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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from April 2012

Baseball exceptionalism by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 2, 2012

When it comes to baseball, I thought I was a true believer. But Joseph Wood, writing for The Catholic Thing, sees signs of divine favor for the game where even I had not detected them: This year, the official opening day of the major league season is April 5, within a week of Easter. Such a...

On Holy Days and Holidays by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 2, 2012

There are more and more opportunities, as time goes on, to employ Hercule Poirot’s famous expression that certain circumstances “give one furiously to think.” A case in point is the Cuban government’s declaration that Good Friday will be a national holiday this...

Only in America: The Etch a Sketch Boom by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 2, 2012

Most people have heard by now of the Romney campaign’s Etch A Sketch gaffe. Asked whether Romney had shifted too far to the right to win in the primaries, chief aide Eric Fehrnstrom said: “You hit a reset button for the fall campaign. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You...

If Obama isn't confident, we should be by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 3, 2012

"Ultimately, I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress." That’s what President Obama said. Now why did he say it? Obama is setting the...

Obamacare: the Baby Boomers prey on their young by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 3, 2012

My son Joseph, writing for RealClear Policy, has made an important observation about Obamacare that I hadn’t seen before. Even in arguments before the Supreme Court, the Obama administration was loath to discuss the real reason why the individual mandate is an essential element of the plan....

Before Holy Week Passes Us By: The Lesson of Lent by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 3, 2012

When I was young, in college and the first few years afterward, I was fairly certain I had discovered the key that so many others had lost. Surely my special Catholic fervor and brilliance would dramatically alter the world. Alas, this was a very primitive Christianity, but I suppose I...

Organ transplants, 'brain death,' and Church teaching by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 4, 2012

Responding to my recent On the News post about organ transplants, reader James Anderson posed a question that requires more than just a quick answer: I thought that I recently read where the Church said that determining when a person is dead falls under the purview of the medical community, not...

Intemperate language from a Vatican dicastery? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 4, 2012

“These people are well known, and the Pontifical Academy and other bodies of the Holy See give them no credibility whatsoever.” Is this how Christians speak of one another? The Pontifical Academy for Life is understandably upset that some pro-life activists were ready to claim credit...

Across My Desk: The Effects of the Pill by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 4, 2012

I received a review copy of Mary Eberstadt’s Adam and Eve after the Pill, which is undoubtedly an excellent book. I’m not looking closely at it only because I’ve been sufficiently immersed in the subject that I will not gain much from going through it again, and I already know...

Oh, the Things People Say...and the Importance of Discipline by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 5, 2012

Pope Benedict went very far out of his way, at the annual Chrism Mass honoring the institution of the priesthood today, to criticize the group of dissident priests in Austria that is formally calling for disobedience to Church discipline and doctrine. Yesterday, Fr. Michael Graham, SJ, President...

A farewell to ad-lib liturgists? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 10, 2012

Have you noticed the blessing that has come along with the new translation of the Roman Missal? Priests aren’t ad-libbing their way through the Mass any more. Over the years, many priests had grown so familiar with the old translation that they no longer really looked at the Missal. Confident...

On brain death, a reader's rebuttal by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 11, 2012

My last comment on “brain death” and organ transplants drew a strong response from one reader, Dr. Michael DiPietro, who has considerable expertise in the field. Because his argument was quite cogent, and because my goal here is to stimulate debate on an important subject, I asked for...

Query to readers: Where is evangelization being done well? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 11, 2012

Could you help me with a writing project? I’ve been asked to help put together a book about evangelization, and I feel sure that Catholic Culture readers could provide me with some valuable leads. I'm looking for 10-20 examples of projects that have been successful in bringing converts into...

What We Do Know, and What We Think We Know by Peter Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 12, 2012

In the course of listening to political, philosophical, and theological debate over the past several years, it has struck me how little people know compared to what they purport to know. Some of the leading pundits take good care to be proficient in their areas of expertise, but many more do not....

...and speaking of stay-at-home Moms... by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 13, 2012

Today I’m sending in my tax returns, so it goes without saying that I’m in a bad mood. Do you realize that you can deduct child-care expenses--unless you care for your own children. And you can deduct education expenses--unless you educate your children at home? If you drop your...

