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All Catholic commentary from June 2015

Vatican showdown by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jun 1, 2015

What happens when a member of a papal commission engages in irresponsible public criticism of a leading cardinal? We’re about to find out. Under ordinary circumstances there’s no doubt that Peter Saunders would be quickly dismissed from the papal commission. But in the current...

Pope Francis: Get it? Got it. Good! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jun 1, 2015

The older I get, the more I tend to screen out all the “noise” which my lengthening experience has confirmed to be useless. So maybe this is just me. But my impression is that the cacophony of self-serving jabber surrounding the pontificate of Jorge Mario Bergoglio has subsided...

Church Fathers: Background on Heresies by Thomas V. Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jun 1, 2015

We are reaching a point in the history of Christianity at which combatting heresy becomes a principal concern of ecclesiastical writers. We will soon be looking, for instance, at St. Irenaeus, whose status as the most important theologian of the second century is due largely to his massive work...

Vibrant Catholicism, 2: A life of constant prayer by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 2, 2015

I suspect this series on “vibrant Catholicism” will be the most difficult series I have ever written. There is almost no conceivable topic which could not be taken up and dissected to help us understand the nature of an effectively Catholic response. It is hard to know where to begin,...

Reading The Diary of a Country Priest: Hell by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jun 2, 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.] In the following two passages, the protagonist tries to give a member of his flock some idea of the true horror of hell, much worse...

Did sexual abuse prompt a murder? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 3, 2015

As I read this story from yesterday’s CWN headline coverage, a scenario arose full-blown in my mind. I know nothing about what happened to Father Joseph Kerrigan. I don’t even know whether he was guilty of sexual abuse, as charged. But I can easily imagine what might have happened, in this or...

Climate change, Catholic mediation, and taming the wolf by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jun 3, 2015

Over at the Taming the Wolf Institute, Greg Stone offers an interesting approach to the thorny questions raised by the recent support of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences for the moral and political aims of the global warming movement. I commented on this briefly in What was the climate change...

A Vatican official's disgraceful diatribe by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jun 4, 2015

A few weeks ago I worried that the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences was pushing the Vatican into needless and divisive political controversy. Now I’m afraid the same Pontifical Academy is pushing itself into disgrace. The story begins in April, when the Pontifical Academy of Social...

The vernacular in, Latin out. Why? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 4, 2015

I’ve changed my mind about not delving into the liturgical arguments in the discussions on the liturgy at Vatican II. I did not quote many of these in my ongoing extracts from Henri de Lubac’s notes on the Council, because the arguments are pretty much the same now as they were then....

Against Interfaith-Dialogical Mushiness by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jun 4, 2015

At Good Letters, a blog hosted by Image journal, poet Brian Volck writes on the falsity of the cliché "All religions are really saying the same thing in different words." Volck notes that successful interfaith dialogues, such as the one between the Dalai Lama and...

Pope Francis simply doesn’t take sides. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 5, 2015

It’s been an odd last few days. On Wednesday we learned from Cardinal Robert Sarah that Pope Francis charged him, in his leadership of the Congregation for Divine Worship, to continue the goals for the liturgy as envisioned by Pope Benedict. The next day, the news broke that Cardinal...

Two quick music links: Ennio Morricone and Ted Gioia by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jun 8, 2015

This week the Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone will be conducting a Mass he composed for the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Jesuit order. The Mass is titled "Missae Papae Francisci." Morricone has scored many great films including The Mission, The Good, the...

Reading The Diary of a Country Priest: Suffering and Humility by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jun 8, 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.] Suffering I can understand how a man, sure of himself and his courage, might wish to make of his death a perfect...

Archbishop Nienstedt isn't—and shouldn't be—the sole focus of the criminal complaint in Minnesota by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 8, 2015

The criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis are very bad news for Archbishop John Nienstedt. He now becomes the American bishop most clearly in the cross-hairs of Church critics; the calls for his resignation will be louder and more frequent. Like his most recent...

The real lesson of free speech, surely, is that ungrounded pluralism is doomed. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jun 9, 2015

It’s a complex question, freedom of speech, and it demands prudence on all sides. This was illustrated all too clearly by the imprisonment of Htin Linn Oo, who criticized the behavior of certain Buddhist monks in Myanmar. A well-known writer and member of the opposition to the party in...

