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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from October 2012

New Ebook: You Are Weird, God Is Odd by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 1, 2012

Peter Mirus’ collected essays from CatholicCulture.org between 2004 and 2006 have just been released in ebook form. Long-time readers will remember Peter’s wide variety of topics, unusual perspectives and frequent humor. While Peter still writes shorter pieces for The...

Little Flower: The Story of a Soul by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 1, 2012

Today is the feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux (St. Theresa of the Child Jesus), who died in 1897 of consumption (tuberculosis) at age 24 after living nine years as a Carmelite nun. Affectionately known as the Little Flower, St. Thérèse wrote, under obedience to two...

Sherry Boas: Wing Tip by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 2, 2012

Sherry Boas is back with a new novel entitled Wing Tip. Boas, author of the Lily Trilogy which I reviewed in late 2011 (Lily: Real Life, Real Literature), now turns her attention to the life and ministry of a priest, Fr. Dante De Luz, who learns that his father is not the man who raised him but a...

The Faith: A Personality, a Thing by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 2, 2012

As you probably know, the new Year of Faith begins on October 11th (see our Year of Faith Workshop). I thought I’d help kick it off by reflecting on what the great 20th century apologist Hilaire Belloc had to say about the Catholic Faith. The following passage is taken from a letter to G. K....

A new light on the legacy of Charles de Gaulle by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 4, 2012

As a young man with a keen interest in world politics, I was always fascinated by the unique character of Charles de Gaulle. While he was enigmatic and often frustrating from an American perspective, it was impossible to dispute the man’s enormous charisma. Try to imagine an American...

Government and the Limits of Human Law by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 4, 2012

Earlier this week, a federal judge in Missouri ruled against Frank O’Brien’s claim that the HHS mandate violates his religious liberty by forcing him to act against the moral principles he must hold as a Catholic. Judge Carole Jackson stated instead that “this court rejects the...

More Judicial and Editorial Equivocation by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 4, 2012

According to the New York Times, Judge Carole Jackson was obviously correct when she ruled that HHS-mandated health care coverage is no more offensive to a religious employer than paying salaries. Her argument was that the problem arises only if an employee “makes an independent...

San Francisco, London, Ephesus, and Catholic Relevance by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 5, 2012

“The man who chained me up seemed sorry he had to do it, but I did not feel the least bit sorry for myself. Quite the contrary I became very happy—so good is God to the least of His servants. To recompense the man for his good turn I gave him a little money and told him that it was no...

Has the Vatican shut the door on the SSPX talks? Not likely by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 8, 2012

You may be reading, on various other sites carrying news of the Catholic world, that the Vatican has announced an end to talks with the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Not so. Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told a German interviewer that...

Climatism’s Mad, Mad World: A Review by Thomas B. Fowler in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 8, 2012

[The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism, Steve Goreham, New Lenox Books, 2012, vii+301 pp, paperback and Kindle (see links following review)] The theme of this book is the unsound science behind “global warming” and “climate change”, and the irrational behavior that it has...

New Doctors of the Church: St. Hildegard, St. John of Avila by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 8, 2012

Yesterday Pope Benedict opened the Synod on the New Evangelization and declared two new doctors of the Church, St. John of Avila (1500-1569) and St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). Given the occasion, it is not surprising that both of these saints excelled in re-evangelizing—in stirring up...

Hunted Priests: The Resistance of John Gerard, SJ by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 10, 2012

It is difficult to over-estimate the importance of the Elizabethan period in English history to the problems of our own times. In the sixteenth century, the English crown was determined to assert the authority of the State over the minds and hearts of all those within its borders. This...

Can a Catholic be a minister of a non-Catholic sect? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 10, 2012

Can a minister of a non-Catholic denomination still be classified as a Catholic? The Washington Post seems to think so, notes the perceptive critic Terry Mattingly, who regularly exposes the tone-deafness of the secular media regarding religious affairs. A

The New Evangelization: Down with Optimism, Up with Hope by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 10, 2012

The current Synod on the New Evangelization is not optimistic about the state of the world. This, I am prepared to argue, represents a seismic shift in episcopal perceptions over the past fifty years. In the second half of the twentieth century, the Catholic hierarchy in the West seemed possessed...

What’s Different about the Catholic Religion? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 11, 2012

I’ve argued repeatedly that the key to Catholicism, in comparison with every other religion on earth, is its authority principle. That is, only the Catholic Church claims that it is an infallible custodian of Divine Revelation, such that in every age it can preach Jesus Christ “the...

