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All Catholic commentary from May 2016

How can we explain the West’s dramatic fall from grace? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 2, 2016

There can hardly be a serious Christian today who does not recognize a considerable fall from grace in the Western world as a whole. Even sincere Protestants, who would not (as I would) identify their own version of Christianity as a contributing cause to the decline of Christian culture in the...

The pending outrage at Notre Dame; the moral challenge to Cardinal Wuerl by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 3, 2016

In 2009, when the University of Notre Dame invited President Barack Obama to deliver a commencement address, dozens of American bishops lodged loud public protests. Yet this year, as Notre Dame prepares to confer an even greater honor on Vice President Joe Biden (together with former House...

Vatican should crack down on liturgical abuses, not petty trademark cases by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 3, 2016

Dunno about you, but I can't get too worked up about the merchants who sell trinkets bearing an image of Pope Francis without authorization from the Vatican. Sure, it's a trademark infringement. Sure, the Vatican loses money (did I touch on a sore spot there?) when the merchants...

Ebook for Ordinary Time after Easter Released by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 4, 2016

We have just released the fifth volume in the 2015-2016 Liturgical Year series of ebooks. Volume five covers the first half of the long stretch of Ordinary Time between the close of the Easter Season on Pentecost and the beginning of Advent. Like all CatholicCulture.org ebooks, this volume is...

The Solemnity of the Ascension: The Feast Who Was Thursday by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - May 5, 2016

Bumping up this 2014 post for the feast of the Ascension, whether it is celebrated on Thursday or Sunday.  The sixth week of Easter and the Seventh Sunday of Easter is a liturgical time with a bit of an identity crisis. This week was often referred to as Rogation Week before the revision...

Subjective Conscience and Moral Certainty by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - May 6, 2016

As a parish priest, I hear thousands of confessions. It’s my job. The privilege of my office as confessor brings me great joy and for that I give God thanks. But I think the Holy Father’s recent document on love and marriage, Amoris Laetitia (AL), may well place ordinary...

Cardinal Marx, did you forget something? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 6, 2016

When your only tool is a hammer, they say, every problem looks like a nail. So when the cardinal-archbishop of a major European city reflects on the challenges that face Europe today, you might expect him to lead with a comment on the loss of faith.  That's the insight that St. John...

Quick hits: Losing the argument on marriage; losing the unity of the European Union by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 6, 2016

When the arguments against same-sex marriage are so convincing-- the natural-law arguments, the arguments from tradition, the arguments from social science-- why do we keep losing the public debates? Writing in the Claremont Review, Robert Reilly offers a possible explanation, in reviewing...

Caution! The Vatican's new magazine for women by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 6, 2016

As we reported on Wednesday, a magazine devoted to women is now being published as a regular “insert” for the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. The dust has still to settle on this, but the initial reports have naturally raised questions, most of which will probably prove...

Quick hits: Anti-Catholic bias among historians, Pope Francis breaks with predecessors on European secularism by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 9, 2016

Catholic World Report carries a must-read interview with Rodney Stark, a leading sociologist who concentrates on religious history. Stark, who is not a Catholic, sees anti-Catholic bias as a pervasive problem in historical studies, skewing the public understanding of topics such as...

In what sense is health a universal right? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 10, 2016

In an audience with members of Doctors with Africa, Pope Francis asserted that “health is not a consumer good, but rather a universal right, and therefore access to health care services cannot be a privilege.” Doctors with Africa is a non-governmental organization which shares the...

Anti-Catholic Catholic journalism: Today's false prophets by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 10, 2016

The spiritual stupidity of those who profess to be learned can often be explained by a personal antipathy to Christ, God or the Catholic Church. For example, not long ago a music professor explained to his class that the Catholic Church used to burn inventive...

Self-sorting and living in a silo? Well, the stakes have been raised. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 12, 2016

I happened to tune into a radio program today in which some political and cultural commentators were lamenting that our world has become “self-sorting” or “silo-ized”. It is seldom the case now, they noted, that people of dissimilar values interact with each other in...

Remembering a victory at Harvard: Satan defeated, the Eucharist enthroned by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 13, 2016

Are you fed up with bad news? Tired of hearing about assaults on the Catholic faith? Then let me give you some good news, to boost your spirits heading into the weekend. This is, admittedly, an old story; I posted it two years ago today. But it recounts one of the most exhilirating events I...

Down to earth by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 13, 2016

Theologians might raise questions about the Pope's decision to study the possibility of ordaining women as deacons. Since the Pontiff did not make his remarks on an airplane, it is not clear whether he intended to make an authoritative...

Gender ideology and our fatal empire of desire by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 13, 2016

I’ve recently exchanged emails with an ostensibly Catholic man who is convinced the Church does not have a vocabulary sufficient to articulate the full positive range of human gender identity and sexual relationships. He grounds this conviction in two ways: First, by stressing that we can...

Preparing for Pentecost Filled with Joy by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - May 13, 2016

It is difficult for me to realize that the fifty days of Easter is about to end this Sunday. This Easter season has flown by. Our family has been busy, and it seems consistent that once the spring season and Easter is upon us there are more events on our calendar. We are...

