Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

All Commentary

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

Commentary Sections

To view posts by section, make a selection.

On the Culture

Commentary and reflection on Catholic life and ideas by Dr. Jeff Mirus, President of CatholicCulture.org.

On the News

Catholic commentary and analysis on contemporary events and trends by Phil Lawler, Director of Catholic World News.

In Depth Analysis

Extended commentary and thoughtful Catholic essays on complex topics.

The City Gates

Brief, off-the-cuff, and sometimes light-hearted Catholic commentary, observations and announcements.

Church Fathers: The Other Greek Apologists by Thomas Van in "In Depth Analysis" - Sunday

We know the names and some of the works of several other second century Greek Christian writers besides those covered in the preceding two installments. Though all of these explained and defended the Faith as did St. Justin Martyr, either they were writers of lesser power and reliability or their...

Mysteries, again and again! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Friday

The Vatican has completed its doctrinal assessment and the implementation of required changes for the American Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The fact that this ended on a positive note is a surprising mystery, as Phil Lawler points out in The Vatican says the LCWR is acting...

Tips for getting comfortable with evangelization by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Friday

Sophia Institute Press has hit the spot again with a new and very straightforward book on how we can make ourselves more comfortable with the task of spreading the Gospel. The author, Shaun McAfee, is a convert who currently serves as Director of Marketing and Content for Holy Apostles College and...

The Shroud of Turin on Display (and an odd canonical case against it) by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Thursday

“Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is contradicted…that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.” These are the words of Simeon when he encountered Mary and Joseph presenting the child Jesus to the Lord in the Temple...

The Vatican says the LCWR is acting Catholic. And that's news. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Thursday

“We learned that what we hold in common is much greater than any of our differences.” That comment did not come from a Presbyterian cleric after a Saturday-afternoon ecumenical meeting. It was made by a leading representative of American Catholic women’s religious orders, at...

The Truth about the Armenian Genocide by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Wednesday

Turkish politicians are angry with Pope Francis for memorializing the Armenian genocide when he proclaimed the first Armenian doctor of the Church. The Pope had also lamented the genocide when he met with Armenian bishops a few days earlier. As a matter of policy, the Turkish government refuses...

Piano improvisations, chamber music, Irish dances: Catholic musician Mark Christopher Brandt presses forward by Thomas Van in "On the Culture" - Wednesday

Catholic pianist and composer Mark Christopher Brandt has had a productive year—the busiest in his career so far. Back in March 2014, he released Round Trip, an album of duets with guitarist Dan Leonard. Several months later came December Moment, his jazz trio’s Christmas...

Anomalies in the News? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Apr 14

So many news stories today seem to involve a basic misperception of reality. This disconnect might be evident in the persons the story is about, or in the tenor of the coverage. The disconnect grows, I think, in direct proportion to the denial of ultimate meaning in our culture. Anyway, I...

Buenos Aires, Moscow, the Vatican, and Baghdad: News without change? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 14

If our age is characterized by anything at all, I’ll lay money on the conflict between desire and reality. At least this is a major theme in the news over the past few days. Everybody seems to want to latch on to something that isn’t really there. Take for example, the decision by...

Don't call Patricia Jannuzzi's reinstatement a victory by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 14

Do you count it as a victory that Patricia Jannuzzi is back in the classroom? I don’t. It’s a good thing, certainly, that the Catholic-school teacher who was suspended for her Facebook criticism of homosexual activists has been reinstated. I’m happy for her, and for the

A String of Easters by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Apr 10

You probably know that the Church considers each day of the Octave of Easter to be another Easter. Therefore, any penitential act you would ordinarily perform on Friday would not be performed today. Enjoy this wonderful season! I've been on a reduced schedule this week, but we do have three new...

Debunking bad history: Wolf Hall and the flat-earthers by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - Apr 10

The acclaimed BBC miniseries Wolf Hall made its American debut this weekend. The historical drama about the political machinations surrounding Henry VIII’s divorce of his first wife and marriage of his second is, by all accounts, well-made, but has come in for some criticism for falsifying...

