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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from November 2012

My Top Ten Prayers for the Year of Faith by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 1, 2012

We all have both goals and worries, and while our anxiety is certainly worthless, our prayers are not. In most cases, our perspectives are dominated by what is closest to ourselves. Our own health and financial well-being, for example, generally take precedence over that of our friends. Family...

The Church on Abortion: A Misconstrued History by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 2, 2012

A reader called my attention this morning to the strange history of the Church’s position on abortion found on the Catholics for Choice website (The History of Abortion in the Catholic Church). The article is sixteen years old, but it might still be causing problems, so let’s take a...

The assisted-suicide drive in Massachusetts won't be easy to kill by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 2, 2012

For someone who has spent years trying to combat the pernicious influence of the Kennedy family and the Boston Globe on Massachusetts political scene, it’s a surreal experience to find the Globe joining with Ted Kennedy’s widow in public opposition to Proposition 2, the referendum that...

'Non-negotiable' issues and liberal Catholic hypocrisy by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 2, 2012

An editorial in the National Catholic Reporter argues that “Catholics who bring with them a conservative political agenda” are doing a disservice to the Church by suggesting that some political issues are non-negotiable. The Reporter cites the words of Blessed John Paul II, who said...

A few quick questions while we're waiting by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 5, 2012

Yes, I realize that the attention of most readers is riveted on the US presidential race. Mine too. But while we’re waiting, a few passing comments on news stories that raised questions in my mind: First is the story of the late Jimmy Saville, identified in the CWN news story as “an English...

The Election: Final Advice on Discernment by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 5, 2012

In the midst of all the arguments and counter-arguments about how best to cast our votes in the American presidential race on Tuesday, let us not forget the need to pray to discern God’s will. His will must be discerned, obviously, within the range of options that are not intrinsically...

The Election Day I won't forget by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 6, 2012

Have you voted yet today? Will you be sure to vote today? Every Election Day, I wonder about the millions of American citizens who stay home, choosing not to vote, letting other people select their political leaders. That sort of apathy baffles me, and I can’t help contrasting it with the...

Can we trace Romney's loss to a single moment? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 7, 2012

Last night several analysts claimed that Mitt Romney’s fate was sealed when Chris Christie put his arm around President Obama. The embattled president was suddenly seen as a non-partisan leader, the pundits explained, and Romney’s appeal for bipartisan support lost traction. Personally I think...

The Next Four Years by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 7, 2012

In the wake of yesterday’s election results, it is clear that the Republican Party did not offer a credible candidate or a credible platform, at least as far as most Americans were concerned. It certainly offered neither one as far as serious Catholics are concerned. This is hardly news. But...

New Rules of Engagement: Christ instead of the Modern State by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 8, 2012

The bishops of Pennsylvania cut right to the core of our fundamental political problem in their message to voters on November 1st, in preparation for Election Day in America. They identified this problem as the totalitarian war of the secular State not only against natural human rights but also...

To fix the American political system, first fix the American culture by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 8, 2012

Let’s face facts squarely. We have lost an election. We are in grave danger of losing a nation. The 2012 elections were a decisive defeat for the culture of life. But this defeat did not “just happen” on November 6. It was the result of a long trend. If we don’t take...

There is the World, and There is the World with Marriage by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 9, 2012

By now I hope you’ve read Phil Lawler’s fine essay, To fix the American political system, first fix the American culture, where he indicates that the American Presidential election exit polls give us a clear sense of direction for the restoration of a culture of life. When I...

Job losses we can live with by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 9, 2012

The porn-video producers of California’s San Fernando Valley are threatening to leave the state, after voters approved a referendum measure requiring porn actors to use condoms onscreen. How do you think government officials should respond to this threat? I suggest something along these...

Irish bishops channeling Nancy Pelosi by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 9, 2012

When questioned about details of Obamacare, Rep. Nancy Pelosi famously remarked that “we have to pass the bill so that we can find out what is in it.” This is the “shoot first, aim later” approach to legislation. Once the bill becomes law, the problems will become...

Irish bishops channeling Nancy Pelosi by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 9, 2012

When questioned about details of Obamacare, Rep. Nancy Pelosi famously remarked that “we have to pass the bill so that we can find out what is in it.” This is the “shoot first, aim later” approach to legislation. Once the bill becomes law, the problems will become obvious. Did I detect...

Advice for losers by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 12, 2012

Father Tom Reese is not infallible; he admits as much himself in a post-election column for the National Catholic Reporter. But he evidently considers himself a lot closer to infallibility than the American bishops, to whom he offers a great deal of advice. ”Here I am writing as a political...

What’s in a Name? “I am weird” vs. “Defining Issues” by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 12, 2012

At the end of last week we tried an experiment. In early October we had released a collection of essays by Peter Mirus in an eBook entitled “You are weird. God is odd”, featuring the CatholicCulture.org pencil drawing of Peter on the cover. The title for the collection was taken from...

The ethics of adultery by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 12, 2012

Perhaps you’ve seen the speculation that an anonymous writer who asked for advice from the resident ethicist at the New York Times some weeks ago was the man cuckolded by General Petraeus. The situation described by this unhappy man does fit the facts of the case. The anonymous correspondent...

Bishops, spare us your tweets! by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 12, 2012

Our American bishops, meeting in Baltimore this week, have apparently decided that the world needs to hear more of their offhand comments. There’s a push to encourage more bishops to blog and tweet, and a supportive study that says (to quote the UPI headline): “Poll: Catholics want...

