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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from February 2010

God in heaven, God in others, God in self by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 1, 2010

I know a priest whose sermons often cover the merits of (1) remembering God’s love for us, and what His relationship with us demands (2) recalling what God’s love of each person requires of us in regards to our neighbor, and (3) understanding how God’s love transforms us and...

with an ear to the ground in Rome by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 1, 2010

If you've been following this blog very, very carefully, and taking note, you were aware that Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the prefect of the powerful Congregation for Bishops, celebrated his 75th birthday last Friday. And that roughly since he turned 75-- retirement age-- there have been rumors...

When you’re winning, none of this matters. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 1, 2010

I think it is a good sign that abortion advocates are beginning to do a little infighting now that their primary vehicle for rapid expansion of abortion—Obamacare—is on the ropes. Apparently pro-aborts are upset with the compromise on abortion funding in both the House and the Senate...

Media malpractice by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 1, 2010

In its coverage of the March for Life (if there was any coverage at all) did your local newspaper or TV station convey the impression that there were a few thousands participants? That the marchers were mostly middle-aged men? That there were many pro-abortion counter-demonstrators along the...

get serious by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 1, 2010

The abrupt resignation of Bishop Kizito Bahujimihigo of Kibungo, Rwanda, was prompted by "serious financial problems," according to an unidentified Vatican official cited in an AP story. Bishop Bahujimihigo-- who is only 55 years old, and apparently healthy-- acknowledged that he had...

Consider a Catholic Pharmacy by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 1, 2010

[Editor's note: Unfortunately, the DMC Pharmacy discussed below did not survive. It has closed.] The Divine Mercy Care (DMC) Pharmacy is an extension of the work of the famous non-profit Tepeyac Family Center in Northern Virginia, which offers fully Catholic OB/GYN care. Tepeyac not only provides...

Why Be Catholic? 9: The Fall by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 2, 2010

It is difficult—it has always been difficult, I think—to find a worldview that makes perfect sense. For example, if we believe the universe is created and governed by an all-loving God, we have trouble explaining natural and moral evils. But if we believe we are not created and there...

preview of Obamacare? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 3, 2010

A US tax court has ruled that Rhiannon O'Donnabhain can deduct the $25,000 that he spent to become she: the medical costs of sex-change surgery. The court ruled that the Internal Revenue Service was wrong to say that the surgery was not medically necessary, since O'Donnabhain was suffering from...

A funny thing about Vatican II . . . by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 4, 2010

They say a funny thing happened on the way to the forum, and that’s certainly true of the fate of the documents of the Second Vatican Council on their way to the larger forum of the Church in which they were implemented. It wasn’t funny funny, you understand; it was...

it's only sinful if you don't take pleasure in it by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 4, 2010

This just in: Homosexuality has been discovered! OK, I admit it's stale news. It turns out that people have known of homosexuality for "about 125 years." This wisdom is vouchsafed to us by the world's first openly homosexual Episcopalian bishop, Gene Robinson. Robinson was responding...

praying for bishops by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 4, 2010

Praying for our bishops isn't a new idea. It isn't even an optional idea. It's an obligation for all of us. What's new is a web site devoted specifically to an initiative encouraging Catholics to pray the Rosary for a particular bishop at a particular...

A Catholic Writer Worth Knowing: Piers Paul Read by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 5, 2010

Piers Paul Read is an English Catholic novelist, historian, biographer, playwright, reviewer and essayist. He lived through the 1960’s; he retained his faith and saw it deepen in response to the rise of neo-Modernism in the Church. As one of his essays notes, he was sure the Church was right even...

credit where credit is due by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 5, 2010

John Carr, the veteran justice-and-peace staff director for the US bishops' conference, has been under fire recently because of his ties with a leftist group that promotes legal abortion and same-sex marriage. It's a messy and complicated debate. Does Carr have close ties with leftist groups? Yes....

proper Bostonians by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 5, 2010

Parishes in the Boston archdiocese are "resuming rituals," the Boston Globe tells us, now that fears of the swine flu have subsided.  Many parishes have already resumed sharing communion wine and allowing worshipers to shake hands. As any altar boy can tell you, severe...

the ad that loosed 1,000 lips by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 8, 2010

That's it? That?! Two weeks of internet obsession, and the Tim Tebow ad was over in 30 seconds. It was nice. If you were measuring public opinion with a sufficiently sensitive instrument, you might have seen the needle quiver for a second or two. Focus on the Family no doubt saw a big spike in...

