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

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On the Culture
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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The long, hot Summer culture

Tensions boiled over in Charlottesville, Virginia last week during an unlikely white supremacist rally in what most think is a quiet and cultured university town. Almost nobody seems to understand what is at stake here, so I guess a Catholic voice had to emerge sooner or later. See my latest On...

Charlottesville without Natural Law

Almost nobody knows the problem that lies at the heart of the recent unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia. For those who have not followed the action, white supremacists held a rally there which led to widespread outrage, the escalation of rhetoric, and some violence. President Trump is facing near...

Agonizing Moral Restraint

Dialog includes bombast, and it tends to grab attention. Historically our politicians and generals certainly have put the “bomb” in “bombastic.” In response to North Korean nuclear threats to our country, President Trump warned, “North Korea best not make any more...

Spiritual Questions, Spiritual Lessons

As everyone knows by now, in CatholicCulture land Wednesday is the day for Tuesday's Insights message if Tuesday was a Holy Day of Obligation—in this case the Solemnity of the Assumption. We do have new material worth highlighting. For example, Thomas V. Mirus calls our attention to...

Taking Scripture to heart: Joshua’s great lesson

The Scriptural book of Joshua, which immediately follows the Pentateuch and begins to recount Jewish history after Moses, is typically remembered for a few dramatic moments. The book recounts the stopping of the waters of the Jordan River so that the people could cross into the promised...

Why didn’t Vatican act sooner on euthanasia in Belgian Catholic hospitals?

At the beginning of May, the Brothers of Charity announced that they would allow euthanasia at their psychiatric hospitals in Belgium. At the beginning of August the Vatican ordered them to reverse that policy. Why did it take so long? Why were fifteen Catholic hospitals on record for three...

Pope Francis must speak out on Venezuela

Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro is forcing the question: Will Pope Francis take a clear public stand in opposition to a leftist leader who styles himself as a populist? For years Maduro and his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez, have used the Catholic bishops of Venezuela as their...

Dangerous ideas at Google and the pain of Jordan Peterson

In June, Stephanie Gray was invited to Google HQ and gave just about the best pro-life talk I’ve heard, “Abortion: From Controversy to Civility”. Gray uses the Socratic method, drawing out the traits people admire in those who inspire them, and then showing how the traits admired...

Quick Hits: Papal prayer intention for artists, cultural appropriation and more

Pope Francis’s prayer intention for August is for artists, so let’s pray for artists and give the arts our attention and support in a special way this month: The Catholic Creatives group has just announced 8beats, “an 8-part anthology film exploring the collision of the...

New ways to build solidarity between laity and clergy?

This week I am raising what I hope is an important question, but without knowing the precise solution. I'll be very interested in your thoughts. See Our bishops and priests need direct support and protection. Can we supply it? I should also mention that we have several staff either on...

Our bishops and priests need direct support and protection. Can we supply it?

Today’s news makes one wonder whether the time has come for lay guards for bishops and priests. In Cameroon, Msgr. Joseph Akonga Essombahe has claimed that Bishop Jean Marie Benoit of Bafia was murdered because he opposed homosexuals in the clergy. In Nigeria, gunmen burst into a Catholic...

Music and the Way of Beauty to God

This week CatholicCulture.org expands its coverage of the arts, which are integral to the qVia Pulchritudinis, the Way of Beauty as a path to God. Thomas V. Mirus interviews a notable Catholic musician who offers his art for the glory of God. See Uncaging The Nightingale: The Mark Christopher...

Complaining? It’s a question of Providence.

When we are children we tend to complain incessantly. We are bored or hungry or don’t like how we’re being treated. Often we are so focused on some desire (such as “electronics time”, not that this was a problem when I was a kid) that we cannot even consider doing anything...

Uncaging The Nightingale: The Mark Christopher Brandt interview

The Nightingale, released last month, is the latest album and compositional project by Mark Christopher Brandt. It’s a 49-minute-long programmatic suite, inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen story by the same name, and a truly beautiful and impressive work of art. The album seamlessly...

