Mallon's Media Watch

Mallon's Media Watch

Saturday, May 18, 2002

Wish the Holy Father a Happy Birthday Here!

Happy Birthday, Holy Father, John Paul II! May you live 200 years!

Just Dreamy

From a Reader:
Of course, John, you are so right.
Peggy Noonan is just dreamy.


An important article by James Hitchcock from 1995. If only the bishops had heeded it.
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Want to see something bizarre? Here is a web page campaigning for
Cardinal Godfried Daneels of Belgium to be Pope.

Why can't these people just shut up? (With all due respect.)

I have this pet peeve about people speculating about the pope and the Church this way. There have been people speculating about the Pope's death/retirement/whatever since the mid 80s and it makes me mad! It's like dancing on his grave before he's dead! It's the stuff of ghouls! It's bad manners! The funny thing is many of those who smugly referred to his demise and how they would "straighten everything out" after that died first! Jim Hitchcock had a fantastic article on this (if I can find it I'll post it).

Another thing I find irksome in the extreme is endless speculation about who will be the next Pope, the next Archbishop of Chinatown or whatever. It strikes me as irreverent when the work of the Holy Spirit, who is nothing if not full of surprises, is whispered and tittered over as if it were who was winning the Oscar.

First of all, nobody knows! And if they did they wouldn't speak. And if they speak they don't know!

The last time this happened was January 2000. It broke the day I was flying home from Rome. There were huge headlines in l'Repubblica. Cardinal Lehman of Mainz made some dumb comment about the Pope retiring that caused an uproar. The only good thing about it was it gave me the opportunity to ask the lovely Italian woman in the next seat to translate it for me. The Pope later made him a cardinal anyway. This speculation is a huge waste of time and very disrespectful!

Whew! (Isn't it great to have your own Blog?)


Friday, May 17, 2002

Seminarian son of Tulsa diocesan paper editor hit on by Boston seminary dean, continues studies at another seminary ( Link only good until May 21.)

Tulsa World: Catholic scandal includes complaint by ex-Tulsan

Don't stories like this from The Hartford Courant drive you up the wall? A few excerpts:(Op-Ed writer Liz Gwillim in Italics, my comments in plain text)

The Catholic Church doesn't want me. I have been asked, politely, to leave the table where the sacrament of communion is served. My crime? I divorced and remarried. Zero tolerance in this case is strictly enforced.

Ms. Gwillim, There is no need to be dramatic or feel put upon. You are not unwelcome. But despite sin and scandal, the Catholic Church is bound by the teachings from the mouth of Jesus Christ and this is direct from the Gospel. It is tempting to say "What would Jesus do?" He'd be a nice guy! He'd say "Shucks, Liz! C'mon up to communion! Forget about those stuffy old bishops!" With all due respect to the little bracelets, when most people claim to know what Jesus would do they usually mean what they would do in an especially generous mood. But that's not what Jesus did in the Gospels. That's not what he did with the woman at the well, but He did respect her and in the light of His love she came to see the real meaning of the law. I'm curious if a priest actually did tell you you weren't welcome, because I doubt it.

Unless it's not. I've slipped into a line or two at weddings or at distant congregations to partake from an unsuspecting priest, my wedding ring in place and my fallen status tucked demurely beneath my suburban ensemble.

Clever. And who did you think you were deceiving? Just what do you think Holy Communion is? You almost seem to be enjoying your "outcast" status.

...But I can't help but wonder, as the scandal of pedophilia spreads seemingly unchecked past the Catholic hierarchy, why the faithful who pursue a decent way of life are asked to step aside while priest and prelate receive and give a holy sacrament to honest-to-God lawbreakers, psyche destroyers, monsters.

No one questions the decency of your life. And I've got news for you, those perverts you describe have no business receiving Holy Communion if they are unrepentant and living a life of decption and debauching children. Don't compare yourself to them. What they do or don't do has nothing to do with your case, and they will receive no favoritism over you on Judgement Day.

