Friday Free-for-All: March 25

Happy Feast of the Annunciation! I hope you’re all taking advantage of the solemnity to have some bacon with your breakfast. And now for a few links:

  • The four New York Times reporters who went missing in Libya tell the story of their capture by Qaddafi’s forces, and their ultimate release.
  • “Annulment Nation”: Jeff Ziegler notes that the United States has only 6 percent of the world’s Catholics, and yet those Catholics account for 60 percent of the world’s annulments. What’s going on here?
  • Father Longenecker writes on the dangers of putting priests on pedestals — both for the faithful and for the priests.
  • Can church make you fat? One Northwestern study claims that young people who are actively involved in church ministries have a 50 percent greater chance of being overweight in their middle age.
  • People say The Wire is more like a Dickensian novel than a TV show; naturally, it was only a matter of time before someone actually turned it into a 19th-century novel. I particularly like the sketches of Omar.
  • First it was those videos of blowing people up who didn’t want to cut carbon emissions; now this little brainwave to get people to participate in “Earth Hour” tomorrow. Seriously, why does saving the earth always have to be so scary?
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Margaret Cabaniss


Margaret Cabaniss is the former managing editor of Crisis Magazine. She joined Crisis in 2002 after graduating from the University of the South with a degree in English Literature and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She now blogs at

  • bill bannon

    annullment numbers are always somewhat inflated in the US also because Dioceses like New York frankly bs (as in lie) to privilege of the faith couples switching them into the administrative annullment ( victim was almost us ). New York for example ( huge and cosmopolitan) in 1989 had zero privilege of the faith cases while Los Angeles had 57. Almost every NY diocese parish will bs a privilege couple into the administrative annullment venue…..ergo….take another year…1999 when NY had 12 and Los Angeles 43….or 1979 when NY had 6 privilege cases and Chicago had 87. Rome gets the financial fee if it is done the proper way as Chicago seems to do it. The diocese gets the fees if done as annullment. Adds up when you have a budget to meet. Visit NY and pose as a privilege couple….and watch and listen to the evasions when you ask at the rectory…..”isn’t this to be done through Rome?”. Prepare to be jesuitically casuistried and fried. There was a three year period…70 to 73….when the privilege process was on hiatus per Rome but NY and other dioceses seemed to have kept up the hiatus for three or four decades.
    The other US factor is that we might have more radically immature people vis a vis the vow….than Chile for example where they have neither our income nor youth leisure but also they have a much lower murder rate than us and northern Latin America.

  • Ender

    Regarding the immense number of annulments that occur in the US, it would appear that our bishops are unwilling to just say no. That Joseph Kennedy was able to get his twelve year marriage annulled speaks volumes about his family’s connections and how they influenced the Church’s ministers rather than the other way around. That the annulment was overturned by Rome speaks volumes about what should have happened. It seems clear that had Henry VIII lived in the US the Church of England would never have been created as Henry would have had no difficulty in having his marriages dissolved whenever he wanted.

  • Bono95

    Doesn’t blowing people up emit more CO2 into the atmosphere than just leaving them alone in their planet-killing ways?