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Expert commentary on the spiritual, moral, political, social, cultural, and ecclesiastical issues facing Catholics today.

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Commentary and reflection on Catholic life and ideas.

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Analysis of news events and trends.

In Depth Analysis
Extended commentary and thoughtful Catholic essays on complex topics.

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Brief, off-the-cuff observations and announcements.

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Book and media reviews.

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Celebrates positive work by Catholic individuals and organizations.

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A pastoral crisis the Church cannot (yet does) ignore

The Archdiocese of Boston has opened a new church. That news drew headline coverage, in a city that has become more accustomed to stories about church closings. To be perfectly honest, the news stories are a bit misleading. There have been a few new churches opened in Boston in the past 60...

Our political bishops

Yesterday CatholicCulture.org published a special report on a matter which has been undermining confidence in the Church for some months now: Internal documents show split within Knights of Malta. It seems like our bishops are becoming increasingly political. Do they ever ask themselves how...

Three Catholic essay collections, useful in different ways

Recently three different collections of essays crossed my desk, from three different publishers. In some ways, these collections remind me of the various ebook volumes of our own collected essays which CatholicCulture.org makes available as free downloads. But such collections are as different as...

Brace yourself; the Pope is taking another overseas flight

Pope Francis flies to Egypt on Friday. In the past faithful Catholics might have offered up a nervous prayer whenever they heard that the Pope was boarding a plane, because they worried about the safety of air travel. Today most of us feel reasonably confident about planes (although a quick...

God's Love and our Response

I'm very happy to announce that we have a Challenge Grant for the Easter Season. Any new gifts given starting today will be matched up to $14,000. Please be generous! Less happily, Phil Lawler has looked into the operations of the St. Luke Institute, which has played a key role in...

This delicate lover: God rarely embraces us by force

In thinking about Our Lord’s passion, death and resurrection this year, I was struck by the extraordinary delicacy of God’s efforts to make us obedient to His will. I don’t mean to say that the crucifixion was particularly “delicate” or that His miracles should have...

The unhappy leadership history of St. Luke’s Institute

There’s irony in the news that a laicized priest, who once ran a counseling center, has agreed to counseling as a condition of his parole. In case you missed the story, Edward Arsenault resigned from his post as head of the St. Luke Institute in Maryland in 2013, after he was charged...

Celebrating the the Easter Octave

Let's keep things positive today, as we continue through the Easter Octave, in which each day is a solemnity. Ignatius Press has published two lengthy interviews with cardinals who are doing great work in high positions in the Curia, even in the midst of considerable confusion. See my...

The Benedict Option—not radical enough

The Benedict Option is the most talked-about book of 2017, at least among religious conservatives. Personally I am pleased with this development, for two reasons. First because I count the author, Rod Dreher, as a friend as well as a gifted controversialist, and I’m happy to see his work...

Cardinals who take up the slack

During a pontificate that is often confusing and even self-contradictory, we are fortunate to have two outstanding cardinals in charge of two key congregations. The Guinean Robert Sarah leads the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and the German Gerhard...

The Duskwhales talk about their new album, Sorrowful Mysteries

All photos courtesy of The Duskwhales. I’ve been a fan of The Duskwhales since their very first show. From the start, their strong melodies and lush, old-school vocal harmonies set them apart from most other contemporary rock and pop artists. Those virtues have only grown since they...

Reflecting on our Easter Faith

We all know that the Church in her members often appears as Christ in a very distressing disguise. We see something of this problem in the very distressing confusion within the Church herself. That's why I've collected over forty of my essays into a new (and free) ebook. See Thinking...

Theological impact of Benedict XVI assessed, on his 90th birthday

As Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI turned 90, two interesting articles appeared to measure his impact on Catholic theology: In the National Catholic Register, Father Raymond de Souza observes that the retired Pope—who was baptized at the Easter vigil on the very day of his birth—has...

Thinking like a Catholic: Seeking Clarity in the Current Confusion

In March I began sifting back through all of the essays I had written on CatholicCulture.org since we last released any of my writings in ebook form, in 2014. Whether others will agree or not, it seemed to me that forty-seven of them were still highly relevant, and perhaps sufficiently...

Rising on Easter

Our staff will be on a reduced schedule from Holy Thursday through much of Easter week, in keeping with the most important spiritual and familial priorities. Note also that there will be no Insights message on Good Friday. During Holy Week, I believe Fr. Jerry Pokorsky would like us to...

