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All Catholic commentary from October 2015

1971: The best of times, the worst of times by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 1, 2015

I was in my early twenties in 1971. I had just finished college and entered graduate school. For the past five years, since my freshman year in 1966, I had been steadily increasing my involvement in apologetics, attempting as a layman to defend a Faith which was everywhere being abandoned by...

Coming of (old) age under Obamacare: a rant by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 1, 2015

It’s official: As of today, I’m on Medicare. Growing old is a nuisance, but the alternative is less desirable. And Medicare seems an attractive alternative to private health insurance—if you can overlook the fact that you have been actually paying the Medicare premiums for decades before you...

Making sense of the Pope's message to America–including the Kim Davis meeting by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 2, 2015

The hectic week of the papal visit—during which inspiration mingled with confusion and frustration—has been followed by another hectic week of coping with the aftermath, including the surprise announcement that the Holy Father had met with Kim Davis. Let me try to make sense of what...

St. Francis of Assisi -- Setting the Record Straight by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Oct 4, 2015

This post was written in October 2014. This year, 2015, October 4 falls on a Sunday, so the memorial St. Francis is not universally observed, but we still might want to honor him in small ways without overshadowing the primacy of Sunday. =================== October 4 marks the memorial of St....

At Synod's opening session, evidence of a different dynamic by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 5, 2015

As “relator general” for the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Peter Erdo is responsible for summarizing the main lines of the discussion. But last year, he played only a minor role when the staff produced a controversial “interim report,” and even tacitly acknowledged that he...

Another serial killer? Blame 'religious rage.' by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 5, 2015

Another serial killer (and No, I’m not going to publicize his name) asks potential victims if they are Christians, and if they are, he guns them down. The Washington Post headline (for a home-delivery edition, apparently not online) says that the killer might have been motivated by “religious...

Gay Vatican official who 'came out' may influence Synod in a way he didn't expect--or want by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 5, 2015

Msgr. Krzystof Charamsa evidently thought that he was advancing the homosexual cause by coming out as gay on the eve of the Synod of Bishops. I think he miscalculated badly. The Vatican quickly dismissed Msgr. Charamsa from his post at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). He...

Internalizing marriage at this year's synod by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 6, 2015

Given the variety of bishops involved and the sheer magnitude of “the family” as a topic, it is hard to predict the particular outcomes of the two-year synodal process. The 2015 synod does seem to be off to a more decisive start. Indeed, Pope Francis himself has set a new tone....

Church Fathers: Clement of Alexandria, Part I by Thomas V. Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 6, 2015

Clement was the first great writer of the catechetical school of Alexandria, a city which under his influence became the intellectual center of Christianity. It was he who first made philosophy the handmaid of theology. Quasten calls him the “pioneer of Christian scholarship” and...

Church Fathers: Clement of Alexandria, Part II by Thomas V. Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 6, 2015

In the previous article I gave an overview of the life and works of Clement of Alexandria, the head of the catechetical school of that city. He set out a new speculative path in theology, one which used philosophy both for preparatory study and as a tool for developing new insights. Now I will...

The Family Rosary: A Month for Renewal by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Oct 7, 2015

October 7 is the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, but the entire month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary, which makes it another liturgical opportunity for renewal. The liturgical seasons of Lent and Advent are times for beginning again, time for change and renewal. Quarterly...

Archbishop predicts Synod won't change Church teaching. Why am I not reassured? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 7, 2015

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, tells John Allen of Crux that if the Synod of Bishops voted right now on a proposal to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion, his guess is that the vote would go about 65- 35 against the proposal. However, things could...

The headlines say Gov. Brown is Catholic. He says he's not sure what that means. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 7, 2015

Nearly every headline story about California’s new law allowing assisted suicide (except the CWN story) mentioned that Governor Jerry Brown, who signed the legislation into law, was raised as a Catholic and once studied as a Jesuit seminarian. Why is that information relevant? The editors and...

Free eBook: Pope Francis' Catechesis on the Family by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 7, 2015

Between the two Synods on the Family, Pope Francis devoted the majority of his Wednesday audiences to a catechesis on the family in 28 parts. These begain last December, and finished just a few weeks before the current Synod started. I've just finished compiling these 28 talks into one of...

