SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Christopher Altieri

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,
July 29, 2020
Of kitchens and children and others So, last week was a week here chez Altieri. Between the steady stream of children who were our houseguests, emergency maintenance on our old city beater, and the hours Mrs. A. and I were keeping—both of us in Rome, working cases on US central time—the cleaning and tidying around here
January 21, 2021
Mr. Biden will not help hasten the defeat of the reactionary political extremism that poisons the soul of the nation by catering to the political demands of those at the other extremity of the body politic.
January 20, 2021
"Under your leadership," Pope Francis wrote, "may the American people continue to draw strength from the lofty political, ethical and religious values that have inspired the nation since its founding." The president of the US bishops conference, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, echoed those sentiments in a statement on Wednesday, and also reiterated the bishops' opposition to many of the policies and legislative promises Biden has made.
January 17, 2021
"A gentle and caring pastor," was how the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert recalled Archbishop Tartaglia, "who combined compassion with a piercing intellect." Bishop Gilbert went on to say, "[W]e will miss his wisdom and wit very much."
January 15, 2021
Addressed to the Apostolic Nuncio in Indonesia, Archbishop Piero Pioppo, and signed by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, the telegram says Pope Francis was "saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life and the destruction of property caused by the violent earthquake in Indonesia," and "expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this natural disaster." "He prays for the repose of the deceased," the message goes on to say, "the healing of the injured and the consolation of all who grieve." Pope Francis also offers special and particular encouragement to civil authorities, "and those involved in the continuing search and rescue efforts."
January 11, 2021
Pope Francis also discussed the increasingly diffuse social tendency to judge persons’ worth on the basis of “productivity” and to discard anyone “unproductive” – especially the sick, the elderly, and the unborn – a tendency he identifies as the chief characteristic of the “throwaway” culture.
January 10, 2021
"I urge [government] authorities and the entire population to maintain a high sense of responsibility," Pope Francis said Sunday, "in order to soothe tempers, promote national reconciliation, and protect the democratic values rooted in American society."
January 03, 2021
Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport published extracts of a broad-ranging interview with Pope Francis on Saturday, in which he reminisced about growing up on the pitch and at the soccer stadium -- and on the basketball court -- and shared some stories that tell of how athletes can make a difference. 
January 01, 2021
If Cardinal Parolin and Archbishop Gallagher are clear-eyed regarding the terms of their arrangement, so is Cardinal Zen in his estimation of its effect.
December 31, 2020
Bruni's statement explained that the Dean of the College of Cardinals, His Eminence Giovanni Battista Re, will preside at First Vespers and Te Deum, while the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, will say Mass of New Year's Day, while Pope Francis still plans to lead the Jan 1 recitation of the Angelus from the Library of the Apostolic Palace.
December 28, 2020
Praedicate Evangelium "puts evangelization at the center of the Church, and of everything the Curia does,” but what will Pope Francis's reformed Curia actually be able to do?
December 26, 2020
Pope Francis led the traditional Marian devotion from the library of the Apostolic Palace - a concession to the emergency measures in place throughout Italy over the Christmas holiday.
December 23, 2020
The Calgary diocese says they not received any reports of any other positive Covid-19 cases from parishioners.