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Quick Hits: Not always what they seem: Deaconesses, Jesuits, Christmas displays

Deaconesses: The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, published an article by Carlo Carletti today which could inadvertently lead even the elect astray (cf. Mt 24:24, Mk 13:22). A professor of archeology, Carletti wrote that Pope Francis’ study of women in the diaconate should...

Two thoughtful critiques of the Pope's approach

"Has Pope Francis Failed?" by Matthews Schmitz is a remarkable little essay, not only because it is persuasively argued, but also because it appears today in, of all places, the New York Times! The fact that the Times would run such a piece is, in a way, evidence for the author's...

Amoris Laetitia in America: The bishops’ joy…and the bishops’ tact

Have you heard the one about the cardinal who asked the various episcopal conferences to comment on the Church’s reception of Amoris Laetitia? The US Bishops responded that bishops and priests around America were delighted and inspired by the Pope's apostolic exhortation, and had already...

Toward a new politics?

It is probably self-evident that if politics is ever to become helpful again, we need a politics which recognizes the family as the first, most basic, and must important unit of society. But in our world, even this basic concept requires a kind of interior conversion to grasp. Here's a...

Living under the dictatorship of relativism: The cornerstone of politics is virtue

Most of us in the so-called “free world” now live under a sort of consistently totalitarian dictatorship. This is exemplified in the United States by President Barack Obama who, as time began to run out for his administration, decided to govern by executive order whenever he could not...

Conflicts coming to a head

As politicians continue to deny Church teaching without censure, and as pastors become even more confused about what they must insist upon and why, the divisions within the Catholic community are becoming even more problematic than they were in the late 20th century. Phil Lawler covers an...

A whiff of schism: when different Catholics hold radically different beliefs

At a Catholic parish in Athy, Ireland, a lesbian couple who resigned from parish ministry after entering a legal marriage has returned to active participation—and to loud applause. So now everyone is welcome in St. Michael’s parish, right? Wrong. Anthony Murphy, the editor of...

Quick Hits: 'must read' posts on support for Humanae Vitae, Catholics in China, Catholic conscience

Three more items to put in the "must read" column: Janet Smith speaks with Catholic World Report about the tremendous positive response to a statement by scholars supporting the Church's teaching on contraception. The tide has turned, she says, and bright young Catholic scholars...

Should we criticize Pope Francis, or not? If so, how?
Part 3: Caveats

In Part 1 of this series, I explained why criticism of Pope Francis has considerable value. In Part 2, I explored a dozen different forms or methods of criticism which can be used in various circumstances, whether to criticize Pope Francis or anyone else. In this final part, I want to call...

Quick Hits: Cosmo lauds virginity, mastery of the tongue, underrated ceilings, the Chancellor and the Bard

(On second thought, maybe I should have used a semicolon.) Astoundingly, the degenerate-by-default Cosmopolitan has published a young woman's article about the beauty of the consecrated life. (Yes, the piece was originally published in Good Housekeeping, but it's still...

YOUCAT and DOCAT: Catholic teaching for teens and young adults

After Pope St. John Paul II promulgated the preliminary French version of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church in the 1992 and the final Latin edition in 1997, the Church mandated that all catechetical materials should be consistent with this new and comprehensive official text. The desire for...

The many sides of Pope Francis

The need for Catholics to get a firm handle on how to respond to the unusual personality of Pope Francis remains great. That's why I've continued my reflections on this question: Should we criticize Pope Francis, or not? If so, how? Part 2. In this same vein, today I jotted A quick note...

A quick note on “doctors of the law”

As every schoolboy knows, certain parties are fond of rebuking others for being “doctors of the law.” Good Catholics, of course, have faced the charge of being Pharisaical ever since Western culture became sufficiently pagan to hold the moral law in disdain. For indeed, most Catholics...

Should we criticize Pope Francis, or not? If so, how?
Part 2: Methods

There is a big difference in the general “atmosphere” as I post this second part of my reflection on the problem of criticizing the pope. I wrote Part 1 just before it became clear that Pope Francis had privately told the bishops of Argentina that they had given his apostolic...

Quick Hits: Questions on Pope's ad-lib reforms, the 'dance' on doctrine, preparing for persecution

Three must-read columns—none terribly optimistic—from the weekend’s harvest: By all accounts, in the conclave of March 2013, Cardinal Bergoglio was chosen by the cardinals to be a reforming Pope: specifically, he had a mandate to bring change to the Roman Curia. Has that...

Quick Hits: press coverage of Islam and violence; police too ignored abuse complaints

The Bridge Initiative is unhappy with the coverage of Islam provided by Catholic World News (among other outlets). In a report on Catholic public attitudes toward Islam, the Bridge Initiative—an initiative of the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at...

Difficult problems to resolve

What a week! The piece I mentioned last Tuesday, defending Pope Francis against the charge of heresy, has drawn considerable fire. Against my personal wishes, I have felt compelled to write more on the issues involved in the Pope's pastoral approach to those who are divorced and remarried...

Papal governance by sleight-of-hand strains my grasp of culpability and Canon Law.

The quarrel over the position I took in “Not heretical: Pope Francis’ approval of the Argentine bishops’ policy on invalid marriages” has prompted both serious rebuttals and catcalls around the web. All of this swirls around the Pope’s pastoral approach to divorce and...

Is Pope Francis deliberately subverting papal teaching authority?

Today the greatest threat to the teaching authority of the Pope is the Pope himself. Pope Francis specializes in unsettling remarks-- most frequently, it seems, during in-flight interviews. But the responsibility of the Roman Pontiff is to settle questions: something that Pope Francis seems...

