Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from March 2012

Stocking Up on God by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 1, 2012

I've referred before to Fr. John Saward’s wonderful anthology of Catholic England, Firmly I Believe and Truly (see The Spiritual Tradition of Catholic England). I've been going through it very slowly, with many interruptions. Last night I read selections from Bishop Thomas...

Global Warming, Global Repentance by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 1, 2012

Uncle Jeffrey’s Law is a simple one: If you are looking for something striking to write about, scan the recent headlines made by bishops. A perfect case in point is Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s joint statement with other Christian leaders requiring all of us to repent for climate...

In the tender compassion of our God by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 2, 2012

At all times of the year, but in Lent particularly, I find this section of the Canticle of Zechariah very compelling and comforting! In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness     and the shadow of...

My conscience rules. Your conscience is ruled out. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 2, 2012

Liberal Democratic politicians who identify themselves as “pro-choice” Catholics invariably try to justify their position by saying that they cannot, in good conscience, vote to restrict someone else’s freedoms. The next time you hear “conscience” invoked by any of the legislators listed...

On the Inadequacy of Materialism by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 2, 2012

One of our supporters, Brian Newman, offered an interesting addition to the comments I made in my review of Fr. Robert Spitzer’s book, New Proofs for the Existence of God (see my In Depth Analysis entry, Proving God). Brian wrote: Fr. Spitzer’s book is excellent: he combines...

US bishops need a new strategy against Obama mandate by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 2, 2012

This weekend would be an ideal time for the leaders of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to reconsider the political strategy they have adopted in their fight against the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate. In their bid to undo that offensive mandate, the bishops could...

The bishops' political strategy and the Church tax exemption by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 5, 2012

Responding to my argument that the US bishops should adopt a tougher new political strategy, reader Joseph Michael Gentilini made a good point: If the bishops get tangled in urging Catholics to support or not support any particular politician in any election, they risk losing their...

Are Babies Not Persons? Seeing Patterns by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 5, 2012

A recent article in The Journal of Medical Ethics argued that infanticide is morally equivalent to abortion, and therefore perfectly justifiable. This might have been surprising, except that a month earlier the same journal had published an article arguing that it is morally permissible for...

Apologies and Thanks to Cardinal O’Brien by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 5, 2012

Based on several responses to my commentary on Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s “Ash Wednesday Statement” (see Global Warming, Global Repentance), I have decided that my attempt at humor, including my use of sarcasm at Cardinal O’Brien’s expense, resulted in far more...

Reading Fiction to Your Children Can Bring Them Closer to God by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 6, 2012

Just as story reading is at the center of my daughters’ bedtime rituals, so it was at the center of mine when I was a child. There were six children in our family, and Dad read bedtime stories and sang lullabies to all of us. He did this until we were far older, I suspect, than many of our...

Conviction first, arrest later? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 6, 2012

Unless you enjoy speaking about political issues exclusively in bumper-sticker slogans, you should recognize that immigration is a complex issue. The American bishops are right to insist that all immigrants, legal or not, should be treated with respect for their fundamental human dignity. But the...

Next: a beer mandate? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 6, 2012

Writing in Crisis, my old friend Chris Manion imagines a world in which the federal government provides free beer at taxpayers’ expense. Alcoholics Anonymous protests, but statistics show that most alcoholics drink beer, and why would the White House listen to the AA representatives, when...

The noise-to-signal ratio at the USCCB by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 7, 2012

During the past several weeks the US bishops have been engaged in a critical political battle over the HHS contraceptive mandate, and the USCCB has issued a series of strong statements on that subject. Good. During those same weeks, however, the USCCB has also issued statements on tax cuts and...

On the Guilt of “the Jews” by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Mar 7, 2012

From time to time, a theological question is raised about whether “the Jews” are guilty of the death of Christ in a way which reduces or even eliminates the guilt of the rest of us. A misunderstanding of the answer to this question has often been used as a pretext for Christian...

