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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from October 2013

Early Teen Dating? Not a Good Idea. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 1, 2013

A study by researchers at York University in Toronto suggests that delaying teen dating is beneficial. Early-daters (starting one-to-one dating between 10 and 12) reported significantly higher incidences of abnormal and delinquent behavior such as lying, cheating, fighting, truancy, disobedience,...

Reading Francis: The Furor Continues by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 2, 2013

In view of comments received, it seems I have no choice but to write something about Pope Francis’ interview with Eugenio Scalfari (or see the original Italian text), which appeared yesterday in the Italian daily La Repubblica. But I think I have to make a pact with my readers. We are under...

Reading Pope Francis: A Catholic Hermeneutic! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 2, 2013

I hate to use On the Culture to point you elsewhere, but the need to do a thorough treatment of Pope Francis' second interview caused me to write more than should properly be posted in this space. So it is posted as an In Depth Analysis: Reading Pope Francis: The Furor Continues. But...

To judge the Pope's interview, recognize his objective by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 4, 2013

To all those readers who are disturbed by the statements of Pope Francis—and I know there are many—let me suggest a few mental exercises that may lead to a calmer perspective. First, ask yourself whether Eugenio Scalfari, the Italian atheist who conducted the latest interview, is...

Caution: don’t put much confidence in Vatican rumors by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 4, 2013

The internet world is highly democratic; anyone can post a story. But not all stories are equally reliable. In the interests of preserving equanimity, at a time when far too many Catholics are overwrought, let me remind discerning readers that rumors—and especially rumors issuing from the...

On Tow Trucks and the Vision of the Good by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 4, 2013

As I watched my car being towed away for repair today, I did what any Catholic would do in the same circumstances: I contemplated the Good. What I saw initially was a young man, perhaps no more than a third of my age, going through all kinds of extra work to get my vehicle onto the truck, because...

Vatican busywork: the formal statements that accomplish nothing by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 7, 2013

My work gives me an unusual perspective on statements from the Vatican. Every day I read through the press releases and formal announcements from the Holy See. Sometimes the statements are edifying. Sometimes they’re not. During the pontificate of Blessed John Paul II there was a...

Crisis on the Priesthood by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 8, 2013

Note that the title is not “Crisis in the priesthood”, but “Crisis on the Priesthood”. It refers to the fact that the folks at Crisis (an online magazine) are every bit as devoted to the Catholic priesthood as we are. They know that priests are an immense source of...

The Quinnipiac Poll: Predictability Is the Most Important Takeaway by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 8, 2013

The latest poll of Catholic opinions was conducted last month by Quinnipiac University. Our summary of the results does not paint a pretty picture of the moral and spiritual values of Catholics who attend Mass once a week or less. But neither does it reveal anything new. Dozens of studies over...

USCCB Political Action Alerts: Questionable by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 9, 2013

Periodically the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development issues “action alerts” urging American Catholics to contact their senators and representatives to urge them to take one position or another on various legislative deadlocks and initiatives. The latest was...

Liberal and Conservative: Christ vs. Church? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 10, 2013

It has not yet ceased to amaze me how much delight some people take in the discomfiture of others when the Pope says something about the Faith which those others are presumed not to like. And it works the other way, too, with people becoming astonishingly angry when the Pope says something that...

Weekend perspectives by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 14, 2013

Talking with the National Catholic Register, Father John Wauck lends some needed perspective to the feverish debates over public statements by Pope Francis: It’s important for everybody to calm down and look at the big picture. Pope Francis, the Successor of Peter, is the most...

On the Critics of Pope Francis’ Consecration to the Immaculate Heart by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 15, 2013

When Pope Francis consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on October 13th, he followed a tradition of pontifical consecrations established by Pope Pius XII and continued by Pope John Paul II, each of whom made the consecration twice. These consecrations are certainly occasions of...

Literature test by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 16, 2013

Who was the greatest English-prose stylist of the 20th century? There is only one correct answer to that question. I will not tolerate disagreement. (Hint: Yesterday was his birthday. I hope you had an appropriate celebration.) If you haven’t yet discovered his work, you are living...

The Consecration and Fatima, Redux by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 17, 2013

On our Facebook site, someone posted a long critique of my article On the Critics of Pope Francis’ Consecration to the Immaculate Heart. I also received a few long emails on the subject. All asserted, essentially, that there is a kind of revelation which resides somewhere between private and...

Countercultural Catholic, Introduction: The Cult and the Culture: Part I by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 21, 2013

Have we been looking for help in all the wrong places? For decades now faithful Catholics, hoping for signs of a genuine revival in the American Church, have looked anxiously to the traditional indices of Catholic vitality: the rate of attendance at Sunday Mass, the number of young people...

