Oscar Romero, Martyr; Lovers of Authoritarians, Nervous

By: Saturday January 10, 2015 10:00 am

After years and years of delay for “prudential reasons,” a panel of Vatican theologians has declared that the late Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez of El Salvador is a martyr, killed for his faith while standing at the altar saying Mass. If Francis is looking to lift up a bishop who is a shepherd that smells like the sheep, he couldn’t find a much better example than Romero, and that has to make the lovers of authoritarians (inside and outside the church) nervous.

 

Mario Cuomo, Pope Francis, and Not Preaching to the Choir

By: Saturday January 3, 2015 10:00 am

The obituaries of Mario Cuomo are filled with words about his 1984 speech at Notre Dame on religion and politics, but they seem to miss the fact that Cuomo’s approach of separating in-house debates of what is and isn’t moral from debates over how to act politically in the world has not only penetrated the thinking (and actions) of his conservative opponents, but also is the same approach being carried out by Pope Francis.

Pope Benedict’s Resignation May be a Surprise, But It’s Not a Shock

By: Monday February 11, 2013 7:05 am

Benedict XVI has announced his resignation, which has garnered shock from many quarters. “But but but . . . popes serve for life! No one could have anticipated this!”

Sorry to burst some bubbles, but it has happened before, canon law explicitly allows for it, John Paul II wrote two letters of resignation as his health declined, and Benedict himself spoke about the possibility — indeed, the necessity — of a pope resigning under certain circumstances. I applaud Benedict for not thinking that he is irreplaceable and therefore must stay in office until he dies.

So now speculation will turn to his successor, and rumors will be flying. Enjoy the retrospectives, the speculation, and the rumors, but take them all with very large grains of salt.

What are Paul Ryan and Archbishop Timothy Dolan Up to?

By: Saturday May 21, 2011 4:00 pm

“Paul Ryan Gets a Boost from Catholic Bishops” said the headline in Politico yesterday, describing a letter from USCCB President Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York. But reading the article makes me wonder if the reporter read the earlier letter from Ryan to Dolan, or an earlier letter from two prominent Catholic bishops to members of Congress last month.

Ryan’s letter is very, very misleading, and misrepresents the papal encyclical he quotes. Given that he’s writing to a bishop about Catholic teachings, he probably ought not to be telling lies. Dolan’s apparent endorsement of Ryan’s letter, then, becomes quite troubling indeed. Either Dolan is aware of Ryan’s misleading approach and is endorsing it to give Ryan political cover with Catholics, or Dolan has been snookered by the guy Paul Krugman labeled “The Flimflam Man.”

Neither is terribly flattering to Archbishop Dolan.

Marc Thiessen Puts Himself Above the Bishops

By: Saturday February 27, 2010 9:04 am

As a speechwriter, Marc Thiessen plays with words. His comments to justify Bush’s torture regime on the basis of the teaching of the Catholic Church, however, go too far. He better hope his priest doesn’t read the NY Times.

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