A 'must-read' column by Mark Steyn by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 7, 2012

Just in case you didn’t catch our summary in today’s CWN news headlines, here’s another chance to catch a brilliant column by Mark Steyn entitled “The Church of Big Government.” Steyn explains how liberal social engineers have steadily reduced the sphere of religious freedom, and now the...

A More Contemporary Sigrid Undset by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 7, 2012

If you are a Sigrid Undset fan (and you should be), it is probably because you’ve read one of her great medieval works, either the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy or the Master of Hestviken tetralogy. But this Norwegian novelist and biographer, a winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, was...

Abortion and media bias: exhibit A by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 8, 2012

Linda Greenhouse of the New York Times proposes adding Sandra Fluke to the list of “accidental heroines” of the feminist cause. The column itself is standard liberal cant, suggesting that women cannot be happy or healthy without the Pill. If you read the piece you recognize Greenhouse...

God's Way by Chris Pelicano in "The City Gates" - Mar 8, 2012

Some of Robert Browning's words were recently brought to my attention. They were offered as a small consolation in bereavement, but I quickly saw how they revealed a quiet truth that pertains to the season of Lent—and of course, to all life's seasons. I walked a mile with Pleasure; She...

Roger Dubin: A Novelist in our Ranks by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 8, 2012

Well over a year ago, while I was in the midst of reviewing a series of new “Catholic” novels (beginning with Catholic Novels: The Big Question), a user and supporter of CatholicCulture.org by the name of Roger Dubin kindly sent me an autographed copy of his own novel. He had published...

Persecution...Again by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 9, 2012

When the future Cardinal William Allen wrote his defense of Regnans in Excelsis—the Bull by which Pope St. Pius V absolved Englishmen of their obedience to Queen Elizabeth in 1570—he complained that the Queen’s government went out of its way to trip up and punish peaceful...

The Pill vs an apple a day by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 12, 2012

Even if you accept that contraception can be morally justified (which it can’t), and that it’s a form of health care (which it isn’t), and that it is safe (which it isn’t), and that it serves the interests of women (which it doesn’t), and that it will save money in...

Can’t you just shut up? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 12, 2012

I should have known better than to mention in a recent Insights message, as a piece of good news, that computer hackers had failed in an attempt to breach the Vatican web site last August. Since then, the hackers group Anonymous has successfully disrupted not only the main Vatican web site but...

Once is not enough by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 13, 2012

Communications experts know that once is generally not enough. The more important the idea, the more important it is that you “message” that idea often and from different approaches. In addition, you need to use the best communications channel(s) available, and if possible work to...

The removal of Father Guarnizo—what we still don't know by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 13, 2012

Catholic Culture readers are understandably concerned about the status of Father Marcel Guarnizo, the priest who has been placed on administrative leave by the Washington archdiocese after he denied Communion to a lesbian woman. While I fully share that concern, I submit that it’s...

The priest who denied Communion to a lesbian: what we still don't know by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 13, 2012

Catholic Culture readers are understandably concerned about the status of Father Marcel Guanizo, the priest who has been placed on administrative leave by the Washington archdiocese after he denied Communion to a lesbian woman. While I fully share that concern, I submit that it’s...

The Immigration Paradox: Blindness is Forbidden by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 13, 2012

The migration of large numbers of people is a worldwide problem, as even a casual look at recent news demonstrates. Today we learned that hundreds of thousands of Christians have been ordered to leave Sudan. Last week it was reported that Syrian Christians were fleeing to Lebanon. In February, the...

Above and Beyond by Chris Pelicano in "The City Gates" - Mar 14, 2012

There is a war within each of us—the same war that rages around us in our culture. Our natural life—with its natural drives and natural logic, springing from our natural heart and mind—simply knows that it grasps the whole of reality. There is nothing else, or so it would...

OK, now we know... by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 14, 2012

Yesterday I wrote about the many questions that remained unanswered about the case in which a priest denied Communion to a lesbian activist. Today we have received a whole lot of answers from the embattled priest. The Washington archdiocese has a lot of explaining to...

