Category: Uncategorized

Field hospital in WWI 2

The wounded in need of a field hospital

If the American Church ever needed to resemble the field hospital that Pope Francis described in the early days of his pontificate, that time is now. The scope of the horrors inflicted upon over 1000 victims described in the Pennsylvania grand jury report released yesterday and the amount of negligence and deliberate cover-up by Church leaders in the past 70 or so years is staggering. In 2002, we thought the worst was over. Sixteen years...

Rawlins Brothers 0

The death penalty and the mystery of mercy

Regarding the death penalty, I owe my existence to the last-minute commutation of a death sentence and the eventual pardon of my great-grandfather, who murdered a child in 1904. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, my great-great-grandfather, Joseph “Crazy Joe” Rawlins, was engaged in a feud in South Georgia with a man named William L Carter. Rawlins was a farmer and a former Baptist preacher with five children, while Carter (also a farmer...

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Breaking News – Pope Changes Church’s Teaching on the Death Penalty

This is exciting! The Catholic Church has officially changed its teaching on the death penalty. Pope Francis, via the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, updated the Catechism. The Catechism now states: 2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good. Today, however, there...

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Youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old: Serious social evils

“The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old. The old need care and companionship; the young need work and hope but have neither one nor the other, and the problem is they don’t even look for them any more. They have been crushed by the present. You tell me: can you live crushed under the weight of the present? Without a memory...

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Humanae Vitae and Me

Back in May, my family went to Mass in another state because we were visiting my in-laws. The kids were in rare form. Our 4-year-old daughter repeatedly tried to go under the pew, and protested loudly whenever my wife or I pulled her back and picked her up. Repeated attempts to shush her, bribe her, and punish her were fruitless. Our 1-year-old had kept us up most of the night, and was fussy and cranky...

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McCarrick update, the Prosperity Gospel, Francis in Vogue, Scandal in Honduras – Links for 7/20

Here are some of the important stories we’re following this week: 1. The Cardinal McCarrick scandal has gotten even worse. Yesterday the New York Times reported that a 60-year-old man came forward to describe the sexual abuse he suffered from McCarrick, beginning when he was 11 and continuing into his young adulthood. This man was the first baby baptized by a newly-ordained Father McCarrick in 1958. The man’s sister recounts: It was explained to us...

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McCarrick and the abuse of seminarians

On June 28, I posted about the recent revelations of credible and substantiated abuse accusations against Cardinal McCarrick by a former teenage altar boy. I also discussed Cardinal Joseph Tobin’s revelation that there have been three past accusations directed at McCarrick by adults in New Jersey, and two had been settled out of court. At the time, I also mentioned that “over the last week an increasing number of sordid stories about his sexual harassment...

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The dubia, synodality, and the joy of the Gospel

On June 21, Pope Francis fielded questions from journalists aboard the volo papale from Geneva, Switzerland to Rome. A German reporter named Roland Juchem asked him about a proposal of some of the bishops of his country to admit the Protestant spouses of Catholics to sacramental communion. The question has a backstory. Last February, the Deutsche Bischofskonferenz – under the direction of Cardinal Reinhard Marx – approved by majority vote a pastoral guide for inter-communion....

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Cardinal McCarrick and the Church’s Ticking Time Bombs

Last week’s revelation that 87-year-old retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been removed from public ministry on charges that he twice molested a teenage boy in New York in 1970 and 1971 marks a new low for the Catholic Church in the United States. All these years, McCarrick apparently knew he was a ticking time bomb, a man with an alleged history of sexual predation who had heretofore avoided the hammer. At 87 years old, he’d...

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Is it really confusion?

When I read Pedro Gabriel’s excellent exegesis of Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia last week, I was impressed by how thoroughly and definitively he had affirmed what the exhortation says about the reception of Holy Communion for those in irregular situations. His piece also established a clear link from Amoris Laetitia to the Buenos Aires guidelines. After reading Pedro’s piece, no one should ever be able to insist on alternative interpretations to that aspect of...