URGENT! Make a gift that will be doubled. We have $9,761 left to match by December 1st.
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from May 2012

Congressman Ryan and the liberal anathema by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 1, 2012

In a Wall Street Journal column on Rep. Paul Ryan’s speech at Georgetown, William McGurn makes an important point: Now, let us stipulate that those of us who incline to Mr. Ryan's application of Catholic social teaching—not least Mr. Ryan himself—do not assert we enjoy any monopoly. Plainly...

Is Cardinal Schönborn coping? Or just backpedaling? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 1, 2012

The open rebellion among the Catholic clergy of Austria, and the fact that Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has taken no disciplinary action against the rebels, leads Christa Pongratz-Lippitt to pose a question in a National Catholic Reporter column: Is Austria, led by Schönborn, perhaps...

'Pay your taxes.' Is that the Gospel message? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 2, 2012

He’s at it again. Or perhaps I should say he’s at it still. Father Tom Reese appeared on The Colbert Report for a session of snark about Congressman Ryan’s budget. Once again Father Reese said that Ryan’s budget is morally unacceptable because it trims funding for...

US diplomacy arranged a precarious future for Chen Guangcheng by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 2, 2012

When the Chinese human-rights activists Chen Guangcheng left the US embassy in Beijing, where he has sought refuge after a dramatic escape from house arrest, American officials assured the world that the Chinese government had promised that Chen and his family would be unharmed. But: If the...

US Defense Spending and Cultural Imperialism by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 2, 2012

Each time I have written about the horrendous tendency of Western states to spend beyond their means, I have emphasized the need to pull back from the creeping totalitarianism which characterizes first world nations. This would reduce or eliminate the nearly incredible costs associated with...

Secular commentators completely misunderstand the Vatican-LCWR conflict by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 2, 2012

When secular commentators turn their attention to the Catholic Church, they typically make two mistakes. First, they assume that religious questions can be understood in political terms. Second, they assume that the Catholic Church should be placed on the conservative end of the political...

Unwanted advice, offered and received by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 3, 2012

Someone named Lindy McDowell, writing in the Belfast Telegraph, opens a column with a seemly display of humility: I wouldn’t presume to tell the Pope how he should go about his business or to advise the Vatican on matters theological. You know what’s coming next, don’t you? You know what the...

Yes, But Assuming Divorce Isn’t Part of My Career Strategy... by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 3, 2012

Over the course of my career I’ve worked with many clients. I’ve encountered good businesses that ask reasonable things of their employees, but I’ve also seen business models and attitudes that are not compatible with a well-balanced life. The reality seems to be that many...

Advocacy for Prosperity, Health and Happiness by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 3, 2012

Again and again studies show what is obvious through common sense: Men and women who shape their lives and families through a commitment to life-long marriage are happier, enjoy greater prosperity and better health, and live longer than those who do not. The difference is striking at all social...

USCCB statements on other political topics are harming the campaign for religious freedom by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 4, 2012

In March the US bishops’ conference (USCCB) announced that “we will not rest” until Congress ensures that religious freedom is protected in the federal health-care reform program. The USCCB followed up that clear and forceful message a few week later with a new, statement...

Modernism Hits the Jackpot, and Loses…Again by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 4, 2012

When the Dean of the Roman Rota said we must learn again to believe in our capacity to marry (see Dean of Roman Rota suggests stricter rule for annulments), the spiritual history of the modern world clicked together for me like the five matching symbols on the original slot machine. Bishop...

On immigration, the bishops are late...again by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 7, 2012

Over the years the US bishops’ conference has issued statements on dozens of political issues: a habit that I lamented in a comment last week. The statements keep coming, in seemingly endless profusion. But the USCCB’s enthusiasm for particular issues seems to wax and wane. In the 1980s, for...

War of the Drones by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 7, 2012

I haven’t studied the situation thoroughly, but the ever-increasing use of drones by the United States to “take out” small targets throughout the world is very troubling. President Obama has escalated the use of drones throughout his administration, using them in Pakistan for the...

When 6-Year-Olds Are Guilty of Sexual Harassment by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 8, 2012

It's better to laugh than cry, right? This Associated Press article (excerpted below) made me want to do both. Why? Well, first I thought the whole article must be a joke... but then I realized it wasn’t. A 6-year-old boy was suspended from his suburban Denver school for three days after...

