The Deadly Silence: AIDS and Social Censorship

We are an amazing nation. Almost daily we are reminded that we are blessed with media analysts who fear nothing and will always tell us the unvarnished truth. Nor do we lightly ridicule the media’s sacred cows. Defamation awaits anyone who speaks impiously of, for instance, the Nobel Prize, clubbing seals, Black African governments, Planned [...]

Preparing for the Synod on the Laity

The lay state is, of course, the normal condition under which life is led. The priesthood is defined in relief against the lay state. A priest in any culture is one set apart to mediate between God and man. He is the offeror of sacrifice on behalf of the people, the master of rite and [...]

Preparing for the Synod on the Laity

The cynic might say that the typical diocese is headed by a bishop and has various operations which are run by priests, staffed by religious, and paid for by the laity. This checkbook approach to the apostolate of the laity certainly exists, even flourishes, in certain parts, but it has severe dangers for those on [...]

Empty Liturgies: Where Sentiment Triumphs Over Transcendence

Councils of the Church do not always turn out as close participants thought, as I learned at Vatican I. So it has been sobering to an historian to observe below the fate of Vatican II. I seem to detect a universal consensus that "the spirit of Vatican II" was destructive of the true life of [...]

Privatizing Religion: The Supreme Court’s Real Objective

“Baby Jesus Saved by Plastic Reindeer.” That should have been among the many headlines of March 6, 1984 heralding the Supreme Court's most celebrated church-state ruling of the eighties. At least, that is precisely what the decision amounted to. The Court concluded that, were it not for the inclusion of such "secular" figures as Rudolph [...]

American Women and the Church: A Dialogue

Sister Marita Carew, RSHM is President of the Executive Committee of the New York Archdiocesan Council of Women Religious, a position to which she was elected in 1985. She is also Provincial Superior of the Eastern American Province of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, presently serving her second three-year term. Sisters of [...]

Quodlibets: Going Home

Late spring and summer become, with age, times of commemoration. Class reunions, anniversaries of one graduation or another and, for many, a visit to the town where we grew up. Some move from a small town to the city, but I went from Minneapolis — which, together with St. Paul and the swarming suburbs, makes [...]

Curran, Dissent, & Rome: A Symposium

As members of the Theology Department of the University of America we wish to associate ourselves with the public statement of support issued by Bishop Matthew B. Clark, Father Curran's local ordinary. We concur with Bishop Clark that Father Curran is a priest of exemplary personal life, generous in his availability to other persons. We [...]

Our Tradition: The Restless Soul of Thomas Merton

In his early years as a monk, Thomas Merton tried determinedly to give up writing, convinced that it was a worldly occupation and hence incompatible with his monastic vocation. He met determined opposition in this effort, opposition incongruously provided by his religious superiors. Their argument — that Merton should consider writing as part of his [...]

Observations: A Day in the Decline of America

There are days when I find myself imagining a 1 historian in some future century writing an account of "The Decline and Fall Of the United States" similar to the book Edward Gibbon produced in the 18th century about ancient Rome. One of those days was Thursday, March 20, 1986, when the City Council of [...]

The Last Word: Sandinophilia

A profoundly disturbing note in the debate on the conflict in Nicaragua was sounded in a nationally televised debate in March. Appearing on the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour as an opponent of U.S. aid to the contras, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton refused to offer a shred of sympathy or support for Managua's embattled archbishop, Cardinal Obando y [...]

The Future of Catholic Education: Maintaining the Integrity of the Catholic University

The proposed schema for a Pontifical Document on 1 Catholic Universities is sure to generate anew discussion governing the nature of the Catholic university and its relation­ship to the Magisterium. The schema has already provoked considerable opposition. For some its appearance is regarded as belated, at least as far as the United States is concerned. [...]