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All Catholic commentary from April 2015

Boycott Apple? No; the effort is doomed to fail. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 1, 2015

Amid the furor over Indiana's religious-freedom law, the expressions of outrage by self-righteous liberal moralists, and the threats to boycott the state, I hear rumblings about a counter-boycott. If Apple Computer is going to boycott a state that respects religious freedom, should religious...

The first steps toward liturgical renewal by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 1, 2015

Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan, has emerged as a champion of the traditional liturgy. But you don’t need to be a traditionalist to appreciate his list of ten steps to liturgical renewal, presented during a recent talk in Washington, DC. Personally, I would make his...

Conor Friedersdorf is killing it on religious freedom by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 3, 2015

I remember taking note of Atlantic writer Conor Friedersdorf back in 2012, when despite his liberalism he refused to vote for Obama because of the President’s assault on civil liberties and his murder of innocent kids (and American citizens!) with drone strikes. After a while, I forgot...

Holy Saturday: Come and Mourn With Me Awhile by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Apr 4, 2015

To me, Holy Saturday is the longest and the hardest of the days of the Triduum. It is a day of limbo; life is in a kind of suspension. Except for the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) or Blessing of Easter Baskets (or Blessing of Animals on Olvera Street in Los Angeles), there is no liturgy...

Easter: Fifty Days of Rejoicing by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Apr 6, 2015

This post was originally written for 2014. The links have been updated for 2015. The Lord has risen from the dead, as he said; let us all exult and rejoice, for he reigns for all eternity, alleluia. (Entrance Antiphon, Monday within the Octave of Easter) After Lent's forty days...

Holiness: Purging the evil from our midst by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 7, 2015

During Lent I read again the classic “boring” books of the Bible: Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Of the five books that are attributed to Moses (the Pentateuch, including Genesis and Exodus), these are the ones which emphasize regulatory laws and liturgical rubrics. They are, I...

Christian Meaning and Divine Providence by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 9, 2015

In my series on the importance of “meaning” to evangelization, I’ve already covered (a) the crisis of meaning in modern culture; (b) the natural thirst we have for meaning; (c) the methods proper to the human person for finding meaning; and (d) the special claim of Christianity...

Misunderstanding Pope Francis: the secular outlook and the scandal of the Cross by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 9, 2015

Back in March , Pope Francis told visiting bishops from Bosnia-Herzegovina that the Church “cannot stay closed within its traditions, noble though they may be.” He went on: “It must come out of its 'enclosure', firm in faith, supported by prayer and encouraged by pastors, to live and announce the...

Debunking bad history: Wolf Hall and the flat-earthers by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 10, 2015

The acclaimed BBC miniseries Wolf Hall made its American debut this weekend. The historical drama about the political machinations surrounding Henry VIII’s divorce of his first wife and marriage of his second is, by all accounts, well-made, but has come in for some criticism for falsifying...

Don't call Patricia Jannuzzi's reinstatement a victory by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 14, 2015

Do you count it as a victory that Patricia Jannuzzi is back in the classroom? I don’t. It’s a good thing, certainly, that the Catholic-school teacher who was suspended for her Facebook criticism of homosexual activists has been reinstated. I’m happy for her, and for the

Buenos Aires, Moscow, the Vatican, and Baghdad: News without change? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 14, 2015

If our age is characterized by anything at all, I’ll lay money on the conflict between desire and reality. At least this is a major theme in the news over the past few days. Everybody seems to want to latch on to something that isn’t really there. Take for example, the decision by...

Piano improvisations, chamber music, Irish dances: Catholic musician Mark Christopher Brandt presses forward by Thomas V. Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 15, 2015

Catholic pianist and composer Mark Christopher Brandt has had a productive year—the busiest in his career so far. Back in March 2014, he released Round Trip, an album of duets with guitarist Dan Leonard. Several months later came December Moment, his jazz trio’s Christmas...

The Truth about the Armenian Genocide by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 15, 2015

Turkish politicians are angry with Pope Francis for memorializing the Armenian genocide when he proclaimed the first Armenian doctor of the Church. The Pope had also lamented the genocide when he met with Armenian bishops a few days earlier. As a matter of policy, the Turkish government refuses...

The Vatican says the LCWR is acting Catholic. And that's news. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 16, 2015

“We learned that what we hold in common is much greater than any of our differences.” That comment did not come from a Presbyterian cleric after a Saturday-afternoon ecumenical meeting. It was made by a leading representative of American Catholic women’s religious orders, at...

The Shroud of Turin on Display (and an odd canonical case against it) by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 16, 2015

“Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is contradicted…that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.” These are the words of Simeon when he encountered Mary and Joseph presenting the child Jesus to the Lord in the Temple...

Tips for getting comfortable with evangelization by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 17, 2015

Sophia Institute Press has hit the spot again with a new and very straightforward book on how we can make ourselves more comfortable with the task of spreading the Gospel. The author, Shaun McAfee, is a convert who currently serves as Director of Marketing and Content for Holy Apostles College and...

Church Fathers: The Other Greek Apologists by Thomas V. Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Apr 19, 2015

We know the names and some of the works of several other second century Greek Christian writers besides those covered in the preceding two installments. Though all of these explained and defended the Faith as did St. Justin Martyr, either they were writers of lesser power and reliability or their...

Celebrating in the Easter Season by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Apr 21, 2015

In the Passover Seder observed by many Jews there is the particular question by the youngest, "Why is this night different than any other nights?" As a Catholic, I like to shift this question around to apply to the most pivotal weeks of the Church year, Holy Week and the Octave of...

