November 2015

When Non-Violence is Vanity

Several letters that came in response to the previous post approved of Bishop Barron’s post-Paris insistence on a non-violent stance. They accepted that posture as the sole moral “formula for peace.” One quoted Gandhi as “a benediction” on a fallen world. Another refused to believe that Gandhi had recommended satyagraha to German Jews. It would be good, then, to look at Gandhi’s own words in relation to the situation of Jews in Nazi German. On November 20, 1938, eleven days after Kristallnacht, the barbarous wave of pogroms organized by Goebbels across Germany, Gandhi addressed Zionism and the Jews. Continue Reading

Our bishops are public figures. All are creatures of the media in varying degrees. In the manner of secular counterparts, they hire public relations staffs to manage not only the image of the institution they represent but—just as critical—their own. None is more media savvy than Robert Barron, host of EWTN’s global ministry Word on Fire. (Media is the bishop’s family business, so to speak. His brother, John Barron, former publisher and senior V.P. of Sun-Times Media Group, became general manager last year of the Tribune Content Agency, a growing syndicate that sells content to publications around the world.) From Vatican City to Hollywood or Foggy Bottom, those who court the media understand the synthetic nature of a public persona. Continue Reading
Spare Parts, Mortality & Planned Parenthood

Doctor, Doctor, will I die? Yes, my child, And so shall I. (Anonymous rhyme) Forgive me for withdrawing from the outrage over recent videos released by the Center for Medical Progress. Do not think I am not repulsed by them. Absolutely, I am. But what inhibits me from declaring my own revulsion is a disquieting belief that whether Planned Parenthood is defunded evades the true issue. Our righteous censure attends mainly to the symptoms of a disease we are loathe to cure. Continue Reading
Fr. Rutler & Paris

For those of you who do not subscribe to Fr. George Rutler’s Sunday homilies, today’s reflection is excerpted below. But first let me follow the example of Pope Francis and scold a bit: You really should subscribe. They are free. You have no excuse. [I shake my finger here.] Fr. Rutler brings wit, erudition, and deep faith to the pulpit—the very place that blessed medley of qualities is most needed but too often absent. These postings began when Father was pastor of Our Saviour. Continue Reading

One thing for which we can be grateful to Pope Francis: His pontificate puts paid to the superstition that our popes are chosen by the Holy Spirit. That could only be believable if we are willing to say that the Spirit operates like a one-eyed Odin, setting his dogs loose at conclaves. On Rorate Caeli this morning is a pronunciamento by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin. It had appeared in La Repubblica on November 16, after the atrocity in Paris. Continue Reading