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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from February 2012

Psychological Manipulation by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 1, 2012

In my view, the average person will receive more influence from psychologists through advertising than through any other means. Catholics should reflect that psychological manipulation is the intent of much consumer advertising, including political advertising. Another good reason to have the...

To-do: Thank Komen for dropping Planned Parenthood by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 1, 2012

Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute has written to all the readers of his Friday Fax with an action item that’s well worth passing along: Yesterday it was announced that the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which is the largest global funder of breast cancer research,...

Immigration: would the archbishop accept any limit? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 1, 2012

Archbishop Niederauer opposes a federal drive to deport illegal immigrant who have been convicted of crimes. “We cannot allow the pain of family separation and the fear amongst our communities to continue,” he explains. OK, let’s take an extreme case: An illegal immigrant is...

Courage Reparation by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 1, 2012

A visitor to CatholicCulture.org in London, George Day, recently came across my 2010 In Depth Analysis, Homosexuality: A Special Call to the Love of God and Man. Reading it put him in mind of the reparation groups organized around Courage's program to help those with same-sex attraction to...

Clericalism by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 1, 2012

I read through Russell Shaw’s book on clericalism last night. I had missed it the first time around, when it was published by Ignatius Press in 1993. Now it is out in a new printing from Wipf and Stock Publishers in Oregon. The full title is To Hunt, to Shoot, to Entertain: Clericalism and the...

Russell Shaw’s Book on Clericalism by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 1, 2012

Please note that I have just reviewed Russell Shaw's interesting book, To Hunt, to Shoot, to Entertain: Clericalism and the Catholic Laity. You'll find it in the In Depth Analysis section here:...

Cardinal Bevilacqua's Capabilities by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 1, 2012

You've probably already read in our news story that Cardinal Bevilacqua died yesterday at the age of 88, literally days after a Pennsylvania judge ruled once again that he was perfectly capable of giving testimony in the Philadelphia sexual abuse investigation. Considering the state of his health...

Fairness, decency not in evidence in the Philadelphia abuse case by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 2, 2012

In the prosecution of three priests from the Philadelphia archdiocese, the level of hostility toward the Catholic Church has become so pronounced that it’s difficult to see how a fair trial could take place. Prosecutors have indicted one former official of the archdiocese (along with two...

A List of the Catholic Top Ten by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 2, 2012

Inside the Vatican named its top ten Catholics of 2011 in January. No two Catholics would choose the same ten, but some of these have news stories or library articles on CatholicCulture.org. They are: Fr. Cassian Folsom, OSB, a Massachusetts native who refounded the monastery in...

God, thanks for not sharing the details... by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 2, 2012

After a week full of various personal trials, I've realized that the less you try to figure out (or worry about figuring out) the specific details of God’s plan, the easier it is to recognize that plan while it is happening. Whew... good thing I’ll never have to learn that lesson...

Sister Marie-Thérèse’s Trials by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 2, 2012

Poor Sister Marie-Thérèse de Vioménil! Again and again she wrote to Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade to explain her spiritual troubles, yet again and again she received what must have seemed like disheartening replies. There was, for example, the long series of letters in the...

Support Komen against Planned Parenthood pressure--update--too late? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 3, 2012

The Komen Foundation is being hammered for its decision to drop funding of Planned Parenthood. Hell hath no fury like Planned Parenthood when it’s deprived of the money it considers its due. (For those who don’t know the history here, Komen was giving PP funds for breast-cancer...

The devout atheist by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 3, 2012

Gotta love the idea of building a temple to atheism, and the behind the project. The misguided millionaire who’s funding the venture believes that “you can build a temple to anything that's positive and good.” I suppose you can—if you have the money, and nothing else to...

Snow in Rome! by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 3, 2012

Good grief. It’s snowing in Rome today, and it’s not snowing here in central Massachusetts. You can watch the snowflakes settling on the dome of St. Peter’s basilica, but when I look out my window I see bare ground. We had more snow in October than in November, December, and...

Stop HHS: a new resource against the mandate by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 3, 2012

Ave Maria radio has launched a web site devoted exclusively to the fight against the new HHS mandate that would compel Catholic institutions to subsidize contraception. The StopHHS.com site will provide the latest news on this issue, background, and suggestions for those who want to become...