Catholic Identity in Education: A Long Way to Go by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 8, 2012

I was happy see Pope Benedict return to the theme of Catholic identity in Catholic educational institutions in his May 5th ad limina address to a group of American bishops. The battle for the Faith in Catholic higher education throughout the world was joined by Pope John Paul II in Ex Corde...

Obama's evolution on same-sex marriage was no random selection by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 9, 2012

Is anyone honestly surprised that President Obama has announced his support for same-sex marriage? The timing may be a bit unexpected; Obama might have preserved a bit of ambiguity about his stance until after the November elections. But when he said that his views were “evolving”—after...

Ordinary Time After Easter: New eBook Released by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 9, 2012

We have just released the fifth volume of our Liturgical Year series of eBooks, Liturgical Year 2011-2012, Vol. 5: Ordinary Time after Easter. This volume covers about half of the long stretch of Ordinary Time between Pentecost and the beginning of Advent. The dates are May 28 through September...

Subsidiarity: What It Really Means by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 10, 2012

Earlier this week, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement saying that Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, which had just passed the House Budget Committee, failed to meet a “basic moral test”. The failure consisted in cuts to three specific programs,...

Forces of Darkness in Grand Rapids by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 11, 2012

The Mayor of Grand Rapids, Michigan, speaking at a fundraising event for Planned Parenthood, proclaimed that “every year, the forces of darkness seek to deprive women of the health and education they need by choking off the funding to Planned Parenthood.” This shows as clearly as...

On 'brain death,' a response to a rebuttal by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 11, 2012

Last month, when I questioned whether “brain death” is a valid justification for removing vital organs for transplant, many readers expressed a keen interest in the debate. Soon thereafter I posted a rebuttal by one reader, Dr. Michael DiPietro, who argued strenously in favor of using the...

SSPX Athletics by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 11, 2012

Hey... who would have guessed that the SSPX would make the news (and discussion) on ESPN this week? The story is that an SSPX high school baseball team forfeited a game with an opponent because it had a girl on the team. Officials at Our Lady of Sorrows declined comment. In a written statement...

Good enough to print twice by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 11, 2012

It is worth pulling this excerpt out of a recent In Depth Analysis article (Subsidiarity: What It Really Means) and letting it have its own space. Dr. Jeff Mirus writes: How often have we heard a bishop or a mainstream Catholic university faculty, in the course of political, social and...

Cardinal Wuerl's silence on Sebelius: disappointing, not surprising by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 14, 2012

The Catholic Standard, the newspaper of the Washington archdiocese, gives Georgetown University a well-deserved editorial thumping for inviting HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to speak at commencement. The Standard rightly notes that the invitation from Georgetown to Sebelius—who has taken the...

Liberal Catholics, taking care of their own by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 15, 2012

From the one-hand-washes-the-other department: Georgetown University is honoring Kathleen Sebelius, and Commonweal magazine is honoring Georgetown’s President John DeGioia, presenting him with the “Catholic in the Public Square” award. With straight faces, Georgetown officials will tell...

But the Georgetown issue could be worse… by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 15, 2012

Phil Lawler rightly notes Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s lack of backbone in doing anything about Georgetown’s invitation of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to speak at commencement (Cardinal Wuerl's silence on Sebelius: disappointing, not surprising). Nonetheless, it would seem that...

On federal spending, the US bishops' advice fails a moral test by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 15, 2012

Do the American Catholic bishops think it’s morally acceptable to bounce checks? Because that’s what will happen, you know, if Congress follows the bishops’ advice on federal spending. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has repeatedly criticized proposed

The cardinal's silence continues... by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 16, 2012

Following up on an editorial in the archdiocesan newspaper, the Archdiocese of Washington has issued a statement on Georgetown’s commencement invitation to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The archdiocese understands the “concerns, objections, and even outrage” that the invitation has caused....

The Natural Law and Sex by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 16, 2012

Let’s suppose you want to construct an effective case for confining sexual relations to lifelong marriage between one man and one woman, in which each marital act is open to both life and love. You might turn directly to official Catholic teaching, but not unless your intended...

Is the New York Times protecting dissident Catholic priests? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 16, 2012

The perceptive religion reporter Terry Mattingly noticed something that had escaped me, in a New York Times story about religious attitudes toward same-sex marriage. The Times reported:   The Roman Catholic Church teaches that homosexual behavior is a sin, but there are Catholic priests...

Splintering: The SSPX Dilemma by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 17, 2012

Let me say again that I hope the reconciliation of the Society of St. Pius X to the Church is swift and complete. Sadly, however, current information suggests there is real danger of a split within the organization if SSPX head Bernard Fellay signs an accord with Rome. This should not be...

