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All Catholic commentary from May 2015

The Church of England’s satirical take on climate change by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 1, 2015

Anglican Bishop Nicholas Holtam has praised Tuesday’s statement on climate change by two pontifical academies. But this praise has all the earmarks of satire. “Climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our day,” he begins. Really? It sounds suspiciously like a material...

We've already redefined marriage, by accepting contraception by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 1, 2015

In a must-read column for the Wall Street Journal, Rev. Donald Sensing, a Methodist minister from Tennessee, argues that acceptance of same-sex marriage “will not cause the degeneration of the institution of marriage; it is the result of it.” Understand that Rev. Sensing is not happy with the...

Are Catholic schools Catholic? A strange case in San Francisco. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 1, 2015

A week later I’m still shaking my head about this news story. I can’t help wondering whether sometime in the future, some historian will stumble across the piece in our archives and assume that there’s some mistake. You can easily imagine that dissidents might walk out of...

The French campaign for freedom of thought by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 4, 2015

Now that a French court has ordered the removal of a statue of Pope John Paul II from the town square in Ploermel, I guess the cat is out of the bag. I don't know how to stretch this into a long, learned or delightfully obfuscatory essay. The suit to remove John Paul II from the collective...

Beyond Our Ken: Henri de Lubac's Paradoxes of Faith by Thomas Van in "On the Culture" - May 4, 2015

From the truest truth to the falsest falsehood, there is often only one step. It has often been noted, quite rightly. But from the noting of that fact to the condemning of certain truths, as being dangerously near falsehood, there is also one step, and that step as well is often taken, this time...

The Role of Christ and Sacramental Graces in Sacramental Catechesis by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - May 5, 2015

Earlier last week, Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu, Hawaii issued a letter stating that his diocese is returning to the proper order of reception of the sacraments of initiation: If one looks at the “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” one notes that the first three sacraments...

An archbishop's unconvincing defense of marriage by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 6, 2015

A contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times reports that he had a friendly exchange with Archbishop Blaise Cupich on the topic of same-sex marriage, and reproduces large chunks of that exchange for his readers. Naturally the archbishop says that he does not support legal recognition of same-sex...

The regal papacy remembered by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 6, 2015

I will confine most of my ongoing excerpts from Henri de Lubac’s notes on the Second Vatican Council to the linked article, but there is real humor in the theologian’s record of the two Latin inscriptions which identified, at that time, a newly installed elevator in the...

Swiss Catholics remind us of the iron law of Faith by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 7, 2015

The Swiss are now on record (see Swiss Catholics call for same-sex partnerships), though their record is arguably worse even than that of their German neighbors. But the Swiss report includes critical information which we outsiders learned about Germany only by juggling multiple news...

De Lubac's Council Notes, Continued by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 8, 2015

I have added the second installment of Henri de Lubac’s fascinating notes from his work at the Second Vatican Council. You will find this in the In Depth Analysis piece established for the purpose. The following link will take you directly to the new section: Final Preparations:...

The unholy political battle to denounce—or exploit—the Pope's environmental message by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 8, 2015

The editorial board of Our Sunday Visitor has a strongly worded statement decrying the premature and vituperative criticism of the papal encyclical on the environment. “Well before the encyclical’s release,” the OSV board observes, “a veritable campaign against its...

J. Budziszewski on capital punishment by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - May 10, 2015

There’s no doubt that the majority of Church leaders today favor the abolition of the death penalty. Indeed, there is much to be said against the death penalty as it is used in our own country, and in favor of reforms in the criminal justice system in general. However, since the Catholic...

St. Isidore the Farmer and Rogation Days by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - May 11, 2015

The traditional Rogation Days of Ascension Week begin today, May 11. This post was written in 2014, but still applicable today. Of all the saints on the calendar, St. Isidore the Farmer ranks as one of my favorite saints. (I can rarely narrow down to only one favorite, but I will say he is...

Repealing blasphemy laws is not always smart by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 11, 2015

My headline, occasioned by Norway’s repeal of its blasphemy law, may surprise some people. Especially with so many Christians being prosecuted under the blasphemy laws of Islamic states, we might think that blasphemy laws are a great evil. And they are, if “blasphemy” means...

First Gore, and now Castro: Thanks but no thanks? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 12, 2015

On April 29th, Al Gore said of Pope Francis: “I was raised in the Southern Baptist tradition, I could become a Catholic because of this Pope. He is that inspiring to me. And I know the vast majority of my Catholic friends are just thrilled to the marrow of their bones that he is providing...

