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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from December 2012

We Cannot Have Both. by Chris Pelicano in "The City Gates" - Dec 3, 2012

It has been said a million times: in Scripture, in Sermons, in Literature, in History, and in Individual Lives. “You CAN’T have both.” And it’s always worth repeating. The more you love the world the less you love God the more you love God the more you reject the...

The Natural Law Is Not Enough by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 3, 2012

I have argued repeatedly for the importance of the natural law and particularly for an appeal to the natural law in public affairs. But today I wish to introduce a note of caution. As important as the natural law is, it can obscure things that are more important still. Most creatures reflect the...

Father Schall's 'last lecture'—don't miss it! by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Dec 3, 2012

If you live in or around Washington, DC—or can get there this Friday evening—don’t miss this event: Father James Schall will speak on “The Final Gladness,” in his “last lecture at Georgetown” on Friday, Dec. 7, at 5:00 pm in Gaston Hall. If you’re...

The unCatholic Press: Left for Dead at the Barricades by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Dec 4, 2012

The National Catholic Reporter is fading fast, as demonstrated by its open appeal for doctrinal disobedience among Catholics. The occasion for this appeal was the expulsion of Fr. Roy Bourgeois from Maryknoll for his outspoken support of the ordination of women. The NCR believes its call for...

In Ireland, the case for legal abortion is built on fraud by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 4, 2012

Legal abortion is coming soon to Ireland, it now seems likely, arriving the same way it arrived in the US 40 years ago: by fraud. In the US, the plaintiffs in the landmark cases of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton have both testified that their cases were based on fraud. Norma McCorvey (“Roe”) was...

Cardinal Sodano: trouble letting go? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Dec 4, 2012

A belated “Happy Birthday” to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who turned 85 on November 23. Despite his advanced age—10 years beyond ordinary retirement age, 5 years beyond the age at which prelates typically surrender even honorary titles in the Roman Curia—Cardinal Sodano remains the Dean of the...

The National Catholic Reporter is in rebellion; which side are you on? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Dec 5, 2012

The National Catholic Reporter believes that the teaching of the Catholic Church is “unjust.” So if your diocese is advertising in the Reporter for a justice-and-peace coordinator, you can’t safely assume that the applicants’ understanding of “justice” will match that of the universal...

Knowing Everything: The Mystery Paradox by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 5, 2012

We moderns don’t like to admit there is anything we don’t know. We experience a kind of dreadful insecurity in admitting ignorance. And the suggestion that somebody else might know more than we do is a terrible affront to our pride. More tribal men and women of former ages might have...

Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 6, 2012

I've just read the third and final volume of the Pope's study of Jesus of Nazareth. This was originally projected as a separate monograph, in which the Pope applies his special brand of exegesis, which is really a profound renewal of exegesis, to the infancy narratives. Chronologically, of...

This week's very practical saints by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Dec 7, 2012

Early Advent is a great time for taking practical steps to put your spiritual life in order, and appropriately enough, this week we celebrate the feasts of two saints who showed a marvelous grasp of practicalities. St. Nicholas is a popular favorite as the real man behind the Santa Claus story....

Economics: The American Church Matures in Christ by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 7, 2012

Presumably nobody has missed the fact that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, at its November meeting, failed to issue its proposed statement on the economy. The document was approved 134 to 85, with nine abstentions, but that was short of the two-thirds majority (152 votes)...

The key to long life? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Dec 7, 2012

You may complain that your children are responsible for your grey hair, but at least you’re likely to live long enough to comb it. That’s the gist of a new study, which shows that parents live longer than childless couples. But then what do you do with your time, when you...

Advertising the World's Greatest Pearl by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 10, 2012

I think it was Chesterton who observed that modern commercial life is exceedingly strange in that we so often spend our hard-earned funds based on advertising—that is, based on what a particular company says about itself. Yet there is no conceivable reason for us to consider advertising a...