St. Peter Claver Church in the 1980s was a warm and vibrant institution with a diverse laity and savvy clergy that made us feel at ease despite my divorce. The experience instilled in my daughters a devotion to the Catholic Church that remains resolute despite the state of current affairs.

Thanks be to God for that. Why shouldn't you feel at ease? Divorce alone is no impediment to receiving Communion, only divorce and remarriage. Sometimes feeling ill at ease is a good thing if our conscience is trying to tell us something. But I don't judge you. For all I know your first marriage might be eligible for a clear-cut annullment. It might be worth looking into. At least finding out would be better than lugging around all this baggage against the Church.

We have a family legend about the time my daughter announced her engagement and her intention to be married in the picturesque Catholic Church in Chester, where my husband and I were building a house. I called and introduced myself to the priest, explaining that we hadn't moved in yet, but could I confer about a wedding?

When we were seated in Father Shall Be Nameless' office, he took out a card on which to write my name as a new member. Then he asked my daughter for her first and last name. When they didn't match, he put down his pencil and asked why the difference. I explained that Gwillim was my maiden name. But I was married? Yes. "Your husband's name?" he asked as he picked up his pencil again. I spelled it out. "Is that Jewish?" Yes.

"Well," he said, returning the pencil to its place on the desk. "At our weddings we usually play Ave Maria when the mother of the bride takes her place. Of course, we won't do that for you."

I don't know if this priest is a pompous, pious windbag, or if he was simply trying to be sensitive to you. The tone of his voice doesn't come through the written word. But I guess you're assuming that he was prejudiced.

Remember laughing in church? That moment when something is so funny yet forbidden that you have to hold your breath until the tears flow and you think you will pop? Picture two grown women doing just that as the stern old coot rambled on. We barely made it to the porch before we fell on each other laughing and, I'll admit it, crying.

I'm glad you got some laughs out of it.

A Jewish husband wasn't the crime; it was simply frosting on the fact that I was bad, bad, bad - unworthy of the Ave Maria.

Ms. Gwillim, you keep returning to this theme of crime, unworthiness and bad, bad, bad. I would like you to tell me exactly who is telling you these things, because that is not what Catholicism is about. Catholicism is about hope. It's about love, but love has rules of its own which any sane person eagerly embraces because love is worth it, and better than chaos.

I cannot imagine any Catholic priest telling you having a Jewish husband is a crime; and I bet no one ever did. And I've got more news for you: None of us are worthy of the Eucharist, it is a gift from God. Nobody is saying that you are bad, bad, bad. Are they? Jesus Christ is your Bridegroom, not your parole officer, and the Church is not a prison, it is where the Wedding takes place. The Eucharist is the Consummation.

Now, whenever I've committed some domestic infraction - not hosting a Thanksgiving dinner was one - Dianne reminds me that they aren't going to play Ave Maria when I come down the aisle.

Lighten up on the infractions. It could be worse.

No, but it's not too late to invite me back to the table. Decant the wine. Uncover the host. Get rid of the truly evil among the decent. And return the not-so-lost sheep to the fold.

There, you've said it yourself. Here is your invitation: Go find a priest you can trust and look into the marriage/annullment issue, and even if it can't be annulled, you are always welcome in the Church. The Pope said so, in a recent document instructing preists to see to it that you are welcomed and valued even if you are prevented from receiving the Eucharist. (I'll look around for it and post the link if I find it.) It's not personal. It is not a rejection. God loves you. God bless you.


Can anyone remember hearing of a bishop holding "listening sessions" for orthodox Catholics? Perhaps orthodox Catholics rank just behind children victimized by priests as "The People Who Don't Count."

St. Luke's Treatment Center in Maryland is in the news (and Catholic blogs) today. It is a facility where they "treat" sexually abusive clerics. This article from
Catholic World Report, February 1997, may help clarify a few things about why we are in our current Situation. When you get to the page, on the left-hand side click where it says Essay: Salt in Their Wounds.

I guess not every guy has a crush on her...but he is a liberal...

I received this tonight in response to my Peggy Noonan post below.