Can solidarity actually work in the modern world? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 12, 2015

In Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict defined “solidarity” as “first and foremost a sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone” (#38). In other words, a person who practices the virtue of solidarity (a) Always shapes self-interested actions so...

Burundi, bishops, and Catholic influence by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 13, 2015

I was struck by the closing line of our story coming out of Burundi today: “The Church wields considerable influence in the African nation, since Catholics account for about two-thirds of Burundi’s 7 million people.” If this is true, the Church in Burundi must be far healthier...

American Catholics are flunking the test of evangelization by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 13, 2015

Yesterday’s top CWN headline news story points to the most urgent problem facing the Catholic Church in the US: the decline in the American Catholic population. As our headline story reports there is some disagreement among experts about the extent of that decline. Pew Research finds...

Reading The Diary of a Country Priest by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - May 13, 2015

I've just finished reading the classic Catholic novel The Diary of a Country Priest, written by Georges Bernanos in 1936. Bernanos's moving tale of the spiritual battles of a sickly young priest tending to a small French parish is so densely packed with wisdom that rather than trying...

Celebrating First Holy Communion by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - May 13, 2015

First Holy Communion is fresh on my mind since our youngest son received Jesus for the very first time on May first. It is a such a privilege and joy to be a witness to our child's reception of the sacraments and to grow in his relationship with Jesus. I mentioned 

Reuniting Exegesis and Theology: Toward an Incarnational study of Scripture by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 14, 2015

If you have been reading my highlights from Henri de Lubac’s Vatican Council notebooks, you may already have seen this trenchant observation from 1962 by the great twentieth century theologian: It must be confessed that our exegetes...withdraw into a philological and critical role; they...

The marketing failure of 'new' Catholicism by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 15, 2015

Years ago, shortly after Coca-Cola made the ill-fated decision to alter its formula, the Wall Street Journal published a witty column, applying the lessons of that marketing debacle to the Catholic Church. (I can’t find that old WSJ piece now; I’ll be grateful if someone can furnish a...

Remarks intended to derail the wrongheaded by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 15, 2015

Larry Cahill of the University of California-Irvine on researching the side-effects of oral contraceptives: You might think after 50 years and hundreds of millions of women taking various incarnations of the pill, there would be a large and cohesive and impressive body of evidence on it, but...

Mary Ann Glendon on religious freedom by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - May 16, 2015

Tonight I attended the 2015 Edward Cardinal Egan Lecture, presented by the Magnificat Foundation at NYU’s Catholic Center. Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and former US Ambassador to the Holy See, spoke on “Religious Freedom: Yesterday, Today and...

Reading The Diary of a Country Priest: Stagnation by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - May 18, 2015

[This is part of a series of articles collecting insightful passages on various themes from Georges Bernanos's classic novel The Diary of a Country Priest. Since the novel is in the form of a diary, any passages not in quotes are the protagonist's narration, while those in quotes are...

“Oppression is now a psychological category”: the decline of civil disagreement by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - May 18, 2015

Read this excellent article in First Things by Carl R. Trueman, "In Praise of the Dying Art of Civil Disagreement." The increasing inability of people to disagree without demonizing the opponent, even and especially in the places where discourse and debate are supposed to...

The Coup at the (Catholic) U by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 19, 2015

It was a remarkable thing even for the 1960s—the takeover of the Catholic University of America by its heterodox Department of Theology. I am referring, of course, to the wholesale defiance of episcopal oversight as soon as the bishops on the Board of Trustees tried to put a stop to the...

Ireland on the brink: the referendum will be a test of tolerance by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 19, 2015

On Friday, if the polls are right, Ireland—once a staunchly Catholic nation—will become the first country in the world to ratify same-sex marriage by a popular vote. To be sure, the polls show a late surge of opposition. But public support for the referendum had been overwhelming,...

Has the sensus fidei disappeared? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 20, 2015

In the Office of Readings for today we encounter this passage from Lumen Gentium (12): The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples' supernatural discernment in matters...

Pentecost and Confirmation by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - May 20, 2015

Restoring the order of the sacraments of initiation made the headlines again this week as Archbishop Aquila of Denver made an announcement that he will be implementing this change in his diocese. His pastoral letter...

Modeling King David’s awareness of God by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 20, 2015

The fascinating Second Book of Samuel tells of the rise of the monarchy in Israel, transitioning from the period of the judges, including Samuel, to King Saul and King David, who establishes the line of Christ. Both spiritual and exegetical lessons abound here. Let me briefly combine just one of...