Evangelization Itself by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 21, 2015

I have brought this ongoing discussion of the importance of meaning to evangelization nearly as far as we can take it without actually beginning to evangelize. If we look back at what we have learned so far, we can see ourselves drawing perilously close to the limits of philosophical speculation....

The Finn resignation: 10 years too late, bishops face accountability by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 21, 2015

Bishop Finn had to go. When he was convicted on criminal charges, he became the poster boy for the American bishops’ mishandling of the sex-abuse crisis. He was an irresistible target for critics of Catholicism: a walking, talking symbol of episcopal negligence. The bishop’s...

What happened to the Vatican reform of the LCWR? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 23, 2015

The recent positive conclusion to the Vatican’s investigation into the Leadership Conference of Women Religious raises more questions than it answers. The kind words that LCWR leaders are now heaping on the Pope and curial officials do nothing to reassure. Questions arise because these...

With the LCWR, has the Vatican taken Gamaliel's advice? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 24, 2015

My colleague Jeff Mirus is puzzled by the Vatican’s decision to end a doctrinal investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), since there is very little evidence that the LCWR has embraced the reforms that a Vatican study found necessary. I think that I can...

Final take on the LCWR: A time to plant, a time to uproot by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 24, 2015

Though I have little doubt that Phil Lawler is correct in the rationale he outlines in “With the LCWR, has the Vatican taken Gamaliel's advice?”, I cannot help recalling Ecclesiastes 3:2. Even if we can understand the Pope’s decision against disenfranchising the Leadership...

How we'll know if the Vatican and the US hierarchy are serious about deposing negligent bishops by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 24, 2015

Twelve years ago, in an email exchange with an old friend, I predicted that the American hierarchy would finally take responsibility for the sex-abuse scandal when a bishop went to jail for negligence in responding to abuse. Bishop Robert Finn has not actually spent time behind bars, but his...

A silent scandal: Catholic schools promoting morally unacceptable vaccines by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 24, 2015

In at least two American dioceses, the parents of children attending Catholic schools are being told that they must have their children vaccinated, regardless of their moral qualms about vaccines derived from the cells of aborted children. This is an injustice to parents who are determined to bear...

Remembering the Sacraments: Our Family Life in Christ by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Apr 25, 2015

During the Easter season, particularly in the month of May which is also dedicated to Mary, many children receive for the first time the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. We have a first communicant in our own family; my son receives Jesus for the first time on Friday. It is not just because of the...

Not Fully Human: Anthony Esolen’s compelling verdict on personal formation today by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Apr 27, 2015

The modern notion of freedom is a kind of slavery. Over the years, I’ve tried to make this point by explaining that we are free only when we have the power to direct ourselves toward the good. Insofar as we fall into evil or sin, it is because we are enslaved by vice. To take but one...

To-do list for faithful Catholics by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 27, 2015

Ask your pastor to sign  this statement, urging the Synod of Bishops to uphold traditional Church teaching. Write all the American priests on your contact list, asking them to sign. Write to a half-dozen of your friends, and encourage them to do the same...

Why God has His doubts about the State by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 28, 2015

Remember when the Israelites asked the judge Samuel to appoint a king over them? (You’ll find it in 1 Samuel 9 - 12.) They needed protection against the Philistines, Samuel had grown old, and his sons, whom Samuel had also appointed as judges, “did not walk in his ways”...

The hypocrisy of condemning the Baltimore riots by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 28, 2015

As the situation in Baltimore develops, we hear the usual chorus of white voices condemning the riots. Now more than ever, this strikes me as utterly disingenuous, not because rioting is a good thing, but because the people complaining about it tend to downplay or even ignore the situation which...

A failure of American faith: the Museum of Biblical Art is closing by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 28, 2015

The Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA) in Manhattan, which opened in 2005, is closing, according to a story in the New York Times. This is despite critical acclaim and, recently, a very popular collection of Donatello sculptures from the Duomo museum in Florence, which MOBIA brought to the US for the...

The Vatican's dangerous embrace of climate-change theory by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Apr 29, 2015

Imagine—just imagine, for the sake of the argument—that scientists in a future generation discover that the global-warming trend of recent years was not caused by human activity. If that happens, what will be the consequences for the Catholic Church, in light of the Vatican’s apparent embrace of...

Is Pope Francis purging conservative prelates? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 29, 2015

Many traditionalist Catholics have complained that the bishops who have been forced to resign during this pontificate (Finn, Livieres Plano, Tebartz-van Elst) and the cardinals who have been removed from influential Vatican posts (Burke, Piacenza) all are identified as conservative. In a...

UN leader wants Holy See to lean on scientists. Galileo revisited? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 30, 2015

Ban Ki-moon told a Vatican conference on climate change: “Together, we must clearly communicate that the science of climate change is deep, sound, and not in doubt.” So the secretary-general of the UN wants the Holy See to announce that the scientific debate on climate change has been...

What was the climate change conference really about? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Apr 30, 2015

First, the conference in question was actually one of several “workshops” periodically sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Sciences and others. The official title of the April 28th workshop was “Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity. The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and...

Children are deemed precious, but surrogate mothers expendable by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 30, 2015

”They only care about the babies. They don’t care about the mothers.” You’ve heard that slander applied to pro-life activists, haven’t you? But here’s a case in which it seems to be true. A rescue team from Israel rushed to Nepal after the earthquake that...

Has the long-overdue reform of Vatican media operations been sidetracked? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Apr 30, 2015

Pope Francis has formed a new commission to implement proposals for a reform of the Vatican’s media operations . That’s good news, I suppose. Or is it? The April 30 announcement from the Vatican press office about this new commission did not provide details. What will this new...