Year of Faith Resources by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 11, 2012

Remember that the Year of Faith begins today. You'll find a great deal of information in our Year of Faith section. The opening has been deliberately set to coincide with the work of the Synod on the New Evangelization, which will be a constant theme throughout the year. The emphasis for...

Frustration with Ryan and Biden by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 12, 2012

It was frustrating to hear both Catholic Vice Presidential candidates botch the question of the relationship of abortion to their Catholic Faith in the debates. Joe Biden, of course, simply repeated the same canards that faithless Catholics have always used to justify being pro-abortion. Paul...

Rebuking Biden, the USCCB pulls its punch by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 12, 2012

The US bishops’ conference has called Joe Biden to account for a grossly inaccurate statement the Vice President made during last night’s debate. That’s good. But in correcting the record, the USCCB curiously avoids mentioning Biden’s name. The USCCB statement says that...

A visit to Hong Kong by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 12, 2012

If you’re a regular visitor to the Catholic Culture site, you may have noticed that I have been unusually quiet, posting only a few comments during the past few weeks. And if you’re a truly avid reader, you might even have noticed that when I did post blog comments, they appeared in...

Abortion isn't the only issue: the argument for moral equivalence by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 13, 2012

In an America magazine commentary—with the curious title, “Don’t Vote for the ‘Better Catholic’”—Father James Martin, SJ, comments on the Biden-Ryan debate. His argument is a familiar one: that abortion is not the only moral issue for Catholic voters. But...

I won't force your conscience by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 15, 2012

If Vice President Biden hires me as a speechwriter, here are are few passages that I'll suggest: The Catholic Church teaches that we should pay our taxes. I accept this teaching of my Church, and in my own personal life I pay my taxes. But I would not impose on the conscience of another...

Do You Want to Be Like God? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 15, 2012

I tried to write something today about my frustration with those who were frustrated with me for expressing my Frustration with Ryan and Biden, but I ended up going in so many directions that it will require a fresh mind on a future day to sort it into anything worthwhile. Maybe it is really two...

Coercion vs. Tolerance: The Real Crisis in Public Life by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 16, 2012

We’ve been fighting legal abortion with little or no success for a very long generation now, and we’ve rightly regarded it as a horrific scourge, a massive breakdown of the public order. Perhaps this is why we have been slow to recognize and oppose the sea change that is taking place...

Does the New York Times now oppose dissent from Church teaching? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 16, 2012

In a New York Times op-ed, Michael Peppard, a Fordham theology professor, strains to make the argument that Paul Ryan dissents from Catholic teaching on abortion. Ryan, he observes, has promised “to oppose abortion, with the exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother.” But...

Living the Year of Faith: How Pope Benedict Wants You to Begin by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 17, 2012

The Holy Spirit has urged me to read the inaugural documents for the Year of Faith. Of course while one should seek the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in all things, one should never claim the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for anything. Those of us who are prone to expose all too clearly our own...

Catholic Myth Busting: One Step Is Often Enough by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 18, 2012

One of the interesting things about misunderstandings of the Catholic Church is this: If we are able to dispel one misunderstanding for a particular person, we’re well on the way toward dispelling all of that person’s misgivings concerning the Faith. This is true largely because of the...

When it comes to anti-life violence, a double standard by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 18, 2012

Writing in Life Issues Connector, the newsletter of Dr. J. C. Willke’s Life Issues Institute, Executive Director Bradley Mattes points out the frightful imbalance in both the mainstream media and the Obama administration’s handling of pro-life and anti-life violence. Recall the...

The Synod on New Evangelization: An Opportunity by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 19, 2012

The Synod for the New Evangelization has an interesting set of problems to consider. Reading the instrumentum laboris for the Syno (The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith) is an illuminating exercise. This document is generated from the responses of bishops around the...

Surprise, surprise: that photo op by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 20, 2012

On the web site of Catholics for Obama—right above the story blasting critics of the Plan B contraceptive—you’ll find a photo of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, roaring with laughter, with a smiling President Obama beside him, at the Al Smith dinner. (You won’t see Mitt Romney;...

