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'Kind' and 'reliable' Jesuit named to Vatican's top doctrinal post

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Last week brought a Vatican appointment that didn't exactly cut in the direction of what I call "affirmative orthodoxy," meaning Pope Benedict XVI's strong defense of the faith coupled with a gentle, positive style. Archbishop Raymond Burke, named as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, instead has a profile as something of a cultural warrior.

More on Burke's move to Vatican court

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Since news of St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke’s appointment as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura was announced June 27, I’ve received numerous telephone calls and e-mails, from both sides of the Atlantic, posing some version of the following question: Was this a case of what the Italians call promuovere per rimuovere … promoting someone in order to get rid of him?

'Setting our ecclesial gauges' and liturgical translation update

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Since Fr. Isaac Hecker founded the Paulist Fathers in 1858, they’ve been the quintessentially “American” religious community in the Catholic church. The Paulists’ core mission is evangelization, with special emphasis on ecumenism, inter-faith dialogue, and outreach to the alienated and the marginalized. They typically execute all of the above with panache, great balance, and a keen sense of humor.

Three things to understand about the Legionaries of Christ

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Last week I published a lengthy, and remarkably candid, interview with Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore about a set of directives he’s issued for the Legionaries of Christ and their lay movement, Regnum Christi. Specifically, O’Brien demanded an accounting of all personnel and activities in his archdiocese from both groups, and he barred Legionaries and Regnum Christi members from one-on-one spiritual counseling with anyone under 18.

Canada's evangelical Catholics

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During the John Paul II years, Canada often loomed, at least at the level of stereotypes, as a holdout to the wave of "evangelical Catholicism" cresting through the church, meaning a recovery of traditional markers of Catholic faith and practice plus new boldness about proclaiming the faith in public. After the 1997 Synod for America in Rome, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus memorably described the Canadian bishops as belonging to "the National Catholic Reporter wing of the church," by which he meant a liberal, reform-oriented outlook.

Atheist scholar is ally (with reservations) in Benedict's fight against relativism

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Ever since his famous warning about a “dictatorship of relativism” shortly before his election three years ago, Pope Benedict XVI has been trying to kick-start a global conversation about truth. In particular, Benedict yearns for a new look at truth within the Western secular academy, that exotic region where Jacques Derrida’s relativist maxim “there is nothing outside the text” has, ironically, achieved the status of a near-absolute.

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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