Massachusetts & the Kennedy mystique by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 8, 2010

To appreciate the importance of what happened in the special election here in Massachusetts last month, you have to understand the extraordinary power of the Kennedy mystique, and how much it neutralized what had been a strong conservative Catholic influence. I tackle both subjects in a review of...

bridge to nowhere by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 8, 2010

New Ways Ministry is "astonished" that Cardinal George would suggest its work is not completely in line with Church teaching. The group's executive director, Francis DeBernardo, complains that Cardinal George didn't even have the "basic courtesy" to notify him before issuing a...

Tebow Commercial by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 8, 2010

Many who watched the Super Bowl this weekend saw the Focus on the Family commercial featuring Tim Tebow. Just as many didn’t. The brief commercial caught many unawares (in a couple of different ways), and people flocked to the Internet to find out either what they missed or to try to see...

Red Fish, Blue…er, Red Families, Blue Families by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 9, 2010

I received a promotional flyer from Oxford University Press today on a new book entitled Red Families v. Blue Families by two law professors, Naomi Cahn and June Carbone. The book may (or may not) be brilliant, but the promotional flyer is striking for other reasons. Consider the screaming...

we (might) hold these truths by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 9, 2010

An ecumenical catechism: what a wonderful idea, Cardinal Kasper! We can work out a careful formulation of the beliefs that all professed Christians hold in common--- if there are any. Actually, since new Protestant bodies are created every week, and even the old established groups change their...

Vatican II on the Liturgy: Introduction by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 9, 2010

Some of the documents of Vatican II are longer and more detailed, more central to the Church’s purposes, or more controversial in their application than others. It has therefore become apparent that if I am to comment usefully on each document within the medium of the On the Culture blog, I...

Europe: who's on first? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 9, 2010

Since I've already mentioned the subject, and few other Americans are paying attention, let me call your attention to a crisis in the newly reborn European Union. The EU, you may recall, is now a sovereign international body, with its own president, ready to its devise own foreign policy. But...

you can speak (authoritatively) when I tell you by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 9, 2010

The Irish Independent, following in the footsteps of American counterparts like the New York Times and the Boston Globe, has evinced a sudden interest in preserving the authority of the Catholic Church. The sex-abuse crisis in Ireland has jeopardized that authority, the Independent rightly...

fair trade by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 10, 2010

The redoubtable Father Z has a brilliant suggestion for dissident Catholics liberals: Since you seem to want to be Anglicans, leave that closet and ask Archbishop Rowan Williams for your own Ordinariate.? The symmetry of the proposal is striking. Pope Benedict has devised ordinariates for...

unlimited views by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 10, 2010

That wailing and gnashing of teeth that you hear is coming from Rome, where the news has just arrived: Actress Anne Hathaway has left the Catholic Church. She and her family quit as a group after her brother Thomas "came out" as homosexual. "Why should I support an organization that...

details, details... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 10, 2010

When he spoke to bishops from England and Wales on February 1, Pope Benedict warned that the Equality Bill, being considered in Parliament, threatened religious liberty. As he put it, the legislation would "impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance...

The English Editions of the Documents of Vatican II by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 10, 2010

The Second Vatican Council took place well before the era in which the Vatican Press began to issue translations of Church documents in all major languages. For this reason, the publication of the Council documents in various languages depended on independent projects undertaken by publishers...

Restoring Catholic Culture: a reminder by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 10, 2010

During the past year we have been weighing new plans for the Catholic Culture Project: not a new design for our site (which will remain just as it is), but a new practical way to help our readers become involved in the effort to restore a genuine Christian culture. We're reached some decisions,...

Vatican II on the Liturgy: Overview & General Norms by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 10, 2010

Having briefly introduced the concerns of the Council Fathers, let’s take a closer look at the text of Sacrosanctum Concilium, leading up to the General Norms which the Council promulgated to guide liturgical reform. Following an introduction which attempts to balance the need for revision...

the US bishops' continued imprudence on health-care reform by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 10, 2010

In the continuing debate about Obamacare-- a legislative proposal which is still very much alive-- the American bishops continue to play a very dangerous game. For months the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) energetically promoted the concept of sweeping health-care reform, while just as...

