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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...

Advocates of secularization

This message may have an odd title, but that's my beneath-the-surface take on the Spadaro debacle and what it reveals about the unfortunate pontificate of the current pope. When a Vatican leader and the Pope's principal advisor rants against serious Christians and consistently uses the...

Quick Hits: Vatican trial’s intrigue; the archbishop as bystander

Having spent many years covering Vatican affairs, John Allen writes with authority when he reports that the Vatican press corps is not accustomed to handling criminal trials. However he remarks—and goes on to demonstrate—that a Vatican trial can have its own special sort of intrigue....

I’m right; you’re wrong: the Spadaro-Figueroa approach

Marcelo Figueroa—the co-author, with Father Antonio Spadaro, of that astonishing Civilta Cattolica essay—is not dismayed the critique offered by Archbishop Charles Chaput. On the contrary, he tweets: “Esto me confirma que...

A partisan vision at the Vatican? Further thoughts on that Civilta Cattolica essay

A week after the appearance of the Spadaro-Figueroa rant against American conservatives, I am still shaking my head with disbelief, wondering how a semi-official Vatican journal could have published such a harshly partisan and grossly misinformed analysis of American politics. I am not...

Keeping the Faith, in everything

Better late than never! After an unproductive day trying to program something new, I'll have to keep today's (tonight's?) Insights message brief.... But we do have several new things which are worthy of note, beginning with Fr. Jerry Pokorsky's homiletic essay on the vital...

Quick Hits: Catholicism in the movies

I’ve long appreciated the movies of Joel and Ethan Coen, and finally got around to viewing their most recent, Hail, Caesar! The film is already among my favorites by the brothers—it’s one of their most warmhearted, a humorous portrayal of a Hollywood studio in the 1950s. I...

Making sense of the Old Testament God

In Priestly Atonement, by the Numbers, when I mentioned the apparently harsh measures (such as plagues) which God took to make sure the Israelites did His will, I acknowledged how “difficult it may be for us to grasp the importance of teaching the Israelites in this particular way”....

Keeping the Faith

We live in troubled times: times that can challenge our faith. It is wearisome (but necessary because good Christians face reality) to be reminded of the renewal of the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, terrorism, uprisings, wars and rumors of wars and so on. In recent years even the...

Did the Pope himself wonder whether Amoris Laetitia was orthodox?

Pope Francis has referred to Cardinal Christoph Schönborn as the “authoritative interpreter” of Amoris Laetitia. So when the Austrian cardinal spoke to an Irish audience about the controversial papal document, people naturally paid careful attention. According to Austen Ivereigh’s account: ...

Necessary & unnecessary commentary

Sometimes the only thing we can do is state the obvious. Some might consider this unnecessary, but we do hope it helps to prevent confusion. For example, here's a story about another absurd essay in La Civilta Cattolica: Papal advisers lash out at American conservatives,...

Priestly Atonement, by the Numbers

As I continue this excursion through the somewhat trying Biblical books of Leviticus, Numbers and eventually Deuteronomy, one of the most important concepts in Numbers that I’d like to introduce is that of atonement. The idea of atonement is absent in Genesis, makes a slight appearance in...

An ignorant, intemperate Vatican assault on American conservatism

With a harsh denunciation of American conservatism, published in the semi-official Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, the Vatican has plunged headlong into a partisan debate in a society that it clearly does not understand, potentially alienating (or should I say, further alienating) the Americans...

The question Father Martin keeps dodging

In his book Building a Bridge, the popular Jesuit author, Father James Martin, argues for acceptance of homosexuals in the Catholic Church. Remarkably, in a book dedicated to that topic, he manages to avoid the obvious question. So in a trenchant First Things review of the Martin book, Father...

Fact and fiction in Catholic news

Today's theme seems to be the problem of getting at the truth surrounding the actions of key players at the Vatican. Distressingly, many outlets distributed legitimately distressing but also error-ridden stories last week. None of this is pretty, but on Friday Phil Lawler let us know The...

A dead woman kept alive? The story makes no sense, unless...

What’s wrong with this headline? Brain dead pregnant woman, 21, was kept alive for 123 days... Obvious, isn’t it? If she was kept alive, she can’t have been dead. “Alive” and “dead” are not compatible conditions. But when brain-death is involved,...

Avoid despair over Church problems, even those made worse by the Pope.

Over at onepeterfive.com, Maike Hickson reports some (alleged) details surrounding Pope Francis’ decision not to renew the term of Gerhard Cardinal Müller as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Nobody knows whether these details are authentic. Indeed, if you read...

