Ireland, still the land of a thousand welcomes, is now also the land of a thousand heartbreaks. Church scandals gathered steam for 25 years and the financial Celtic Tiger roared from 1995 to 2007. Now both Church and Tiger are moribund, or dead, depending on how maudlin you want to be or to become as St. Patrick’s Day approaches.
The heartbreak is that nobody in the Vatican seems to be in the dot-connecting business. No matter how many official reports or media exposés, no matter how many ad limina visits or episcopal memoirs, the bureaucracy just does not get it.
The Irish church is on the verge of total collapse. A third of the theologians in Germany are calling for reform. The US church suffers a scandal a day.
I am sick of it. You are too. Let’s talk.
It’s not just in Phoenix, where Bishop Thomas Olmstead erased “Catholic” from the identity of St. Joseph Hospital. That’s only the latest public issue, some would say scandal, to hit the headlines. A lot of folks could care less what any bishop thinks, and it’s happening all over.
“Tucson” will remain a code word for too many years to come, as the scars from wanton violence in that sunlit corner of the United States refuse to fade from view. Among the gravely wounded, Gabrielle Giffords, a congresswoman married to an astronaut. The world remains transfixed by her story.
A young reporter named Corinne Reilly has effectively ended the career of a highly-decorated naval aviator and two-time commanding officer.
Her big “scoop”? Four or five years ago Captain Owen Honors told stupid pilot jokes on silly videos, was told to stop, and did. As Executive Officer of USS Enterprise, Honors oversaw day-to-day operations of the Navy’s second oldest ship -- where a sailor’s average age is nineteen and a half. He also hosted “XO Movie Night.”
Now Honors -- Enterprise’s commanding officer since May 2010 -- is relieved of command.
Yes, the videos are ridiculous. Yes, his “humor” crossed several lines. But if his Facebook supporters (now over 21,000 and counting) are to be believed, Honors did in fact boost morale among the 5,800 men and probably not the women aboard the floating testosterone village.
There are several issues here.
“I mean no disrespect,” the student asked in class, “but, did Jesus really exist?”
Hate to say it, but real or not Jesus is rapidly fading from the scene. Today’s culture wars take direct aim at Christianity. Try finding religious Christmas cards. Or, check out your choices for an Amazon gift card. Snow flakes, trees, birds, but no Mary, no Magi, no Jesus.
Seems the Vatican heard how Catholics are incensed over its inquisition of U.S. women religious. Some say Pope Benedict personally asked Archbishop Joseph Tobin, the new Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, to undo the mess caused by his Congregation’s Apostolic Visitation of U.S. women’s institutes.
[Editor's note: This column appeared in the Dec. 10, 2010, print issue of NCR under the headline: "Church deserves plain talk about moral issues."]
Pope Benedict XVI, a brilliant theologian, is becoming a public relations train wreck. The latest story: male prostitutes can use condoms to prevent transmission of AIDS.
I don’t recall why, but I was in the front row as Cardinal Joseph Bernadin delivered his “Seamless Garment” speech at Fordham in 1983. Looking back, it was an extraordinary event, as he voiced clear opposition to abortion, nuclear weapons, and the death penalty.
The Celtic cross on the beer bottle caught my eye. The full label depicted a witch burning.
No one is complaining about the cross, only about the witch.
The witch-burning label caught the eye of Vicki Noble, co-author of the “Motherpeace Tarot Deck” and publisher of the journal Snakepower. Well known among Wiccans as an expert in goddess spirituality, astrology and shamanic healing, Noble began an e-campaign challenging the label.