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,
September 02, 2021
Pope Francis puts a cheery gloss on drama in Germany, denies rumours of his stepping down and praises the toothless Child Protection Commission in his interview with COPE's Carlos Herrera
August 13, 2021
After the preliminary audience in the Vatican’s maxi-trial of Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu and nine others on charges they bilked, swindled, hoodwinked, cheated, threatened, extorted, and/or stole millions from the Vatican, the business has taken on the look and feel of a phoney war. Don’t be deceived. The preliminary hearing on July 27th in Vatican
July 04, 2021
"We are considered victims," Cardinal Parolin told journalists in Strasbourg on July 4. "After considering all of the elements," he said, "we decided to constitute ourselves [a civil party]," though he specified that the Secretariat had no direct knowledge of the investigation.
July 03, 2021
The laundry list includes some interesting names and corresponding indictments.
June 28, 2021
Maybe the bishops should make an example of the President of the United States. Maybe they ought to name him and shame him as the Dissenter-in-Chief, the bully champion of his political party’s mad promotion of so-called “abortion rights” and insane addiction to the big cheques of the abortion interest. Perhaps they ought to excommunicate the lot of ’em. Maybe. It doesn't matter. They aren’t going to.
June 10, 2021
Whatever Cardinal Marx's reasons for submitting his resignation, Pope Francis's rejection of it makes the whole thing to appear thoroughly managed -- orchestrated -- choreographed.
June 07, 2021
There is a good deal more to the stories discussed here in broad strokes – likely more than enough to trigger a Vos estis investigation – and there is also more than enough in each, to trigger the desire of leading Churchmen to keep things tightly under wraps.
June 04, 2021
It took guts for Cardinal Marx to do what he's done. It took guts for Pope Francis to let him. Whatever else Cardinal Marx has done -- whatever the ecclesiastical repercussions, whatever the ecclesiological fallout -- he has done the thing that no other senior Churchman has shown himself capable of doing.
June 03, 2021
The troubled Latin American nation of Venezuela has been in the throes of political and economic crisis for years. 90% of people live below the poverty line and basic necessities are in chonically short supply when they are available at all. 
June 03, 2021
The secrecy of the Church’s judicial processes hurts the innocent, while the opacity of her general practices tends to protect evildoers. Together, the Church’s secrecy and opacity undermine public confidence in  her ability to deliver anything like justice.
June 01, 2021
The whole ecclesiastical leadership culture has to change: not in a sentimental, “caring about the victims” way, either. Caring about the victims is a bare minimum, a baseline requirement, the measure of which is in its effects. That means the culture needs to change in practical, nuts-and-bolts ways.
June 01, 2021
Senior officials presented the revision of the Church’s universal law regarding punishments for canonical crimes as a major overhaul, though at least one expected change did not materialise, and journalists raised outstanding issues regarding accountability and transparency.
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