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All Catholic commentary from January 2018

Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jan 1, 2018

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will. On the first Christmas night, the angels announced these glad tidings to the poor shepherds in the fields surrounding Bethlehem. Since then, Christmastime is cited as the time of peace. It is said because the Son of God came...

Expecting Perfection by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Jan 2, 2018

It’s a charming to consider that Jesus, like any son, carried the physical characteristics of his mother as well as some of her —and Joseph’s—mannerisms. The Incarnation is so wonderfully human, encouraging us to approach Him without fear. As we consider the beauty of the...

What I learned from the Bible on Christmas (or “Why was Zechariah struck dumb?”) by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jan 3, 2018

This year I decided to reread the infancy narratives each day during the Octave of Christmas. I included for this purpose Mt 1:1–2:18; Lk 1:5–2:40; and (abnormally) Jn 1:1-18. (Mark, incidentally, says nothing about Our Lord’s birth.) Surprisingly, by doing this I learned...

Epiphany Home Blessing by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jan 5, 2018

In the Book of Blessings or Roman Ritual, there is a traditional home blessing, usually done on Epiphany or during the Christmas season. I have written a few times about the traditions of Epiphany, including the Diversity of Epiphany, and how our family celebrates Epiphany. This is a...

Christmas to Candlemas: When is the Real End of the Christmas Season? by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jan 7, 2018

This post was originally published in January 2014. It is revised and now includes the 1962 Extraordinary Form dates for Christmas. This post contains tables which may not be easily displayed on mobile devices. The Christmas season ended on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Or did it? It...

Liturgical Year Volume 2 Released: Ordinary Time before Lent by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jan 8, 2018

The second volume of our ebook series for the 2017-2018 liturgical year has been released in our ebooks download area. This volume covers the initial period of Ordinary Time between Christmas and Lent, from January 9th through February 13th. It may be downloaded free of charge in the following...

Quick Hits: the Pope’s mysterious ties with the Jesuits; inching toward ad orientem by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jan 8, 2018

Naturally it caught my attention that Sandro Magister of L’Espresso began his latest column with a reference to my book, Lost Shepherd, which will be on the bookstore shelves late in February. Magister notes that the book is “making a stir” even before its appearance. But the...

Economics, religion and culture: how Luther failed, again by Thomas V. Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jan 9, 2018

Though I am no longer a libertarian philosophically (having followed a similar path to Edward Feser), most of my past political reading has been from that camp. I am still in some respects a sympathizer, particularly in the realm of economic theory. Just for that reason, I found it helpful to get...

The best books we read in 2017 by Thomas V. Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jan 9, 2018

Dr. Jeff Mirus, Phil Lawler and I thought it would be fun to do a review of our favorite reading of 2017. This doesn’t only include the specifically Catholic material we would ordinarily cover for this site, but also reflects our broader range of interests that our readers might not be aware...

The priorities of Catholic leadership today, and how they must influence praise and blame by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jan 9, 2018

A reader raised a thorny problem the other day: Since there is good reason to criticize many things that Pope Francis says in order to dispel confusion and avoid spiritual discouragement, is it also right and proper to praise Pope Francis when he says or does something very good? The reader had in...

Making movies and houses: Apostolic work you should know about by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jan 10, 2018

There are many great things that lie beyond the usual scope of CatholicCulture.org. Let me stretch a little to call attention to two of them here. Making Movies with St. Michael A request to make the work of St. Michael Movies better known has been in my In Box for far longer than I care to...

Slip-sliding along on contraception (or a poetic homage to Fr. Maurizio Chiodi) by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jan 11, 2018

Contraception sometimes morally required, argues member of Pontifical Academy for Life —news from January 10, 2018   Reflections on Genesis 3:5 I went to confession in ‘52; the priest asked, “What’s the matter with you? Catholics know that God...

The Amoris debate: Is it really a matter of confusion? (Part I) by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jan 11, 2018

Critics of Amoris Laetitia say that it is confusing. Defenders of the papal document say that there is no cause for confusion. This state of affairs is, I’m sorry to say, confusing. Stepping back from the substance of this particular controversy, let’s take a few minutes to examine...

The ‘hands-on’ Pontiff, and what that implies by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Monday

In an interesting Crux column, John Allen argues that Pope Francis is a remarkably “hands-on” Pontiff, who keeps himself extremely well informed about what is happening in the universal Church and especially inside the Vatican walls. To illustrate his point, Allen cites a revealing story about a...

The Amoris debate: Is it really a matter of confusion? (Part II) by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Monday

Last week in this space I argued that Amoris Laetitia definitely has caused confusion (claims to the contrary notwithstanding), and that actually to call the situation “confusing” should be recognized as a display of respect for the Pope’s authority. In closing that short...

Tobit and Tobias? Their lives are just like ours! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Monday

At first glance, the Book of Tobit is one of the most charming and even fanciful in the Old Testament. Tobit, along with Judith and Esther, are known only through the Greek Bible. They were used and regarded as canonical by the earliest Christians and by the Church herself. Commentators often...

Born That Way by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Tuesday

We might imagine Ebenezer Scrooge settling down after the spooking he received over Christmas. He’s benign, no longer is indifferent to injustice. He continues to be frugal, but he’s no longer greedy. He has become a man of justice but does not go beyond the basic demands of justice....

On sex abuse, the Vatican still sends badly mixed signals by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Wednesday

The New York Times notes that on the very day when he apologized to Chileans for the Church’s handling of the sex-abuse scandal, Pope Francis concelebrated Mass with Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, who was named by the Pope to head the Osorno diocese despite complaints about his long...

Pope defends accused bishop, denounces accusers. The pattern is familiar. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Friday

In the bad old days, when Catholic parents reported that a priest had abused their child, and/or that the pastor was aware of the abuse, the bishop might scold them, saying that their complaints were nonsense, saying that they had no proof, accusing them of calumny. The bishop might make these...

The media’s annual bout of blindness by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Friday

(This comment is posted annually.) Dozens of professional journalists, particularly in the vicinity of Washington, DC, are showing early signs of a strange illness that strikes, oddly enough, at exactly this time each year. The illness causes restricted vision, so that reporters fail to notice...

Another media outlet flunks a religious-literacy test by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Friday

On an otherwise serious day, let’s have a little fun, at the expense of Maine Public Radio, at whose web site you will find this headline: Diocese Changes Traditional Mass To Avoid Spreading Flu The story explains that, in order avoid spreading disease: The diocese announced...

Positioning Pope Francis on CatholicCulture.org by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Friday

In an Insights message recently, I asked for feedback on the question of whether I should place the increasingly bad news about Pope Francis toward the end of each message, striving to keep more positive material nearer the top. The responses were mixed, and no clear preference emerged. But an...

For conscientious priests, the Pope just made marriage prep much more difficult by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Friday

If you’re a Catholic priest who tries to be conscientious about preparing couples for marriage, Pope Francis just made your life much more difficult. You’re doing your best. You tell couples that they should think seriously before taking vows. If they are cohabiting, you ask them...