Obama's problem with Moms by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 13, 2012

If you were working for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign this week, I’m sure you couldn’t have imagined any public statement that would have helped your candidate as much as the mindless burst from Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen that Ann Romney “has actually never worked a day in her life.”...

Too Short for an Article by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 16, 2012

I’ve been very busy with work and family over the past two weeks, so here are some seeds that haven’t fully germinated. Hopefully, you’ll get some value from these reflections. The problem of pain. I think we tend to tiptoe around others who are suffering, particularly...

Roman Catholic Womenpriests and their journalistic cheerleaders, continued by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 16, 2012

We’ve covered this ground before , but we’ll go over it again because it’s probably important and undoubtedly amusing to notice how completely reporters abandon their normal standards sometimes. This time it’s the Indianapolis Star printing a story that even its own...

Does anybody trust science any more? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 16, 2012

According to a study done at the University of North Carolina, trust in science—or at least in scientists—among American conservatives is waning fast. In 1978, 48 percent of conservatives said they had “a great deal of trust” in the scientific community. But two years ago,...

Holiness Rules: How Contemporary Issues Should Drive Us to God by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 16, 2012

Returning to steady work on CatholicCulture.org after a week spent dealing with family issues, I find my perspective sharpened by distance. Having been pulled briefly away from daily commentary on the sacred and secular issues which affect our lives, I return convinced once again that all the...

Peer Pressure: Just Say No by Chris Pelicano in "The City Gates" - Apr 17, 2012

C.S. Lewis once commented that it is impossible to say the right thing about the Blessed Virgin Mary. Whatever is said is either insultingly too little or insultingly too much (depending on the audience). In today's culture the same could be true when addressing the subject of race. Nevertheless,...

Beware of Greeks no longer bearing gifts by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 17, 2012

It happened in America during the Great Depression, and it is happening in Greece now. The suicide rate is up 45 percent since the Greek debt crisis forced the government into austerity measures. One man, commenting on the suicide of a friend, put it this way: The government has to understand...

European liberals, American conservatives, and the 'social issues' by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 18, 2012

Now that the contest for the Republican presidential nomination is effectively over, we can expect the presumptive winner, Mitt Romney, to tack leftward as he prepares for the general election in November. While he was wooing the true believers of his own Republican party, and trying to allay the...

Big Deal! by Chris Pelicano in "The City Gates" - Apr 18, 2012

"Being offended" is in such vogue these days. It is either the basis for or the dominant element in most major news stories. "Offense" is a kind of fuel that keeps the fire of "righteousness" alive. And "righteousness" is crucial to news stories, it is what...

Chuck Colson near death; prayers requested by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 18, 2012

The leaders of Prison Fellowship Ministries have put out an urgent call for prayers for their founder, Chuck Colson, who is apparently nearing the end of his remarkable life. Colson, who is 80 years old, was hospitalized earlier this month with a brain hemorrhage. A White House staff member...

The Two Percent Rule: Damning Catholics with Impunity by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 18, 2012

Mystery writer Robert Crais entitled one of his novels The Two Minute Rule. It is based on the premise that, when committing a crime such as robbing a bank, if you cannot get in and out within two minutes, your chances of being caught rise exponentially. This has inspired my...

Seven years ago, and today by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 19, 2012

Do you remember what you were doing on this date in 2005? I sure do. It was a quiet day here, but I was on edge, jumpy with anticipation, waiting for news from Rome. The papal conclave had just begun, and April 19 would be the first day of actual voting. It seemed unlikely that the cardinals...

The LCWR: To Be or Not to Be? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 19, 2012

No one is happier than I am with the Vatican’s announcement of the need to reform the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the United States. The news is somewhat surprising, since the initial signals from Rome following the visitation of American women religious suggested an...

Do You Have a Date? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 19, 2012

If you’re working with “small” dates as a programmer, you might express today’s date as 2012-04-19. You might use that date as an identifier in a database if you were programming a system that would bring up particular information about particular dates. I’m talking...