Cardinal Müller’s exit: the official ‘term-limits’ explanation strains credulity

Cardinal Gerhard Müller is understandably unhappy with the way he was dismissed as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. But he insists that he has never been, and will never be, a critic of Pope Francis. He has repeated the official explanation for his removal: that the...

The truth about the Vatican sex-and-drugs scandal

If you’ve been following the news this week, you’ve probably seen sensational reports about a gay-sex-and-cocaine ring at the Vatican. The stories, alas, are true. But the details have been thoroughly garbled in virtually every media report. What actually happened? Last week a...

The best laid plans...

First some housekeeping: I'd like to remind you to check out our new online STORE, which highlights products with Catholic value. Anything you purchase after entering Amazon through the CatholicCulture.org store will earn us 8% of the purchase price. The link takes you directly to the...

Pope Francis and Humanae Vitae: The difference to me

Let us return for a moment to Phil Lawler’s commentary on June 23rd, A papal commission reconsidering Humanae Vitae? No, but…. I was visiting family in California when Phil posted this, but I did want to say something further about what is a very important topic. The points made in...

In Charlie Gard’s case, a basic moral principle: should the state decide?

Behind the complicated medical and legal questions of the Charlie Gard case, there stands one clear moral principle: Loving parents—not hospital administrators, not judges, not government officials—should control the treatment of their children. Should Charlie be removed from his...

Catholic Social Teaching: Rooted in Leviticus?

There is not as much about social justice in Leviticus as there is about sexual morality. Or is there? We ought to be more aware, after all, that sexuality lies at the very root of the social order. This means that sexual morality, including its focus on the family, is pretty much the sine qua non...

Another Vatican ‘reform’ cast in doubt

The timing isn’t perfect, unfortunately, for the Vatican’s offer of free treatment for Charlie Gard at Bambino Gesu Hospital—just after an AP investigative report uncovered serious problems with medical care at the Vatican-run institution. But there is solace in the news that the...

The improbable claims of Cardinal Pell’s accusers

We cannot guarantee that Cardinal George Pell is innocent of all wrongdoing. But we can say with confidence that at least to date, the charges that have been aired against him are extremely unconvincing. Julia Yost makes that case persuasively for First Things in a devastating review of...

Want to understand sexual morality? Read—and grasp—Leviticus.

Leviticus is a Biblical book which only the Mother of God could love, or so it seems at first glance. This book provides the details of the Israelites’ ritual law, the manner of ordinations, the prescribed methods of celebrating the major feasts, distinctions between clean and unclean...

As Cardinal Müller’s term expires, the liturgy offers a reminder

Did you notice? On July 2—the day when Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s term expired a prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—in the Collect for Sunday Mass we prayed “that we may not be wrapped in the darkness of error but always be seen to stand in the...

Quick Hits: Four fallacies that tempt Catholic leaders

The interchangeability fallacy: As an addendum to Wednesday’s commentary (The problem with doctrinal obscurity), allow me to notice that those who tend to favor a very loose approach to Catholic teaching on faith and morals typically place a great deal of weight on what they regard as...

The state-imposed death of Charlie Gard: not just a tragedy but an injustice

Charlie Gard is going to die. His death will be a tragedy, like the death of any young child. He and his parents deserve our prayerful sympathy. But there’s more to this story, and it’s doubly tragic that neither the bishops’ conference of England and Wales nor the Pontifical...

At last Cardinal Pell can—sort of—face his accusers

If you’re surprised by the criminal charges against Cardinal George Pell, you haven’t been paying attention. For two years now the Australian cardinal has been the primary focus of an aggressive media campaign, with rumors about a police investigation constantly leaking into the...

Bishop Paprocki and his critics: someone here is unhinged

Liberal Catholics are badly rattled by Bishop Thomas Paprocki’s decree that Catholics engaged in same-sex marriage cannot receive the sacraments in his Springfield diocese. So badly rattled, in fact, that… The excitable Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter argues...

The problem with doctrinal obscurity

The most important thing I read while on vacation this month was Phil Lawler’s June 23rd commentary, “A papal commission reconsidering Humanae Vitae? No, but...”. This is not because Phil proved anything, but because he raised exactly the right question: What is going on, under...

Two changes to CatholicCulture.org

Over the past ten days we have made two significant changes to CatholicCulture.org which I want you to know about. 1. New CatholicCulture.org Store We have opened a CatholicCulture.org store, which you can enter by clicking the new SHOP option on our main menu. This new STORE takes...

Borrowing trouble?

Back at my desk: I arrived home at about 3:30 am today after visiting family. I've chopped through accumulated mail and overgrown grass. It is time to get going again on CatholicCulture.org. Still, I haven't yet done anything worth noting in today's Insights message. So let me...

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