National Catholic Reporter

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Middle Eastern Christians Face Calamity

The Middle East is embroiled in chaos and what little remains of the ancient Christian communities there are being destroyed with the latest tragic turn of events in Iraq. The barbarism of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that began a military and terror campaign from Syria swept into Iraq to capture numerous [...]

Reading the Papal Tea Leaves

Hans Kung, the dissenting European theologian, said he was "overwhelmed by joy," in a radio interview after the elevation of Pope Francis. “There is hope in this man,” gushed Kung, who predicted that Pope Francis will conform to the progressive interpretation of Vatican II and not follow the “line of the two popes from Poland [...]

Following the Bad Council of the Media

Speaking to the clergy of Rome in one of his last speeches as pope, Benedict XVI acknowledged the ruinous influence that the media has exercised over the Church for decades.  He referred to the spurious spirit of Vatican II as the “council of the media.” What he didn’t mention was that plenty of clergy enthusiastically [...]

Catholic Reaction to Obama’s HHS “Compromise”

There was surely never any chance that the Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could revise its current birth prevention mandate in a way that would be acceptable to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The stated purpose of this HHS mandate all along has been to provide universal coverage at [...]

The Catholic Left’s Latest Call for the Ordination of Women

In early December the independent and very liberal National Catholic Reporter weekly newspaper published a long, carefully reasoned editorial declaring that “The Ordination of Women Would Correct an Injustice.” If the Church were deliberately perpetrating an injustice in the matter of ordination, of course, it would be a serious matter. The NCR editorial was a [...]

Subsidiarity on Earth and in Heaven

Several years ago I attended a lecture at Marquette by John Allen, the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, in which he addressed the stereotype of the Vatican passing down commands to be implemented by 5000 bishops and subordinate clerics, as well as the various religious orders.  He dissipated the stereotype with a depiction [...]

Did Bishop Finn Deserve Indictment?

Two weeks have passed since the indictment of Kansas City’s Bishop Robert Finn. The bishop’s critics are demanding his resignation, while his defenders protest his innocence. Let’s step back a pace, and put the matter in perspective. The indictment of an American bishop is a big story—a huge story, an unprecedented story. Yet oddly enough, [...]

John Allen on “There Be Dragons”

Over at the National Catholic Reporter blog, John Allen has an intriguing discussion of There Be Dragons, Roland Joffé's upcoming film about the life of St. Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei. From a journalistic point of view, it’s tempting to style “There Be Dragons” as a sort of anti-Da Vinci Code – a pop culture portrayal of Opus [...]

Chris Matthews, John Allen, and Odious Comparisons

John Allen, senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, routinely uses the phrase "Taliban Catholicism" to describe "an exaggerated allergy to anything that smacks of secularism, liberalization, or corruption by modernity -- an angry form of the faith that knows only how to excoriate and condemn." Allen says it's become part of the "standard stump [...]

John Allen wants to end the ‘blame game’

Over at the National Catholic Reporter, John Allen says that too much has been made lately of letters sent by officials in the Vatican to various American and Irish bishops, letters that appear hesitant about immediately reporting sexual abuse allegations against priests. Allen says some people want to turn such letters into smoking guns, as [...]

What makes a ‘fast-track’ saint?

Many people have commented on the speed with which John Paul II seems to be progressing toward sainthood, with some raising questions about whether it's appropriate. Over at the National Catholic Reporter, though, John Allen says that John Paul isn't the first to travel quickly through the process -- just ask St. Francis (18 months [...]

Remembering Sargent Shriver

Sargent Shriver, brother-in-law of John, Bobby, and Ted Kennedy, founding director of the Peace Corps, and one-time Democratic vice-presidential nominee (among numerous other accomplishments), passed away this week. I only met him once in person, but we exchanged phone calls and a series of letters regarding our shared interest in Catholic history, and I came to [...]

Now Hiring: Exorcists

The Catholic Church in America is short of exorcists -- there may only be 5 or 6 in the entire nation. While the office had been all but forgotten in the years following Vatican II, contemporary need is bringing it back in a big way, and some of the bishops are responding: Bishops in America [...]

Bridging the gap between the press and the Church

Last week at the National Catholic Reporter, John Allen Jr. took aim at the "religious illiteracy" that still reigns among his fellow journalists (h/t Get Religion): On Tuesday a piece in the U.K.-based Telegraph carried the following headline: "Muslims will become majority in Europe, senior Vatican official warns." An alarmist subhead added: "European Christians must have more [...]

Blogosphere reactions to the New York Times piece

When I saw Laurie Goodstein and David Halbfinger's 4,000-word article on Pope Benedict and the sex-abuse scandal in the New York Times this morning, I knew it would be a big story -- but I didn't have the time then to do anything other than link to it in my morning round-up. Since then, others [...]

Last week, when the USCCB meeting in St. Petersburg coincided with the Catholic Health Association summit in Denver, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) ran several stories based on the testimonies of bishops attending the meeting.One of these stories got a great deal of attention.  In it, Cardinal George castigated Sr. Keehan and the CHA for attempting [...]

Last week, when the USCCB meeting in St. Petersburg coincided with the Catholic Health Association summit in Denver, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) ran several stories based on the testimonies of bishops attending the meeting.One of these stories got a great deal of attention.  In it, Cardinal George castigated Sr. Keehan and the CHA for attempting [...]

USCCB Official Disputes Cardinal George’s Criticism of Sr. Keehan and CHA

Last week, when the USCCB meeting in St. Petersburg coincided with the Catholic Health Association summit in Denver, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) ran several stories based on the testimonies of bishops attending the meeting.One of these stories got a great deal of attention.  In it, Cardinal George castigated Sr. Keehan and the CHA for attempting [...]

Fifty-Nine Thousand Nuns Oppose the Bishops on Health Care

"Don't mess with nuns!" is a comment I've often heard over the years from cradle Catholics who were taught by them. The question now arises whether the undecided Catholic members of the House will be influenced by the 60 nuns -- each a leader of her religious order -- who signed a letter to members [...]

The Dicastery’s Latest (and Most Unusual) Addition

For years, I have been fascinated by the endless parade of officials that move through the Vatican offices and councils. There's something comforting about it; I feel as though I can almost see the Church's "always changing, yet ever the same" nature on display. And so, National Catholic Reporter writer John Allen's blog post on the Pope's recent appointment of Dr. Flaminia Giovanelli to serve [...]

Wendell Berry: We need a cultural shift.

It's not every day that a farmer and poet packs an auditorium so full that security has to turn people away. But that's exactly what happened when Wendell Berry showed up at the University of Virginia last week, according to Ted Strong of the National Catholic Reporter. In his lecture, Berry outlined the need for small-scale landholders [...]

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