Quick Hits: Negative feedback on necessary distinctions, papal intentions, and moral complexity

Necessary Distinctions: Recently I have written both to defend the Pope from the charge of heresy and also to insist that his own private interpretation of Amoris Laetitia does not tell us anything about what that act of the Magisterium requires us to believe. Given the distinctions necessary to...

For those who are outraged: Even Pope Francis does not know the proper interpretation of Amoris Laetitia.

Okay, so here’s a gift to all those who were indignant with yesterday’s defense of Pope Francis against the charge of heresy. The gift is this: Pope Francis, writing privately, is not a definitive interpreter of how the Church is to understand his Magisterial statements. The...

‘What? Still at it?’—For Christians, eternity has already begun

Reading In This House of Brede, the beautiful novel by Rumer Godden, I came across this nugget: “There is a story about Newman that I like very much. In his room he had a picture—I think his landlady had given it to him—of the Blessed in Paradise praising God, and every time...

Uh, no, Pope Francis is not a heretic.

There has been something of a furor in Catholic circles since Pope Francis affirmed that the bishops of Argentina were correct in their interpretation of his apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. See our news story: Pope confirms: Amoris Laetitia allows divorced/remarried to receive Communion...

Unlocking the mystery of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Earlier this year, Ignatius Press brought out an English edition of a remarkable coffee-table book entitled Guadalupe Mysteries: Deciphering the Code. Authored by film director Grszegorz Górny and photographer Janusz Rosikoń, the 280-page oversize hardback book is printed in full color on...

Not heretical: Pope Francis’ approval of the Argentine bishops’ policy on invalid marriages

According to news reports, Pope Francis has commended the bishops of Argentina for recognizing that Amoris Laetitia permits Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics in some cases, without benefit of annulment. The result is that some Catholics are now saying that Pope Francis has crossed the...

Ten years later, recognizing the prophetic message of the Regensburg address

Ten years ago today—on September 12, 2006—Pope Benedict XVI delivered his memorable address at Regensburg. The speech drew violent protests from the Islamic world, scolding rebukes from Western political leaders, and even embarrassed demurrals by other Catholic leaders (including...

Quick Hits: Global Catholic population explosion, health unknowns of test-tube babies

If you have been worrying about the declining number of Catholics, the distinguished historian Philip Jenkins has news for you: the universal Church is in the midst of a remarkable growth spurt! In Catholicism’s incredible growth story, Jenkins reports that the worldwide Catholic...

On problems money cannot solve

There are several interesting news stories this week which highlight elements of the battle between the forces of Christ and forces of Satan in the world. Money is not the solution to any of these conflicts: Federal court backs Catholic hospital that did not refer for abortion: A rare...

Stalled Vatican financial reforms could hurt cause of evangelization

The Wall Street Journal has noticed that the ambitious financial reforms begun under Pope Francis have run out of steam. Reporter Francis X. Rocca notes that the diminished authority of Cardinal George Pell, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, is "a sign that the Vatican's...

Should we criticize Pope Francis, or not? If so, how?
Part 1: Rationale

Over the last thirty days my own criticism of Pope Francis has been more pronounced than usual. Given last week’s extensive criticism of the Pope’s suggestion regarding the works of mercy by both myself and Phil Lawler, it may seem that CatholicCulture.org is in the midst of...

Phyllis Schlafly: telling the truth about woman

If a “feminist” is someone who promotes the dignity of women’s role in society, then unquestionably the most influential American feminist of the late 20th century was the late Phyllis Schlafly. Since the word “feminist” has been hijacked by ideologues, to serve the...

SAINT Mother Teresa

I suspect we all knew this, but it is now official. On Sunday, Pope Francis raised Mother Teresa of Calcutta to the altars, declaring her to be a saint. Here are some resources: News: Pope canonizes Mother Teresa, recalls her commitment to the poor, unborn News: Vatican Secretary of State...

Repentance: A refusal to remain on the peripheries

One of the reasons Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected as Pope Francis is because of the intervention he made at the meetings of cardinals prior to the conclave which elected him. These interventions, which highlighted what each cardinal believed to be the most serious needs of the Church, were...

Actually, Mother Teresa did NOT become a saint on Sunday

Just for the record—to correct the thousands of inaccurate headlines you’ve already seen— the Pope did not make Mother Teresa a saint yesterday. Nor did she become a saint yesterday. She already was a saint. Pope Francis formally declared her to be a saint. Canonization is what you might call...

On Catholicism and environmentalism

Pope Francis made news this week in two ways. First, he created a new dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. He named Cardinal Peter Turkson as president, but—in a rare move—reserved oversight of migrants and refugees to himself. Second, and far more controversially, on...

Why care for the environment shouldn’t make the “works of mercy” list

I promised yesterday (in Catholics and the environment: Too easily misunderstood?) to address Pope Francis’ suggestion that care for the environment (“care for our common home” as he phrased it) should be added to the traditional lists of the corporal and spiritual...

The Pope's shocking statement on the environment

Pope Francis has often surprised, confused, and dismayed me. But nothing that he has said or done thus far in his pontificate has shocked me as much as his Message on World Day of Prayer for Creation. What troubles me about that message is not the Pope’s call for care of the environment....

Catholics and the environment: Too easily misunderstood?

Pope Francis’ suggestion that care for the environment should be considered a work of mercy may not really require any comment. But I have the feeling that many will find this startling or confusing or distressing. If I’m correct, then there is reasonable cause to address the...

Immigration and the Family

In the Book of Genesis, when God created man in his image and ordered man and woman to “be fruitful and multiply,” He implicitly established the family as the foundational social unit. Communities, cities, and nations subsequently have been built upon that basic structure and share in...

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