Right Reverent: Jonathan Chait on the worshipful conservatism of Peggy Noonan.

Given your crush on Peggy Noonan, I thought you ought to read this article. When she writes on the Church, she is wonderful; when she writes on politics, she is simply awful. Here's why. In the secular realm, she is nothing more than a glib sycophant for the Republican party.

Visit TNR Online

Subscribe to The New Republic

Well, Sir,

Thanks for your comments. Are you on the staff of TNR? Anyway, Why do you call Ms. Noonan a sycophant? Her credentials as a Republican, as a speechwriter, friend and confidant of presidents precludes that. She is a leading Republican. She doesn't have to suck up to anyone. Does it occur to you that she writes from her convictions? Come, come sir! disagree with her if you must, but skip the name calling. We need to encourage gentlemanliness among the liberal male population!

Thanks for visiting my Blog.


John Mallon

I hope they appreciate the plug...


Thursday, May 16, 2002

Peggy Noonan

I'm a big Peggy Noonan Fan. With her weekly column (Fridays on she has really established herself as a national treasure. Just read the responses to her column each week! Women write like they're hanging out with her over coffee at the kitchen table, and every conservative guy in the country must have a crush on her (not to mention orthodox Catholic guys).

Anyway, last week I was surprised that the next day there were no responses, so I wrote one and hit submit. Soon thereafter a flood of responses showed up but not mine. I hate when that happens. The web guy must have come in late or something. But I liked what I wrote and wanted to see it posted. (Ah! The real reason writers have blogs...) Maybe it was too religious for them, but then, the WSJ does have a record of being orthodox Catholic friendly. Anyway, here it is:

Once again, Peggy, I think you're exactly right in your observations of the president. To your question, "Why does he not seem to need the presidency, "I think the answer is deceptively simple: It is not his identity. We know that he underwent a very sincere religious conversion. He came to a point where saw that his life needed to change. Drinking caused him a problem so he gave it up. He saw that he needed God's help and asked for it and was changed. These are not small things. They require humility and character, but they also build humility and character. It's there, he doesn't need to make a show of it or bite his lip to show the world he is sensitive. He simply is.

In other words, with God's help he overcame himself, which is ultimately more difficult than being president, and it‚s the only kind of man who ought to be president. He probably is thinking of the Jeep's tires or a fence that needs fixing on the north 40. But he gave his life to Christ and God gave him a mission and he accepted it. I think that's how he sees it. He knows neither the burden or the glory rests entirely on him. He will happily give it back to God when his share of it is finished.

The presidency is not his identity It's his job, or vocation. His identity rests in Christ. This hard for his baffled critics to fathom because his critics, and liberals generally, to think in these terms. They certainly seem to have no ability to think apocalyptically.

It's good to have that ability. Not that we're nutty about the end of the world, but simply willing to perceive God's hand in things, especially at a time when the eyes of the world are focused on terror at the birthplace of Jesus, and while the Church He founded is being purified by a grueling and humiliating purification. The president is certainly not obsessed with thoughts like these, but as a Christian in the Big Job, I don't think they're lost on him either. Nor is an assurance of Who's really running the universe.

PS: Mallon on


Rome Fiddles, We Burn... Better to burn here than the hereafter, Maureen!

Maureen Dowd in the New York Times of March 27 has this to say: (Dowd in Italics, my responses in plain text.)

The resonance of the sermon underscores the dilemma for American Catholics: Will they continue to pick and choose privately among the Vatican's antiquated dictums on divorce, birth control and homosexuality, and suppress doubts about a celibate, all-male priesthood?

Antiquated dictims? Whose calendar are we on? A little chronological snobbery here. Once again, a clueless pundit demands the Church commit idolatry and bend the knee before Father Time and Dr. Zeitgeist.

Or is it finally time for a public reckoning? Should they demand that the Vatican, which has been shrugging off the pedophilia crisis and rejecting reforms that could alleviate it, admit its failings and step into the modern world?

