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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from July 2009

praying with-- or against-- the Church by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 1, 2009

 How do you plan to live out this Year for Priests?  By praying for the sanctification of all priests? Good. By praying for priests who are facing particular difficulties? Fine. By praying for young men who may hear a call to priestly ministry? Excellent.  How about praying for...

the unborn baby and the bath water by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 1, 2009

    For more than a decade, thousands of older women undergoing in-vitro fertilization have relied on an expensive embryo-screening procedure to boost their chances of getting...

News story correction by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 2, 2009

 Because of an error in translation, the original version of yesterday's CWN news story about the resignation of Bishop Francisco Barbosa da Silveira of Minas, Uruguay, contained a factual error. The story has been corrected, and the version that appears on our news page now is...

hit me again... please! by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jul 2, 2009

 When I was a teenager, attending a high school staffed by the Christian Brothers of Ireland, we laughed when we said that the "ICB" stood for "International Child Beaters." Sure, we were all acquainted with "the strap" and "the stick." Discipline was...

Quitting Time by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 2, 2009

About this time each year, Vatican-watchers begin speculating as to whether or not the Pope will make a series of personnel changes at the Vatican before he begins his summer vacation. Sometimes there is a spate of announcements; sometimes not. If the changes don't come soon, there will be another...

Inside the Box: Liberal and Conservative Failures by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 3, 2009

In a provocative article in the Spring 2009 issue of Intercollegiate Review , Dwight Lee argues an ironical thesis: “Nothing Fails Like the Success of Private Enterprise and Freedom”. It is Lee’s contention that the dominant secular liberal voices in our culture have a bad habit of describing as...

Newman the Writer, Newman the Saint by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 6, 2009

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued a decree on July 3rd clearing the way for John Henry Cardinal Newman’s long-awaited beatification. The decree makes official the Vatican’s acceptance of the miraculous healing of a 69-year-old permanent deacon serving in Massachusetts....

no PR chops by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 6, 2009

 The Washington Post reported on July 2 that the release of Pope Benedict's social encyclical had been delayed until the week of the G8 meeting in Italy. That's quite true. Yet you can't help but wonder whether the Post really understands what's going on, because: The Post finds...

Benedict's Third Encyclical: A Summary by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 9, 2009

Pope Benedict’s new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), may not be the kind of encyclical that everybody needs to read. It is an incremental addition to the Church’s social teaching with the stated purposes of observing the fortieth anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s great social...

wait; did I hear that right? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 9, 2009

 We all know-- or ought to know, since the evidence is plentiful-- that Margaret Sanger, the patron saint of Planned Parenthood, was a racist and eugenicist. She favored legal abortion as a means of controlling the growth of the racial groups she deemed inferior. But that's all ancient...

the Pope's big chance by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 10, 2009

 During his meeting with President Obama, Dan Gilgoff of US News tells us, "Benedict will be aware of operating on a global stage." How nice of the...

demographics a la McBrien by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 10, 2009

The unsinkable Richard McBrien, yet again correcting the errors that he has discovered in statements emanating from the Vatican, wonders why the Holy See could ever suspect a problem with American women's religious orders. He contrasts the obtuse attitude of the Vatican with the mature wisdom of...

The Six-Gun and the Cross by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 13, 2009

Working vacations are dangerous. Insofar as it’s a vacation, one might read just about anything—Bruce Alexander’s Death of a Colonial, for example, which is a Georgian mystery (i.e., set in late 18th century England), or perhaps a Western by the incomparable Louis L’Amour....

The Vatican welcome mat for Obama by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 14, 2009

 After President Obama's quick visit to the Vatican, the standard analysis, conveyed in different ways by dozens of commentators, was that the Holy See seemed friendlier to the president than the American bishops. John Allen, America's leading Vaticanologist, put it this way:  First,...

The Lawlers “go outdoors” by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jul 14, 2009

 Here at the Lawlers’ we have just celebrated our daughter’s wedding and are preparing to celebrate another – our son’s – in a few short weeks. It seems that after 30 years of marriage, we are beginning to see the fruition of this orchard of seven children we...