Misunderstanding Pope Francis: the secular outlook and the scandal of the Cross by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 9

Back in March , Pope Francis told visiting bishops from Bosnia-Herzegovina that the Church “cannot stay closed within its traditions, noble though they may be.” He went on: “It must come out of its 'enclosure', firm in faith, supported by prayer and encouraged by pastors, to live and announce the...

Christian Meaning and Divine Providence by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 9

In my series on the importance of “meaning” to evangelization, I’ve already covered (a) the crisis of meaning in modern culture; (b) the natural thirst we have for meaning; (c) the methods proper to the human person for finding meaning; and (c) the special claim of Christianity...

Easter Arrives, Easter Continues by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Apr 7

Our selectively sympathetic and eminently predictable President Obama remained true to form in his address at the Easter prayer breakfast, choosing to use it to bash imperfect (by his lights) Christians: President Obama raps 'less than loving' Christians. Nonetheless, we have a number of...

Holiness: Purging the evil from our midst by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 7

During Lent I read again the classic “boring” books of the Bible: Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Of the five books that are attributed to Moses (the Pentateuch, including Genesis and Exodus), these are the ones which emphasize regulatory laws and liturgical rubrics. They are, I...

Conor Friedersdorf is killing it on religious freedom by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - Apr 3

I remember taking note of Atlantic writer Conor Friedersdorf back in 2012, when despite his liberalism he refused to vote for Obama because of the President’s assault on civil liberties and his murder of innocent kids (and American citizens!) with drone strikes. After a while, I forgot...

The first steps toward liturgical renewal by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 1

Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan, has emerged as a champion of the traditional liturgy. But you don’t need to be a traditionalist to appreciate his list of ten steps to liturgical renewal, presented during a recent talk in Washington, DC. Personally, I would make his...

Boycott Apple? No; the effort is doomed to fail. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 1

Amid the furor over Indiana's religious-freedom law, the expressions of outrage by self-righteous liberal moralists, and the threats to boycott the state, I hear rumblings about a counter-boycott. If Apple Computer is going to boycott a state that respects religious freedom, should religious...

Church Fathers: St. Justin Martyr by Thomas Van in "In Depth Analysis" - Mar 31

St. Justin Martyr, generally considered the most important of the Greek apologists, was born between 100 and 110, the son of a pagan Priscus in Flavia Neapolis, Palestine. Justin tells us in his own writings that as a young man, he dallied with a few different schools of philosophy, yet found...

Zooming toward Easter by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Mar 31

In theory, my very dear friends, it is not too late to make this a good Lent. Better souls than you and I have dug in at the last minute! Before we get to Holy Week, however, we do have some less devotional commentary. Late last Friday, Phil Lawler offered his latest round of Insights on the...

Why homosexuals need not worry over the Indiana law by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 31

It’s fashionable this week to hyperventilate about Indiana’s new law protecting religious freedom. So it was refreshing to see a reasonable, sane assessment in an AP piece that began: Religious freedom laws like the one causing an uproar in Indiana have never been successfully used...

Cardinal Marx’s Devastating Misconception of the Church by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 31

Cardinal Reinhard Marx’s unfortunate assertion that the German bishops “cannot wait for a Synod” to approve Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics has drawn severe criticism from two other German cardinals. Clearly, there are significant divisions within the German...

Insights on the enigma that is Pope Francis by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 27

Two years after his election, millions of Catholics are still trying to understand Pope Francis. Two recent essays have provided useful perspectives: Writing for Crisis, Msgr. Hans Feichtinger, a priest of the Diocese of Passau, Germany, makes the important point that Pope Francis is not, like...

Our Most Characteristic Vice? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Mar 27

I am grateful for the tremendous support we have received over the past week. Now we need just $2,000 more by the end of March to meet those critical bills that have cast a shadow over our future. If you haven't yet, please help now! Our eleventh-hour needs bring to mind one of the most serious...