What about Catholic affirmation for those in false marriages? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 8, 2015

It would be a grave mistake for the Church to start speaking positively about intrinsically inauthentic “marriages”. I refer here to the pleas of a few Synod fathers that the Church must explicitly recognize and commend what is positive in the relationships of those who have divorced...

A secret plot to control the Synod? No; it's not secret at all. by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 8, 2015

In an unscheduled address to the Synod of Bishops yesterday, we’re told, Pope Francis told the participants that they should not indulge in conspiracy theories about secret plots to manipulate the result of the Synod. The Holy Father is absolutely right. What’s happening at this Synod...

Why Pope Francis cannot win on sexual abuse by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 9, 2015

Pope Francis has done more than any of his predecessors to seek to punish those guilty of clerical sexual abuse. Even so, when he defends a cleric who has been accused, he is in a no-win situation. That’s because huge numbers of people form their positions on individual cases of sexual abuse...

The Synod's choice: change the marketing campaign or change the product? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 12, 2015

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, who is participating in the Synod of Bishops, expresses an unusual perspective on the meeting on his blog: Why bother with the time, energy and expense of two Synods and all that’s gone with them if nothing whatsoever is going to...

Adapting Christianity? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 12, 2015

“Before it can be adapted in its presentation to the modern generation, Christianity in all necessity must, in its essence, be itself. And once it is itself, it is close to being adapted. For it is of its essence to be living and always of the time. “The big task consists then in...

Links: Think like a poet, academia's black sheep, Marion Cotillard on feminism by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 12, 2015

For your perusal: If you’ve ever wondered how to think like a poet, Dappled Things has got you covered with an insightful essay by Ryan Wilson. First, Wilson says, the poet must take the ancient virtue of xenia (hospitality) and apply it not just to persons, but to things and symbols....

Same-sex attraction: Read this before you risk your credibility. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 14, 2015

I mentioned two weeks ago that Living the Truth in Love from Ignatius Press is an important book, and that I would have more to say about it. Having now read each of its score of theoretical, testimonial and pastoral essays, I am even more convinced that everyone concerned about the...

Who leaked the cardinals' letter? Cui bono? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 14, 2015

Who leaked the letter from a group of cardinals to Pope Francis, voicing concerns about the Synod? Like nearly everyone writing about Vatican affairs—with the notable exception of Sandro Magister, who published the letter—I wish I knew. Ordinarily, in searching for a source of a...

The pre-dawn hunt. Or: Why my work isn't quite done today. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 16, 2015

By this time today, I had hoped to finish a commentary on the extremely partisan people who are using extremely partisan language to condemn what they see as—gasp!—partisan approaches to the Synod of Bishops. I’m sorry; it’s not ready. But don’t worry; it’s...

Thanks to your Noble Shadow: The story of one of Ireland's last missionary nuns by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 17, 2015

We frequently receive requests from authors, musicians, and filmmakers to share their work with our readers. As you can imagine, much of it does not make the cut, but a project by an Irish filmmaker who contacted us today grabbed my attention: Jennie O' Sullivan - or Sister Paschal - is...

Louis and Zélie Martin: Patron Saints for the Domestic Church by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Oct 18, 2015

This Sunday, October 18, 2015, Pope Francis canonized Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. This is the first husband and wife to be canonized together, emphasizing their cooperation with the graces of the sacrament of matrimony. The Church will...

Scholarships in Theology and Evangelization by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 19, 2015

If you are interested in graduate studies in theology, note that the outstanding Augustine Institute in Denver has just announced its third annual John Paul II Scholarship competition. The full and partial tuition scholarships can be used for either the Institute’s Master of Arts in...

At the Synod, liberals tout their own conspiracy theories by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 19, 2015

Pope Francis calls for free and open debate at the Synod of Bishops. But when a group of cardinals write a confidential letter to the Pontiff, pointing out ways in which free discussion might be undermined, they are portrayed as a cabal of plotters, undermining the Pope. The German-speaking...

At the Synod, truths of Christ are worth a fight by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 20, 2015

The heated debates of this year’s Synod, which seem so dramatic to us today, are mild, bloodless affairs in comparison with the controversies in the early Church. During the first centuries of Christianity, if a reporter said that bishops were “fighting” over doctrinal questions,...