HHS mandate might awaken the sleeping Catholic conscience by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 3, 2012

"In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences," said New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan about the Obama administration’s new mandate for contraceptive coverage in health-care policies. Sad to say, we Catholics have done it...

A Dream Bishop Rallies His Troops by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 3, 2012

“As your bishop, I come to you with an apology, a prayer, and a mission. We face a grave threat from the government of the United States, the threat of the most powerful government in the world attempting to force Catholics to participate in actions which both Faith and nature teach us are...

An ovation for the bishop's message by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 5, 2012

At this morning’s mass in my parish, the pastor read a letter from the Most Reverends Paul Loverde (Bishop of Arlington, Virginia) and Francis DiLorenzo (Bishop of Richmond, Virginia) calling for prayer, fasting, and advocacy to overturn the recent decision by the U.S. Departments of Health...

Another bishop's message by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 6, 2012

At our parish, the bishop's letter was read to the congregation before the First Reading. Maybe this was a mistake; in other parishes it was read after the Gospel and/or homily. But for us the placement had a special impact. This was an epistle: a letter from the bishop, encouraging us to be firm...

The sad case of the free-lance liturgist by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 6, 2012

If you’re looking for another reason to welcome the new English translation of the Roman Missal, consider this: Father William Rowe will no longer be ad-libbing his way through the Mass. Father Rowe—who resigned rather than acceding to his bishop’s instructions that he use the new...

Top 10 in the News by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 6, 2012

To remind our readers, CatholicCulture.org tracks the ten most popular stories from Catholic World News (our in-house news service) over the past 30 days. To see how stories are trending within this top 10, you can visit...

187 Users Praying for CatholicCulture.org by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 6, 2012

Eleven more of our supporters have just signed up as part of a group that prays regularly for the success of our work. This brings the total to 187. It is a wonderful thing to have this prayer support! Our mission is to enrich faith, strengthen the Church, and form Catholic culture. To...

CWN on Boston NPR affiliate - Radio interview yesterday by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 7, 2012

Several friends told me that they had “just turned on their radios” when they heard my voice in a WBUR report about the US bishops and the HHS mandate that aired in Boston yesterday. I think it’s safe to say that if you “just turn on” your radio right now, you...

Screening Negativity by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 7, 2012

We do get our share of “interesting” comments and emails here. Sometimes we have an internal email-of-the-week competition. Often the emails are signed, but by policy we do not make names public in a negative context even if the person has given us permission to do...

Priestly Fidelity: The Time to Take Prisoners Has Passed by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 7, 2012

The latest report on Fr. Michael Pfleger in Chicago reminds me that if the American bishops hope to rally the faithful to oppose the HHS mandate, they will have to put priestly fidelity at the top of their agenda. Right where it should have been all along. Cultural pressures have certainly...

Fowl play by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 8, 2012

A few readers have asked how “City Gates” is different from our other blogs. That’s a fair question. We’re still experimenting a bit, as we sort out which ideas belong in which blogs. But the general idea is that “City Gates” is a forum for more informal ideas...

Influencing ethical standards in the workplace by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 8, 2012

As a business consultant, I have spent a good deal of time in client offices over the past 15 years. One of the most fascinating things about this experience is learning about the ethical standards of a company. Typically this learning process does not include reading the employee guidebook or...

Abuse Scandal Casts a Shadow on a Candidate for Beatification by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 8, 2012

For well over a decade, the poisonous influence of the sex-abuse scandal has been spreading through the universal Church, shaking the faith and undermining the hierarchy in one country after another. Now the toxic influence of the scandal has seeped into yet another aspect of Catholic life,...

On Catholic Bands and Catholic Dolls by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 8, 2012

Catholics trying to do good have long written in to get us to tell our users of their efforts. This blog gives us a place to do that. Today, for example, Suzzanne Brakefield told us of her family-run business in making dolls representing the nuns in various religious orders and, more...

The 'other' speech at the National Prayer Breakfast by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 8, 2012

You probably saw news coverage of President Obama’s talk at the National Prayer Breakfast last week. But did you see anything about the keynote address at that event, by Eric Metaxas? It was a very interesting speech, which began by contrasting a live faith in Jesus Christ with a “dead,”...