An Interpretation of Archbishop Lori’s DREAM by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 13, 2012

Like Martin Luther King, I have a dream. My dream is that bishops will one day speak intelligently about the DREAM Act. Archbishop William Lori tried and failed at the USCCB’s Fall meeting. Archbishop Lori wanted to show that (a) the DREAM Act represents “Gospel values taught to us by...

Marriage in this World and the Next by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 13, 2012

I could have gone in one of two directions in this second installment on marriage and church in Scripture—which are two sides of a priceless coin in the currency of evangelization. Going in one direction, I might have devoted this installment to the evils, including estrangement from God,...

THE book for Advent this year by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 14, 2012

Maybe you’ve already grasped the significance of today’s CWN headline story. But just in case, let me spell it out: Pope Benedict’s new book, The Infancy Narratives, will be available November 21. Advent begins December 2. So if you want to prepare to celebrate the...

Two More Items from Catholic England by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 14, 2012

I’m almost done reading through Fr. Saward’s fine anthology of The Spiritual Tradition of Catholic England. Here are two brief quotations from twentieth-century authors. The first comes from the famous novelist, Evelyn Waugh, who very strongly lamented the changes in the liturgy...

The World without Marriage by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 15, 2012

I’ve been combining marriage and church in this series of articles. The reason for doing this was initially a pragmatic one, as I explained in There is the World, and There is the World with Marriage: Exit polls from the recent American presidential election showed clearly that people who...

Evangelization Techniques and Opportunities by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 16, 2012

It is time to start brainstorming about fresh ways to evangelize during this Year of Faith. Obviously the occasions one chooses to evangelize depend somewhat on the particular aspect of the Gospel message one is most qualified and called to present. Thus some might evangelize in the course of...

Open season on Catholicism by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 16, 2012

It’s open season on Catholicism. In Ireland and in Australia, public opinion is being whipped into frenzy in crusades against Church teachings. In both cases the arguments are thoroughly irrational. In Ireland, Savita Halappanavar died a horrible, painful, needless death. But rather...

The End of Pro-Life Politics by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 19, 2012

Have we as pro-life Catholics been wrong to invest the lion’s share of our time, talent and energy in the political battle against abortion over the past forty years? Or even if we have not been wrong the whole time, are we wrong now? Perhaps it is obvious that I believe the answer is yes....

Evangelization Ideas by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 19, 2012

We’ve received quite a number of suggestions for effective evangelization (as requested in Evangelization Techniques and Opportunities). Let me summarize some of the better ideas thus far. Frank Hermann of Steubenville, Ohio offered a stiff dose of reality when he reminded us that...

Reading the Greats during the Year of Faith: Newman and Chesterton by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 20, 2012

There are all kinds of special reading we could and should be doing during the Year of Faith. The Church recommends the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism and so, as far as study goes, these should be at the top of our list. But neither of these is properly spiritual reading, and that...

Marriage in Heaven by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 21, 2012

We have already sensed the conclusion to this series on marriage and church in the foreshadowing of nuptial union with God in the Song of Songs, referring at once to the individual soul, Israel and the Church. Other passages in the Old Testament point to such a nuptial union, both personal and...

Can a man die twice? The problem with 'brain death' by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 24, 2012

Boxer Hector Camacho died on Saturday, his doctor said: His death was reported by Dr. Ernesto Torres, the director of the Centro Medico trauma center in Puerto Rico, who said Camacho had a heart attack and died a short time later after being taken off life support. This is confusing, because the...

The Saudi contribution to religious freedom by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 26, 2012

The King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue opens today in Vienna. Why in Vienna? Well, it couldn’t really be based in Riyadh, could it? It might be a bit messy, inviting people into town to talk about inter-religious harmony, and then...

Succinct Spirituality by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 26, 2012

Just yesterday I was reading once again Jean Leclercq’s introduction to Bernard of Clairvaux’s Selected Works (in the Paulist Press Classics of Western Spirituality series), and I came across this summary of St. Bernard’s approach to conversion and holiness: Man’s end is...

Douthat's excellent critique of American heresies by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 27, 2012

Ross Douthat will forgive me, I hope, for saying that it is remarkable Bad Religion was written by such a young man. I don’t mean to patronize him. A conservative Catholic writer who has established himself as a regular op-ed columnist for the New York Times doesn’t need a...

The Three Most Important Characteristics of an Evangelizer by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 27, 2012

Evangelizer or evangelist? Depending on your frame of reference, the term “evangelist” conjures up the writers of the gospels, slick Protestant TV personalities, or the kind of modern corporate marketing fervor pioneered by Apple. And the term “evangelizer” sounds just...

Keeping silent is bad strategy, on abortion and on contraception by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 28, 2012

Senator John McCain, who knows a thing or two about losing political campaigns, thinks that Republican candidates need to stop talking about abortion. “I can state my position on abortion. But other than that, leave the issue alone,” said Sen. McCain. “I would allow people to...

The Pope opening a Twitter feed? That's not news by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 29, 2012

If you’ve checked the news recently, on any site other than Catholic World News, you’ve probably read that Pope Benedict is opening a Twitter account. This morning when I plugged “pope” and “twitter” into a Google news search, I received 68,000 results, most of...

To Emphasize Politics or Not: The Sequel by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 29, 2012

It is time for a follow-up on my controversial In Depth Analysis, The End of Pro-Life Politics. The piece has occasioned a good deal of comment—not only in Sound Off! and via email, but in blogs and social media. Indeed, that may well be the most important thing about it. I argued that our...

Grace through Suffering by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 30, 2012

Elie Gilges died in her parents arms on March 11, 2004. Elie had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor when she was eight months old, and her parents expected to lose her almost immediately. Hope was rekindled when they found surgeons who would operate, but Elie had a stroke during or...

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