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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from February 2011

The CHA, the Bishops and Authority by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 1, 2011

Where conflicts arise, it is again the bishop who provides the authoritative resolution based on his teaching office. Once such a resolution of a doubt has been given, it is no longer a question of competing moral theories or the offering of various ethical interpretations or opinions of the...

blame the (cynical) messenger by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Feb 2, 2011

Crocodile tears are flowing freely in the offices of Central Jersey Planned Parenthood, where a trusted employee has been fired for "behaving in a repugnant manner that is inconsistent with our standards of care and is completely unacceptable."  Completely unacceptable, certainly....

Is There Scandal in Ecumenical Prayer? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 3, 2011

In response to last week’s In Depth Analysis (Ecumenism: The Conversion Question), one of our readers suggested, with reference to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, that praying with non-Catholics causes scandal. As he put it: Yes Catholics should pray for Christian unity. However, what...

Europe's disappearing backbone by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 3, 2011

Does Europe still have a heart? Does Europe still have a backbone? The failure of EU legislators to pass a resolution condemning the persecution of Christians suggests that the political leaders of the continent have lost any sense of common purpose: any guiding ideal that could constitute an...

The Battle over Contraception by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 3, 2011

In addition to the Second Vatican Council, the Vatican was dominated in the 1960’s by concern about contraception, which was sweeping the Western world with the advent of the Pill. Pope Paul VI did not want to deal with such a sensitive and complex topic at the Council itself, so he...

Is This Worse? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 7, 2011

Indonesia’s leading pop singer, Nazril Irham, was sentenced to three and a half years in jail last week after videos circulated on the Internet showing himself and two “TV-star girlfriends” in bed. This violated Indonesia’s anti-pornography law of 2008. “As a public figure,” the judge said, “the...

the 'anti-abortion' aria by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 8, 2011

Question: When high-school students give a free choral concert at a nursing home, what do you call that? Answer: If you write for the Fitchburg (Massachusetts) Sentinel and Enterprise, you call it “anti-abortion activity.” Now suppose some other high-school students volunteer to...

a prayer for southern Sudan by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 8, 2011

Today is the (optional) feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, a women who rose from slavery in Africa to a model life as a nun in Italy. The timing is perfect. In southern Sudan, where St. Josephine was born and raised, her long-suffering people have finally won the power to rule themselves. The...

How the Pill Explodes the Mythology of Vatican II by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 8, 2011

I realized today something I should have realized a long time ago, something that makes it easy to explode the myth that the decline in Catholic faith and life since the 1960's is directly attributable to the Second Vatican Council. That myth can be debunked in many ways, but perhaps...

Mixed messages from Egypt, Indonesia by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 9, 2011

  Today's CWN headlines include interesting reports from Egypt and Indonesia, from the perspective of Christian eyewitnesses living somewhat nervously in two overwhelmingly Muslim societies. I know very little about the social and political situation in Egypt. (In that respect I am like...

The marvelous equivocations of Sister Carol Keehan by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 10, 2011

Earlier this month Sister Carol Keehan, the president of the Catholic Health Association (CHA), earned herself some credit with the US bishops’ conference by acknowledging that a diocesan bishop is the “authoritative interpreter” of the US bishops’ Ethical and Religious...

Can the Legion of Christ Be Fixed? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 10, 2011

A searching article by former Legion of Christ priest Fr. Richard Gill, Can the Legion of Christ Be Repaired?, raises all the right questions, questions which merit serious consideration as the Church seeks to salvage the Legion. I’d like to present Fr. Gill’s concerns in a somewhat larger...

Subsidiarity and Solidarity are Inseparable by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 11, 2011

Over the past generation or so, there has been a serious flaw in the implementation of Catholic social thought in the United States. Most bishops and other Catholic leaders have promoted big government solutions to social problems with little thought to the negative consequences of...

Double Standard: a new perspective on the sex-abuse scandal by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 11, 2011

David Pierre runs a useful web site, The Media Report, which is devoted to the detection and correction of anti-Catholic arguments that appear in the mainstream American media. Sometimes he finds inaccuracies that seem to be based on ignorance or misunderstanding. In other cases, he sees clear...

not 100% reassuring by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 14, 2011

Responding to the report of a Pennsylvania grand jury, which had suggested that some abusive priests might still be in active ministry in the Philadelphia archdiocese, Cardinal Justin Regali offered this reassurance: The report states that there remain in ministry archdiocesan priests who have...

Pelosi's 'us' vs. 'them' by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 14, 2011

In September 2008, Nancy Pelosi, then the Speaker of the House, announced that she had accepted an invitation to speak privately with Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco. The archbishop had issued that invitation after Pelosi, who identifies herself as a Catholic, grotesquely...