Yes! Storm the barricades of the Vatican! Demand—um... excuse me but wasn't it the bishops of the "American Church" who have been shrugging off everything until this scandal bit them in the ass, so as not to "offend" the likes of Ms. Dowd, who demanded the sin status of all their favorite sex-related practices be repealed so they could sin with the Church's blessing? What is it now, Maureen, are you for norms or against them? Make up your mind.

The leftists like Ms. Dowd have attacked the Vatican for decades as mean and rotten because the Vatican has been trying to get the AmBishops to enforce the norms that are already there!

Yes, step in to the paradise of the liberal modern world where mothers proudly kill their children in the womb as a blow for freedom and independence, where marriages break up, and contraceptives age a woman's cervix two years for every year she's on the pill. Duh! Wake up Vatican! Look at all the fun you're missing!

The Blessed Sacrament newsletter shows how far parishioners have already traveled from the medieval tenets of Rome. There are announcements for meetings of "Separated and Divorced Catholics" and for "Always Our Children," a group for parents of lesbians and gays.

Yeah. It's called "Progressive!" Down with Medieval tenets that save lives and souls! We're grown-ups in America! Preach it sister!


Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Bettnet - The Bett Place on the Internet

A big thanks to my old pal and editor at Franciscan University Dom Bettinelli for his kind words in his post of Saturday, May 11.

The feeling is mutual, Dom. God bless you!

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Nuns Hope Abuse Scandal Brings Extensive Reform

Oh Sister... really...
(She must belong to the same order as Sister Mary Bill Keller See posting on him below.)

From The LA Times:

... In addition, these nuns are calling for more open discussions about sexual ethics in the church.

"The theology of human sexuality is woefully underdeveloped in the Roman Catholic Church," said Sister Kathleen Pruitt of Seattle, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. While forbidden to marry, nuns tend to be better educated than priests in the field of human sexuality because their professional training requires it, said Pruitt, a sister of St. Joseph of Peace.

Sister Pruitt, we've had this new Pope now for almost 24 years. Maybe you haven't heard, but one of the things he will go down in history for is developing a beautiful, magnificent theology of human sexuality called the Theology of the Body. He's the Vicar of Christ. Have you heard of him? Or have you been reading Eugene Kennedy and Joan Chissiter for the last quarter century?


Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Gehen sie nach Deutschland für Katholica Kultur!

My friend John Haas, founder of the International Institute for Culture, reknowned moral theologian and all around man of astounding energy, still has slots available for his seminar in Eichstätt, Bavaria, Germany. I had the privlege of attending this three week seminar in June/July 2000. It was an astounding experience and great adventure. How does this sound: 7:30 a.m. Mass, (in a rococo chapel) 8:30 Fruschtig (Breakfast) 9 a.m. till 2 p.m., class (no exams) with a lunch break and then the rest of the day to go exploring in this ancient Catholic university town in the Altmül valley. Your colleagues in the seminar are about 30 orthodox Catholics of both sexes and all ages and the seminars are taught by world class theologians, philosophers, and devout Catholic professors of many disciplines. For example, the great Josef Pieper used to be a regular before his death.

You can row boats on the Altmül, swim in the municiple pool, hike, wander, wonder and pray. There is a trip to Prauge, and a trip to a monestary on the banks of the Danube where the monks make their living making and selling beer. (Sigh.) In fact, at this monestary, they have an outdoor resturaunt where they serve the brew. From this plaza through a window you can see a two-story stainless steel beer vat with a crest on it that said "Ad Jesuem per Mariam"

What more can I say? Is this Catholic Culture or what?

This year's theme for the seminar is the Christian Imagination with a focus on Tolkien, Lewis, Chesterton, etc... I have not done this great thing justice. Go to the IIC Website and taste for yourself. (I have to go get a beer... Dunkle Brau...) *Sigh* I want to go again...


Sexual abuse by...nuns?



Monday, May 13, 2002

A new and important voice in the Catholic blogger world is that of Fr. Bob Carr. Fr. Carr is the rector of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, yes Boston. He obviously has an "inside view" of some of the goings on there in my original home diocese. I have a friend active in the cathedral parish who reports that the mobs of protesters that show up on Sunday morning can be real ugly. Perhaps I'm getting old, but I find I have little use for mobs who can;t find more effective ways of making their point than yelling slogans.