Esolen's argument against Prohibition by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 22, 2013

Anthony Esolen makes an interesting argument against Prohibition: It helped prepare America for the Nanny State. The argument for Prohibition was based largely on stories about men who came home drunk to beat their wives and children, or drank their way through the family savings, Esolen...

You can recognize Catholicism when it's convenient by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 22, 2013

On October 21, the state of New Jersey began recognizing same-sex marriages, and Salon rushed out with a celebratory headline: Retired Catholic priest officiates midnight vows for gay couples in New Jersey Who is this man, described by Salon as a “retired” Catholic priest? The...

Public Discourse pushes back against porn by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - Oct 22, 2013

Common sense alone may lead us to question whether pornography as such can really constitute speech, or if it does, whether it is a kind of speech that is or ought to be protected by the Constitution, given a proper understanding of the First Amendment. In a recent two-part series for Public...

A subtle Vatican hint on Communion for divorced/remarried Catholics by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 23, 2013

When Pope Francis announced that the Synod meeting of 2014 will be devoted to the family, dozens of analysts reported that the Pope was opening the door to the possibility that Catholics who are divorced and remarried might be allowed to receive Communion. Then when the prefect of the CDF...

Abortion, the Death of the Soul, and Christian Strategy by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 23, 2013

In his famous interview with the Jesuit Antonio Spadaro in August, Pope Francis initiated what has become a spirited discussion about the image and the reality of the Catholic Church, and about the relationship between the Church’s mission to evangelize and her necessary opposition to the...

A Pew survey result that tells us...nothing by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 24, 2013

“Three-quarters of U.S. Catholics support pope’s Vatican reform,” reads the headline on a Pew Research Center report. That’s nice. But not 1% of American Catholics know what the Pope’s reforms will be, since he hasn’t announced them yet. Read a bit more...

Intelligence, Religious Faith, and NFP by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 24, 2013

Natural Family Planning is connected with religious faith, but is raw human intelligence connected with atheism? I only group the two issues here because some interesting statistical studies have been done in both areas. One shows enhanced marriage satisfaction among those who use NFP. The other...

Countercultural Catholic, Introduction: The Cult and the Culture: Part II by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 25, 2013

Very few people, I trust, would dispute my contention that Catholic influence has declined precipitously in American society over the past 50 years. No American prelate commands a prime-time television audience, the way Archbishop Fulton Sheen delighted millions with his preaching a generation...

The film Pope Francis never got to see by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 25, 2013

Here’s a delightful tidbit from the Catholic News Service, courtesy of L’Osservatore Romano. Pope Francis enjoys movies. But since he didn’t own a television set while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he would arrange to have DVDs sent to the local Catholic TV station, where he would screen...

Frs. Planty and McGraw call for sobriety and compassion in dealing with immigration by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - Oct 26, 2013

The immigration issue has been a point of bitter dispute among American Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and it is one area where conservative Catholic laypeople and the Church’s hierarchy have often failed to see eye to eye. In the Arlington Catholic Herald, Frs. Donald J. Planty and...

The End of Modernism: Joseph Ratzinger’s Dialogue with Love by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 29, 2013

When the Modernists came on the scene in the late nineteenth century, they were abuzz with historical consciousness. There is actually a good reason for this, though the use they made of it was seldom helpful. Nonetheless, by the 20th century, Modernist ideas were having an enormous impact on...

Kids do the darnedest things by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 30, 2013

If you haven’t already seen the video of the little boy who attached himself to Pope Francis during a public audience, wouldn’t let go, decided to become an usher, and eventually made himself comfortable on the papal throne—don’t miss...

Did NSA spy on the Vatican? Should we be concerned? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 30, 2013

Did the NSA spy on the Vatican? We don’t know, really. We only have one report, published by an Italian magazine, claiming that the NSA monitored cardinals’ phone calls. The White House isn’t talking about it, and the Vatican claims to be unconcerned. But if you are a...

The Growing Freshness of Consecrated Life: Some Loss, but Great Gain by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 30, 2013

If you haven’t yet read our news summary of Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo’s report on the numbers who currently leave religious life, I highly recommend that you do so (Curial official: over 3,000 religious leave consecrated life each year). The Secretary of the...

A New Anti-Catholicism Evident in Political Campaigns by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 31, 2013

One of the more interesting developments in American political strategy that has emerged over the past few years is designed, at all costs, to keep committed Catholic politicians out of office. It works by relating everything a strong Catholic candidate does to his supposed desire to control your...

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