The Recognition of Fr. Damien by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 14, 2011

On October 11, 2009, Fr. Damien of Molokai, the Leper Priest, was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Basilica. He was a rough and ready man with a will of iron and a heart of gold. At the age Christ died, Damien began an unbroken ministry to the lepers on the Hawaiian island of...

Should taxpayers subsidize Catholic Culture? Planned Parenthood? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 15, 2011

“The right to tax is the right to destroy,” wrote Chief Justice John Marshall in the landmark Supreme Court decision McCulloch v. Maryland. Quite true. Now what about the right not to subsidize? A proposal now before Congress would end federal funding for Planned Parenthood....

There must be another way: the Phoenix abortion case by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 16, 2011

Since last Sunday, a snippet from the first reading at Mass, from Sirach (15:15-20), has been echoing in my mind. Let me present the short passage as we heard it in church, but with my emphasis added: Before man are life and death, whichever he chooses shall be given him. Immense is the wisdom...

The Proof of My Credibility by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 16, 2011

I have a cold, my dear friends, a bad cold, and from this unfortunate fact you will learn beyond doubt that I am an authentic witness to the truth, an honest retailer of How Things Are. This is the case because I have the kind of ferocious cold which every man must loudly and frequently declare to...

Wichita: the harvest after the 'Summer of Mercy'? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 16, 2011

Since 1998, four natives of Wichita, Kansas, have been ordained as Catholic bishops. As the Wichita Eagle points out, that figure is remarkable for a city of modest size (population a bit under 1 million), where Catholics form a distinct minority (a bit over 100,000), and the local diocese has...

And with your spirit. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 17, 2011

What are we supposed to gain from the new translation of the Roman Missal, to be implemented next Advent? Auxiliary Bishop James Conley, who is in charge of overseeing the new Missal’s implementation in Denver, sees the new translation as an important opportunity for spiritual deepening and...

Malarkey by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 17, 2011

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York—formerly of Milwaukee--says that it is “malarkey” and “ridiculous and groundless gossip” to claim that he tried to hide millions of dollars in Milwaukee archdiocesan funds from potential lawsuits. As a matter of common sense...

So much to think about. So little thought. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 18, 2011

The lack of clear and deep thinking in public discourse, particularly in the media, astonishes me. Phil Lawler often pulls things out of the New York Times almost at random, which show either total ignorance or an incapacity for logic. I try to keep up on what my betters are saying by...

with friends like these... by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 18, 2011

No major Western European leader in recent years has been a more stalwart ally of the Roman Catholic Church than Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. That’s the lede of a report from the Religion News Service on how the Vatican views the sex scandal that threatens...

The Lord’s Resistance Army and the Need for Divine Guarantees by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 21, 2011

The terrible brutality of the Lord’s Resistance Army has been crying out to Heaven since its founding in 1987. The LRA’s recent murder of a 37-year-old nun in Sudan is just one of innumerable atrocities committed by this organization, mostly in Uganda but sometimes elsewhere. The group...

Complacency, Virtue, and Catholic Social Services by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 22, 2011

The forthcoming replacement of Lesley Anne Knight as head of Caritas raises questions about the identity of Catholic social services. It has become commonplace for official and semi-official Catholic social agencies at a variety of levels to accept secular moral standards of service, either out of...

Mining our Faith by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 23, 2011

Stories continue to circulate about the thirty-three Chilean miners who were trapped underground for sixty-nine days last year, and then dramatically rescued. Initially feted as heroes, some of the miners soon began telling lurid tales to eager “reporters” who sometimes offered fame...

Dublin and Boston: speaking the same language by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 23, 2011

Reading the notes of the important speech that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin delivered in Cambridge, my first thought was that the archbishop had read my book.  The Faithful Departed is primarily about Boston, and how the processes of secularization and accommodation worked to undermine the...

What This Means: Christian Witness in the Modern World by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 24, 2011

In classical apologetics, arguments proceed step by step toward something which at least approaches a proof. The arguments are important, but they cannot logically force someone to believe. If that were possible, then Faith would not be Faith. Rather, what classical apologetics is best at is...

the dragnet draws tighter by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 25, 2011

Last week the Philadelphia archdiocese removed a prominent priest from ministry because... Wait! It's not what you think! During the past decade hundreds of American priests have been suspended because of accusations that they molested children. But Msgr. William Lynn faces no such charges. His...

Virginia’s Attempt to Close Abortion Clinics by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 25, 2011

Yesterday the Virginia House of Delegates approved a bill that would hold abortion clinics to the same medical standards as hospitals, and so result in the closing of the majority of clinics operating in the State. Some estimate that 17 of 21 clinics would have to close. The bill was passed as an...

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