A bad place for a misleading headline by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 20, 2015

Read the headline and tell me what it means: New pastoral approach does not change doctrine, Australian archbishop says Doesn’t that headline—atop a story from the Synod—clearly imply that the bishops have already adopted a new pastoral approach? Is there any other way to...

Playing the lottery: Nudging Providence? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 20, 2015

The darndest things catch my attention. Today it was this headline: Italian parishioners asked to donate lottery cards. Apparently the church of San Martino in Cigola, Brescia needs a new roof, so the pastor has asked parishioners to donate their lottery cards in the hope that, with a large...

There’s prophetic witness…and then there’s not. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 22, 2015

A person who is proclaimed “prophetic” by the world is almost always simply giving voice to the spirit of the times. Real prophets are uniformly despised by the world. Unfortunately, it takes humility, self-knowledge, and spiritual depth to recognize false prophets. They are...

Indissolubility as liberation: Accommodation vs. evangelization on marriage by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 22, 2015

The two synods in 2014 and 2015 have marked an important development in the way many bishops think about marriage and family. Only time will tell what fruit this change in perspective will bear, but it is clearly part of a larger shift from a passive to an active Catholicism. A deep faith is...

Taking Stock: Advent Wreath and Candles by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Oct 23, 2015

This is not to ensue panic, but Advent begins November 29, the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. That is in less than 6 weeks or 6 Sundays from now. Do you know where your Advent wreath is? And more importantly, do you have Advent candles and KNOW where they are? I was grateful to my friend...

Overcoming bad habits: Reuniting Scripture with theology and faith by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 23, 2015

A funny thing happened when the Bible began to be studied according to the methods of modern scholarship: The role of Faith was forgotten. During the first half of the twentieth century, Biblical scholars too often focused their attention on the text as if it were any other ancient book. The...

The Synod's liberal cabal in damage-control mode by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 23, 2015

With the Synod moving toward a conclusion, and the “Kasper proposal” clearly lacking support among the bishops, the cabal that tried so hard to write the script for this Synod is now engaged in damage-control. “Kasper does not have the votes in the Synod for his...

Calling names without naming names: What I like least about Pope Francis by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 27, 2015

We’ve all done it. We have all ascribed certain characteristics to groups of people in a general way, but without identifying whom we are talking about, or why. Sometimes we do this in a constructive manner by explaining, teaching or preaching about the virtues we all should possess and the...

The deliberate ambiguity of the Synod statement is a prescription for trouble by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 28, 2015

Some Synod fathers say the final statement opens the way for divorced-and-remarried Catholics to receive Communion. Others say it does not . You might say the Synod’s message is ambiguous. But Cardinal George Pell would disagree. “It’s not ambiguous,” he told the National Catholic Register....

Halloween: Celebrating Like a Catholic by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Oct 29, 2015

This blog post was originally written in October 2014. Ready or not, Halloween is Saturday. This is the second highest grossing commercial holiday in America, and also one of the most controversial. Fundamental Christians believe it should be completely rejected because it has roots as a pagan...

November: a Month of Poor Souls and Cemeteries by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Oct 29, 2015

This post was originally written in November 2014. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins (2 Mach. 12:46). Every November I like to make a "Public Service Announcement" of the Church's opportunities at the beginning...

Halloween is for Catholics by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Oct 30, 2015

It's the return of the annual controversy of whether Catholics should celebrate Halloween in a secular way. As a parent trying to do the right thing, it's a struggle to find the right balance for their own family. I wrote a long post last year, Halloween: Celebrating Like a Catholic. In...

Links 10/30/2015 by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 30, 2015

Bits and pieces of the Catholic internet: Bloomberg published a superb profile of Catholic philosopher Robert P. George, who is apparently an unofficial adviser to a few of the current GOP candidates. One quote that struck me: "The best thing that’s happened in my academic...

November: Close Connection of the Communion of the Saints by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Oct 31, 2015

This is my annual reminder that November 1 begins the special opportunity to earn plenary indulgences for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. Visit a cemetery and pray for the departed from November 1-8 and visit a church or oratory on All Souls Day, November 2, praying the Our Father and the Creed. You...