The low price of defaming the Church by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 17, 2012

Kenyan Bishop Philip Sulumeti’s case against the Irish RTE television network is interesting on a number of counts. In general I’d rather bishops did not sue, but since he has sued, I hope he’ll use any settlement for the good of his flock. The suit concerns a false charge on a...

The Curmudgeon Stone by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 18, 2012

Admit it, I’m a curmudgeon. Oh, wait, I’m the one who has to admit to being a curmudgeon. You only need to admit that you think I’m a curmudgeon. And the evidence is? Well, for one thing, reading about the healing stone to be unveiled at the next International Eucharistic...

To participate in a study of Spiritual Motherhood to uplift priests... by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 18, 2012

Mary Gannon Kaufmann is writing a book on spiritual motherhood of priests based on the 2007 document from the Congregation for the Clergy, Adoration, Reparation, Spiritual Motherhood for Priests. The title of the book is Becoming a Life-giving Woman: What Spiritual Motherhood of Priests Holds for...

The Times, same-sex unions, and dissident priests, continued by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 18, 2012

Earlier this week I wrote about a remarkable report in the New York Times, which asserted that some Catholic priests bless same-sex unions. The Times report was remarkable, I argued, precisely because the paper treated it as unremarkable—as if “everyone knows” some priests give...

Georgetown, Sebelius, and the LA Times: who's stifling debate now? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 18, 2012

Are the editors of the Los Angeles Times misinforming their readers intentionally? Or are they really too stupid to make simple distinctions? In an editorial with the grossly misleading title “Silencing Kathleen Sebelius,” the Times criticizes the Washington archdiocese for finding fault with...

Going Gaga by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 22, 2012

The request of the Philippine bishops that the government bar the performances of Lady Gaga there raises a number of interesting questions. How far should freedom of expression extend? What is the role of government in the protection and promotion of morality and religion? Should the Church look...

An abortionist's upside-down logic by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 22, 2012

Abortionist Willie Parker told a sympathetic interviewer from the Washington Post why he opposes a bill that would outlaw the destruction of unborn babies after 20 weeks of gestation. If you believe his argument, Parker is motivated entirely by his empathy for people in need—not at all by the...

The SSPX, Rome and Armchair Negotiatiators by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 22, 2012

Having seen the news conference and read the reports of the unveiling of a new book on Pope Benedict’s keys to the interpretation of Vatican II, we can now breathe a collective sigh of relief that the negotiations between the SSPX and the Holy See are not in the hands of the books’...

Bishop Pat Buckley? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 23, 2012

So I got this email through our Contact Form from someone calling himself “Bishop Pat Buckley”, directing us to his new blog. So I clicked the link. and I noticed in his profile that his “occupation” is indeed “Catholic Bishop”, and I also noticed that the blog...

The 1921 Murder of a Priest by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 23, 2012

Perhaps you read today’s news story, Alabama: Methodist bishop seeks forgiveness for priest’s 1921 murder, and perhaps you had no idea what it was all about. But if you were reading CatholicCulture.org back in early 2010, or you have browsed back that far since, you would know exactly...

Parish 'ministry' and parish closings by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 23, 2012

In the Boston Herald, a report on the latest failed attempt to persuade the Vatican to stop parish closings came with this headline: Minister holds out faith decades-old Hub church will reopen Minister? At a Catholic parish church? The Church’s influence isn’t what it once was in Boston, but...

Children Do Matter, and the Book is Free by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 23, 2012

Johann Christoph Arnold is a Christian pastor, teacher, writer, and expert on family life and conflict resolution. He’s written more than one book about raising children, and he has also written on sex, marriage, forgiveness and overcoming the fear of death. He also gets around; his book on...

Are these what trends look like? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 24, 2012

Here’s a report that speaks volumes about trends in the Catholic Church in America. This year one graduate of New York’s archdiocesan seminary—just one—was ordained to the priesthood for the archdiocese. That one new priest, Father Patric D’Arcy, chose to celebrate his first Mass in the...

A laughable Iranian challenge to Christianity by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 24, 2012

A publisher in Iran is text touting a discovery that will “undermine the Christian Church and its authority and will revolutionize the religion in the world.” The publisher doesn’t actually have the evidence that will produce this stunning result. But if you’re going to...

Bishop Blaire, the HHS Mandate, and the Common Good by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 24, 2012

Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California would have preferred a wider consultation on the USCCB’s opposition to the HHS Mandate. He is distressed by the number of individuals and organizations filing lawsuits in the fight against the mandate, and he would have liked to have seen two...