To plant the humble in their place... by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 9, 2012

The reading from Sirach in today’s Morning Prayer produced in me two different reactions. The first was to think of this whole “freedom of conscience” struggle with the current administration, and what the Lord’s response will be those who take away that freedom. The second...

Pop! goes the... by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 9, 2012

My little mystery has been...

Why Gay Marriage is Seen as a Rights Issue by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 9, 2012

In light of today’s report that support for gay marriage is growing in the United States, with most self-identified Catholics supporting it, we do well to remember how we got into this fix. It isn’t because most people like the idea of two people of the same sex living together as if...

Salvation vs. Politics by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 9, 2012

Several readers responded to my On the Culture essay on Priestly Fidelity in ways that surprised or intrigued me. In a few cases, I was criticized for missing the point of authentic renewal in stating that three widely-varying levels of Catholic commitment would be helpful in the political...

'Compromise' coming on mandate? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 10, 2012

Informed sources in Washington report that the Obama administration will issue a statement about the contraceptive mandate this morning. Presumably this will be a response to the outcry led by the American Catholic bishops.  Having staked out an extreme position, and prompted the Catholic...

Cardinal Newman Society voices concern over revised mandate by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 10, 2012

The Cardinal Newman Society has weighed in on President Obama's revised mandate: It is quickly becoming clear that President Obama’s revised mandate for insurance coverage of abortifacients, sterilization and contraception amounts to nothing more than political theater. The mandate...

The HHS Mandate and Excommunication by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 10, 2012

The US Bishops have been leading a fight against the HHS contraception/sterilization/abortion mandate now for about two weeks. The news of this effort, and of the swelling opposition to the mandate, has been fast and furious and, on the whole, satisfying. To review what’s been going on, scan...

Please, bishops; don't compromise! by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 10, 2012

The last few weeks have been exhilarating. The US bishops—nearly all of them!—have shown willingness to do political battle on a matter of principle. We've heard lots of brave promises, lots of line-in-the-sand rhetoric, lots of vows that Catholics will not accept the...

One topic too hot for the Vatican sex-abuse conference to handle by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 10, 2012

At this week’s international conference on sexual abuse, held at the Gregorian University and sponsored by the Vatican, one important topic was left off the agenda. The participants heard from Msgr. Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s top prosecutor for sex-abuse crimes, who said that...

The other Catholic medical association by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 10, 2012

As readers learn of the Catholic Health Association’s response to the HHS “compromise” (see paragraph 4), they might care to learn (if not already aware) that there is another Catholic medical association that can be relied on for a more, ahem, authentically Catholic viewpoint....

Catholic Charities caves. Now what? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 10, 2012

Father Larry Snyder, the president of Catholic Charities USA, has welcomed the Obama administration’s “compromise” on the contraceptive mandate. He says: This compromise enables Catholic Charities USA to not only continue to provide access to quality healthcare to its 70,000...

Obama and Henry VIII: the single best op-ed column on the HHS mandate by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 10, 2012

Of all the op-ed columns I’ve read about the Obama contraceptive mandate, this stands out as the most compelling. Mark Steyn at his best—which is very, very good. There’s some excellent historical analysis here. Steyn observes that King Henry VIII assumed the power to decide what the Church...

Obamacare's priorities by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 11, 2012

You are an 85-year-old man, living on a fixed income. You spend most of your time caring for your wife, who suffers from Alzheimer's. You don't mind the effort because you love her, and don't want her alone in an institution. You worry how she would fare without you. Fortunately your own...

The bishops' tougher response to the Obama 'compromise' mandate by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 11, 2012

After an initial muted reaction to President Obama’s proposed “accommodation,” the leaders of the US bishops’ conference have released a second, stronger statement, declaring that the mandate for contraceptive coverage in health-care programs remains “unacceptable and must be corrected.” On...

The bishops' tougher response by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 11, 2012

The US bishops have now indicated that the Obama “compromise” mandate is “unacceptable.” Yet two leading Catholic organizations have already accepted it. We are about to witness a critical test of the bishops’ authority, as I explain in this In Depth...

Catholic Charities has second thoughts by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 13, 2012

Catholic Charities USA has revised its official public response to the Obama administration’s “compromise” contraceptive mandate. Originally readers will recall, the statement from Father Larry Snyder was unambiguously supportive of the White House plan. As revised, the statement...

