A Response to the New York Times

The New York Times on March 25 accused Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, of intervening to prevent a priest, Father Lawrence Murphy, from facing penalties for cases of sexual abuse of minors.

The story is false. It is unsupported by its own documentation. Indeed, it gives every indication of being part of a coordinated campaign against Pope Benedict, rather than responsible journalism. Continue reading

Culture change in the Church

There has been much advice given to the Catholic Church in regard to the sexual abuse scandals. There are, though, only two real options. The Church can become more Catholic, or less Catholic.

Much commentary favours the latter approach. If the Catholic Church were to become less distinctively Catholic — begin to teach as false what she now teaches as true, modify her traditional practices, adopt democratic modes of governance — she would fix the problem. Though rarely put so bluntly, the advice to Catholics is to become more like Protestants. Continue reading

Virtue and vice, sin and redemption

The clergy sexual abuse scandal is now roiling the Catholic Church in Ireland and in Germany. It will eventually work its way around the world, touching the old Catholic countries of Europe and the younger Catholic countries in Africa and Asia. As the horror and pain of many generations is revealed all at once, many Catholics will feel like they are undergoing essential emergency surgery without anaesthetic. Continue reading

Saving Iraq’s Christians

The breakdown of order has allowed Islamists to unleash a constant stream of deadly violence

This new decade has gotten off to a rough start for Christians living in the Islamic world. Just this week, hundreds of Nigerian Christians were killed by Muslims, though the religious dimension of that event is disputed. Just yesterday, in Manshera, Pakistan, suspected Islamists attacked the World Vision office, killing at least five people using bombs, hand grenades and guns. World Vision is the world’s largest Christian overseas relief and development agency, and its employees murdered yesterday — all Pakistanis — were assisting those still suffering from the Kashmir earthquake in 2005. Continue reading

Olympic courage and grace

Excellence is good, but goodness is better. That is why these Games conquered us so thoroughly

I was conquered by the Vancouver Olympics. I did not expect to be — it’s easier to poke fun at the manifest absurdity of the five-ring circus. It is especially so with the winter variety, comprised as they are of various events of frozen madness. I am not inclined to follow sports that I would otherwise never watch simply because the Olympic adjective is attached. I care about hockey and curling; to the rest I remain indifferent. Continue reading