Michael Cook

Michael Cook likes bad puns, bushwalking and black coffee. He did a BA at Harvard University in the US where it was good for networking, but moved to Sydney where it wasn’t. He also did a PhD on an obscure corner of Australian literature. He has worked as a book editor and magazine editor and has published articles in magazines and newspapers in the US, the UK and Australia. Currently he is the editor of BioEdge, a newsletter about bioethics, and MercatorNet. He also writes a bioethics column for Australasian Science and contributes occasional op-ed pieces to newspapers and websites in the US, UK and Australia.


Pope's comments on condoms launch controversy

Michael Cook | 22 Nov 2010
Well, I’m glad that I am not handling Vatican public relations. Here’s a curly one about condoms from Joseph Ratzinger speaking as a private individual, and not as “The Vatican”, or “The Holy Father”. Understandably, it is difficult to separate the two, which is why we have a controversy. See Jack Valero, of Catholic Voices, a UK group, attempting to explain it to the BBC in the YouTube video above.


The bad news from Brussels goes back a long way

Michael Cook | 20 Jul 2010
Sometimes I am glad that I cannot read other languages fluently. It insulates you from some pretty nasty stuff. But this news in the Brussels Journal should have emerged in the English-speaking world long ago because it helps to explain why the Catholic Church in Belgium has been racked by scandal in recent weeks.


La donna non e mobile

Michael Cook | 3 Jun 2010
The earthquake of scandal has passed; it is now the season of aftershocks. These range from painfully unsettling to tragicomic. In the latter category belongs an open letter to the Pope from concubines of Italian priests who demand an end to priestly celibacy.


At last, all the facts between two covers

Michael Cook | 2 Jun 2010
Getting there firstest with the mostest is the way to win wars, according to Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. A couple of Catholic journalists for Our Sunday Visitor, Gregory Erlandson and Matthew Bunson, have taken this to heart and rushed to press with a crisp, clear account of the recent turmoil in the Catholic Church.


Balloons and banners

Michael Cook | 18 May 2010
Here's a video of the vast crowd gathered to support the Pope on Sunday. “It’s great to see this multitude of people in St. Peter’s Square, as it was to see so many people in Fatima, praying at the Shrine for the conversion of hearts,” he told them. He also had a more sombre message. Christians should fear sin, not the world: “The true enemy to fear and fight against is sin, the spiritual evil that unfortunately sometimes infects even members of the Church.”


Crowd fills St Peter’s Square to support Pope

Michael Cook | 17 May 2010
A crowd of 150,000 filled St Peter’s Square on Sunday to support Pope Benedict XVI in the midst of the clerical sex abuse scandal. The Pope said that he appreciated this "beautiful and spontaneous show of faith and solidarity" and again denounced what he called the "sin" that has infected the church and needs to be purified, a theme in his addresses which has become stronger in recent weeks.


Confusion in Vienna

Michael Cook | 14 May 2010
Like any major international news story which develops in languages which are not English, information about developments in the sex abuse scandal tend to be partial, fragmentary and confusing. This is what happened to Vienna's Cardinal Christoph Schönborn when he spoke to the press recently.


Layers of meaning

Michael Cook | 12 May 2010
I have a suggestion. Send the Vaticanistas on a crash course in literary criticism. It seems to me that they need to tease apart the different layers of what the subtle mind of Benedict XVI is trying to communicate.


Weigel: "faithful and holy priests don't abuse young people"

Michael Cook | 12 May 2010
Catholic historian George Weigel makes some interesting points in an interview with Canada’s National Post (May 10). First, on how to fix the mess. The answer is not dropping celibacy or updating the Church’s views on sexuality:


Cardinals bicker over scandal fallout

Michael Cook | 10 May 2010
Confusing news reports are giving the impression that the Vatican’s top brass are at war with each other over the sex abuse scandal. It was widely reported that Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, of Vienna, had openly attacked the Vatican’s former secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

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