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All Catholic commentary from October 2017

Quick hits: Hitchens on Martin, Spaemann on Seifert, Douthat on Hefner by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 2, 2017

Easing back into business after a relaxing weekend, here are a few columns that you shouldn’t miss: Writing in First Things, Dan Hitchens examines the clever rhetorical strategy of Father James Martin, who never quite denies Church teaching on homosexuality (or the ordination of...

Samuel: A spiritual and political tale of two kings. Part two: David by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 3, 2017

I have already identified the two books of Samuel as a tale of two kings, and I have amply demonstrated the constant waffling between good and evil which characterized King Saul. Even in the First Book of Samuel, it was obvious that David was constant in his respect for and service to Saul,...

Come hear Phil speak: at Hillsdale College, October 5 by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 4, 2017

Will you be—or can you be—in the vicinity of Hillsdale, Michigan, tomorrow (Thursday) evening? If so, I hope you’ll attend my talk at Hillsdale College, sponsored by the Dow Journalism Program. I’ll be speaking on “Faithful Catholicism in a Hostile Culture.” That’s Thursday, October 5, at 8 pm,...

Why the Church still operates under a cloud on the abuse issue by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 4, 2017

The timing is far from perfect. As the Vatican convenes a major international conference on protecting children from abuse, there’s a shadow over the proceedings, caused by the abrupt recall of an official at the apostolic nunciature in Washington, DC. To be more specific, the focus of the...

Catholic Justice: When the Church should not defer to the State by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 6, 2017

Phil Lawler introduced a legitimate question when he explained on Wednesday Why the Church still operates under a cloud on the abuse issue. In light of the Church’s continued poor handling of abuse cases, and despite frequent promises to do better, Phil commented on the latest scandal as...

Notice something missing? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 9, 2017

When Australian bishops huddled last week with Vatican officials, the top item on the agenda was an Australian royal commission’s inquiry into sexual abuse of children. Take a look at the announced list of Vatican officials involved in the discussions. Two top officials from the...

The Power and Poverty of Words by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Oct 10, 2017

In his confrontations with the Pharisees, Jesus repeatedly unmasks their hypocrisy—from their personal external observances, designed to be noticed, to their relentless critical evaluations of others. It is easy to pay lip service to God’s commands, but the measure of true obedience is...

The folly of Kings, 1: Authority, infidelity and Providence by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 10, 2017

The two books of Kings* in the Old Testament are essentially a survey of the history of the tribes of Israel under the monarchy. Actually, this quickly became two monarchies, that of Israel and that of Judah. In general, the focus is on the kings and their lineage, whether they served God or not,...

Francis takes aim at Jonah for rigidity—and misses again. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 11, 2017

At Mass on Tuesday, Pope Francis took off on yet another flight of rigidity fancy. Preaching on Jonah’s grumbling efforts to prophesy to the Ninevites, the Pope identified Jonah as the epitome of rigidity—the antihero of all those who fail to appreciate God’s mercy. But the Holy...

Scrapping the ‘theology of the body,’ and a new model for priestly ministry by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 11, 2017

Reporting on a conference at Boston College , in which Amoris Laetitia was discussed by an impressive group of liberal Catholics—representing the full range of opinion from A to B—Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter reveals that the group was ready to jettison the...

Victimhood and responsibility: Fargo’s critique of feminism by Thomas V. Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 12, 2017

Fargo, Noah Hawley’s anthology series inspired by the classic 1996 Coen brothers film, has been one of television’s most acclaimed dramas since it began its run on FX in 2014. It has rightly been praised for its innovative cinematography, surprising music choices, sharp writing and...

Beware of false compassion in implementing Amoris Laetitia by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 13, 2017

Can you name someone—someone you know personally—who has divorced, remarried, and is now an active Catholic parishioner, receiving Communion regularly? (For now let’s not worry about whether or not these individuals have obtained annulments. You probably couldn’t be certain...

The conversion of Russia: maybe not as we expected it by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 13, 2017

All through the Old Testament and into the New, God surprised his People. We shouldn’t be caught off guard, then, if He still has surprises in store for us today. Elijah encountered God not in wind or the fire or the earthquake, but in the small still voice. [1 Kgs 19:11-13] The Messiah...

Human respect: Not only a sin in our time, but a theology by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Tuesday

Not long ago I described the Book of Jonah as a cautionary tale against “human respect”. I did not consider at the time how confusing this term can be today. I intended “human respect” to be recognized as a grave sin, yet many assume it to be a fundamental good. I need to...

Connect the dots by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Tuesday

This week brings the sad news that a Cistercian monastery in Germany, founded in 1134, will soon be closed. There aren’t enough monks to keep the venerable institution going. And in other news, across the country in Ravensburg, as part of an ecumenical festival, a Catholic pastor has...

Vatican’s financial-misconduct trial was a step backward on transparency by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Tuesday

At last, a Vatican prosecutor has obtained a conviction on financial-misconduct charges. Unfortunately, the conviction looks like a step backward for the cause of financial transparency. For months now, the Vatican has been under pressure to bring criminal charges for financial misconduct. In...

The Church in Europe: ‘kept in the sacristy’? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Thursday

Next week COMECE (the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community) will open a three-day conference on the future of Europe. The timing is auspicious: the conference falls on the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which began the construction of the European Union. And it...

The folly of Kings, 2: Divine justice, Divine mercy, and true hope by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Friday

After the First Book of Kings, the reader steels himself against the Second Book. It summarizes the reigns of the remaining kings of Israel and Judah up to the Babylonian captivity, the vast majority of whom are summarily dismissed because they “did what was evil in the sight of the...