One of the difficulties in covering the Church is that the most important conversations tend to happen behind closed doors, such as this week’s discussion of the fallout from the health care debate at the bishops’ retreat in St. Petersburg. Putting together a narrative of what did, or did not, happen reminds me of the old art of Kremlinology, where analysts considered the wording of Pravda texts and the relative positions of the Party leadership atop the Lenin mausoleum on May Day.
Well, apparently, the Vatican has. L'Osservatore Romano is calling The Blues Brothers a "Catholic classic" and recommending that Catholics everywhere see it--this, in honor of the 30th anniversary of the film's release.
While some say it's a silly movie with too many car chases and bad language, others insist it's ultimately about redemption. After all, the brothers (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd)say they're "on a mission from God."
It's nice to see the Vatican getting so hip about popular culture--even if it's three decades late.
The Religion News Service Quote of the Day:
"It is bizarre; it is beyond bizarre."
Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, after she was told to carry, and not wear, her bishop's mitre during services at London's Southwark Cathedral. Jefferts Schori, who was quoted by Episcopal News Service, also had to provide evidence of her ordination; the Church of England does not allow women bishops.
It is a fascinating thing going on up in a San Francisco federal court: marriage is on trial.
Specifically, the state's Proposition 8 is on trial. That measure -- approved by voters last November -- bans gay marriage in California. Here's the twist: before Prop 8 passed, gay couples in this states actually had been granted to right to a civil marriage, so the new law was in the awkward position of taking away rights.
And so opponents of the ban have taken to federal court.. There, yesterday, during closing arguments, something miraculous broke out: a thoughtful discussion on the nature of marriage and the role that government has in promoting it.
Presiding Judge Vaughn Walker asked the lawyer defending Prop 8 just what this marriage thing was all about. Attorney Charles Cooper's response boiled down to: making babies. And the state's interest in this? Babies without a mom and dad get into trouble later, and the state has a duty to promote societal stability.
Hours away from his scheduled execution by firing squad, Utah death row inmate Ronnie Lee Gardner has asked Gov. Gary Herbert for a temporary stay, according to the state Department of Corrections.
Gardner, 49, faces execution by firing squad shortly after midnight Friday (2 a.m. ET) for a shooting death during a botched escape attempt from custody in 1985 at a Salt Lake City, Utah, courthouse.
He would be only the third person to die by firing squad in the United States in 33 years.
No doubt, you remember the story of the children in Boulder being denied a Catholic education because their parents are lesbians. Boulder, of course, is part of the Denver archdiocese where Archbishop Charles J. Chaput seems to cover in the name of Catholic orthodoxy some Christian notions about compassion and the need to shy away from judgments. (“Judge not, lest you be judged” - Lk 6: 27-38).
Well,there's more anti-gay activity going on in the Denver archdiocese. Gays, of course, are easy targets, easy scape goats for other failings. This time the firing of an out-of-closet lesbian theology teacher after 28 years of service to the church.
What makes these prelates so insecure?
Reuters has this report.
Fr. Alvaro Corcuera, general director of the Legionaries of Christ, met with Benedict XVI today behind closed doors.
I've recently returned from the Catholic Theological Society of America's annual convention. On the final night, the CTSA awarded its prestigious John Courtney Murrary Award to the popular Fr. Peter Phan, theologian at Georgetown University. Phan is the last on a list dating back to 1972 when the CTSA gave the award for the first time to Fr. Charles Curran, who now teaches at Southern Methodist University, having been forced out of Catholic University of America by an unfavorable judgment on his teachings by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and now Pope Benedict XVI.