A cardinal takes his medicine by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Dec 12, 2012

Cardinal Francis George, who is recovering from chemotherapy after a second bout with cancer, told the Chicago Tribune that his treatment is going well: He also drinks asparagus juice three times a day, served by the Polish nuns who prepare his meals and insist on the gloppy green potion's...

Ten Keys to Effective Evangelization by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 12, 2012

One of our supporters wrote recently to ask what was supposed to be “new” about the New Evangelization. He had found that many people seemed to be waiting for Rome to issue instructions on a new kind of evangelization, different from the past, which would somehow solve the problem of...

Tradition and Preaching: Back to the Future by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Dec 13, 2012

One of the tasks of the USCCB’s November meeting was to review and approve the American bishops’ first statement on preaching in some 30 years. It was approved by an overwhelming 227 to 11 vote, with only 4 abstentions. The original English text of this 54-page document will be...

On Talking in Church by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 14, 2012

All those who are serious about prayer will experience, at least occasionally, the problem of noisy conversation in church. Moreover, church decorum varies from place to place. Usually this arises from the encouragement or discouragement of silence by pastors, which over time results in a habit...

Good and bad in the online response to the CT school shootings by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Dec 14, 2012

The online responses to the unspeakably awful shootings at a school in Connecticut show both the best and the worst of the internet culture. The best: Many people were immediately moved to prayer, and to encourage others to pray, for those who died and those who have survived but will be...

Volume 2 of the 2012-2013 Liturgical Year Released by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Dec 14, 2012

We’ve just released the second volume in our ebook series for the 2012-2013 liturgical year. This volume covers Ordinary Time before Lent, which runs from January 14th through February 12th. Of course, the current Advent-Christmas volume is also still available. Our liturgical year ebooks...

The gay intimidation campaign reaches toward the Pope by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 17, 2012

In his annual message for the World Day of Peace—a statement of nearly 3,600 words—Pope Benedict XVI devotes one sentence to the campaign to redefine marriage. And what happens? Thousands of headlines announce that the Pope has condemned same-sex marriage as a threat to world...

The English Bible According to Msgr. Ronald Knox by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 17, 2012

Baronius Press has just brought out an attractive edition of the Knox Bible—the English translation of the Bible done single-handedly by the famous Catholic apologist Msgr. Ronald Knox between 1936 and 1945. This is a gilt-edged, leather-bound edition with two colored ribbons; its verse...

Help for Homilists by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Dec 18, 2012

I had never heard of a “homiliary” before one of our colleagues in England, Mark Alder (www.christendom-awake.org), called my attention to the four-volume homiliary for the Roman Liturgy by the Dominican priest, Fr. Aidan Nichols (see my review of his outline of systematic theology,...

Newtown, the reality of evil, and the promise of salvation by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 19, 2012

Something terrible happened to the children of Newton, Connecticut, last week. Yet something even worse happened to the twisted young man who killed them. No, I do not plan to use his name. With our obsessive focus on the killer we have made him a sort of anti-hero, a potential model for other...

Expect More Catholic Caveats about Government by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 19, 2012

I found some extraordinarily important distinctions in Pope Benedict’s recent address to the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. These distinctions ought to affect significantly how we approach the Church’s social teaching regarding governmental authority...

Life to the Full: The Gift of Christmas by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 21, 2012

One of the most important things about Christmas is that it is the first and most tender of all Christian reminders that every aspect of human life is an occasion of grace. The birth of Our Lord is the most accessible reminder of the Incarnation, by which God’s Son took on our nature so that...

A 3-minute game for your Christmas party by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Dec 24, 2012

Here’s a little Christmas present, together with a suggestion: Go to this web site, and enjoy an old recording of the Ave Maria, by Blessed John Paul II. Then cue up the Youtube video for your family and/or friends. Don’t let them see the video or hear the introduction. Challenge them to name...

Through the Pass: A Christmas Reflection by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 26, 2012

I was hiking in a fairly remote region when a few other hikers told me of a mountain pass leading into a spectacular valley resonant with cascading waters, lush with rolling meadows, dotted with innumerable wild flowers, and protected on all sides by snow-capped peaks. This sums up my idea of...

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