Catholic and Vatican Affairs

The Handwriting on the Wall

A version of this essay was delivered as the 11th Annual William E. Simon Lecture in Washington on February 7, 2012. In recent years, roiled as they have been by

Light From the South

Prior to an April visit to Argentina, I read the “Aparecida Document,” the final report of the Fifth General Assembly of the Bishop of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM),

Don’t Know Much About Theology…

Casual observers of Catholic affairs, reading the press in recent weeks, might well conclude that the Vatican is trying to distract attention from its own internal woes — Vatileaks, and

The Sisters: Two Views

After the April announcement that the Vatican was taking the Leadership Conference of Women Religious into a form of ecclesiastical receivership, appointing Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain to oversee the

Catholic “Americanism”

On January 22, 1899, Pope Leo XIII addressed an encyclical letter to Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore and, through him, to the entire Catholic hierarchy of the United States. Entitled

The Vatican and the Sisters

In Chariots of Fire, two of the elders of Cambridge University invite the young Jewish runner Harold Abrahams to a formal, black-tie luncheon, during which they try to dissuade the

Benedict XVI in Cuba

Catholicism is not a “religion of the book,” but rather a faith built around word and sacrament — or, if you prefer, text and demonstration. Symbolic acts that convey the

After ‘United for Religious Freedom’

On the night of February 17, I took a phone call from a senior Catholic official who was concerned about the pro-gay-marriage votes in the Washington and Maryland legislatures and

No Compromise

In May 1953, the Polish government ordered the implementation of a decree giving the state the authority to appoint and remove Catholic priests and bishops throughout the country: The Catholic

HHS and Soft Totalitarianism

The Obama administration’s recently-announced HHS regulations, which would require Catholic institutions to subsidize health insurance coverage that provides sterilization, abortifacient drugs, and contraceptives, should be located within the context of

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