Solemnity of Corpus Christi: Remembering by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jun 9, 2015

Last night my family attended Seton School'shigh school graduation Mass and commencement. My oldest nephew was member of this class of 2015. My family has been part of this community since 1986, the year I graduated from the school, and continued to 2000 when my youngest brother graduated....

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jun 9, 2015

There are only eighteen (18) total solemnities throughout the Liturgical Year, but in May and June there are no fewer than seven solemnities: Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi, and the Sacred Heart are all celebrated in less than five weeks, with two more solemnities in late...

Vibrant Catholicism, 3: Unity by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 10, 2015

For the third installment in this series, I have been wondering whether I wanted to take up the importance of Catholic consistency in lifestyle decisions, particularly for parents, or instead to focus on the need to exemplify a deep practical unity with the Church. The recent outcry in the...

Watching The Diary of a Country Priest: Bresson's film adaptation by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jun 10, 2015

Since I've just finished a series of articles on Bernanos's novel The Diary of a Country Priest, I’d like to say something about the famous film adaptation by Robert Bresson, which deserves its reputation as one of the greatest Catholic films ever made. The film hews very...

Holding bishops accountable: Vatican tribunal addresses the 2nd scandal by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jun 11, 2015

By creating a new Vatican tribunal that will judge bishops accused of negligence in abuse cases, Pope Francis has addressed the second of three companion scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church worldwide in the early 21st century. As I explained a decade ago in The Faithful Departed,...

St. Anthony's Bread by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jun 12, 2015

It might come as a surprise to some who attend Mass on June 13 that since there are two obligatory memorials for this Saturday, they are treated as optional memorials for the day. The celebrant of the Mass can choose either the St. Anthony of Padua which always falls on June 13, or the

Marion Cotillard in Joan of Arc at the Stake by Thomas V. Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 13, 2015

This weekend, the New York Philharmonic has been performing Arthur Honegger’s oratorio Joan of Arc at the Stake, with the wonderful French actress Marion Cotillard as St. Joan. I was fortunate to attend Friday night’s performance. Honegger, a Swiss composer born in France and...

The Conciliar discussion on Divine Revelation, from de Lubac’s notes by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jun 15, 2015

I have just added a new section to Henri de Lubac’s fascinating notes on Vatican II. The addition covers the discussions of the doctrinal schema which would eventually become the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation. The proceedings at the Second Vatican Council in mid-November of 1962...

The 'third rail' of the priestly abuse scandal: the role of homosexuality by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jun 15, 2015

Last week in this space, I argued that by setting up a tribunal to judge bishops accused of neglect in sex-abuse cases, the Vatican has finally addressed the second of three related scandals. Now let’s address the third scandal. The first scandal, as you may recall, was the sexual abuse...

The Dysfunctional Stages of the Interior Life by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Jun 17, 2015

The PBS American Experience series is fascinating. From Teddy Roosevelt to Vietnam and beyond, the producers report events from various points of view with an admirable attention to historical facts. One such production, “The Summer of Love,” is the story of hippies converging on the...

The mountain moved by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 17, 2015

Were you aware that Mount Everest has moved—about three centimeters to the southwest? They say it’s because of the April earthquake in Nepal. For my part, I’d be looking for someone with faith the size of a mustard seed. In this case, a biggish mustard seed....

Read like a Catholic: Avoid category mistakes in assessing the new encyclical. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 17, 2015

Tomorrow we will have a new encyclical. Based on the earlier version leaked to Sandro Magister, it is going to be a fairly long one. Responsible commentators are using the leaked version to be able to respond more quickly to the encyclical when it appears, but they are holding their fire until...

The challenge of Laudato Si by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jun 18, 2015

We were expecting something big from Pope Francis: something controversial, something that carried a heavy political charge. What he has given us is something bigger. Laudato Si is more provocative, but less political, than what we expected. Those who try to twist the document into one...

What Laudato Si' is really about by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 19, 2015

I have read and heard many comments by politicians and activists on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’. But all the comments focus on the question of human-caused global warming, the reality of which the Pope accepts. Thus comments from “liberals” predictably express...