Vatican document suggests excommunication for some Catholic politicians

This week the Vatican launched an international campaign against corruption and organized crime. Well, that’s not quite right. This week the Vatican announced the campaign; it will actually be launched in September. So we don’t know exactly what it will be. If you read the full...

Quick Hits: religious freedom and the limits of politics; the priest as a man set apart

In an excellent National Review article, Ryan Anderson explains why the political battle over same-sex marriage will continue—with dangerous implications for religious liberty—even though according to conventional wisdom the issue has been decided. All fifty US states now recognize...

Another example of confusion in the terminology of ‘brain-death’

The Mexico City archdiocese gives us the sad news that Father José Miguel Machorro, who was stabbed by an assailant on the altar after celebrating Mass in May, has died. May he rest in peace. While I mourn the priest’s death, however, I can’t help noticing the awkward form of the archdiocesan...

Borrowed Time?

Fr. Jerry Pokorsky reminds us this week that we are all Living on Borrowed Time. It's a good reminder of the importance of thinking about things properly. Speaking of which, in my latest On the Culture commentary, I examine distinctions that ought to be very important not only to the US...

Sex vs. Sexual Orientation; Prejudice vs. Discrimination

The Justice Department is now arguing that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. What a difference the President makes to the Justice Department’s conception of law! This is one of those...

Quick Hits: ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ Catholics; harsh rhetoric and divisiveness

Readers occasionally complain about the use of the terms “liberal” and “conservative” to identify different perspectives within the Catholic Church. Although we use the terms ourselves sometimes, as a quick way to identify schools of thought, we acknowledge that it is...

Living on Borrowed Time

In our day there are many medical “miracles.” As we grow older, we experience medical issues that are now routinely and successfully treated whereas they could have taken our lives a century ago. So we are cured and live to see another day—or many more years. But in fact, with...

The importance of doing God's will

We seem to live in an age in which even many Catholics constantly advocate love without any reference to what love entails. This reduces love to whatever behavior our culture perceives as nice. But Catholics ought to know better. For one thing, the Biblical Book of Deuteronomy reveals just how...

Quick Hits: Collegiality or resistance; from ‘field hospital’ to long-term care

Over on The Catholic Thing, Father Mark Pilon has two interesting perspectives on the argument—put forward recently in L’Osservatore Romano—that the world’s bishops and priests are the “main obstacle” the reforms planned by Pope Francis. First, he notes...

On the importance of doing God’s will (contra mundum)

I’ve joked several times about how hard it is to slog through the legal/ritual books of the Pentateuch: Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. But these do contain a number of dramatic historical episodes, from plagues to wars, including acts of both cowardice and courage—from going...

Reading between the lines

This week both Phil Lawler and I are, in different ways, recommending that we make a point of reading between the lines. We don't wish to encourage unjustified conclusions, but it is important to recognize the rhetorical devices used by those who would weaken our faith. That's the...

Benedict XVI is silent, but we all know what he thinks

When Pope-emeritus Benedict praised the late Cardinal Joachim Meisner for maintaining his faith in the Church “even if at times the ship is almost filled to the point of shipwreck,” many readers thought he was referring to the state of Catholicism under Pope Francis. Was...

L’Osservatore Romano’s latest gambit: Preferring culture to truth?

To avoid choking, one can only smile at the latest essay in L’Osservatore Romano which claims that Pope Francis’s plan for renewal is accepted by the “people” but resisted by “priests and bishops”. Typical of Vatican periodicals during this pontificate, the...

Missing Link!

It really is unlikely, I suppose, that I am the missing link between apes and men. But there was a missing link in yesterday’s Insights message. Here is the proper link to the first of Phil Lawler’s commentaries mentioned there: A partisan vision at the Vatican? Further thoughts...

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