Quick Hit: Petition to Impeach Obama by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 16, 2016

Shortly after I began my series on gender ideology (see Gender ideology and our fatal empire of desire), Robert  Marshall called my attention to his petition to impeach those in the US Federal government who are attempting to force the states to ensure the access of transgender individuals to...

The Pontifical Swiss Guard's Vatican Cookbook: A Family Cookbook by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - May 17, 2016

Images of the Pontifical Swiss Guards always seem to invoke intrigue. Eyes are immediately drawn into the colorful and unique uniforms. The Guard’s exclusive role as protector of the Pope and the Vatican City invites lots of questions about their life. The publication of The Vatican...

Quick Hits: Bishops on Brexit, debate on deaconesses, transgenderism vs. women by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 17, 2016

England’s most prominent Catholic prelates have been actively (if not formally) discouraging the movement to pull Great Britain out of the European Union. Writing in the Catholic Herald, Damian Thompson questions their reasoning. Yes, it’s true that the drive for a European...

Don't let our cathedrals become museums! by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 18, 2016

Pilgrims are streaming through the Holy Door of the Vatican basilica during this Jubilee Year. But they aren’t moving very fast. During a quick visit to Rome earlier this month, I saw the long, long line snaking its way around St. Peter’s Square: thousands of visitors waiting to...

Why is the Vatican audit still on hold? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 19, 2016

A month has passed since the Vatican Secretariat of State abruptly announced the suspension on an external audit. After Cardinal George Pell-- who, as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, had authorized the audit—revealed that he was "a bit surprised" by the sudden...

Gender Ideology 2: Personal disorder and personal sin by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 19, 2016

When it comes to gender ideology, which roots human identity in personal desire, clear thinking is essential. But clear thinking itself depends on a proper recognition of the human condition, including self-awareness of our own passions. Perhaps the first thing we notice on careful reflection is...

Papal ambivalence? Not really; he's just plain negative about Americans. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 20, 2016

John Allen has an interesting piece on the Crux site today, in which he remarks that Pope Francis shows "a distinct ambivalence about the United States and about Americans."  However if you read the piece-- which is informed, reasoned, and generally convincing, as usual with...

Celebrating Trinity Sunday at Home by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - May 20, 2016

Reposting this from the 2015 archives to celebrate the feast of the Trinity: As the Liturgical Year returns to the "Season of the Year" or "Ordinary Time," the pattern does not fall completely into place. The first few Sundays are special solemnities of Our Lord, so...

Obama and the Bomb: Hiroshima Revisited by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - May 20, 2016

It’s hard to accept President Obama’s motives at face value. I'm inclined to think of his upcoming visit on May 27 to Hiroshima as pure political posturing, and not as endeavors toward true reconciliation. If he is playing his signature radical “community organizing”...

Quick Hits: Bad news about that 'flash of light,' beware priests who don't want to be 'set apart' by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 23, 2016

Many pro-lifers ( including yours truly) were captivated by the recent announcement that a flash of light occurs at the moment of human conception. Unfortunately it’s not true. Stacy Trasancos explains in this cautionary piece in the National Catholic Register that the light was...

Omigosh! People want to become Catholics. What should we do? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 25, 2016

The Catholic bishops of Austria are worried that some migrants might not have the right motives for their desire to enter the Catholic Church. That's a valid concern, no doubt—although to my mind it would seem less urgent than questions about 1) why so few native Austrians are interested...

Gender Ideology 3: The value of personal relationships by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 25, 2016

Another argument used to justify a multiplicity of genders, each with its own natural affectivity, is that those affected often speak of their relationships as deeply fulfilling. Such persons can be sincerely committed to each other’s good , and they...

Do 'child-protection programs' increase your confidence? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 25, 2016

In the last 12-month period for which full statistics are available, the US bishops spent a bit more than $49 million on child-protection programs.  That's a whole lot of money. Imagine how many parishes and parochial schools you could re-open, how many teachers and nurses and...

Emmanuel: The dominant theme of Fr. Spitzer’s third volume on happiness by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 27, 2016

The third volume of Fr. Robert Spitzer’s quartet on happiness, suffering and transcendence is now available. Those who have followed the progress of this impressive initiative will recall that the first volume explored the nature of human happiness and concluded that our greatest...

A twofold disaster in a breakaway Boston parish by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 31, 2016

My former colleague Domenico Bettinelli hits several nails on their heads in his commentary on the long-overdue surrender of a dissident group in Scituate, Massachusetts, which had maintained a squatters’ vigil for 12 years at a parish church that was closed by the Archdiocese of Boston....

Neutral Catholic bishops: The real eighth wonder of the world? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 31, 2016

Here’s a story that deserves to be imitated widely throughout the hierarchy of the Church: British religious leaders: vote to stay in EU. Why is this worthy of note? Because the Catholic bishops of England and Wales are officially neutral on the question. What you will find if you...

Quick Hits: Gender ideology destroys freedom, Catholic apologetics needed, a liberal writer fears conspiracy by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 31, 2016

Catching up on some important essays from last week: Stella Morabito has set herself the important but unhappy task of warning us about the dangerous consequences of gender ideology and especially “transgender” ideology. Her latest offering, A De-Sexed Society is a De-Humanized...