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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from November 2013

On Archbishop Welby and the Art of Surprise by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 4, 2013

The head of the Anglican Communion has promised upcoming surprises, in the tradition of Pope Francis, regarding relations between Anglicans and Catholics. But a good Englishman ought to regard this as a thoroughly bad show. Unless Archbishop Justin Welby plans to reverse the official...

The 'way of beauty' in the Russian Far East by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 5, 2013

On the Catholic Culture site today we’re launching another chapter—the 6th—from the forthcoming book, When Faith Goes Viral. This month’s entry—which I wrote myself, with a lot of help from friends who have spent time in Russia—tells an unusual story about...

Nothing Short of a Miracle: Three New Books by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 5, 2013

Most of us get into a kind of rhythm in living our faith. We get into a groove, but sometimes the groove can become a rut. When this happens, we need something to jolt us—to make us recognize once again that we are called to much that is not yet incorporated into our daily habits. Sometimes...

For the purposes of the Synod on the Family, consider the source by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 6, 2013

It is not surprising that the Vatican has already had to issue a denial that it is polling Catholics about marriage and sexual issues, as if to put Catholic doctrine to a vote. This is the kind of thing that makes hot news for ignorant secular reporters, and which can be used to pressure the...

Why the media keep getting Pope Francis all wrong by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 7, 2013

Readers beware. The quality of reporting on the Vatican by the secular news media—never high—has plummeted to an all-time low in recent weeks. Scarcely a day goes by without some sensational new headline. The Pope is going to appoint a female cardinal! He’s going to poll the...

Making Our Case: Is CatholicCulture.org Worth Supporting? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 8, 2013

I am a firm believer that the support of apostolic work should stand or fall on whether a large number of people find it valuable. It sometimes happens even in Catholic work that the availability of substantial funds from a small group of financial angels can obscure the usefulness...

Balanced, insightful NY Times treatment of Pope Francis and his critics by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 11, 2013

On consecutive days, the New York Times has provided two insightful pieces on the Catholic Church: two pieces of analysis good enough to remind us why the Times was once rightly regarded as America’s most authoritative news source. First there was a balanced piece of analysis by reporter...

Evangelization: The Multitudes, not the Inner Circle by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 11, 2013

In chapter 9 of St. Matthew’s gospel, Our Lord heals a man suffering from palsy, cures a woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years, raises a little girl from the dead, restores the sight of two blind men, casts a devil out of a man who could not speak, and in general cures...

Government Pressure and College Catholicism: Diamonds from Coal? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 12, 2013

If you think God doesn’t work in mysterious ways, consider the increasing scrutiny of “religious” organizations by the American government when it comes to exemptions from various regulations which offend the well-formed conscience. It is a shifting landscape, and it would take...

If US bishops change their tune, don't blame Pope Francis by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 13, 2013

“Pope Francis doesn’t want cultural warriors, he doesn’t want ideologues,” Bishop Blaise Cupich of Spokane told the New York Times in an interview held during this week’s USCCB meeting. Well, if you put it that way, of course; the Pope doesn’t want ideologues. What sort of bishops does he...

A disgusting display by SSPX followers in Buenos Aires by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 13, 2013

Let me make three requests: First, if you disrupt services at a Catholic cathedral, please don’t try to tell me that you’re defending the Catholic faith. Second, if you shout out the Rosary to drown out prayers, please don’t tell me you’re honoring the Virgin...

What's the best way to help friends in need? Probably prayer. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 14, 2013

Yesterday I was running down the list of people who have asked for my prayers, and I realized that if I had unlimited funds, and could write a million-dollar check to each one of them, nobody would drop off that list. To be sure, we have friends who are in difficult financial circumstances. We...

The New Evangelization: What Does It Look Like? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 14, 2013

As I mentioned in my latest Insights message (Evangelization Forever!), we should end this Year of Faith not with some sort of boxed memorial, but by making what we have learned the basis of a new era of Catholic evangelization. That is the challenge before us, and I think we really have made some...

Confraternity of the Holy Rosary by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - Nov 15, 2013

Second only to the Mass as the Catholic prayer par excellence, the Rosary is a staple of the spiritual life of many Catholic families and individuals. For several centuries it has nourished the faith of countless saints, Popes and ordinary Christian men and women. Out of all those who today...

Countercultural Catholic, chapter 1: The Sign of Jonah by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 15, 2013

This is a book about how the Catholic faith shapes American culture. We cannot read into the secret depths of human souls, so we cannot measure how much influence the faith has on individuals. But we can observe how society has changed, especially regarding the issues that the Catholic Church...

