SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Christopher R. Altieri

February 21, 2021
…dum volvitur orbis. On February 21st, 2001, Pope John Paul II created forty-two new Cardinals, among them the reigning pontiff, Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires. Vatican News gave the big day a bigging up, with a video montage rehearsing the twenty years intervening and a reflection that weaves the words of Mario Bergoglio
January 18, 2021
I remember the day when my son – a very small boy – asked me who Martin Luther King Jr. was. We were at lunch with my parents, who were visiting us in Rome. I responded, “He was an American hero.” I can’t say exactly how old was my boy, but it surprised me that
December 24, 2020
I suspect this will be an Unpopular Opinion, but would be happy to be proved wrong. In any case, here’s a little Christmas nostalgia, and maybe just a little something else. “The Little Drummer Boy” (the “Carol of the Drum”) is a great Christmas carol, and the David Bowie – Bing Crosby duet rendition of
December 08, 2020
So, Pope Francis is going to Iraq. That’s awesome, really. Our Christian brethren who call that land of culture and impossibly ancient descent their home have an especial claim on the Pope’s solicitude – of which Pope Francis is quite sensible – and the great strength of Francis’s pontificate is his ability to create and
December 01, 2020
One need not have canine hearing to have detected the unpleasant sound emanating from Roman quarters on Tuesday around noon, when the daily bulletin from the Press Office of the Holy See dropped and the announcement came that Pope Francis had named Bishop Michael W. Fisher to the troubled See of Buffalo, NY. The 62-year-old
November 05, 2020
The Electoral College count was  253-214 in favour of Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden on Thursday morning – just as day was breaking in CET jurisdictions and in the very small hours on the east coast of the United States – where it had stood for some time, basically unmoved. Polling officials and volunteers
October 19, 2020
The Encyclopedia Americana notes that the faces of the [Mount Rushmore] monument measure sixty feet from chin to forehead and adds, rather proudly I thought, that this is twice as high as the head of the Giza Sphinx. But what else is there to think about but their monumentality, and what more to conclude on
September 20, 2020
Being something between a paean and a rant. As the nation mourns the passing of the long-serving, frequently controversial, and much-beloved Justice of the US Supreme Court, the question has become: Who shall succeed her? The President has already filled two SCOTUS vacancies, and should be in a position to send a nominee to the
September 14, 2020
There’s no such thing as “just a communications failure” in the current crisis. The Catholic faithful of Duluth, Minnesota were excited in June of this year, when they learned they would be getting a new shepherd after the untimely death of Bishop Paul Sirba in December of last year. That excitement turned into something else
September 06, 2020
Endorsing presidential candidates used to be a big deal, in large part because it was in general not the done thing. People have always talked about campaign issues and taken more or less critical note of candidates’ positions on them, but most citizens didn’t use to wear their candidates on their sleeves the way many
August 30, 2020
To be friends, then, men must be mutually recognized as bearing goodwill and wishing well to each other. — Aristotle I was away most of last week, during which I was able mostly to steer clear of the news. I don’t do it very often. Regular filter maintenance is a better way of coping with
August 21, 2020
How much is enough? Let’s be clear about two things: Bishop Michael J. Bransfield – improbably emeritus of the Diocese of Wheeling Charleston – did not apologize; nor did he get the “justice with a gesture of mercy” that his successor, Bishop Mark E. Brennan, suggested he might have got. In case you missed it,
April 29, 2021
The new law's stated aim is to curtail and target instances of a range of crimes, including fraud, corruption, money-laundering, terrorism or terrorism-related activities, exploitation of minors and human trafficking, as well as tax evasion.
April 24, 2021
If there are stalwart reformers -- and we know there are some of the clerisy genuinely committed to the work of ripping out the rot and repairing the Church's leadership culture -- we might nonetheless reasonably wonder whether they have the wherewithal to bring about meaningful reform.
April 16, 2021
All we know for sure is that he is no longer Bishop of Crookston, after some investigation and "determination" -- and that he says he will “move out of state to a warmer climate.”
April 15, 2021
The priests who testified on Wednesday are Frs. Angelo Magistrelli, Enzo Pacelli, and Luigi Portarulo. They all appeared to cast doubt on the testimony of a key witness: former Saint Pius X seminarian Kamil Jarzembowski, whose claims regarding the climate and culture of the institution have contributed to public scrutiny and been a focal point of the criminal proceedings.
April 14, 2021
The liturgy is reportedly billed as a “Mass of Thanksgiving” in a memo that went to Crookston priests. The Apostolic Administrator appointed for Crookston, 78-year-old Bishop Richard Pates (emeritus of Des Moines, Iowa) will reportedly concelebrate.
April 12, 2021
The Times reported Sunday that the victim has sent a letter threatening suit against the Archdiocese of Westminster, for personal injury. She says she was “re-traumatised” by Church safeguarding staff after she reported her abuse.
April 05, 2021
When it comes to stepping on their own message, neither the pope nor the Vatican has need of the press corps’ help. This time, however, it's different.
April 02, 2021
"Fomenting division," Cardinal Cantalamessa said, "is the work par excellence of the one whose name is diabolos -- that is, the divider."
April 01, 2021
Several news reports say Pope Francis celebrated Thursday afternoon around 5:30pm Rome Time in Cardinal Becciu's private chapel, inside the cardinal's apartment in the Palazzo del Sant'Uffizio -- the headquarters of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- a stone's throw from the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse.
March 24, 2021
Curial cardinals will take a 10% pay cut, while other department heads will take an 8% reduction, and lower-level officials who are clerics and/or religious will see 3% less in monthly pay. Laity, clerics, and religious will all face pay freezes – even those not subject to pay cuts – for two years.
March 19, 2021
Recalling a powerful theme of his homily at his inaugural Mass and a core motif of the Year of St. Joseph in which the Church is currently living, Pope Francis noted that St. Joseph was not only the protector of Jesus when Our Lord was an infant, nor is he only the protector of the Church in a general way today, but is "the protector of vocations."
March 18, 2021
The report found more than 200 wrongdoers and more than 300 victims, most of them boys under the age of 14. Roughly half the allegations pertained to sexual abuse of different kinds and gravity, while the rest fell under the rubric of “boundary violation” or other misconduct of a sexual nature.