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That joking retort we heard as children, "Is the pope Catholic?" is starting to look like a serious question. Asked five years ago about a "gay lobby" in the Vatican, Pope Francis responded, "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?" As judgment was thought to... Read More
"Pope Declares No Hell?" So ran the riveting headline on the Drudge Report of Holy Thursday. Drudge quoted this exchange, published in La Repubblica, between Pope Francis and his atheist friend, journalist Eugenio Scalfari. Scalfari: "What about bad souls? Where are they punished?" Bad souls "are not punished," Pope Francis is quoted, "those who do... Read More
maryks-1
The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews: Jesuits of Jewish Ancestry and Purity-of-Blood Laws in the Early Society of Jesus Robert Aleksander Maryks Brill, 2010. Free Download One of the more interesting aspects of Jewish group behavior is the presence of subversive strategies employing crypsis, often facilitated by a combination of deception and self-deception.... Read More
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As the Russian Easter approaches – it will symbolically coincide this year with May Day – it is the right time to speak of a very important recent spiritual event that received too little publicity in the West, but it kept Russia all agog. This was not an Oscar nomination, after all. Two old men,... Read More
Are Catholic truths immutable? Or can they change with the changing times? This is the deeper question behind the issues that convulsed the three-week synod on the family of the 250 Catholic bishops in Rome that ended Saturday. A year ago, German Cardinal Walter Kasper called on the church to change -- to welcome homosexual... Read More
The recent visit of Pope Francis to the United States has been hailed by the American media, from MSNBC to Fox, from a delighted President Obama to a tearful John Boehner, as a huge success, that is, as Church spokesmen describe it, a “pastoral success.” Francis came, he spoke, he conquered, goes the narrative. Millions... Read More
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In the wake of America’s week-long, Pope Francis bacchanalia, a few column titles suggest themselves: “Benedict, What Have You Wrought?” “The Global Village Idiot.” “Lady Di of The Papacy.” The last hints at the trendy, pop-philosophies that animate Pope Francis’ Lady Di-like belief system. The intellectual equivalent of these papal shopworn shibboleths you’ll find in... Read More
A pope zone cut Philly in two. Hundreds of soldiers poured in. Throughout downtown and OldCity, they manned every intersection, including alleys. Since 9/11, Americans have been conditioned to see soldiers in battle fatigues on their sidewalks, but this is unprecedented for peacetime Philadelphia. At least these troops were not armed. Only the cops were.... Read More
What if things are not always as they seem? What if the enormously popular Pope Francis is popular precisely because he is less Catholic than his two immediate predecessors? What if his theory of his stewardship of Catholicism is to broaden the base of the Church by weakening her doctrine so as to attract more... Read More
Pope Francis's four-day visit to the United States was by any measure a personal and political triumph. The crowds were immense, and coverage of the Holy Father on television and in the print press swamped the state visit of Xi Jinping, the leader of the world's second-greatest power. But how enduring, and how relevant, was... Read More
On arrival in La Paz, Pope Francis was presented by Bolivian President Evo Morales with a wooden crucifix carved in the form of a hammer and sickle, the symbol of Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Fidel. Had Pope John Paul II been handed that crucifix, he might have cracked it over Evo's head. For John Paul... Read More
The pontiff recognizes the Armenian genocide of a century ago, but can he do more about today's wars and injustices?