Vatican II on the Liturgy: Particular Norms & the Eucharist by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 11, 2010

Following the General Norms, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy outlines more particular norms for authentic renewal which clarify more precisely what the Council Fathers intend. In the “Norms Drawn from the Hierarchic and Communal Nature of the Liturgy”, the Council emphasizes...

Institute of Catholic Culture: A Model that Works by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 11, 2010

I’ve been generally aware of the Institute of Catholic Culture for some time, and have heard from many quarters of the good work it does. I admit that my first reaction (call it the reaction of the natural man) was that somebody had stolen our name. Another part of me pointed out that one of...

snow job by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 11, 2010

Freakish blizzards and freezing temperatures on the East Coast are making it embarrassing to raise the question of global warming. But the New York Times assures us, in a front-page story, that the blizzards themselves might be evidence of climate change. Or possibly not. The truth is, nobody...

end of an era by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 12, 2010

Now it's official. But remember, you heard it here first. The Kennedy dynasty has ended. Congressman Patrick ("Patches") Kennedy said that he will not seek re-election because "my life is taking a new direction." Liberal commentators were shocked by his announcement, and...

a toast for Bishop Tobin by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 12, 2010

Bishop Thomas Tobin, please stand up and acknowledge a hearty round of applause. For three generations, Catholic bishops had coddled the Kennedy family, shrinking away from any confrontation as the nation's most prominent Catholic political dynasty moved steadily away from Church teachings on...

Vatican II on the Liturgy: Related Concerns by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 12, 2010

Having commented at some length on the Norms for liturgical renewal which first and foremost affect the Mass, the most important work for the understanding and importance of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy is completed. Still, as we have seen in the list of chapter titles, the Council did...

with good news like this, who needs bad news? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 12, 2010

Armed with the results of a new Marist Institute poll, the Knights of Columbus announce that they have good news and bad news about the rising generation of American Catholics—described as "millennials" because they came of age around the millennium. Some of the good news for...

Life and CatholicCulture.org: Tell me what you think! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 12, 2010

In the main, CatholicCulture.org is a highly-controlled environment which represents what a few people at Trinity Communications, beginning with yours truly, consider to be the ideal web-based environment to pursue our Catholic purposes. These purposes are essentially ordered to a single mission...

reinventing the whee! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 15, 2010

Among the grants awarded by the US government to stimulate the, um, economy, intrepid researchers have found this line item: $219,000 to the National Institutes of Health to study whether female college students are more likely to have casual sex when they are drunk; Unless I'm mistaken male...

Drinking the Kool Aid on Vatican II by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 15, 2010

Some of the responses I’ve received to my ongoing review of the documents of the Second Vatican Council have reminded me of the remarkable shallowness with which Vatican II has been received on all sides of the spectrum. The amount of Kool Aid of the Vatican II flavor that continues to be...

The Cost of Excellence by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 15, 2010

In a previous article, I wrote about how Christians are called to “do all things well,” which includes how we conduct our professional affairs. However, this call presents a challenge to thousands of Catholics who want to do their best job, but are unable to because of a prevailing...

The Dog Days of Lent by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 16, 2010

Having eaten, drunk, breathed and slept Vatican II for the past couple of weeks, it is time for a break. But if you’re like me and find yourself locked in Winter, what you really want is to experience God in another way, and not primarily an intellectual way. In the northern hemisphere, most...

Changing the World One Step at a Time by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 17, 2010

"Whenever I hear the word 'culture,' I reach for my revolver." That brutal sentiment is attributed to Hermann Göring, and although the quotation may not be exact, the man who founded the Gestapo had good reason to hate culture. A totalitarian state seeks to control every aspect of its people's...

US government deficits entail a moral risk by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 17, 2010

If your neighbors know that you're living far beyond your means, they're not likely to recognize you as a moral authority. That principle applies to nations, too. Lech Walesa has questioned how long the US can remain the leader of the free world while racking up huge debts, year after year. Now...

Vatican II on Social Communication by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 18, 2010

The second document promulgated by the Second Vatican Council was the Decree on the Means of Social Communication (Inter Mirifica), issued on December 4, 1963. It is extremely brief, its contents are predictable, and it is easily summarized in a single post. The essential concern of the Council...

Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom: Broken! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 19, 2010

As gifts of the Holy Spirit, knowledge, understanding and wisdom are distinct from each other in important ways. Wisdom is the proper valuation of all that we know, such that we desire to order our lives according to the highest goods, ultimately the contemplation of God. Understanding is a grasp...

light dawns by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 19, 2010

Let's say you ran a small business. You were doing OK until a crooked employee robbed you and cheated your customers, bringing on an avalanche of lawsuits that drove you into bankruptcy. Now, with more debts than money to pay, you have to make some tough decisions. Should you pay the honest...

An Important Quarrel in Rome by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 19, 2010

You probably remember the case of the abortions performed on the Brazilian girl who was impregnated with twins by her step-father last year. Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho publicly stated that the doctors who performed the abortions would incur excommunication. But the President of the...

waiting for guidance by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 19, 2010

Questioned about the vexing issue of whether pro-abortion politicians should be admitted to the Eucharist, Cardinal Sean O'Malley--who faces such questions frequently in his Boston archdiocese--told LifeSite News that clear guidance from the Vatican is necessary. LSN: “So you think it needs...

Dublin's Archbishop Martin: the eye of the storm by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 19, 2010

Speaking after the Irish bishops had finished their 2-day meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and the leaders of the Roman Curia, Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh assured reporters that “there is no disunity among the Irish bishops concerning the importance of the safeguarding of...

The 20th Anniversary of First Things by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 22, 2010

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus did not live to see the 20th anniversary of the magazine he founded. But with the March 2010 issue that magazine is celebrating twenty years of what must be described as the most intelligent ongoing conversation concerning religion and public life in the contemporary...

whose magisterium? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 22, 2010

In an interview with the German-language Kathnews service (now available in translation on the Rorate Caeli site), Father Franz Schmidberger, the former superior of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), offers his perspective on the possibility of an ultimate agreement between the traditionalist group...

Modernism’s Dirty Secret: A Case Study by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 23, 2010

Sometimes good things come in strange packages. I was looking through Derek Hastings’ new book Catholicism & the Roots of Nazism (Oxford University Press, 2010) to figure out what his arresting title could possibly mean. Hastings demonstrates beyond doubt that before the failed Beer Hall...

humility, tiger woods, meditation, penance, and remember...always carry a rosary! by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 23, 2010

It’s been a pretty busy last couple of weeks at the office for me, so I’ve been remiss in composing a full length blog entry. However, here are some ideas that are worth putting out there, but probably not worth a full article! First: I’ve been rereading In the Steps of Humility...

Chastity Tip by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 24, 2010

Here is some spiritual dynamite for all of us, as explained by Fr. Frederick L. Miller in his fine new book for priests from Ignatius Press, The Grace of Ars: I recently heard a group of young married men speaking about how they deal with sexual temptations in their lives. Although I did not...

Le coeur a ses raisons by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 24, 2010

Bishop Margot Kaessmann of the Germany Lutheran Church has resigned. "My heart tells me quite clearly that I cannot stay," she says. It may have been her liver talking to her, rather than her heart, after she was arrested for drunk driving. Still, whatever organ it was that sent the...

Practical Politics 101 (remedial: for US bishops) by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 25, 2010

There is one-- just one-- health-care reform proposal currently under discussion in Washington. Not two. One. Republicans don't have the votes to pass the sort of proposal they would prefer. Democrats will defer to the President. So right now President Obama's proposal is the only viable option....

Culture Project: technical delay by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 26, 2010

Last week I promised that we would unveil our Culture Project "next week"-- that is, this week. Please bear with us; there's been a slight delay. It's my fault. In preparing the first Culture Project, I threw our overworked technical staff a curveball, giving them something they really...

Vatican II on the Church: Introduction by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 26, 2010

The third document issued by the Second Vatican Council, on November 21, 1964, is undoubtedly the crown jewel—the impressive Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium). It is one of the Council's two major documents on the Church, the other being the Constitution on the...

dim bulbs by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 26, 2010

Eat whatever you want and lose weight! You've seen those ads too, no doubt. I haven't tried the miracle diets, but I'm skeptical. I'm skeptical, too, that the "Lenten Carbon Fast," proposed by the Environmental Outreach Committee of the Archdiocese of Washington, will prove a...

Escape from Theological Minimalism by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 26, 2010

In the United States and elsewhere in the Western world, we have been immensely weakened in our understanding of both the Church and our role in the Church by the problem of theological minimalism. Originally thought to be the stock-in-trade of Modernists, this intellectual disease is now...

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