To Conform or Not to Conform: That Is the Question by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 14, 2012

In Fr. Saward’s anthology of The Spiritual Tradition of Catholic England, I’ve just come across Blessed Thomas Alfield, a priest in Elizabethan England who hid himself in the crowd to witness the martyrdom of Saint Edmund Campion in late 1581. Alfield, who was 29 at the time, published...

The betrayal of Father Guarnizo by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 15, 2012

In an earlier column on all the things we don’t know about the case of Father Marcel Guarnizo, I failed—as many critical readers pointed out—to take account of the apology issued by the Washington archdiocese soon after the fateful incident in which Father Guarnizo refused to...

What we do know: a priest betrayed by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 15, 2012

Many readers found fault with my “On the News” piece detailing all the things we don’t know about the case of Father Marcel Guarnizo. One of the major frequent criticisms was that I failed to take account of the apology issued by the Washington archdiocese soon after the incident...

Personal Responsibility and Politics by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 15, 2012

Unlike some commentators, who seem to object in principle to the USCCB's “food insecurity” recommendation, I wish to offer only one caveat. It does not trouble me that the bishops should advise us to imagine the plight of the poor and incorporate our concern for them into our Good...

Shameless promotional plug by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 15, 2012

I’m offering a free autographed copy of The Faithful Departed to the first reader who can correctly identify the reason why I take a special interest in a newly unveiled web site in the “RealClear” family of resources: RealClearPolicy. Contest Closed John Honan of Buffalo, NY,...

The Sovereignty Myth: On the Limits of Political Authority by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Mar 15, 2012

Let me try again to make the limited and uncertain character of human government clear enough so that everyone can see the point. My first effort was in yesterday’s commentary, The Immigration Paradox: Blindness is Forbidden. There I attempted to explain, though perhaps confusedly, that no concept...

Sample Letter for Priests Planning to Visit Washington, DC by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 15, 2012

This just in from a priest friend of CatholicCulture.org, who prefers to remain anonymous: Sample letter to be used by any priest who needs to celebrate Mass in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and who wants to avoid unpleasant misunderstandings with the Cardinal’s staff. Your...

Unclear on the concept: dispensation from the Lenten fast by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 16, 2012

In the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts, some Catholics are looking for a dispensation from the Lenten rule of abstinence on Friday, so they can eat corned beef at St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Is there a different calendar for Fall River? Where I live, St. Patrick’s...

Is there any award for bias in reporting? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 16, 2012

And this week’s award for spectacular bias in reporting goes to Philip Pullella of Reuters, who, in a story on the Vatican’s relations with the SSPX, lets loose a rant against the Latin Mass: Last year, the Vatican told Catholic bishops around the world they had to allow priests to...

Catholic Action for Social Change by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 16, 2012

It is the proper right and duty of lay Catholics to take the lead in transforming the social order according to Christian values. As a general rule, it is the role of bishops to nourish and form the laity spiritually and to teach the moral principles which ought to guide the laity in their broader...

Go Deeper! Reflection on the Secular Media's Superficial Worldview by Chris Pelicano in "The City Gates" - Mar 16, 2012

The "narrative" of secular media is a superficial worldview. No great revelation here, since that's precisely what's lacking—the influence of divine Revelation. Story after story, told 24-7, all with the same thing missing from them—the deeper Truth. This shallow approach is...

The patron saint of parish closings by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 17, 2012

Needless to say, there is no patron saint of parish closings.  The closing of a parish is a tragedy. A parish church is more than just a building. It is a repository of memories: of the children baptized there, the happy couples married, the parents mourned and buried. It is a testimony to...

Appropriate honor for St. Patrick by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 17, 2012

In honor of the great saint’s feast, today I’m re-posting a column from a couple of years ago, in which I (not very seriously) propose that St. Patrick should be named the patron saint of parish...

A party for St. Joseph, too? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 19, 2012

If you're a Catholic, Irish or not, you really should recognize today as a bigger feast day. So if you threw a party for St. Patrick's day, what are you doing to celebrate...

