Rockford, Ill.: Parishioners find 'consolation and hope' in Christmas Mass
For many decades, Pat Robertson has been a go-it-alone evangelist. He has built a large organization for the conversion of souls on the strength of his own leadership and has kept a respectful distance from other television preachers, many of whom have fallen victim of their wanton hungers.
He has embraced right wing, sometimes conspiratorial politics, which deluded him into considering himself a valid presidential candidate, and his geo-political-apocalypticaltheology flirts with lunacy (earlier this year I noted his bizarre claim that Haitians had brought the horrid earthquake by having made a pact with the devil long ago) but he is a smart guy with no small amount of dash and savvy when he sticks to what he knows.
This week his courage and open-mindedness were on full display when he announced that he had become the subject of conversion on the issue of marijuana.
Merry Christmas from NCR (click to see the message)
Inside Job: The ones who really stole more than one Christmas and ruined lives
Charles Ferguson, the director who brought us the 2007 documentary about the inside story of the war in Iraq, “No End in Sight,” turns our attention to the causes of the 2008 financial meltdown in his current documentary “Inside Job.”
This is a better movie than Oliver Stone’s fictitious “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” “Inside job” is riveting. It is no Michael Moore mockumentary, such as “Capitalism: a Love Story” filled with slight of hand and irony. The one thing all have in common, however, is the absurdity of people getting rich by using whatever regulatory system is left to do their own bidding and consequences be damned.
By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
tWhile it’s no secret that many liberal Catholic theologians have long questioned church teaching on birth control, an equal-and-opposite row among conservatives has often flown below radar. In those circles, the question isn’t so much whether devices such as condoms ought to be embraced, but whether they’re so intrinsically evil that they necessarily add an element of sin to any sexual act.
tSome prominent Catholic observers say that question has now been settled by the Vatican, and in a way that pulls the rug out from under some of the church’s most unyielding pro-life voices.
tEnglish Catholic writer Austen Ivereigh claimed in an analysis yesterday for America magazine that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has, in effect, rejected what he called a “Pharisaical” position on condoms that Ivereigh associates primarily with “pro-life ultras in the English-speaking world.”
tIn a similar vein, Italian Vatican writer Sandro Magister wrote that hard-liners “cannot help but be disappointed” by what the doctrinal congregation has said.
The Advocate, the national gay and lesbian newsmagazine, had an exclusive interview with President Obama:
“Like a lot of people, I'm wrestling with this,” he said. "I've wrestled with the fact that marriage traditionally has had a different connotation. But I also have a lot of very close friends who are married gay or lesbian couples.”
Read the full interview: Obama: 'Prepared to Implement'
Pope Benedict XVI’s comments this week to the papal curia about the clergy sexual abuse crisis is sure to draw both condemnation and applause. This AP article has statements from Barbara Blaine of SNAP criticizing the pope’s analysis because he appears to be blaming the clergy sexual abuse crisis on secular society.
I certainly agree with Blaine’s assessment that a culture of secrecy is, in large part, what led to the clergy sexual abuse crisis becoming so widespread and deeply-rooted a catastrophe for the Catholic Church. The sexual abuse of children is a Catholic church problem, one that reaches across ethnicities, cultures, and socio-economic status. The common denominator for the children (now, adults) who were abused was the church and the unfortunate fact that they crossed paths with an abusive priest who the institutional church should have removed but did not.
Press Release from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
WASHINGTON (December 22, 2010)— Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, NY, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, commended today’s ratification of the New START Treaty by the Senate.
“I welcome today’s ratification of the New START Treaty by the Senate,” Bishop Hubbard said. “It was important that senators joined across party lines to support this Treaty. The Holy See and our Bishops’ Conference have long supported efforts to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation based on the Church’s moral concern for indiscriminate and disproportionate weapons.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has been a steadfast supporter of strong and bipartisan action on the New START Treaty.
This past fall I blogged on the issue of suicide, which seems to be reaching epidemic levels.
Here's an important story from The New York Times:
It was deep into the fall semester, a time of mounting stress with finals looming and the holiday break not far off, an anxiety all its own.
On a Thursday afternoon, a freshman who had been scraping bottom academically posted thoughts about suicide onFacebook. If I were gone, he wrote, would anybody notice? An alarmed student told staff members in the dorm, who called Dr. Hwang after hours, who contacted the campus police. Officers escorted the student to the county psychiatric hospital.