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All Catholic commentary from June 2016

Gender Ideology 4: The scourge of our inner life by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 1, 2016

In rounding out this series on gender ideology, I could go in two different directions. I could look inward at what we might call the disruption of personal wholeness in those who fall victim to this ideology. Or I could look outward at the disruption of social integrity which characterizes...

The thing about mercy… by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jun 2, 2016

…is that you have to want it. It is an offer. You have to be willing to reorder your loves to receive it. Pope Francis has increased the emphasis on mercy which was begun by John Paul II, and that’s a good thing. But at times we lose sight of the fact that the purpose of...

Notes on the sorry condition of Irish Catholicism by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 2, 2016

Ireland, once a great bastion of Catholicism, is in our news today for several reasons—none of them good. When Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam remarks that the Church “is no longer the dominant intellectual influence in society,” that seems a considerable understatement. Bishop William Crean of...

A better marriage preparation (and preparation for a better marriage) by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 3, 2016

In the furor over the recent apostolic exhortation on marriage (Amoris Laetitia), few commentators have paid much attention to the most important point made in the entire text. In the first paragraph in the section on “The logic of pastoral mercy”, Pope Francis wrote: To show...

Another new policy, but we're still waiting for definitive Vatican action on negligent bishops by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jun 6, 2016

The new motu proprio is entitled Come una Madre Amorevole, but it might just as well have been named "And This Time We Really Mean It.” The papal document does not (despite what you might have read in the headlines) create a policy for removing bishops who neglect evidence of sexual...

Thinking incorrectly about Pope Emeritus Benedict by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jun 7, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, there was a report on the Veritas Vincit website suggesting that the Petrine ministry now has two components—an active element embodied in Pope Francis and a contemplative element embodied in Pope Benedict. If the reporting is accurate, this idea was...

Don't blame Benedict for the 'two-pope' confusion by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 8, 2016

Jeff Mirus rejects the theory-- tentatively suggested in an interview by Archbishop Georg Gänswein-- that Benedict XVI continues to serve in the Petrine office, albeit now in a quiet, contemplative way. There can be only one Pope, Jeff argues. George Weigel emphatically agrees. And Ed Peters...

If gravity caused Creation, Who caused gravity? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 8, 2016

This is an old story, but somehow it popped up again in my news feed today: In his book The Grand Design (co-authored by Leonard Mlodinow), the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking argues that there's no need to posit the existence of God in order to explain Creation, because the birth of...

Gender Ideology 5: Subversion of the social order by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 8, 2016

Having examined how gender ideology undermines human wholeness (or integrity), it is time to look outward to see its inescapable impact on society as a whole. The fundamental principle here is that a healthy social order must always be rooted in male-female complementarity. In the passionate...

Troubles facing the Pan-Orthodox Council confirm the need for the Petrine office by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 10, 2016

In preparations for the Pan-Orthodox Council that is scheduled to open in Crete on June 19, Orthodox leaders have underlined the importance of the event by saying that such a meeting has not been held for over 1,000 years. Yes, and something else has been true about the Orthodox churches for the...

On speaking the truth: Is confusion the chief “Francis effect”? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jun 10, 2016

Speaking the truth is perfectly compatible with charity. To think otherwise is to mistake charity for mere “niceness”. It is also to miss the point of Pope Benedict’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) (2009). In fact, the failure to tell the truth to those who are...

Elevating St. Mary Magdalene's Celebration by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jun 10, 2016

One of the headlines this week is the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments has raised the memorial of St. Mary Magdalene on July 22nd now to a feast.  At first glance this can be considered just a minor story; it can be considered simply an announcement on...

The next Vatican scandal by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jun 10, 2016

Another scandal is brewing at the Vatican. This time the subject will not be sex, but that other rich lode of corruption: money. Shady deals at the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), have brought disgrace on the Holy See in the past (if you don’t know what I mean,...

The serious danger of idealizing the Christian life by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 13, 2016

If the teachings of Christ are ideal, which they certainly are, why is it misleading to refer to Christian morality as “an ideal”? It’s all in the definition of the word. It is true that the term “ideal” (as a noun) means “a conception of something in...

Quick Hits I: A caution on letting the states decide, a prophetic statement on violence against homosexuals by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 14, 2016

In years of debate over the Roe v. Wade decision, some earnest American pro-lifers argued that the best resolution would be to restore the power of the individual states to regulate abortion. More recently, defenders of marriage have made the same argument: step aside from a heated national...

Quick Hits II: The autonomous individual who creates himself and kills himself by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 14, 2016

Robert Reilly can write with impressive authority on a variety of topics. He is the author of what might be the best currently available books on radical Islam (The Closing of the Muslim Mind), modern music (Surprised by Beauty), and the campaign for acceptance of homosexuality (Making Gay...

Gender Ideology 6: The common denominator of chastity by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 16, 2016

One of the more common arguments in favor of gender ideology is that sexual pleasure is a key to human fulfillment, and so it is a moral duty to facilitate whatever use of the sexual faculties gives pleasure to each particular person. My critics will immediately protest that today’s emphasis...

