SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Christopher 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,
March 02, 2021
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was speaking to Italy's La Stampa newspaper. Guterres also said a security review of the incident is underway.
February 28, 2021
A Vatican City criminal court heard two days of frequently gruesome testimony last week, in the trial of two clerics: 28-year-old Fr. Gabriele Martinelli and 71-year-old Fr. Enrico Radice. Martinelli, a former student at the St. Pius X minor seminary in the Vatican, is charged with sexual abuse of a junior boy when Martinelli was
February 28, 2021
Significant other risks also attend the visit, long desired by Pope Francis and highly anticipated by the sorely tried people of the country. — Rome — The Apostolic Nuncio to Iraq, Archbishop Mitja Leskovar, has tested positive for coronavirus and is in isolation at a site removed from the nunciature — the Vatican embassy —
February 25, 2021
The trial is underway in Vatican City’s criminal court, where two priests face charges: Fr. Gabriele Martinelli, 28, and Fr. Enrico Radice, 71. Martinelli, a former pupil at the Vatican’s Saint Pius X (Preseminario San Pio X) minor seminary ordained in 2017, is accused of abusing a junior pupil while he was a senior boy at the school. Radice, former rector of the institution, is accused of covering up and enabling Martinelli’s abusive behavior.
February 21, 2021
Most of the changes are technical and procedural, and – as my friend, John Allen Jr, rightly noted – are designed to dispel or at least mitigate the impression, general among Vatican insiders, that “Vatican Justice” is heavily weighted against defendants, who are typically laymen and laywomen or clergy of the lower ranks.
February 10, 2021
Pope Francis made some high profile appointments heading into last weekend, naming Sr. Nathalie Becquart and Fr. Luis Marín de San Martín as undersecretaries to the Synod of Bishops. Only, what does the appointment of a woman with full voting rights in the Synod really tell us about how Pope Francis governs the Church?
February 09, 2021
In Rome, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has authorized a preliminary inquiry. Pope Francis has named Bishop Gerald L. Vincke of Salina, Kansas, as Apostolic Administrator of Dodge City during the investigation.
February 08, 2021
Pope Francis has appealed for universal healthcare before – the social doctrine of the Catholic Church considers access to basic care a right – but the venue in which he renewed his appeal on Monday was a high profile one: the corps of diplomats accredited to the Holy See.
February 01, 2021
Nobel peace laureate and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who currently serves as State Counsellor, is among the elected officials detained, reportedly under house arrest. Soldiers took Suu Kyi into custody along with Myanmar’s president, Win Myint, and other leaders the National League for Democracy party (NLD), who won a landslide victory in elections last November. Official military channels allege election fraud as their reason for seizing power, now in the hands of Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the army’s senior commander, who has declared a one-year state of emergency.
February 01, 2021
“I ask myself if it is necessary to go so far as [to make] a law,” said Cardinal Parolin in response to a direct question from his interviewer.
January 27, 2021
“Remembering also means being careful,” said Pope Francis on Wednesday, “because these things could happen again, beginning with ideological proposals intended to save a people and ending by destroying a people and humanity.”
January 26, 2021
The accusations against the 89-year-old Bishop Hart involved 11 victims who were boys at the time of the alleged crimes, and one girl. “These findings do not equate to innocence,” A statement from the diocese of Cheyenne said, “rather, a high burden of proof has not been met.”