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All Catholic commentary from May 2017

Another reality check on WomenPriests news coverage by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 1, 2017

Quiz for careful readers: Where’s the giveaway in this lede from a Charlotte Observer story? An international group defiantly opposed to the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on women priests Sunday ordained its first woman Catholic priest in the 46 counties that make up the Catholic...

How can the laity renew the Church? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 2, 2017

In March and April I suggested that what the business world calls rightsizing is absolutely critical to the renewal of the Church. My point was that if the Church does not learn once again to exclude those who, within her own ranks, have rejected her official teachings on faith and morals, then...

Quick Hits: the disappearance of melody, an app for chant, and more by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 4, 2017

Does it ever seem like there just aren’t any good melodies in contemporary pop music—say, since the 1970s? Or that there often aren’t any melodies at all? Well, it’s not just your imagination and you aren’t just getting old. Kurt Poterack, organist, composer and...

From the annals of a civilization in decay... by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 4, 2017

Which of these news stories is more frightening: A recorded episode of an “educational” television show by Bill Nye has been altered, removing a statement of scientific fact—that chromosomes determine gender—which has now become politically incorrect. Nye, who...

Renewing the Church: Yes, we do have a plan. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 4, 2017

The reaction of some readers to yesterday’s essay (How can the laity renew the Church?) was that it was a cop-out—a refusal to do the heavy-lifting of actually formulating an effective plan for the renewal of the Church. I was afraid this was going to happen when I wrote: I have not...

Honoring Mary on the 100th anniversary of her apparitions at Fatima by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 5, 2017

Pope Francis has chosen to honor the Mother of God, and to lend further credibility to her apparitions at Fatima in 1917, by canonizing two of the three visionaries on the hundredth anniversary of the apparitions. Jacinta and Francisco Marto, who died very young, were beatified in the year 2000 by...

The obstacles to reform of the Vatican’s communications efforts by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 5, 2017

Pope Francis was unusually candid in his May 4 address to the staff of the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications, admitting that the consolidation of the many different Vatican offices involved in the project will require “a little violence.” It will be “good...

Apres moi le deluge by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 8, 2017

As Emmanuel Macron moved toward his landslide victory in the French presidential election, the fashionable media outlets noticed a stunning reality about Europe’s current political leaders: Macron, the newly elected French president, has no children. German chancellor Angel Merkel...

Another profile in courage by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 8, 2017

A smiling Cardinal Sean O’Malley was on hand at the JFK Library last night, as former President Barack Obama was presented with the Profile in Courage award for his work on health-care reform. In his acceptance speech Obama mentioned how wonderful it was to see Cardinal O’Malley...

Why is a Catholic bishops’ conference cheerleading for the European Union? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 9, 2017

Yesterday in this space I remarked on the unsustainable ideology of the European Union, which invents new “human rights” on a regular basis, without recognizing any corresponding duties. Just for example, the European Commission recently promulgated a Pillar of Social Rights,...

Quick Hits: Accepting Anglican orders, predicting Macron’s future, distracting a priest/author by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 9, 2017

“When someone is ordained in the Anglican Church and becomes a parish priest in a community, we cannot say that nothing has happened, that everything is ‘invalid’,” writes Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio in a new book. But isn’t that pretty much what Pope Leo...

Rigidity and conversion do not mix. But don’t be fooled by double-speak. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 9, 2017

When Pope Francis once again rebuked hardhearted Catholics in a homily on May 2nd, all I could do was scratch my head. “This causes suffering in the Church,” the Pope said, “the closed hearts, the hearts of stone, the hearts which do not want to be open, do not want to hear, the...

If the American conservative movement has failed, don’t blame politics by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 10, 2017

Notre Dame’s Patrick Deneen writes in Modern Age that America’s conservative movement is dying, despite—perhaps in part because of—the election of Donald Trump. He contends that the three “legs” of the conservative movement—anti-Communism, libertarianism,...

Is the Vatican’s top canonical official undermining canon law? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 11, 2017

My favorite canon lawyer, Ed Peters, has some “Questions in the wake of Cdl. Coccopalmerio’s comments on Anglican orders.” I recommend his analysis highly, for anyone who wants an expert perspective; I happily defer to Peters on the legal issues. Let me add a few comments,...

That nothing may be lost: An engraced path of renewal for the laity by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 12, 2017

If you’ve been following my recent essays on the difficulties faced by the laity in renewing the Church, you will recall that the chief obstacle is that the laity do not have the sort of ecclesiastical authority necessary to eliminate the influence of those within the Church who reject her...

The Relevancy of Fatima, One Hundred Years Later by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - May 12, 2017

Saturday, May 13, marks the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady to three children at Fatima, Portugal. Those who were born after 1989 don’t have as many memories of Fatima devotions. While the historical significance might not be as relevant, there are still some pertinent...