At the St. Joseph's Day Party... by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 19, 2012

While we are celebrating I've decided to run a quick contest. The following little limerick was brought to my attention in a recent issue of First Things, which included an article on the pantheist philosopher Spinoza. The limerick was written by Clare Coffey, a student at Dartmouth who has...

On the Solemnity of St. Joseph by Chris Pelicano in "The City Gates" - Mar 19, 2012

A simple encouragement to implore the intercession of St. Joseph: “Most beloved father, dispel the evil of falsehood and sin...graciously assist us from heaven in our struggle with the powers of darkness...and just as once you saved the Child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend God's...

Journalistic incompetence by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 19, 2012

Imagine that there’s a lively public debate about the comparative value of two different automobiles. You’re interested in the debate, so you read a newspaper article about it. But then you notice something remarkable: The newspaper refers to a shock absorber as a “differential stabilizer,” and...

Immigration: The Contested Principle by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 19, 2012

Recently I’ve tried to articulate an authentically Catholic approach to immigration, an approach which takes full account of what the Church has taught on the subject. I have found this difficult for two reasons. First, as with many controversial issues, people tend to respond based on their...

On Ignorance of Islam…and the Bogey Man by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 20, 2012

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran had this to say in a recent interview on the Al Jazeera television network: We succeeded in avoiding the clash of civilizations; let us avoid the clash of ignorance'…. There is fear of Islam, but it is due to ignorance…. When you speak to these...

'Creative' publicity for the Obama mandate by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 21, 2012

When a seasoned politician issues a public announcement late on Friday afternoon, you already know that he’s trying to hide something. Politicians usually want the maximum publicity for their statements. On Friday afternoons, beat reporters are headed for happy hours, chanting...

Bishop-bashing, selectively denounced by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 21, 2012

First Father Tom Reese announced that conservative clerics are too free with their opinions: These days, arch-conservative priests feel much more comfortable attacking their bishops than do liberals because they feel they’ll get support from conservative Catholic blogs and maybe some in the...

Bishop on Board by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 21, 2012

A few days ago, we received an encouraging email from Bishop Hugh Slattery, MSC, in South Africa. I think it says something wonderful about the scope and impact of what we do here at CatholicCulture.org. It may even provide incentive for a a special Lenten donation to our work: Greetings from...

God: Philosophical Proofs and the Transcendentals by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 22, 2012

In my In Depth Analysis Proving God, I introduced a book by Robert J. Spitzer, SJ, entitled New Proofs for the Existence of God. I concentrated on the scientific arguments, which occupied the first part of the book. I should now like to discuss the philosophical arguments (Part Two) and Fr....

When everyone is wrong, blame the Catholics by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 22, 2012

The first sensational headlines said that Catholic Church officials had castrated young men in the Netherlands a generation ago, allegedly to stop their homosexual activities. If the report is true, this was a brutal, appalling offense. But wait. It seems that at the time, castration was a...

Easter eBook Released by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 22, 2012

If you’re following the Liturgical Year with the aid of the eBooks we’ve developed for this purpose, you’ll be happy to know that the fourth volume in the series, Easter, was just releaed today at shop.catholicculture.org. This one covers the period from the Easter Vigil through...

Today's rallies, and why the media won't notice them by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 23, 2012

At noon today, tens of thousands of Americans—hundreds of thousands, probably—will participate in the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies in cities scattered from coast to coast. My confident prediction is that these event will receive less media coverage than a single rally, involving a few...

Success and Failure in the Church by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 23, 2012

Whenever the problem of parish closings comes up (see, for example, Phil Lawler’s critique in The patron saint of parish closings) I have two very strong reactions. First, I agree wholeheartedly that (under many if not most) circumstances it is a negative judgment on Catholic commitment and...

Conservatives are invisible (continued) by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 26, 2012

Last Friday morning I predicted that the mainstream media would ignore the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies. I’m not boasting; it was an easy prediction to make. But I failed to foresee an interesting contrast. The Washington Post gave zero coverage to the 140+ rallies that drew at...

Going Local by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 26, 2012

We hear with horror of the actions of the Chinese government to force bishops and their staff to take “learning classes” until they become “intelligent enough in their learning” (see Chinese officials detain bishop, compel him to attend ‘learning classes’). But...

