SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Christopher R. Altieri

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November 11, 2019
As the US bishops begin their plenary meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, the Catholic bishops of New York are in Rome for their ad limina visits. Among them are Bishop Richard J Malone of Buffalo, and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, who has recently concluded a broadly mandated inspection of Buffalo at the behest of the
November 07, 2019
The past few weeks have been awfully rough for Pope Francis, the Roman Curia, and for Church leadership generally, especially on three fronts: money, clerical abuse and leadership culture. On each, deep rot has been further exposed, coupled with a colossal messaging failure that ultimately owes itself to the apparent inability to distinguish crisis from
November 07, 2019
When the Vatican announced the new law Vos estis lux mundi, reforming the way the Holy See investigates claims of abuse cover-up, veteran Church-watcher Rocco Palmo summed up the thoughts of observers everywhere in a single tweet: “For all the ink [spilt] and reaction around [the world] over the Pope’s new norms,” he said, “US
October 31, 2019
The Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon Region is in the books. But what actually happened? Readers may take the question prosaically, or as the utterance of one who is reticent to believe the evidence of his senses: the way someone might say “What just happened here?” when what just happened
October 27, 2019
While Church-watchers’ eyes were on the Synod Hall and the Press Office of the Holy See, as news was breaking of Amazon Synod Fathers’ decision to recommend Pope Francis consider relaxing the discipline of celibacy for secular clerics so that married men could be admitted to the presbyterate, the Washington Post was preparing to publish
October 24, 2019
A fuller picture of the financial scandal rocking the Vatican and making headlines around the world began to emerge at the end of last week and through the weekend, with a major exposé in the October 20 edition of La Repubblica’s weekly news magazine, L’Espresso.  The scandal involves monies from the Peter’s Pence collection for
October 19, 2019
How to transform a culture through the preaching of the Gospel while preserving that culture’s patrimony has been a major theme of the ongoing Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon. The many efforts in this regard, both in the synod and around it, have often been beautiful and informative. They have
October 17, 2019
The first week of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon is in the books. By the time this edition reaches newsstands, week two will be well underway, and the gathering of senior churchmen in Rome from October 6 to October 27 will have just passed the halfway mark. What have
October 15, 2019
Things took an interesting turn here at the Vatican yesterday, in connection with a major financial scandal involving current and former officials of the Secretariat of State and the Holy See’s financial institutions and watchdogs, offices of which were raided earlier this month by the Vatican police. In the middle of Monday afternoon, the Press
October 14, 2019
It’s late in the evening now, but earlier today I got to see a little bit of history happen. Pope Francis declared before the whole world that John Henry Cardinal Newman is a saint in heaven. It wasn’t the first (or the twentieth) time I’ve seen similar bits of history happen. Deo volente, it won’t
October 13, 2019
Pope Francis on Sunday issued a ringing condemnation of ongoing violence in Syria, where Turkey has begun operations against positions held by ethnic Kurds in the northeastern part of the war-torn country. The developments have added to tensions among various powers present in the conflict and strained relations with the United States, which has carried
October 12, 2019
The working sessions at the synod assembly broke for lunch on Friday morning, with Synod Fathers still in the small groups into which they split the previous day. It is in these groups that a lot of the “real work” gets done. Participants share ideas and stories in a more intimate and less formal setting.
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