And here’s what the Pope didn’t say by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 15, 2017

During his latest in-flight press conference, on his return flight from Portugal, Pope Francis made important statements on several hot topics: Medjugorje, sexual abuse, his meeting with President Trump, the prospects for regularization of the Society of St. Pius X. Those comments have deservedly...

Original Sin: What is it really and why does it matter? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - May 16, 2017

I had a very interesting exchange over the weekend with a man who raised two important questions: First, does the Church teach that the human soul is created at conception? Second, how does the soul contract original sin from Adam? A great deal can go wrong in considering both of these...

Mounting criticism of Pope’s silence on Venezuelan crisis by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - May 18, 2017

“As Venezuela burns, many Latin Americans ask: ‘Where is Pope Francis?’” The headline on a Catholic World Report essay by Samuel Gregg more or less speaks for itself. And Sando Magister of L’Espresso raised essentially the same question a week ago. The Catholic...

Pope Francis vs. Venezuela: Historical perspective by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 18, 2017

Phil Lawler and Catholic World News have provided excellent coverage of the conflict between the Venezuelan government and the Venezuelan bishops. You can search through the news archives to find steady documentation of the problems in Venezuela over the past several years. Recently, closer...

Renewal Phase 2: Making the parish central again by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 22, 2017

Back in the late 1960s, when I first began to see the urgent necessity of renewing the Church, the available options were both few and primitive. The disruption of clerical leadership in dioceses, parishes and religious communities throughout the West was so rapid and thorough that it quickly...

The perils of “apostolic necessity”: The soul of the apostolate is Presence. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 23, 2017

I suspect we all know people who are so invested in their jobs that they have little time for anything else. This may be how they define success, which is in itself unfortunate, but there can be a similar imbalance in the Christian life. Have you also known lay persons who work so hard in various...

Did Benedict just break his silence? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 23, 2017

For more than four years, since his resignation took effect, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI has very carefully avoided public comments on the state of the Church. For someone who was a very public figure and a very prolific author, his silence was conspicuous. When he announced his plan to resign,...

God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - May 24, 2017

My youngest brother received a grim health diagnosis this week, and all of my family is reeling at this news. He is young (35), married and with 4 children. Trying to make sense out of this suffering is difficult. I was in church praying and crying. My reply came as I viewed the image of Christ...

The Solemnity of the Ascension: The Feast Who Was Thursday by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - May 24, 2017

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 of the...

Freak Shows by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - May 24, 2017

It seems age brings an increase in flashbacks to childhood. My most recent childhood memory was that of the annual county fair during the hot and humid days of August, just before the beginning of the new school year. It was a favorite time: walking through the barns, checking out the champion...

Ebook for Ordinary Time after Easter Released by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - May 26, 2017

We have just released the fifth volume in the 2016-2017 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...

Quick Hits: reading the Pope’s intentions; censored PP video; packing College of Cardinals by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 26, 2017

At Crux, John Allen has a profile of Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, the new president of the Italian bishops’ conference. That’s interesting enough in itself, but Allen adds a good deal of spice by explaining how, on his visit to Genoa this weekend, Pope Francis “may accent the...

When the Pope’s silence speaks clearly by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 29, 2017

Last Friday I remarked that John Allen had provided us with a very interesting way to measure the intentions of Pope Francis. The results are now in. Allen observed (near the end of a column mostly devoted to Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti) that during his May 27 visit to Genoa, the Pontiff would...

Quick Hits: Francis & Kasper vs. Ratzinger/Benedict; finding harmony in 20th-century music by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 29, 2017

The fear that Pope Francis is deliberately trying to undo the work of his predecessors, and particularly the work of Benedict XVI, is an increasingly common theme for Catholic writers. Matthew Schmitz made an important contribution to that body of analysis last week with his short essay,...

When parochial schools make a policy to accept ‘transgender’ students by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 30, 2017

“Wherever possible, enrollment is the goal.” That’s the principle that guides a proposed policy in the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri for deciding whether students from “non-traditional families” (that euphemism covers same-sex and cohabiting couples) should attend parish schools. A cynic...

A new legalism denies the moral content of moral rules. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - May 30, 2017

Guess what? The dismissal of moral norms is a modern form of legalism. This point was made brilliantly last week by Russell Shaw writing in the Arlington Catholic Herald: The old legalism is a morality of young children, for whom being good means doing what parents and other authority figures...

The Pope’s enigmatic words on resignation by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - May 31, 2017

In his homily at Mass on Wednesday morning, commenting on St. Paul’s farewell to the Church at Ephesus, Pope Francis said: A shepherd must be ready to step down completely from his church, rather than leave in a partial manner…. All shepherds have to step down. There comes a...