Depending on viewpoint, one of Vietnam’s most thoughtful Catholic editors or one of the church’s boldest traitors died last week in Ho Chi Minh City at the age of 79. His name was Father Truong Ba Can.
In the mid-1970s, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput served as director of communications for the Capuchin Province of St. Augustine in Pittsburgh. Not exactly a media pressure cooker, but I suppose it gives him some competence in analyzing the work of the press. Which is what he did last week in a speech to Catholic business leaders of Legatus, an organization founded by pizza magnate Tom Monaghan.
One of the great things about the Catholic church is the way that the ancient and modern get thrown together in such surprising ways. This weekend’s ordination of Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, O.P. as titular archbishop of Oregon City provided a host of such moments.
The story of National Institutes of Health guidelines for funding of stem cell research may have escaped your notice last week. In a nutshell:
The subtitle for this blog entry is probably: You too can help shape an editorial. See Baltimore Sun and the Closing of Towson Catholic High School.
This editorial-in-the-making is "pre-released" by the newspaper and seeks input and responses to the draft editorial promising that the best comments will appear alongside the editorial. So interactive.
The substance of the draft editorial is not pleasant. First, Towson Catholic High School is closing. Second, the manner in which the decision was made is coming under close scrutiny. One wonders when dioceses will get out of running and managing Catholic schools, as the track record is horrendous. They should hand over these schools to lay people and lay boards with fiduciary responsibility for the health of the school and dioceses can hold onto the religion program vis-a-vis the issue of "Catholicity." This appears to be the route the Brooklyn diocese is taking.
Economic nervousness blankets the country -- and here in California, that blanket is even thicker. Which can only mean one thing: it's time to demonized undocumented immigrants.
Nationally, there is talk that unemployment will soon pass a crucial psychological marker: ten percent. Well, here on the West Coast -- where we're always ahead of the trends -- we've already jumped passed that to 11.5 percent.
Milwaukee Catholic Herald Managing Editor Maryangela Layman Roman wrote this beautiful tribute to Ethel Gintoft, a female pioneer in the Catholic press who died last month, in which she compares Gintoft to Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon and Karl Malden.
"Just as the others were standouts in the music, television or Hollywood worlds, Ethel was a pioneer and leader in her field, the Catholic press," she writes. "During her funeral Mass last Thursday at the Cathedral of St. John, Father [Michael] Hammer not only mentioned the company Ethel was keeping on her journey to everlasting life, but added, that being the reporter she was, she no doubt had notebook and pen in hand ready to take advantage of this historical moment."
The Vatican investigation of the Legionaries of Christ is about to begin, perhaps a sign that the long legacy of deception and abuse by the Legion's founder, the late Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, is coming to an end. One of the people who should be on the list of interviewees is Fr. Thomas Berg, a former Legion priest who offers a rare and frank behind-the-scenes understanding of the order's problems and what is needed to move on from the Maciel era.
One thing he recommends is that the order quickly and completely distance itself from the founder, remove his still numerous likenesses from the walls of the order's houses and institutions and come to terms, finally, with the depth of the damage he caused.
Maciel's deceptions, as has been amply chronicled in NCR's pages for years, went to the highest levels of the church. He was a favorite of the late Pope John Paul II, who largely ignored the complaints of some of Maciel's alleged victims and the better judgment, we now know, of some within the curia who believed his case should have been investigated years ago.