My favorite podcast: the History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jun 20, 2015

Do you enjoy learning about philosophy? (If not, please leave the premises immediately. Don’t let the Adorno hit your Aspasia on the way out.) I suspect a fair number of our readers would like to know more about philosophy, but find themselves with relatively little time to pursue that...

Invoking martyrs for marriage while we wait for the Supreme Court ruling by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 22, 2015

As we nervously await a momentous decision from the US Supreme Court, today we celebrate the feast of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher. It’s appropriate to invoke their help, in our prayers that the Court will be guided by right reason in ruling on a case that would re-define...

Witnesses for Christ: Prayer, Fasting and Bonfires! by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jun 22, 2015

Today is the memorial of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, English martyrs who died defending the faith. After a week of ferial days except St. Romuald, the Church calendar unfolds several important feast days these next two weeks.  June 21st marked the beginning of the

An encyclical about life at the end of an era by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jun 22, 2015

Ross Douthat of the New York Times has an unusual insight on Laudato Si’: he argues that the Pope has taken a clear stand in “the argument between dynamists and castastrophists.” He’s a catastrophist. Douthat explains: Like dynamists, catastrophists can be on the left...

What’s all this about air conditioning? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jun 23, 2015

It never ceases to amaze me that some people who consider themselves good Catholics are ever ready to jump all over the Pope, even with ridicule, whenever he says something that—in their sole and generally ill-considered estimation—is “stupid”. Such persons frequently...

Nativity of St. John the Baptist: A Family Feast by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jun 24, 2015

As the day of the Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist comes to a close, our domestic church hasn't seen too much of physical feast day celebration, as we are saving up the treats for after dinner. Following the inspiration of how St. John ate grasshoppers and honey, mint...

How often did police join in the cover-up of sexual abuse? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 25, 2015

Cardinal Sean Brady has apologized yet again for the failure to stop the predatory behavior of a pedophile priest, the late Brendan Smyth. If you’ve been following the story you know that Cardinal Brady—now retired, but once the Archbishop of Armagh, successor to St. Patrick, and...

The non-judgmental judge by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 26, 2015

Robert Mickens is not happy about the huge pro-family rally that was held in Rome last weekend. Mickens writes: Without calling into question the good will or intentions of the individual participants, the gathering seemed like an exercise in fear-mongering through the use of...

On marriage, law, politics and the death of the West by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 26, 2015

Here we go again. The United States Supreme Court has created a new legal definition of marriage and ruled that all states must recognize same-sex marriage. In other recent news, a UN committee has demanded that Ireland hold two referendums—or referenda, according to grammarians of the...

Acedia and the Unbearable Lightness of Being by Thomas V. Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 29, 2015

In his recent book The Noonday Devil, Jean-Charles Nault suggests that one aspect of acedia, or spiritual torpor, in modern society is that man does not want to receive goods that have a source outside and above himself. This leads him to deny the infinite, which in turn leads him to a...

So now is it 'hate speech' to deplore the Obergefell decision? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jun 29, 2015

The ink was barely dry on last week’s Supreme Court ruling when Father James Martin, SJ, began scolding Catholics who were, from his decorous perspective, too strident in denouncing the decision. ”No issue brings out so much hatred from so many Catholics as homosexuality,”...

Good news/bad news on the Vatican PR overhaul by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 29, 2015

The good news: The Vatican has a new streamlined media operation, with one office responsible for coordinating all communications work. The bad news: that office is staffed by four Italians and one Argentinean-- all of whom have been working for the existing Vatican media groups and/or the...

The political outlook after Obergefell by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jun 29, 2015

Now what? Now that same-sex marriage is a reality throughout the US—or rather, the legal fiction of same-sex marriage is mandated in every state—what’s next? It should be evident already that the Obergefell decision escalated, rather than concluded, a national debate. Just as...

'Helpful' advice for social conservatives: ignore causes, deal with effects by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 30, 2015

New York Times columnist David Brooks offers friendly advice for social conservatives: “Put aside a culture war that, at least over the near term, you are destined to lose.” Brooks makes a point of saying that he admires social conservatives, and wants to see them succeed. He thinks success...

A Baptist leader with a message the Synod of Bishops should hear by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 30, 2015

Having read scores of essays, op-eds, and blog posts about the Obergefell decision, I keep coming back to this outstanding piece by Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s commission on ethics and religious liberty. Moore drives home the point that marriage will...