On Queens and the Queen by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 27, 2012

Henry Constable (1562 - 1613) had a good political career going in Elizabethan England, but by the time he turned 32, he was convinced that he had to forsake the Church of England and become a Catholic. Sometimes abroad and sometimes at home but in prison, he became a fine Catholic poet. For...

Why not admit it was a bad idea? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 27, 2012

The Vatican has cancelled a conference on stem-cell research that had been scheduled for April. You already knew that; we reported the story yesterday. But today’s AP report adds a curious note. The conference has been scrubbed, Vatican officials say, because not enough people had registered to...

The Anglicans balk at an agreement to disagree by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 27, 2012

Anglican believers are apparently not enthusiastic about the Anglican Covenant, a document designed to explain how people who do not share the same faith can remain members of the same faith. Let me rephrase that. The Anglican Covenant is a statement that shows how people who don’t believe...

The curious non-violence of Father Pfleger by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 27, 2012

Do you remember Father Michael Pfleger? Of course you do. How could you forget the Chicago priest whose public mockery of Hillary Clinton—then competing with his favorite candidate, Barack Obama, for the Democratic presidential nomination—earned him a brief leave of absence? How...

Constitutional Issues for Obamacare by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 27, 2012

As the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments on the constitutionality of Obamacare, it may be useful to identify the key issues in play. Essentially, these revolve around the Federal government’s authority (or lack thereof) to compel citizens to make purchases and the Federal...

The Pope in Cuba: too many concessions to the Castro regime? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 28, 2012

Some analysts worry that Pope Benedict’s trip to Cuba might help prop up the Castro government. Others believe that the papal visit could prove the tipping point that finally leads to the collapse of a bankrupt regime. There are intelligent arguments on both sides. Since the plans for the...

God's unexpected presence by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 29, 2012

In the Gospel read at today’s Mass (Jn 8:51-55), Jesus states more clearly than ever before that He is indeed the Messiah. The response from the Jews in the Temple is remarkable. Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM." So they picked up...

The bees are back!-- for the Easter Vigil by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Mar 29, 2012

As a hobbyist beekeeper I am elated to learn that my favorite insects have been restored to their proper place in the liturgy. Shawn Tribe of the New Liturgical Movement brings the welcome news that the new translation of the Exsultet, sung at the Easter Vigil, will once again pay tribute to the...

Ethical questions about organ transplants by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Mar 29, 2012

The news that former vice president Dick Cheney has received a heart transplant prompts NPR’s “Morning Edition” to examine one set of ethical issues involving the transplant of vital organs. But there is another deeper, more troubling set of questions to be asked. The questions...

The Pope to Cuba: Christ Alone Can Set Us Free by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 29, 2012

At yesterday’s Mass in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolucion, Pope Benedict preached on the regular daily readings to send a clear message to the Cuban people, including the Cuban government: Christ is the key to the truth, freedom and love by which society must be transformed. The first...

DDOS Attack by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Mar 30, 2012

CatholicCulture.org was the victim of a distributed denial of service attack yesterday. A DDOS attack occurs when hackers gain control of hundreds or thousands of insecure computers around the world, and then use a master program to instruct these PCs to hit a particular website hard and fast with...

Augustine: Reason and Faith, Philosophy and God by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Mar 30, 2012

Throughout his pontificate, Pope Benedict has argued that faith and reason are both necessary for the human person to understand reality and live properly. In his famous Regensburg address and elsewhere, he has stressed the need for Faith to purify Reason, and for Reason to purify Faith. He has...

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Blessed Book of Beasts 0 hours ago
Weekend reading 9 hours ago
Frustrating the Moral Law 9 hours ago
Weep for slaughtered Christians, not for dialogue with Islam 14 hours ago
An Appointment that Francis Should Withdraw August 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
‘A real via crucis’: Pope Francis, patriarch plead on behalf of Iraq’s Christians CWN - August 8
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians in flight as Islamic State advances CWN - August 8