Hans Küng's extremism runs full circle by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 24, 2012

You’ve head the theory that when left-wingers push things to an extreme, they meet the right-wingers coming from the other direction? Here’s a bit more evidence: Hans Küng, the favorite theologian of the Catholic Left, has rendered his judgment that Pope Benedict XVI should not reconcile with...

How Civilizations Die: an ambitious, brilliant book by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 24, 2012

Europe is “wounded,” Pope Benedict XVI told an assembly of Italian bishops today. What if the wound is fatal? We know that European culture is in distress. What if it cannot recover? Civilizations rise and fall; they do not last forever. In an ambitious and fascinating book, David Goldman has...

Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, R.I.P. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 25, 2012

I admit it. I liked Ettore Tedeschi. He was a breath of fresh air when it came to the comments of Vatican officials on the economy. But now Tedeschi, the head of the Vatican Bank, has been fired. Still, consider these 2011 stories: Vatican bank’s president criticizes America’s...

On the mandate, a dangerous crack in the bishops' united front by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 25, 2012

The counter-attack has begun. You knew it was coming, didn’t you? For weeks now the American bishops have been marching in lockstep unity, completely unanimous in their opposition to the HHS contraceptive mandate. The Catholic hierarchy has been headed into a showdown with President Obama,...

The Tiresome Tale of Maureen Dowd by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 29, 2012

One tires of Maureen Dowd. But then one tires of her newspaper, the New York Times, too. Between the two of them, they cannot seem to analyze their way out of a paper bag. Why might this be? A case in point is Dowd’s analysis of the opposition of the American bishops to the HHS Mandate,...

How not to defend yourself against an accusation of promoting violence by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 29, 2012

It’s not the first time this has happened, and regrettably won’t be the last time, but today’s CWN headline story from Pakistan raises a question about the logic of militant Islam. If someone accuses you of a tendency toward violence, do you really think you can dispel that notion by threatening...

Caught on videotape, Planned Parenthood tries to spin out of trouble again by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 30, 2012

How do you go about claiming your innocence, after you’ve been caught red-handed on videotape? It ain’t easy. But if you’re a PR flak for Planned Parenthood, at least you have some experience, since—thanks to Live Action undercover work—Planned Parenthood has been...

Angrily? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 30, 2012

“Pope Benedict on Wednesday angrily denounced media coverage of a leaks scandal shaking the Roman Catholic Church, saying it presented a false image of the Holy See.” Thus runs the lede of a Reuters story today. Yes, the Pope definitely said that the media reports were creating a...

Opposition to Grace: Giannone as a Microcosm of Fordham by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 30, 2012

I’ve pulled it back out of my trash can. I’m talking about Richard Giannone’s new book, Hidden: Reflections on Gay Life, AIDS, and Spiritual Desire. Giannone is a Professor Emeritus at Fordham. His book’s title strongly suggests its contents; it describes the...

US military strategy fails when religious liberty is ignored by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 30, 2012

On Memorial Day, appropriately enough, I finished reading a new history of World War II: The Storms of War, by Andrew Roberts. Having examined some of the strategic errors that Hitler made, and traced their consequences, Roberts concludes by reminding his readers that the war could have turned out...

Calm down, folks. This isn't a Vatican crisis. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 31, 2012

Reuters says that the Vatileaks scandal is “the worst crisis in Pope Benedict’s pontificate”…”a scandal that has shaken the very centre of the Church.” Vatican Insider offers offers this melodramatic tidbit: “Somehow this is even worse than the storm caused by the Church paedophilia scandal,”...

Words of Wisdom: The Book by Christopher Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 31, 2012

There is no questioning the importance of Thomas Aquinas for the Catholic intellectual tradition. Nor can one question the difficulty of reading him, in translation, nearly 750 years after his death. Indeed, to read any author separated from oneself by massive cultural and intellectual changes...

A Commentator’s Time and Energy Test by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 31, 2012

I wanted to add another vote of confidence for those who are working so hard to expose Planned Parenthood, but that would have involved a careful critique of the incomplete treatment of lying in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and a reminder that catechisms are conveniences, not definitive...

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Art and theology, beauty and truth, work together in the New Evangelization November 21
Anatomy of Conversion November 21
Anatomy of Conversion November 21
It is a failure of mercy to deny sin November 20
Yesterday's news, tomorrow November 20

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days