A lot like life... by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 13, 2012

So I had to import over five million records from forty different text files into a high-powered database. Because of glitches in the data, the import process broke down frequently. Then I would have to find the incorrectly formatted data, correct it, and try again. After the better part of two...

Reflections: On the Road Again... Collegeville, PA by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 14, 2012

As a business consultant in a global economy, over the last 12 months I have worked with clients, partners, and prospects from one side of the United States to the other, as well as Canada, England, Germany, Hungary, and a couple other places. But thanks to technology (including videoconferencing)...

A spoonful of sugar by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 14, 2012

Today I put the first taps in our sugar-maple trees, then came back to my desk and read Jeff’s post about the slow, painful progress that we often make in life: workaday life as well as spiritual life. This year we’re committed to making maple syrup. First collect the sap, then boil...

Political Science 101: how the White House snookered the USCCB on the 'compromise' by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 14, 2012

Imagine that you’re a politician. You know that a story is going to come out, and you know that the story will be damaging to your interests. You can’t control that. But you can control when the story comes out. How should you plan it? That’s easy. Arrange for the story to come...

Doctrine, Discipline and Holiness: Not Always What They Seem by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 14, 2012

A letter in the latest Adoremus Bulletin reminded me that we “conservative Catholics” can go off the rails, at times, on disciplinary questions. The correspondent insisted that only musical instruments made from God’s own materials (that is, natural materials) were appropriate for use in Church....

Catholic Universities: Steps on the Way Back by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 15, 2012

Three news reports concerning Catholic universities in recent days alert us once again to the depth of their fall from grace. The problems illustrate three aspects of corruption: lack of Catholic commitment among faculty; lack of identity in dealing with the State; and unwillingness to be...

V*-Monologues in Happy Decline by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 15, 2012

Our friends at the Cardinal Newman Society, who both track and discourage such things, have reported that the incidence of the performance of the Vagina Monologues on Catholic campuses has declined significantly. Only nine Catholic colleges are scheduled to host the play this year. Of course that...

Another little Esolen masterpiece by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 15, 2012

If you love Celtic fiddling, as I do (while I write, the sounds of my daughter Bridget’s fiddling drift in from the living room), you’re always ready to hear about a concert by the great Natalie McMaster. And if that account is written by Anthony Esolen—well, it’s a “must.” But even if you...

The Obama strategy: let's talk about contraception by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 15, 2012

Dick Morris, who was once the hardball political strategist for President Bill Clinton, has an interesting take on strategic reasoning behind the Obama mandate. Morris—who has undergone both political and religious conversions since his salad days in the 1990s— argues that the Obama...

Constitutional? Legal? No, the 'compromise' is purely political by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 16, 2012

Under questioning before the Senate, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius confirmed that her staff had not consulted with the US bishops before revealing the “compromise” that supposedly resolved problems with the contraceptive mandate. She also revealed that her staff had not consulted with the...

Free Chicken Nuggets for Everyone! by Chris Pelicano in "The City Gates" - Feb 16, 2012

How about that North Carolina mom who sent her four year old to Pre-K school with a rather ordinary homemade lunch? The Department of Health & Human Services intervened, deemed the lunch unhealthy and augmented it with a serving of processed chicken nuggets ... then sent the child home with a...

Out of the Tridentine Mass, Vatican II... by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 16, 2012

I know, I know, I should resist the temptation. I don't really enjoy beating on those who think all our problems could be solved by returning to the Tridentine Mass and eliminating the perversions promulgated by the Second Vatican Council (despite my recent In...

Guess which document the Vatican web site doesn't offer in translation? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 16, 2012

Nearly 5 years after Summorom Pontificum was released, Father Z notes that an English translation of the document is not available on the Vatican web site. The text is available there only in Latin and Hungarian. (Hungarian?!?) In the past two years Pope Benedict has released 4 moto proprios....

The Pope on the Financial Sector’s Divinity by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 16, 2012

Watch out: The Pope’s message about the new financial oligarchy is becoming increasingly direct. In an address on a visit to Rome’s major seminary yesterday, Benedict emphasized that the world of finance “has become an oppressive power—one that almost has to be...