I'm not speaking about victims of clerical abuse who have been stonewalled by bishops, but those using the victims as pawns in pushing their anti-Catholic agendas.

Anyway I'm sure Fr. Carr's blog can add some light and would be worth a visit.

Here is a sample:

From the Middle of the Storm I read on Amy Welborn's In Between Naps complaints by one of her readers of a priest who does things his way. He complains at the end of the mass against the rules of the hierarchy that tell him that what he just did during mass was not permitted. (Allow a lay person to preach instead of him.)Yet, he did it anyway and made a public show of it. What part of red flag do we not understand? It is not our job to disregard our tradition in the name of our own ideas.

Priesthood has as its occupational hazard the ability to make the ministry "All about me." When that happens we are no longer effective as priests. Obedience to the tradition of the Church is on the road to holiness. That does not mean lockstep obedience nor obedience to any immoral decisions. It means a holy obedience that sees 2000 years of Church tradition as being smarter than I am. "Tradition," said Chesterton, "is the democracy of the dead."

That parish has a problem. Priests who convince people that they are messiahs and that the parishioners should listen to them instead of the Church are dangerous. I am NOT saying that this man is a pedophile, by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, it is a warning sign that this priest can easily lead people astray, if they follow him. If this crisis teaches us anything, it is that we all must relearn the ancient practice of discernment.

That is the view from The Middle of the Storm


Thank you President Bush!

Good news from C-Fam (The Catholic Family & Human Rights Instute) at the UN:

May 13, 2002


UNITED NATIONS — Coming under heavy pressure from the European Union and some pro-abortion Latin American delegations, the Bush Administration, along with the Holy See and various Muslim states, stopped efforts to include the right to abortion in the final document produced at the UN Child Summit, which ended late Friday night.

"The Bush administration, and the Holy See were attacked in the liberal newspapers all over the world for standing against abortion for children," said Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM). "The US, the Holy See and various Muslim states drew a line in the sand against abortion a year ago and no matter what they never wavered from their commitment to life and family."

More than 180 UN delegations labored for more than a year to finish a document meant to advance protection for children around the world. UN documents are occasion for UN radicals to advance their controversial agenda including abortion but also redefinitions of the family.

The European Union was able to keep language in the document promoting
"various forms of the family," which includes homosexual couples. The Bush administration made its opposition to this known in its speech to the UN General Assembly late Friday night in which they pointedly left homosexual couples out of their definition of the family. The US statement said, "As regards the phrase 'various forms of the family exist,' the United States understands this to include single parents and extended families."

"Pro-family conservatives are rightly proud of the Bush administration and the Holy See for defending life and family at this vitally important Summit. They came under severe attack but held firm," said Austin Ruse.

"We owe them a debt of gratitude."


Headquartered close to the UN, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute is the only pro-family group working exclusively on UN matters.


To subscribe to C-Fam's weekly update, send an email to Catholic Family & Human Rights Instute. Tell them Mallon's Media Watch sent you!


Sunday, May 12, 2002


If anyone is trying to email me and I haven't gotten back to you, bear with me, I upgraded my hard drive and have had some glitches. (And if anyone knows where Outlook Express 5.01 for Mac stores folders, address books, etc, please email me here!)



Faithful Witness

I received this today from a gentleman who offers a website for faithful Catholics who experience same sex attractions. These people are really heroes, and for the most part unsung heroes. He didn't ask me to withold his name, but since I didn't see it during a quick look at his site, I thought it prudent. God bless you sir.

Dear Mr. Mallon,

I just saw your interesting blog journal. As a Catholic who experiences same sex attraction and who endeavors to live chastely in accordance with Church's teachings, I myself felt that the voice of the faithful were not being heard in the area of homosexuality. I therefore prepared a website on the issue that you might find interesting, here .

God bless,

(Name Withheld)