The archbishop's failure of charity by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 16, 2016

Archbishop Cupich has written to the LGBT community of Chicago, announcing that they should "know this: the Archdiocese of Chicago stands with you. I stand with you."  If you find that statement disturbing and even scandalous, as I did, read this excellent piece by Elliot...

A different perspective on the Syrian refugee crisis by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 16, 2016

Most of the people who were living in Syria in 2011 are now refugees. That's the stark message of a new report from the Pew Research Center. The impact of the Syrian refugee crisis is unprecedented in our era, Pew reports. Iraq was never like this. Even Rwanda, during the bloodbaths of...

Caring for truth by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jun 16, 2016

Speaking of papal homilies, there is this: It is true that the Church always has a duty to try to obtain a deeper understanding of the unfathomable mysteries of God (which are so rich in their saving effects) and to present them in ways even more suited to the successive generations. However,...

The damage done (again) by the Pope's statements on marriage by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jun 17, 2016

During an address to a diocesan congress in Rome yesterday, Pope Francis was quoted as saying: that some priests are “animals,” that pastors should not be “putting our noses into the moral life of other people,” and that the “great majority” of...

On criticizing bishops—or even the Pope by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 20, 2016

Since Phil Lawler and I have devoted a little more space to criticism of Pope Francis in the past week or so, some readers have wondered whether we misunderstand the Pope or whether, in any case, we might do more harm than good by openly criticizing the Vicar of Christ. These are fair questions;...

Dan Brown's theories at Harvard Divinity School: the tale of a scam by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 20, 2016

If you enjoy a good real-life detective story, I strongly recommend this excellent article from The Atlantic, by Ariel Sabar. It’s a fine piece of investigative journalism, exposing an astonishing scam. The scam was possible, I submit, only because so many people—and particularly people who...

Is marriage a trap? Our preoccupation with nullity by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jun 22, 2016

It would be very difficult to assess all the conditions which impact a couple’s readiness for marriage. It is equally difficult to determine how unfavorable cultural factors may influence this readiness. We can discern adverse cultural trends, but there are many subcultures, and there are...

What Catholics can learn from Orthodox disputes by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jun 22, 2016

The Pan-Orthodox Council opened in Crete this week with a plea from the Ecumenical Patriarch for unity: a unity that is conspicuously absent. For more than 50 years, Orthodox leaders had been working toward this historic event: an unprecedented meeting, that was to offer a vivid illustration...

Catholic institutions cleared the path for the latest assault on religious freedom by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jun 24, 2016

As a result of the latest federal ruling against religious freedom—and pending the result of what seems an inevitable court challenge— Catholic churches in California are now required to provide abortion coverage in their employees’ health-insurance programs. The US Catholic...

Chastity and the natural thirst for happiness: A follow-up by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 24, 2016

In response to the sixth part of my series on Gender Ideology—Gender Ideology 6: The common denominator of chastity—one reader posted a Sound Off! comment that raised interesting questions: Without a concrete description of what God's grace actually looks like, advice to trust...

Archbishop Wenski delivers a deserved rebuke to a fellow bishop by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jun 24, 2016

When a priest criticizes a bishop by name, that's unusual. But when one American bishop criticizes another, in a public statement, that's nearly unprecedented.  Writing for Catholic World Report, Father Mark Pilon has explained why Bishop Lynch should be forced to resign his...

Not So Ordinary Time—Writing Our Acts by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jun 27, 2016

The Easter season ended rather abruptly for me with major foot surgery on May 25. Recovery has been slow and painful, with a lot of sleepless nights. The pain and lack of sleep has made it difficult for me to gather my thoughts and write as much as I would like, but in a way...

Why Be Catholic? 1: Revelation by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 28, 2016

There are plenty of reasons to be a Catholic, and the mix of motivations can have as many variations as there are people. For me, however, the very first reason that comes to mind is that Catholicism is the only religion in the entire world that has a logical and consistent approach to the problem...

Celebrating the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jun 29, 2016

June 29 is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. This is a holyday of obligation in most countries (but not in the United States).  This is major holiday in Rome, with schools, shops and banks closed. The day is filled with both religious and secular celebrations. During...

Why Be Catholic? 2: Freedom by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 29, 2016

Among the great issues addressed by Christianity, two generally strike each of us as more than merely academic. These are the issues of suffering and freedom, which touch us so very personally. Many would give the issue of suffering the first place. After all, suffering is a profound riddle...

No Ninnies by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Jun 29, 2016

Do you know what a 'ninny' is? I'm not sure myself. But I get the idea that if you called a red-blooded American boy a "ninny" in a schoolyard in the 1930s you could end up with a bloody nose. World War II was not a war for ninnies. After the landings in Normandy, the...

Why Be Catholic? 3: Suffering by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jun 30, 2016

The oldest and most painful riddle of human existence is the riddle of suffering. In every time and place, man has sought an answer. Yet apart from Judeo-Christian Revelation, man has had very little to say. Stoic fortitude, Epicurean pleasure-seeking, Buddhist negation, the Utilitarian calculus...