The Shazam theory by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 17, 2012

John Garvey, the president of Catholic University of America, showed his background as a law professor during testimony on Capitol Hill about Obama mandate and its threat to religious liberty. Observing that the “compromise” introduced by the White House did not alter the fundamental problem,...

Religious Liberty and Conscience Rights: A Caution by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 17, 2012

Both religious liberty and freedom of conscience still have considerable traction in Western culture, and that is not a bad thing. As a political strategy, for example, it is smarter for the American bishops to promote conscience rights than for them to fight the HHS mandate on the basis of...

Modesty is Unremarkable by Chris Pelicano in "The City Gates" - Feb 17, 2012

My daughters told me recently that modest clothing is unremarkable in itself, but remarkable in its potential effects. Ironically, the benefit of modest clothing is its transparency, so to speak. Modest clothing attracts attention neither to itself nor to the superficial qualities of the person...

Responsible to the End by Chris Pelicano in "The City Gates" - Feb 17, 2012

Just a quick reflection before the weekend arrives: My Dad died on the First Sunday of Advent. He taught me about life, all my life. He always worked hard but his last week was his hardest ... and this is really my point. Vacations are punctuations, but life and death are work. And the only way...

A priest who (gasp!) talks about contraception by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 20, 2012

The New York Times profiled my friend Father Roger Landry, and the headline tells the essential story: "The Message on Contraception, Without Apology." Since Father Landry is a very effective preacher and apologist, you can be sure that he delivered the message forcefully. But his...

Breaking up is hard to do. by Chris Pelicano in "The City Gates" - Feb 21, 2012

What's the defective premise of life in this world? It's the assumption that this world, as it is, IS essentially ALL there is. There are at least shades of this assumption in all of us. (You could say that it underlies the single largest voting block that exists.) How could it be otherwise? This...

Facing Lent Head On by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 21, 2012

Lent is or ought to be the time of year when we stop blaming everybody else for all that is wrong with the Church and start blaming ourselves. It is a time in which we ought to realize that if grace has been lacking or has failed to produce the results we would ordinarily expect, this is most...

Ash Wednesday-- at last! by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 22, 2012

Maybe it's just something about my age, or my particular circle of acquaintances. But I have the sense that many people--myself included--have been anxious for Lent to begin. Have you? There's a general recognition out there, I think, that we're facing some serious battles: socially and...

Cardinal Dolan's genes by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 22, 2012

So now we know where Cardinal Dolan gets his sense of humor. When the newly elevated cardinal introduced his mother to Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Father gallantly commented that Mrs. Dolan looked too youthful to have a son who is a cardinal. The New York Post takes the story from there: The...

Adultery in the Heart by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 22, 2012

One reads the darndest things. Grabbing up the quarterly journal of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars (Winter 2011), I chanced upon a review of T. M. Doran's novel, Toward the Gleam, which was of interest since I reviewed the same book last year. Imagine my horror when I found the reviewer...

Planning for Lent as a Family by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 22, 2012

The last couple of years, my children (girls aged 11 and 8) have been old enough to participate in the planning of our family prayer life. So right before Lent started this year, we held a family meeting to discuss what we would do as a group to observe this liturgical season. Family meetings...

Want to be active in opposing the Obama mandate? Here's how. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 22, 2012

This is a quick reminder that the Stop HHS Mandate web site provides a wealth of information for any American citizen anxious to become involved in this year’s most important political debate. The site furnishes the latest news on that debate, along with background information about the moral...

Santorum, the media, and the religious test by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Feb 22, 2012

Of course New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd thinks of Sen. Rick Santorum as a religious fanatic. That’s what one expects from Dowd, whose contempt for the Catholic faith is as strong as her political liberalism. But for the past few days the Drudge Report, ordinarily friendly to...

Double-negative campaigning by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 23, 2012

If I understood correctly, during the GOP debate last night Mitt Romney charged Rick Santorum with having endorsed him--Romney--four years ago.  Was that an attack on Santorum's judgment?  This unexpected tactic opens up a whole new horizon of possibilities for negative campaigning. I...

On Temptation, Sin, SIN…and Priests by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 23, 2012

Sometimes we don’t know in advance whose toes we’re going to crunch. Such was the case when I had a little fun with the intense moralism of a recent book review in my City Gates item entitled Adultery of the Heart. I confess that I was taken by surprise when several users posted Sound...

