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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from December 2013

Countercultural Catholic, chapter 3: With Apologies to the Martyrs by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 2, 2013

In the mid-17th century, the leading cause of death among the Jesuits working in North America was martyrdom. This is an abbreviated version of a chapter in a new book I am developing on building a Catholic counter-culture in a post-Christian world. Comments are...

The Church: Economies Always Depend on Moral Decisions by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Dec 2, 2013

Have you ever wondered about the constant bickering over which economic viewpoint is being “endorsed” each time a pope makes an observation about economic affairs? Indeed, every time a pope addresses socio-economic problems, pundits immediately attempt to prove he has sided with one...

The Failure of Law: Why Justice is Disappearing in the West by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 3, 2013

I am not the first to observe that we live in an ideological age. One great reason for this is our apparent inability to believe in anything deeper or more secure. But this creates insurmountable problems for the rule of law, and for principled jurisprudence. For if “principles” can be...

And now for something completely different, ... by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Dec 4, 2013

The new president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has revealed that he gained inspiration from the writings of the martial-arts legend Bruce...

Detecting the Eucharist: The Quality of Our Belief by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 5, 2013

There are quite a few accounts of the ability of various saints to “sense” the Real Presence in consecrated bread or wine, and there is evidence that this awareness is developed to some degree among many Catholics. On visiting a Protestant church, many have experienced a strong sense...

How the Common-Core approach conflicts with Catholic teaching by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Dec 6, 2013

The Common Core, Anthony Esolen writes, is “a bag of rotten old ideas doused with disinfectant; its assumptions are hostile to classical and Christian approaches to education; it is starkly utilitarian; its self-promotion is sludged up with edu-lingo, thick with verbiage and thin in...

Evangelizing One Word at a Time by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 6, 2013

Most committed Catholics are thinking more about evangelization these days. But while we can all think of better ways to handle ourselves when questions about our faith come up, it is not at all clear what we can do habitually to stimulate those questions—to be the kind of people from whom...

If the Pope didn't say it, claim he 'hinted' (updated) by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Dec 7, 2013

Writing on the CNN belief blog, Daniel Burke claims that in Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis “hinted that he wants to see an end to the so-called ‘wafer wars,’ in which Catholic politicians who support abortion rights are denied Holy Communion.” You’ll notice that...

An extended weekend's worth of don't-miss commentary by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Dec 9, 2013

Over the weekend (and stretching into today’s feast day), some unusually good commentary appeared online. I encourage Catholic readers to spend a few minutes with the following: Mary Ann Glendon—Harvard Law professor and former US Ambassador to the Holy See—previewed the US...

Countercultural Catholic, chapter 4: A Heritage Stolen by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 10, 2013

Even judged by purely human standards—even setting aside the immeasurable treasure that is the supernatural gift of faith—the riches of the Catholic tradition are staggering. Think about the literature and the oral traditions: the stories of martyrs and confessors, saints and heroes....

New Testament Phone App Available, Text & Audio, RSV-CE by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Dec 10, 2013

If you’d like an app for your phone or other handheld device which will give you the complete text of the New Testament in the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSV-CE) along with an audio soundtrack read by actors, you can learn how to download it free at www.downloadjesus.com. The...

While praising the Pope, Time ignores his advice by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Dec 11, 2013

In a short essay explaining the choice of Pope Francis as Person of the Year, managing editor Nancy Gibbs of Time magazine writes: “He released his first exhortation, an attack on ‘the idolatry of money,’ just as Americans were contemplating the day set aside for gratitude and whether to spend it...

Persecuted Indian Christians Evangelize…by Forgiving by Various in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 12, 2013

Editor’s Note: During the Year of Faith, when Catholics from all walks of life were called to participate in the “new evangelization,”’ a question naturally arose: What sort of evangelization works? Are there any proven programs, that have demonstrated the power to attract...

Political principles rooted in Christ? This is not easy. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 12, 2013

It is a rare treat amid all the December fundraising to sit back and reflect on deeper issues. Surely one of the most vexing of these is the strange relationship between Catholics and the left-right dialectic in American politics. When it comes down to individuals, this relationship is confused...

Fundraising Update: Just $22,000 to go for 2013! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Dec 13, 2013

Through the generosity of our donors, we met the $35,000 Challenge Grant for which we were striving, the day before the deadline of December 12th. This success ensures that CatholicCulture.org will not end 2013 in debt. However, our total 2013 budget includes about $30,000 for staff...

My Six-Step Formula for Destroying Everything by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 13, 2013

Let us suppose a counter-factual for a moment. Let us suppose that I want nothing more than to ruin a healthy culture and destroy the social order which depends on that culture. Here, then, are my top six tactics to bring this about: 1. Eliminate Meaning: The first goal is to make people...

Countercultural Catholic, chapter 5: False Diagnosis by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 16, 2013

Ask a dozen Americans to explain the decline in the public influence of the Catholic Church, and at least ten will say that the sex-abuse scandal is the root cause. That standard narrative is handy but it’s wrong. The sex-abuse scandal did catastrophic damage to the standing of the Church;...

Why successful societies require truth and goodness by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 16, 2013

It is difficult to overemphasize how much a sound social order, a sound economy, and a sound political environment depend on virtue. It is a fairly basic insight, yet much of modern life is spent tearing down and discarding hard-won conceptions of virtue in the name of liberation and toleration....

On the pope’s selection as Person of the Year...by the LGBT community by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 17, 2013

One of our supporters notified us that The Advocate (an LGBT publication) has named Pope Francis Person of the Year. The LGBT community has a special appreciation for the Pope because he has emphasized the dignity of each person and insisted that it is not possible to devalue another human being...

Last-minute Christmas gift suggestion by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Dec 18, 2013

Having trouble thinking of an appropriate Christmas gift for a good Catholic friend? Let me immodestly suggest A Call to Serve, a book that I co-authored. It retells the story of the surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis. There’s a quick assessment of...

Can there be too many good Catholic writers? Four books on Catholicism by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Dec 20, 2013

In the most important sense, the question in my title can be taken rhetorically. “Certainly not!” we should reply, for it is eminently desirable that every person on the God’s green earth should be able to write, and write well, about the Catholic Faith. At another level,...

On the replacement of Cardinal Burke, panic and celebration are premature by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Dec 20, 2013

Once again Catholics on both ends of the ideological spectrum are telling us that by shuffling the membership of the Congregation for Bishops, Pope Francis has done something revolutionary. Since I don’t think that the Holy Father is a revolutionary—I think that one group of pundits is...

Galileo and the Joy of History by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - Dec 21, 2013

Here’s a classic example of human egotism: we rarely take an interest in the past except insofar as it can serve us in the present. We are seldom patient enough to see history in all its messy complexity; we would rather torture it into a simplistic narrative to win some modern culture war,...

The Impossible Reform of Catholic Universities by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Dec 23, 2013

It comes as no surprise that the faculty of Jesuit-run Santa Clara University has overturned the President’s decision to eliminate abortion coverage from health insurance there. The vote was 215 to 89, and it throws the decision now to the Board of Trustees. Many onlookers will attribute the...

Countercultural Catholic, chapter 6: The Enemy Within by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Dec 31, 2013

In the military world, no effective force ever tolerates traitors, deserters, or informers. Today, in the midst of our “culture wars,” the Catholic Church can ill afford to wage a two-front battle: against militant secularists on one hand and renegade Catholics on the other. The first...

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