The Problem of High Culture: The Arts and Evangelization by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 15, 2013

In yesterday’s In Depth Analysis on evangelization (see The New Evangelization: What Does It Look Like?), I mentioned a paradox. I admitted that an apostolate named “CatholicCulture.org” has been mostly silent when it comes to what many people mean by “culture”, that...

Self-Esteem and the Love of God by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 19, 2013

It is possible to make a circle through four rooms in my home, and I frequently pace that circle when I’m praying a Rosary or trying to work out ideas for a column. On each circuit I notice a large photograph of my youngest son surrounded by six of his nieces and nephews (of which there are...

Countercultural Catholic, chapter 2: The Worst of Both Worlds by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 19, 2013

In September, Pope Francis caused an international sensation when, in an interview, he said that the Catholic Church “cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage, and the use of contraceptive methods.” Instead, he proposed, the Church should emphasize “what...

Why Bishop Paprocki plans an exorcism by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 20, 2013

Trained as a canon lawyer, Bishop Thomas Paprocki understands the prudence of working within the system of Church law. He is not by nature a “lone ranger”—not the sort of prelate who would ignore the rules and rubrics to make his point. Still, while other American bishops have...

Another remarkably lame argument for women's ordination by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 20, 2013

Proponents of women’s ordination are calling attention to a fresco in the newly restored catacombs of Priscilla, saying that it shows women acted as priests in the early Church. Here’s the evidence: the fresco shows a female figure with her arms raised, as if in prayer. OK, so in the...

J. Budziszewski: The Underground Thomist by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - Nov 21, 2013

Catholic Culture readers may already be familiar with one of our favorite natural law scholars and Christian apologists, J. Budziszewski, two of whose books we have reviewed in the past (What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide and The Meaning of Sex). Budziszewski, a professor of government and...

Sing of Mary, 2: A True Song of the Undeserving Poor by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 21, 2013

Today is the feast of the Presentation of Mary, and it has a way of focusing our minds on an aspect of Mary’s life that we sometimes fail to consider. In this feast the Church hearkens back as close as we can get in the visible life of Mary to “the beginning”. The feast that...

Evangelization, Apologetics, and the Incarnational Difference by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 22, 2013

One of the most striking things about the constant call for a new evangelization is that it represents such a sea change from the prevailing attitudes in both the immediate pre-Vatican II and the immediate post-Vatican II Church. It’s as if our sense of the Faith has finally clicked into...

The 2013 Christmas stamp is forever by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 25, 2013

One of our supporters in Oregon, Loretta Matulich, noticed that US Post Office flyers on the subject of Christmas mailings seem to rather deliberately omit mentioning the one Christian stamp for the season. This features the Virgin and Child by Jan Gossaert, painted in 1531 in oil on wood....

On Our Dangerous Need for Enemies by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 25, 2013

Give me a good whipping boy, and I’ll give you a popular article. Even our own readership numbers bear this out. When we write about, say, the nature of the New Evangelization, numbers go down; if we identify and critique those who stand in the way of the New Evangelization, the numbers...

US closing embassy at Vatican? That's not the real story. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 26, 2013

The US is closing down its embassy at the Vatican. That story is all over the media today. That story is wrong. There is a story here. The Obama administration does seem to be downgrading the importance of relations with the Holy See. But the embassy isn’t being closed. Before...

The New Apostolic Exhortation: Bothersome in more ways than one! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 26, 2013

There is only so much one can say about Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), before we come up against the fact that this is a post-synodal text from which only a relatively few people are going to benefit. As with the other exhortations of this...

Beware the hobbyhorse. Evangelii Gaudium is not about economics. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 27, 2013

If you read Evangelii Gaudium as primarily an indictment of free-market economics, you read it all wrong. The Pope did have a good deal to say about economic matters (more on that later), but this is not an apostolic exhortation about economics. If you thought the big news was that the Pope...

Recovering the Human in an Ideological Age by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 27, 2013

When I wrote my introductory essay on the role of the arts in evangelization (see The Problem of High Culture: The Arts and Evangelization), I acknowledged my limitations in handling this complex subject, and I also recommended Gregory Wolfe as a far more able Catholic guide. In doing so, I...

A key error in translation of Evangelii Gaudium by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! Sorry to bother you on a day when I hope you are relaxing, but with the help of a sharp-eyed reader I’ve discovered what seems to me a critical error in the translation of Evangelii Gaudium. (In passing let me ask rhetorically why the translation errors always seem to...

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