Scripture is all about connections

One of the most important aspects of Sacred Scripture is the uncanny ability of the far older texts of the Old Testament to point to the Our Lord and His salvific mission as recounted in the New Testament. When we consider that the books of the Old Testament were drafted between a hundred and a...

I Don’t Want to Die

We’ve heard it countless times: “The safety of our [fill in the blanks] is our highest priority.” So various safety programs are put into place, with policies, procedures, and protocols—mostly burdening everyone except the perpetrators. A fire drill, in contrast, is a...

Up next: Holy Week

Please do not lose sight of the fact that this Sunday is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. For this current week, however, we still have some important topics to cover. For example, Phil Lawler has been probing behind the news, and on some points he is not satisfied. See

Easter volume released for this liturgical year

Easter falls on April 16th this year, and so the Easter volume of our ebook series for the 2016-2017 liturgical year has been released in our ebooks download area. This fourth volume in the annual series covers the entire Easter season, from the Easter Vigil (April 15th) through Pentecost (June...

The marriage game: Musical beds, musical faiths, and no emphasis on fidelity

One of the main emphases of Pope Francis over the past two or three years—and therefore of CatholicCulture.org—has been the problem of marriage in the modern world. This is, of course, intimately connected with the family, and it is no surprise that the high rate of marital breakdowns...

The Magdala Apostolate

At CatholicCulture.org we are enthusiastic supporters of the similarly-named Institute for Catholic Culture, which provides outstanding lectures at the Church of St. John the Beloved in McLean, Virginia (these lectures are also live-streamed and archived at the Institute’s website). Now the...

Reading the news between the lines

For someone who covers the news every day, it’s frustrating to read a story and know that important information has been left out. In such cases, when I have no good way to dig out the missing details for myself, I’m left with the uneasy feeling that I don’t know the real truth;...

The SSPX: Almost reconciled?

Considering how often Pope Francis denounces “rigidity”, it is odd that he is moving so rapidly to regularize the Society of St. Pius X. You will remember that Pope Francis gave faculties to SSPX priests to hear confessions during the Jubilee of Mercy. Then, yesterday, he...

Obstacles to “Rightsizing” the Church

“This refusal to demand a desire for transformation in Christ cannot continue to be the way of the Church in our time. Her members must learn again to exclude those who refuse to respond to God’s mercy, lest these make a mire of the Gospel, polluting the work of God at its...

The (spiritually) rich get richer...

Good friends of ours lost a brother to cancer recently. Since they’re from a very big and very Catholic family, the internet has been buzzing with requests for, and promises of, prayers for the dying man and the grieving family. I never met the brother, but from all I’ve heard he...

Theologians

Those of us in the business know that the egos of some theologians—from the ancient Gnostics to the professional dissidents of our time—tower over Catholic doctrine. So it was refreshing to hear a very prominent theologian remark years ago, “The Church teaches doctrine, not...

Quick Hits: Lenten viewing, Feser on libertarianism, the religious roots of jazz

Martin Scorsese’s Silence is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD. Based on the classic novel by Shusaku Endo, Silence tells the story of two Portuguese Jesuit missionaries whose faith is tested by persecutions in feudal Japan. I can’t vouch for whatever extras may be on the DVD, but as I...

A tale of two cardinals

Please note: This is the last day to meet our budget for March. We are about $1,000 short. If you can help, please do! Onward. Phil Lawler offers us a tale of two cardinals in his two most recent brief commentaries: Do. Not. Miss. This speech by Cardinal...

The bishops and moral pragmatism, with immigration as a case study

Phil Lawler made an important point in What Trump’s success should teach Church leaders. He highlighted the damage that is done when bishops appear to foreclose complex prudential discussion by repeating platitudes. As two excellent examples, Phil chose Trump’s wall and Islamic...

Do. Not. Miss. This speech by Cardinal Sarah

If you have time to read just one article over the weekend, here’s what it should be: Cardinal Sarah’s Address on 10th Anniversary of “Summorum Pontificum” Catholic World Report has done a great service by posting this address in its entirety, in an excellent English...

Cardinal Turkson sees China as model for environmentalism. Seriously?

Cardinal Peter Turkson has suggested—apparently with a straight face—that when it comes to protecting the environment, the US might look to China for leadership. This astonishing statement came during a meeting with reporters, at which the prefect of the Vatican’s new dicastery...

What Trump’s success should teach Church leaders

Donald Trump is in the White House today, for better or worse*, because he dared to address two hot topics that other leading politicians had assiduously avoided: immigration and militant Islam. American voters were looking for a leader, and leadership involves the willingness to confront tough...

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