Reading The Diary of a Country Priest: Scandal by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - May 20, 2015

[This is part of a series of articles collecting insightful passages on various themes from Georges Bernanos's classic novel The Diary of a Country Priest.] The two quotes below are from non-Catholic characters who have been scandalized by the failure of Church leaders to...

Was Lewis “basically Catholic”? by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - May 21, 2015

I must admit, it’s a pet peeve of mine when Catholics refer to C.S. Lewis as a Catholic author. When challenged, they usually say something along the lines of, “Well, he might as well have been!” I’m tempted to respond, “Well, he wasn’t, and he chose not to be...

Pentecost with Mary, Queen of Apostles by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - May 22, 2015

More often then not, the close of the Easter season with the feast of Pentecost falls during the month of May, which is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We do not need to exclude one for the other, but in actuality honoring Our Lady directly complements our celebration of the birthday of the...

What can we learn from the dignity of military services? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 22, 2015

Heading into Memorial Day weekend, my thoughts turn to fallen soldiers, and to the way we honor them. A friend of mine is a priest in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia. Over the years he has often conducted burial services at Arlington National Cemetery. There is a prescribed ritual for...

Urgent! We need extra financial support between now and May 24th. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 22, 2015

I need your help to meet a $25,400 challenge grant over the next four days. As of 10:30 am EST on May 23nd, we have just over $1,800 left to match by Pentecost, May 24th. If we are successful, the total benefit to our mission will be over $50,000. Any gift you offer now will be...

De Lubac’s notes on the Second Vatican Council, section 3 by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 26, 2015

I’ve just posted the third selection of excerpted notes from Henri de Lubac's Vatican Council Notebooks. You can jump directly to this new material: Early Weeks of the Council. This section covers the opening weeks of the Council in October of 1962. De Lubac’s notes during this...

Summer: More Time for the Lord, Not a Vacation from Him by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - May 26, 2015

Periodically Pentecost Sunday falls the same weekend as Memorial Day. Although seemingly different in focus, both celebrations reflect shifts in our daily lives. Pentecost marks the close of the Easter season and the beginning of Tempus per Annum or Ordinary Time. Memorial Day is the unofficial...

The real story behind the French ambassador's nomination to the Holy See by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 27, 2015

Nearly five months after the government of France proposed a new ambassador to the Holy See, the Vatican and French officials are still quietly discussing the nomination, we learned yesterday. What does that mean? The Vatican still has said nothing, officially, about the nomination of Laurent...

Holding bishops accountable: the next steps by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 27, 2015

A newly ordained bishop, appointed to head an American diocese, knows one thing for certain: He cannot ignore reports of sexual abuse. That’s good. However the bishop also knows that he can, with impunity, ignore reports of liturgical abuse, or doctrinal abuse, or educational abuse....

Vibrant Catholicism, 1: Lamenting the entire 20th century by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 28, 2015

I have this vision of offering a comprehensive plan to ensure a vibrant, effective Catholicism going forward—because we certainly haven’t had anything like it for a long time. But this is a seductive vision. Even the best and most comprehensive plans for renewal will run into enormous...

Reading The Diary of a Country Priest: Spiritual riches and poverty by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - May 28, 2015

[This is part of a series of articles collecting insightful passages on various themes from Georges Bernanos's classic novel The Diary of a Country Priest.] The two quotes below are from the Curé de Torcy, a fellow priest who serves as a mentor to the protagonist, on...

Mandatory spacing of children: could it happen here? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 29, 2015

In Myanmar, the government will now require women to space births at least 36 months apart. (It remains to be seen how this requirement will be enforced; a UN rapporteur foresees serious human-rights problems.) This sort of blatant government interference in family affairs could never happen in...

Reparative therapy on the run by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 29, 2015

Increasingly, the gay lobby is succeeding in putting out of business those who offer reparative therapy to mitigate or eliminate same-sex attracton. For example, the Human Rights Campaign (which lobbies for homosexual causes) successfully pressured the magazine Psychology Today to remove Thomas...

Saved by ordination by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 29, 2015

Courtesy of the National Catholic Register: The villagers of Tarkerabari in Nepal are still rejoicing over their escape from injury and death during the recent earthquake, which measured 7.8 on the Richter Scale and killed 8,000. Tarkerabari is 125 miles from the epicenter. Ninety-three of its...