St. Kateri and the 'convergence' of cultures by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 22, 2012

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Anne Leahy, the Canadian ambassador to the Holy See, had some puzzling things to say about the canonization of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. First the Canadian envoy remarked that St. Kateri “is really put up as a model for the universal Church, but as a model, in...

Paying the Price of Faith: Muhammad Fadel-Ali Becomes Joseph Fadelle by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 22, 2012

If you lived under a militantly Muslim regime and wanted to convert to Christianity, you would probably assume you could quietly make contact with one of the small Catholic communities in your region and so seek entrance into the Church. But your assumption would very likely be wrong. Because of...

Televised presidential debates have harmed America by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 23, 2012

Not many American voters changed their minds as a result of last night’s presidential debate, I feel sure. Voters who favored Barack Obama before the debate generally felt that the President had the better of the discussion; those who favored Mitt Romney thought he was the winner. But then,...

The Light Dawns: American Bishops and the State by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 24, 2012

For a generation now, a great many Catholic lay people in the United States have marveled at their bishops’ ability to advocate one government program after another in the name of the common good, apparently never dreaming that putting too much trust and power in government could actually...

Why name new cardinals now? The Pope's mysterious announcement. by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 24, 2012

Pope Benedict’s surprise announcement that he is naming 6 new cardinals raises at least three intriguing questions: Why now? The Pope has already elevated 22 prelates to the College of Cardinals this year, at a consistory held in February. Never before in the post-Vatican II era—in...

A Note on Political Choices, and Political Lies by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 25, 2012

In the past few weeks I’ve exchanged a number of shrillish emails with those who strenuously object to my assertion that there are two moral choices in this year’s American presidential election: Vote for Romney or vote for neither of the major candidates. Some have argued that a vote...

The Strongest Argument for Romney by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 25, 2012

While we’re on the topic of the morality of voting in this year’s American Presidential election (see A Note on Political Choices, and Political Lies), I want to do justice to my other hand by explaining what I think is the most compelling argument to vote for Romney, even though I...

So who's the abortion 'extremist' now? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 25, 2012

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat has done a nice analysis of a familiar topic: media bias in coverage of the abortion debate. Douthat keys on the media treatment of Richard Mourdock, who has reporters gasping for breath in disbelief because he said a human life—even a life conceived by...

A quirky predictor of the presidential race? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 26, 2012

Yesterday I was ruminating on the fact that running for the US presidency has become a full-time job. The only full-time job that allows a candidate scope for constant campaigning is, in fact, the presidency itself.  If you look back over recent campaigns, you'll notice that the presidential...

James Likoudis: The Defense against the Claims of Eastern Orthodoxy by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 29, 2012

James Likoudis was one of several mentors from whom I was privileged to learn when I was struggling to become more effective in defending and advancing the Catholic faith some forty years ago, in my twenties. Likoudis was already established as a proponent of authentic Catholic renewal, a leading...

Must a Genuine Pro-Lifer Vote for Romney? Exposing a Critical Moral Fallacy by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 30, 2012

Some readers have been genuinely confused (and sometimes angered) by my insistence that voters are not morally constrained to vote for whichever candidate offers the immediate lesser of two evils with respect to abortion. Please remember the context of my earlier remarks: To vote for Obama-Biden...

A Case for Defrocking: Preaching in Support of Same-Sex Marriage by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 30, 2012

It was very sad to see the news that a long-time Catholic pastor in Baltimore took the occasion of his bishop’s condemnation of same-sex marriage to preach vigorously in favor of it. Fr. Richard Lawrence of St. Vincent de Paul Church in the Diocese of Baltimore not only publicly defied...

New Advent and Christmas eBook Ready by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 30, 2012

The 2012-2013 liturgical year begins on December 2nd with the First Sunday of Advent. I want all those who make use of our liturgical year resources to enhance their experience of the domestic church to know that the Advent and Christmas eBook for the new year is now available. Our liturgical...

Douglas Kmiec’s Contribution to the Insanity of the Fashionable by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 31, 2012

Do you see an internal contradiction between the following two paragraphs, both drawn from the Catholic ex-Ambassador Douglas Kmiec’s explanation of why he will definitely vote for Barack Obama in the upcoming American presidential election? Paragraph 1: ...when you see someone who's...

Pro-lifers should be strategic voters by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 31, 2012

  Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help. Psalm 146:3 Every four years, millions of Americans are caught up in the excitement of a presidential race. This is understandable, even desirable; it is the sign of a healthy democracy at work. But in a...

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