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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from December 2011

An Exhortation to the Clergy by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 1, 2011

Are all priests and bishops beset with the evils of concupiscence, covetousness, pride of life and continuous involvement in secular affairs? The answer is “yes” if we mean they are beset with these temptations, but of course it is “no” if we mean they are constantly beset...

Why liberal liturgists dislike the new translation by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 1, 2011

From all available indications, the new English translation of the Mass has been received quietly. The faithful have not rebelled—much to the dismay of those who have spent months fighting a desperate rear-guard action against this translation, and those who saddled us for 40 years with...

The Assent Owed to Vatican II by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 2, 2011

What is finally emerging as the sticking point between the Vatican and the Society of Saint Pius X is the question of the assent owed to the Second Vatican Council. This is now the subject of an important essay in L’Osservatore Romano by one of the key negotiators for the Vatican, the...

Growing Up in Catholic Orphanages by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 5, 2011

From all you’ve heard about the Irish Church and abuse problems elsewhere, you might think this is a horror story, but it is not. A man named Edward Rohs, who coordinates mental health services for the New York City Field Office of the New York State Office of Mental Health, has just written...

Pornography—or Persons as Objects by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 6, 2011

Did you know that more than 80% of all pornographic web pages originate in the United States? As with so many other things, we Americans are the chief exporters of pornography to the world. One could make a powerful foreign policy case against pornography, as it is little wonder that cultures...

What the media don't tell you and when they don't tell it by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 6, 2011

If ever there was a day when secular news coverage provided a lesson in the need for a reliable Catholic perspective on the news, today was that day. Consider: A CNN post bore the headline: Federal program denies grant to Catholic group to help sex trafficking victims. So if you rely on CNN...

Evil in Human Guise: Reflections Occasioned by Plan B by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 9, 2011

It turns out that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius surprised everybody by denying approval for over-the-counter sales of Plan B. Had the petition gone through, it would have removed age restrictions from a drug which either prevents or ends pregnancy when taken shortly after...

Theologians demand respect from bishops: a one-way street by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 9, 2011

The College Theology Society (CTS) sees a rift in relations between theologians and Catholic bishops. They blame the bishops, naturally, because it’s a well-known principle that if there are hard feelings between me and you, the fault must lie with you. In their dealings with Sister...

The Pill for nuns? Here's a better idea by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 9, 2011

Two Australian researchers have captured public attention with their suggestion that Catholic nuns should take birth-control pills—for the sake of their health! The argument, put forward in The Lancet is fascinating: The rate of ovarian, uterine, and breast cancer is significantly higher...

Clarity, please, on illegal immigration by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 13, 2011

In the letter to immigrants signed by 33 Hispanic American bishops, one sentence cries out for editorial amendment: Despite your contributions to the well-being of our country, instead of receiving our thanks, you are often treated as criminals because you have violated current immigration...

Commission on Religious Freedom Indispensable? Oh Come Now... by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 13, 2011

My theory is that if we can’t reduce our Federal deficit by cutting the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, then there is probably nothing at all that we can cut. I know the US Bishops have urged Catholics to lobby to secure new funding for the Commission and I know that...

Toward a Realistic View of Society by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 15, 2011

In the “While We’re at It” section of First Things last month, I found this: “Critics of neoconservatism don’t seem to grasp that support for a market economy and limited government doesn’t express a romantic or idealistic view of business but a realistic view of government.” Many First Things...

How Catholics might advance the debate on immigration by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 15, 2011

Since the appearance of my comment on the need for clarity in the debate on immigration, several readers have written to say that immigrants living in the US are not “criminals,” since residing in the US without proper documentation is a civil rather than criminal offense. That’s...

Political Counsel from St. Thomas More by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 15, 2011

In the In Depth Analysis I just wrote, Toward a Realistic View of Society, I make the argument that a realistic assessment of the social order begins with an understanding of the importance of spiritual and moral formation. I stand by that, but I might also have made a point about expectations. We...

Jesus Christ: The Singularity of Christmas by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 19, 2011

The Pope’s reflections on the Virgin Birth as a warranty of the divinity of her Son remind me of the events which scientists describe with the term “singularity”. Because a virgin birth cannot be explained by any natural process which precedes it, a Catholic would call it a...

The headlines say we should be worried about the Pope's health. Why? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 19, 2011

This past weekend, dozens of stories appeared in the English-speaking media, reporting that the health of Pope Benedict XVI is slipping. Most of the headlines referred to the same AP report, and the few “independent” accounts seemed obviously prompted by the AP story. Here’s just...

And the master commended them, saying… by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 20, 2011

In my home town, thieves are very active in the copper business. The metal has risen in value so much that the robbers go into empty homes and strip them of their copper piping. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, tubas and sousaphones are disappearing rapidly from high schools. Apparently the...

What entrepreneurs should learn from Blessed John Paul II by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 20, 2011

In an era of global enterprise, when some overweight financial firms are deemed “too big to fail,” how should an honest Christian entrepreneur behave? Can the abstract principles of Catholic social teaching be applied to the practicalities of life in the business world? Andreas Widmer...

Pedophilia: An Obscure Message of Hope by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 22, 2011

It may seem strange to comment on pedophilia in the period leading up to Christmas, when we would all prefer to focus on children, and indeed on the Child, without worrying about the dangers to which they are exposed. But this might actually be a good time to send out a message of hope...

Units of liturgical measurement by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 26, 2011

Does your computer have one of those convenient functions that provides instant conversion of various units of measurement: length, weight, area, volume, temperature, etc? If so, maybe you could help out some reporters for Newsday, whose report on Christmas Mass at the Rockville Centre cathedral...

Even Austrian Darkness Cannot Overcome the Light by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 27, 2011

In February of this year, an Austrian teacher, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, was found guilty of “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion” because, during a seminar course on Islam, she stated that “Muhammed had a thing for little girls.”...

The diminishing value of Bishop Spong’s evolving Bible by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 29, 2011

Retired Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong, who has made a career of rejecting fundamental Christian doctrines, takes aim at some “misconceptions” about the Bible in a CNN commentary. The Bible isn’t accurate, says the prelate who denies the Virgin Birth. The...

Fasting for Joy by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 30, 2011

You don’t have to look for long at Catholic news to know that the peaceful practice of one’s faith is hard to come by. Christians seem to be always suffering, and everywhere. Consider these headlines from just the past two days: 26 priests, religious, lay pastoral workers slain...

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