The Right “Measurables”: Judging the Effectiveness of Bishops by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 23, 2012

Update: answers to the question posed in this article are now available here: Grading Bishops. In my work (business and marketing strategy) we talk a lot about the right “measurables". What data should we collect and review that will show us how things are going, and make course...

The Look of Love by Chris Pelicano in "The City Gates" - Feb 23, 2012

Grace is invisible; we can't see it. But every now and then we can see it at work, usually in the life of someone else. When parents see their child cooperate with an apparent effortlessness, or a friend realizes a mistake and corrects himself, or a dying man says "thank you" for a sip...

How's this for service? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 23, 2012

Monday evening I cracked a tooth. After scratching my tongue on the sharp edge for a few days, I finally got around to calling the dentist this afternoon: at 2:30, to be exact. The (friendly, efficient) receptionist said that they happened to have an opening this very afternoon, if I could come in...

The wildly popular message that priests don't deliver by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 23, 2012

So I guess Father Roger Landry isn’t the only priest tackling the topic of contraception these days. Maybe it’s a trend. Let’s hope. Jennifer Fulwiler tells readers of the National Catholic Register about the young priest in her parish who, after speaking about the Obama mandate, went a bit...

Reader Corrections by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 24, 2012

Our readers prove again and again that they are an invaluable resources, frequently sending in news and comments about what is going on in their regions, or in areas of particular interest to them. They also correct us when we make mistakes, as happens occasionally in a news report or a commentary...

The Sisters and Universal Health Care: Forgetting What Religion Is by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 24, 2012

You may already have seen our news story, Liberal nuns file brief in support of Obama health-care plan. And you may have wondered, as I have, when something will be done to (a) bring wayward communities of women religious into fidelity to Christ and the Church, and (b) bring so-called Catholic...

The wildly popular message, continued by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 25, 2012

Responding to my earlier piece on priests who preach about contraception, Juli* reports: Our young priest also gave a powerful homily last weekend Saturday nite, also receiving a standing ovation. Ah, but what’s a silver lining without a cloud? Juli continues: “But he became so...

Core Strength by Chris Pelicano in "The City Gates" - Feb 25, 2012

I know a guy who has been active all his life. By conventional standards of diet and exercise he is healthy. But his occupation requires him to sit for exended periods of time in front of his computer and this was crippling him —despite everything he was otherwise doing to stay healthy. He...

Naming the Names of the Nuns by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 27, 2012

Courtesy of CatholicCulture.org supporter Mary Greene, here are the names and affiliations of the twenty-one sisters who filed the Friends of the Court brief with the Supreme Court in favor of Obamacare, as discussed in my On the Culture commentary, The Sisters and Universal Health Care:...

Exorcism, anyone? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 28, 2012

Before this story slips into the archives, out of active memory, could I ask everyone to pause for a moment and think about what happened? An abortion clinic was closed. How? There may be many contributing factors, but it’s hard to overlook the fact that the abortionists’ business...

The destruction (?) of Nineveh by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Feb 29, 2012

At Mass this morning, the homily brought me a nice new Lenten insight. Jonah--a prophet assigned by God to tell the truth--delivered his message quite plainly: "Yet forty days, and Nin'eveh shall be overthrown!" Not “might” be overthrown or “could” be...

Proving God by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Feb 29, 2012

Robert J. Spitzer, SJ wrote an impressive book in 2010 entitled New Proofs for the Existence of God. It was impressive because Fr. Spitzer sought to update both the physical and the philosophical proofs for the existence of God, taking into account the kinds of problems which have been introduced...

Grading Bishops by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Feb 29, 2012

In a recent article I asked: "What are the measurables by which we should judge the ‘effectiveness’ of a bishop?" I received several answers from the CatholicCulture.org staff and from readers (see below). I hope you will take time to absorb these interesting and varied...

Breezy, Self-Help Politics…Before It’s Too Late? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Feb 29, 2012

An unusual book slid across my desk the other day. It is the “Ignatius Press Edition” of Indivisible by James Robison and Jay W. Richards. The purpose of the book is to provide a thumbnail guide to how we should understand and respond to many of the cultural and political challenges of...

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