Expelled

A bunch of Adventists went to see Expelled tonight; in front of us, some folks I knew from Catholic young adult ministry–Tito and Andre. There was good attendance at the showing, and it was a young crowd, very friendly to the film makers, as attested by the applause at the end. Ben Stein has a…

Pope Comparisons

In the Washington Post, Peter Manseau contrasts the first visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979 with that of Benedict XVI. He contrasts the 400,000 who crammed into Boston Common for a mass with John Paul with the 46,000 who attended Benedict’s mass. That’s a phony comparison. Those huge crowds were possible because of…

OTV OUT

Actor Jason Beghe spent a million dollars on Scientology and made it to OT V. Now he’s O U T–and speaking his mind about it all. Interview at Village Voice.

Immigration Absurdities

The Immigration police can’t find a way to deal most of the millions of illegal aliens, but there’s one in Houston they are determined to get. In the process, they’re making a judge mad.

The FLDS and the Law

Well, after all the hoopla of a big raid, it seems the case is falling apart. The children and many others are still in custody, but the allegations that started it all are unraveling. First they had a hard time finding the girl who supposedly complained. Then they started looking for someone else who may…

The Pope and Christian Leaders

Pope Benedict XVI spoke to Christian leaders today. Even within the ecumenical movement, Christians may be reluctant to assert the role of doctrine for fear that it would only exacerbate rather than heal the wounds of division. Yet a clear, convincing testimony to the salvation wrought for us in Christ Jesus has to be based…

Pope at the UN

Text of his address (he began in French–the English translation of this part is about halfway down the page). Discernment, then, shows that entrusting exclusively to individual States, with their laws and institutions, the final responsibility to meet the aspirations of persons, communities and entire peoples, can sometimes have consequences that exclude the possibility of…

Listening to Cries of Pain

Lots of emotion in Boston (and in Dallas) in the wake of Benedict’s meeting yesterday with survivors of sexual abuse by priests. The 25-minute gathering, in a small chapel at the Embassy Row mansion that is the home of the pope’s US ambassador, came toward the close of the third straight day that the 81-year-old…

The Pope and the Laity

There are so many things that reporters could be writing about during the papal visit. The AP’s Eric Gorski decides to create a controversy. But Pope Benedict XVI’s Mass in the nation’s capital Thursday was also different from a typical service in another way: Lay people were not asked to distribute Communion, which was administered…

The Pope and the Jews

Pope Benedict had some remarks yesterday for the Jewish community. At this time of your most solemn celebration, I feel particularly close, precisely because of what Nostra Aetate calls Christians to remember always: that the Church “received the revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God in His inexpressible mercy concluded the…

Papal Surprise

Today, without fanfare and behind closed doors, Pope Benedict XVI met with victims of sexual abuse by priests–something John Paul II never did. Michael Paulson, who reported much of the scandal from Boston, reports on this development in the Boston Globe. Pope Benedict XVI, in a dramatic move likely to alter forever the image of…

Hell as Self Exclusion from Heaven

Christopher Hitchens demonstrates the validity of the theory that hell is a place you choose; it is self-exclusion from the presence of God. He hates the sound of heaven as a place of endless praise, where you can’t get away from Jesus (he throws in some obscenities to make his point). All religions are equally…

The Pope’s Homily

The homily preached by Pope Benedict XVI was vintage Joseph Ratzinger, with little discernible admixture of USCCB bureacratspeak (unlike his talk last night to the bishops). I tried listening to his homily while doing some other things, but his accent is thick and requires close attention. Read the text here. He begins by noting that…

Sloppy Journalism

Over at Der Spiegel, Alexander Schwabe shows complete lack of comprehension of Catholic teaching, American history, and the writings of Joseph Ratzinger. He writes: During the election campaign, Ratzinger sent a letter to the American bishops, in which he said that all Catholic candidates who were not in favor of a ban on abortion should…

SNAP: “Five Worst Cardinals”

ABC reports that SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, has issued a list of the “Five Worst Cardinals.” On the list: Dan DiNardo of Houston. Cardinals Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, Daniel DiNardo of Houston, Edward Egan of New York, Francis George of Chicago and Sean O’Malley of Boston are the worst…

Tables Turned on Americans United

Americans United has complained about many pastors and churches for alleged violations of election law–now a Houston pastors’ group has filed a complaint against AU, accusing the organization of illegally attempting to influence an election.

The Pope and the Bishops

I’m watching the Pope’s address to the US Bishops. It sounds like the speech was written for him by different bureaucrats of the USCCB. Rocco has the text. In effect, he’s saying what the bishops want him to say. Lots of comments about morality, the family (even Sunday observance–which he says should start in the…

Texas Catholicism

John Allen on the thriving Catholic churches of Texas–and the church’s new political muscle. If there’s one thing the outside world seems to grasp about Catholicism it’s the difference between a cardinal and everyone else, and there are clear signs that having a “red hat” in the state gives the church extra clout. A week…

Walter Veith

Every church has its fringe folks who advocate bizarre conspiracy theories. One I’ve recently been exposed to is Walter Veith, a South African zoologist who has a number of DVDs about creation and evolution. Those may be fine, as he is speaking about a subject in which he is well-educated. But he has other DVDs…

Pope Benedict at the White House

Fr. John Z. has the text and some commentary on the remarks of Pope Benedict XVI at the White House. The pope’s address is a call for renewal among Catholics, and to engagement between Catholics and the political realm. He’s grateful for America’s values, its heritage of religious freedom and involvement of faith in public…