Recognizing the Noonday Devil by Thomas Van in "On the Culture" - Mar 27

If you had to guess the characteristic vice of our age, what would you pick? Some might say lust, and that’s certainly a big one, but it doesn’t seem to get to the root of the problem. The safe choice, perhaps, would be pride. It’s certainly true, but the same could be said of...

Patricia Jannuzzi on gay activists: And the real problem is? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 27

Anne Hendershott wrote a pretty good column on the Crisis website the other day (A Catholic School Removes Teacher for Defending Faith). She rightly identifies the excessive backlash (both popular and official) against Catholic priests, religious and teachers who put a foot wrong on the question...

Surrogate parenthood = exploitation of desperate women by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 27

Elle (“The Body”) Macpherson is expecting a baby, the tabloids tell us. The supermodel, who is currently married to a billionaire, is reportedly ready to expand her family. But there’s a problem. Elle Macpherson is now 51 years old: beyond normal child-bearing age. Ah, but...

Scientific Evidence for the Creator by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 26

Back in 2012 I wrote an extensive review of Fr. Robert J. Spitzer’s impressive book, New Proofs for the Existence of God (see Proving God). Spitzer examined both scientific and philosophical proofs, and he did a brilliant job, but his book was not targeted at the casual reader. That’s...

A request for help from our unregistered followers by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 25

CatholicCulture.org faces an unusual challenge this month. We have critical bills that will cripple our apostolate if they are not met by March 31st. But we find ourselves $8,000 short of being able to meet those expenses. Those who interact with us primarily through social media are generally...

Catholic movie watching is more important than watching Catholic movies by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - Mar 25

America magazine has published an interview with Catholic film critic Steven Greydanus. Greydanus, now a candidate for the permanent diaconate in the Archdiocese of Newark, writes for the National Catholic Register and 

Cardinal Kasper: Will flattery get him somewhere? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 25

Did you notice the second half of our news story on Cardinal Walter Kasper’s request for prayers? The Cardinal was introducing a new book. Kasper wanted prayers “because a battle is going on”—the battle to shape a position on divorce, remarriage and the Eucharist...

An ecclesiastical battle over Germany by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Mar 24

I hate to begin with a financial worry, but we do have our backs to the wall this month. We are in serious need of $12,000 to pay critical bills. I pray that you can help. Still, I have a job to do. In last Friday's Insights message, I described Pope Francis' personal comments on capital...

Some cardinals may fear blackmail by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 24

Almost exactly a year ago, Robert Mickens was suspended from his post as Vatican correspondent for the London Tablet, after he showed his contempt for Pope Benedict XVI with a Facebook comment that he was looking forward to “the Rat’s funeral.” Usually Mickens was more discreet,...

A blacklist for Catholic universities by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - Mar 24

Earlier this month, almost 400 U.S. corporations filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in favor of same-sex marriage. Since many universities give commencement honors to business leaders every year, the Cardinal Newman Society has released a statement urging Catholic schools not to...

Christianity, Poster Child for the Examined Life? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 24

In my last installment in this series on the relevance of meaning to evangelization, I discussed the importance of self-examination as a counter-weight to human fallibility. I concluded that Christianity has a powerful claim to consideration as a source of meaning precisely because, as I put it,...

The Pope's unconvincing arguments against the death penalty by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 23

Full disclosure: I oppose the use of the death penalty in America today, for prudential reasons that I may explain in another essay. When Pope Francis said execution is always inadmissible, I was not dismayed by his conclusion. But I was dismayed by the logic he used to reach that...

Want more commentary? Visit the Archives.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Church Fathers: The Other Greek Apologists April 19
Mysteries, again and again! April 17
Tips for getting comfortable with evangelization April 17
The Shroud of Turin on Display (and an odd canonical case against it) April 16
The Vatican says the LCWR is acting Catholic. And that's news. April 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope challenges world leaders' silence on persecution of Christians CWN - April 6
Pope outlines plans for the extraordinary jubilee of mercy CWN - April 13
Vatican completes doctrinal assessment of Leadership Conference of Women Religious CWN - April 16