioceses by The New York Times.But despite the bishops' overwhelming vote at their June meeting in Dallas to strip past abusers of their collars and ministries, many bishops have not yet lived up to that promise. Some bishops say they have not acted because they need more time to revamp the local church panels that review abuse cases, the survey found. Others are hesitating until they see whether the Vatican accepts the new U.S. policies."We're waiting for instructions from Rome as to how to proceed," said Father Kevin Slattery, a spokesman for the Diocese of Jackson, Miss., where several priests accused of abuses were suspended before the Dallas conference but have not been permanently removed from ministry.The Vatican said on Saturday that it still is studying the U.S. bishops' proposals and that it hopes to have a response soon.

Who did the Pope beatify in Poland?

The newly beatified are Zygmunt Szczesny Felinski (1822-1895), archbishop of Krakow for 16 months before being deported to Siberia by the czar; Father Jan Balicki (1869-1948), confessor and teacher of seminarians; Jesuit Jan Beyzym (1850-1912), "apostle of lepers" in Madagascar; and Sister Sancja Szymkowiak (1910-1942), known as "the angel of goodness" by English and French prisoners of the German army during World War II.

You probably saw this linked on Drudge, but it's worth repeating:

NEA tells teachers to be wary of assigning blame in discussions of 9/11

Suggested lesson plans compiled by the NEA recommend that teachers "address the issue of blame factually," noting: "Blaming is especially difficult in terrorist situations because someone is at fault. In this country, we still believe that all people are innocent until solid, reliable evidence from our legal authorities proves otherwise." But another of the suggested NEA lesson plans — compiled together under the title "Remember September 11" and appearing on the teachers union health information network Web site — takes a decidedly blame-America approach, urging educators to "discuss historical instances of American intolerance," so that the American public avoids "repeating terrible mistakes."

High-ranking Boston Archdiocesan official takes leave; denies accusation

Msgr. Michael Smith Foster, the Boston archdiocese's judicial vicar and presiding judge of its Metropolitan Tribunal, was accused in a suit filed last week by a former Newton altar boy. The suit alleges Foster molested him at Sacred Heart parish in Newton in the early 1980s.Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna M. Morrissey said Bernard Cardinal Law accepted Foster's request to be placed on leave while the church investigates the charges under its ``zero tolerance'' policy on sex abuse claims.``Our policy calls for a thorough investigation by the Delegate's Office and our agreement with civil authorities calls for notification to the attorney general's office within 48 hours,'' Morrissey said.She added that the removal ``should not be construed as implication of guilt of the accused cleric.''In a statement of his own, however, Foster was more strident in that assertion.``I deny all of the allegations of sexual misconduct and any other wrongful conduct and I am devastated by these false accusations,'' he said. ``I pray that the truth will be revealed as quickly as possible.''

Fr. Bob Carr, parochial vicar of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, has some newly posted thoughts on the Situation:

Ladies and Gentlemen: you are witnessing a coup attempt to overthrow the Roman Catholic Church. The present leader is forced out and elections are held to replace the new leader who will govern the way the electorate want him to govern. He will do exactly what the editorial indicates. He will say what we want him to say about such issues as affordable housing, Cuba, the death penalty, and abortion. He will also, like the editorial, say nothing about the war on terrorism and the impending war on Iraq. This is repeated for every diocese

Here's a partial shot of the crowd at the Papal Mass in Poland.

Impressive, but it's obviously not the shot described here

More than 2 million people will appear in the largest photograph in the world, taken during today's papal Mass. Five photographers using high-resolution cameras worked to compile the picture, in which they say pilgrims' faces will be recognizable. Eight photographs were taken by five cameras from various points during the Mass. Together, they produced a panoramic photograph with a 280-degree angle. In order to take the picture, the professionals were placed at a 7-meter-high (23 feet) vantage point, from which they were able to photograph the massive crowd gathered in Blonie Park.



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