Chuck Colson: the life the secular media didn't notice by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 23, 2012

Chuck Colson, one of the most prominent Evangelical leaders in America, died on April 21 after suffering a brain hemorrhage. For a short time in the 1970s, Colson was known as a “dirty tricks” expert in the Nixon administration. After undergoing a religious conversion he ignored the...

Getting the Green Pope Right by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 23, 2012

As I pointed out in September of 2010, Pope Benedict’s frequent emphasis on environmental themes is loaded with Christian insight into what we might call human ecology (see Principles of Catholic Environmentalism). Phil Lawler had already made this point nine months earlier, also explaining...

Cardinal Mahony dodges again by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 23, 2012

It’s a coincidence, no doubt, that the Stockton diocese settled a sex-abuse case just before Cardinal Roger Mahony, the former Bishop of Stockton, was scheduled to testify. Actually Cardinal Mahony wasn’t ready to take questions. He had left for Rome, ignoring his date with the...

Celebrating Methodist-Catholic Occasional Theology by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 24, 2012

Sometimes we wonder about the fruits of ecumenism. A case in point is the recent release of the joint Catholic-Methodist statement on the connection between the Eucharist and environmental stewardship (see our news story). The extent of the theological agreement of the parties is that the...

What Sally Quinn wants by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 24, 2012

Sally Quinn, the woman who parlayed her social standing into a career as a columnist for the Washington Post, inadvertently tells readers something about herself in the course of a tirade against the Catholic Church: I’m not a Catholic but when I attend services I want to feel holy and...

Rally sons of Notre Dame!* by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 25, 2012

I’m disappointed with 95 members of the faculty of the University of Notre Dame, who have demanded Bishop Daniel Jenky’s resignation from the Board of Fellows because of references to Obama, Hitler and Stalin in a recent homily. After all, the full text of the Bishop’s remarks is...

No, Paul Ryan does not admire Ayn Rand by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 26, 2012

By now you’ve probably heard that Congressman Paul Ryan is a big fan of the “objectivist” philosophy Ayn Rand. If you hadn’t heard those reports earlier this year, Father Tom Reese provided a reminder when he joined the Georgetown faculty members protesting Ryan’s appearance on campus: I am...

Why Philosophy Matters by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 26, 2012

Reviewing God, Philosophy, Universities by Alasdair MacIntyre, which was first published in paperback last year, is a little like writing a summary of a summary. But it is an important summary. Subtitled “A Selective History of the Catholic Philosophical Tradition”, the book teaches us...

A PR blunder by the Irish bishops' conference by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 26, 2012

Last week the PR office of the Irish Catholic bishops’ conference demanded an apology from a popular radio personality, Ray D’Arcy, for his attack on the Catholic Church. Bad idea. D’Arcy, whose Today show claims nearly a quarter-million listeners, had said that “the...

Congressman Ryan and his Catholic (and media) critics by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 27, 2012

Congressman Paul Ryan spoke at Georgetown about how his Catholic faith informs his political thinking, and thus his budget plan. The headline on our Catholic World News story read, “Ryan defends compatibility of House budget with Catholic teaching.” But the headline on a report from...

On the Good Thief by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 30, 2012

Here is another tidbit from Fr. John Saward’s remarkable new anthology, Firmly I Believe and Truly, which seeks to capture The Spiritual Tradition of Catholic England. Fr. Matthew Kellison (1561 - 1642) is meditating on Our Lord’s promise from the cross, “This day thou shalt...

Garry Wills hits a time warp by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 30, 2012

Defending the Leadership Conference of Women Religious against that nasty old Vatican in the New York Review of Books, Garry Wills invites the reader to step into a time machine and travel back to the early 1960s: The priests drive their own new cars, while nuns ride the bus (always in pairs)....

Democracies: What They Don’t Do Well by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 30, 2012

In recent years, many interpreters of Catholic social teaching have argued that democratic forms of government are most in keeping with the dignity of the human person. The assumption is that democracies enable people to play a greater role in managing their political, social and economic affairs,...

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