Church politics

candidate kissing baby

“Hello, sweetie. Can I have a Ritz cracker?” At last Monday’s noon Mass in a local Novus Ordo parish, the young woman ahead of me on line for Communion was carrying a toddler. The child clutched a Ritz cracker. The presiding priest, a baby-boomerish Dominican, dropped the host into the mother’s hand while chirping to the little one the banality above. What the mother thought of that, I do not know. But it made me flinch. Flannery O’Connor had words for this sort of thing: “Stupidity and vulgarity are harder to put up with than sin, harder on the nerves.” Continue Reading
Consecration of Russia (part 2)

As the press tells it, this year’s consecration of Russia, together with Ukraine, was undertaken at the bidding of Ukraine’s Catholic bishops. Beneath the religious-sounding string of catchwords and rebukes, it is a secular declaration pronounced for political purposes. The media-driven orthodoxy of the day—Putin, evil; Zelensky, heroic—resurrects an outmoded cultural diktat. It serves neither the Church nor the truth of things. Russia is no longer the font of atheistic materialism as Cardinal Burke believes it to be. His recent claim that “the great evil of Communism must be healed at its root” is true. Continue Reading
Consecration Of Russia Served In A Whirlwind (part 1)

On March 25th, Pope Francis formally consecrated “all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The declaration raised questions more urgent than technical ones about proper wording and protocols. At stake is the efficacy of politically tinged papal pronunciamentos and, with them, the integrity of ecclesiastical authority in the Catholic Church. First, some preliminaries. Catholics are not bound to believe in private revelations. The emotional sincerity of visionaries is not evidence of divine authorship of their visions. Continue Reading
Art Appreciation: Pope Francis, Chagall, & Bolsheviks

Is papal art appreciation all that it seems? Pope Francis once cited Chagall’s “White Crucifixion” as one of his two favorite paintings. Perhaps he really meant it. Or maybe his stated preference was a cost-free instance of diplospeak. A polite ceremonial gesture to cover an entrenched imbalance in his Middle East sympathies? Either way, as an expression of sympathy for the Jewish people, papal art appreciation is easy but insubstantial.     It is no substitute for unambiguous support for Israel, a tiny Jewish state targeted for extinction from the date of its founding. Continue Reading
Finger Food At The Lord's Table: A Chicago Tale

Finger food at the table of the Lord. That, apparantly, is the sum of the Eucharist in Cardinal Cupich’s bailiwick. His  diktats targeting the Latin Mass were broadcast over Christmas. In his zeal to erase—by piecemeal where necessary— the ancient protocols, Cupich’s broadside included even the Canons Regular who run St. John Cantius Church in the Chicago Archdiocese. [The order’s founding Constitution commissions its priests to restore a sense of the sacred in solemn liturgies. Central to their apostolate is the Latin Mass and the treasury of Tridentine liturgies.] Continue Reading