Last week Pope Francis described the slaughter of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as “genocide,” joining France and 20 other countries in adopting that designation. The massacres and forced relocations of Armenian civilians began 100 years ago and concluded with the end of the First World War in 1918. Even Turkey’s German military advisers were... Read More
Normally a synod of Catholic bishops does not provide fireworks rivaling the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, where Mayor Richard Daley's boys in blue ran up the score on the radicals in Grant Park. But, on Oct. 13, there emanated from the Synod on the Family in Rome a 12-page report from a committee... Read More
Maybe it is time to put Christ back in Christmas. Bill O'Reilly annually demands we acknowledge that the man, or myth, that has been moved to the center of this once pagan ritual be properly identified with a religion, or philosophy as he puts it, that carries a moral message. True, the nation's early Puritan... Read More
What is the worst problem in the world today? Might it be war, starvation, genocide, sectarian violence, murder, slaughter of babies in the womb? Any of these would be a rational answer. But when Pope Francis was asked this question recently, he replied, "Youth unemployment." To be sure, youth unemployment is a serious problem. In... Read More
Forget, for the moment, that he is the pope, and that Holy Father Francis' apostolic exhortation last week was addressed "to the bishops, clergy, consecrated persons and the lay faithful." Even if, like me, you don't fall into one of those categories and also take issue with the Catholic Church's teachings on a number of... Read More
"Pope Francis doesn't want cultural warriors; he doesn't want ideologues," said Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Wash.: "The nuncio said the Holy Father wants bishops with pastoral sensitivity, shepherds who know the smell of the sheep." Bishop Cupich was conveying instructions the papal nuncio had delivered from Rome to guide U.S. bishops in choosing a... Read More
For the last few weeks Catholic clergy and GOP politicians have denounced the Obama administration for forcing Catholic-affiliated institutions to provide coverage for birth control and abortion-producing pills. After hearing strong reactions from his Catholic Democratic advisors, Obama offered an apparent compromise (if a pun may be permitted) to coat the bitter pill. Arrangements would... Read More
The Catholic Church considers itself to be the church that Jesus founded when he said to Saint Peter “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Pope Benedict XVI is, according to the Church,... Read More
The ‘abusing priests’ campaign is a clear sign of forthcoming war. If the Church pays for ‘abusing priests’,...
The Catholic Church, the biggest apostolic church in the US, is under heavy attack. The plotters had united media effort and legal machinery, utilized American obsession with money, and given the Church the treatment they gave tobacco industry, that is, suing it to oblivion. For their chance to get thirty pieces of silver (over a... Read More
John Zmirak, who has written for this website, has just published with Crossroads Press and with the assistance of his photogenic culinary advisor, Denise Matychowiak, a richly illustrated, two-volume study of food, drink and other amenities associated with European Catholic cultures. What is particularly noteworthy about these volumes, The Bad Catholic's Guide to Wine, Whiskey,... Read More
Juries and Lynch Mobs What If Jackson had been on Trial in Massachusetts?
There's at least one man recently convicted of homosexual misconduct with a minor, now serving a twelve to fifteen-year sentence, who surely received news of Michael Jackson's acquittal with a sigh of envy at the quality of Jackson's defense team and the sturdy independence of a jury that refused to be swayed by the lynch... Read More
The elevation of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to the papacy testifies to the value of the College of Cardinals as an electoral instrument, particularly in comparison to the periodic circuses by which the "democracies" now choose their titular heads. Next to this dignified, multilingual, and immensely learned German churchman, who will be henceforth known as Benedict... Read More
I am not a Roman Catholic. In fact, I was raised in the old English tradition to think of the Roman Church as a sinister continental conspiracy — hatchet-faced Jesuits in purple robes, lurking in dark corridors, muttering subversion in Latin — to deprive honest Englishmen of their liberties. A few years' acquaintance with the... Read More
From the CounterPunch Archives
In 1996, a senior official in the Catholic church confided to a friend of CounterPunch, the Catholic church in America had thus far paid out $500 million to settle priest abuse cases. On July 24, 1997, a Dallas jury imposed a $119.6 million in overall damages - the largest penalty ever levied on the Catholic... Read More
The Church Confronts Modernity: Catholic Intellectuals and the Progressive Era, Thomas E. Woods Jr., Columbia University Press, 228 pages. A thoughtful historian (who I discovered to my embarrassment is younger than my son), Thomas Woods produced most of this book while still in his mid-twenties. Although obviously influenced here by the conservative Catholic position he... Read More
The announcement that a majority of Spanish bishops are urging the pope to canonize Queen Isabella I has brought forth bellowing objections from the usual sources, namely, leftwing victimologists who are appalled that they have not been asked to endorse such decisions. A man identified as the secretary general of the Spanish Jewish Federation, Carlos... Read More
Category Classics
Confederate Flag Day, State Capitol, Raleigh, N.C. -- March 3, 2007
The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution
An alliance of pro-immigrant Democrats and anti-immigration Republicans could finally fix our broken system
Not What Tom Jefferson Had in Mind