The Problem of Animal Rights by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 15, 2009

In a recent issue of First Things, Mary Eberstadt raises the question of why the pro-animal folks are not more pro-life. She identifies several significant historical and ideological reasons for this divergence of interests, but she also argues that there ought to be a strong correlation between...

Mary A. Lawler, RIP by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 17, 2009

My mother, Mary Lawler, died very peacefully this morning. She had lived a long and full life (she was 93); she was strengthened by the sacraments; she had time during her short final illness to say goodbye to all of her 6 children. Thanks to all the readers who have been praying for Mom and for...

Timely Wisdom on Marriage by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 17, 2009

Time magazine’s July 13th cover story on marriage was a pleasant surprise. It was a hefty five-pager, dwarfed in that issue only by the nine pages devoted to Michael Jackson. That fact may reinforce remarks I’ve made recently about celebrity journalism, but the marriage...

Perfectly Poised Between Life and Life by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 20, 2009

Reflecting on the death of Mary Lawler, Phil’s mother, whose funeral was this morning, I was reminded of St. Paul’s commentary on life and death in 2 Corinthians 5: “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with...

Laughing at the News (with Apologies to Our News Team) by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 22, 2009

Those who follow our daily news briefs are no doubt smiling over two of yesterday’s items: Australian initiative, backed by Al Gore, seeks to reduce Church’s carbon footprint. This is legitimate news, but when you click into the ultimate source of the story in the Sydney Morning...

Caritas in Veritate: an awkward hybrid, an important breakthrough-- or both? by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 22, 2009

Why is Caritas in Veritate (“Charity in Truth”), Pope Benedict XVI's new encyclical on the world economy and authentic human development, so poorly written? Thus did Peter Steinfels open his analysis for the New York Times. Steinfels continued: The matter is all the more confounding...

If Only I Could Avoid Temptation . . . by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 23, 2009

A recent magazine article called attention to a web site devoted to connecting people who wish to commit adultery. This is an excellent reminder that, perhaps especially in our culture, it is impossible to hide from sexual temptation. It will never be sufficient to attempt to eliminate temptation...

the Nicene Ideology by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 24, 2009

 Poor Father Richard McBrien remains terribly unhappy about the Vatican's investigation of American women's religious orders: One of the most disturbing aspects of the "visitation" is the requirement that each of the visitors will be required to make a public profession of faith...

Anglicanism... and Anglicanism Lite by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 28, 2009

 Back in the 1980s, when Coca-Cola executives made the colossal blunder of changing their secret formula without adequately testing the market, the maladroit pairing of "new" and "classic" Coke prompted some whimsical musings from a writer at the Wall Street Journal, who...

An Irreligious Test by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 28, 2009

 Dr. Francis Collins has been nominated by President Obama to become director of the National Institutes of Health. His credentials are strong, admits Sam Harris in a New York Times op-ed, but there's still a problem with the Collins nomination: He's a Christian. The problem, observes...

one from column A by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 29, 2009

 So, as I was saying,.... Now Blackburn cathedral offers the Anglican faithful a choice. Communion from a menu. The two-track Anglicanism foreseen by the Druid Archbishop has already...

On Human Esteem by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 29, 2009

Here’s a nugget from St. Bernard’s “Sermon on the Triple Glory” which I discovered in the Navarre Bible’s commentary on 2 Corinthians 17-18: Why am I so solicitous for the judgment of another, or for my own, if their opprobrium will not condemn me nor their praises...

The End of the (Partially Christian) Line by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 29, 2009

The news from the Anglican front is not good, but it does illustrate an important point. The Archbishop of Canterbury has acknowledged that there should now be “two styles of being Anglican” (at least!), the style of those who ordain lesbians and gays living in same-sex unions and the...

A Brazilian Archbishop is Vindicated-- Or Is He? by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 29, 2009

Earlier this month, after several weeks of heated debate and background maneuvering within the Vatican, L'Osservatore Romano published a statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), reaffirming the Church's absolute prohibition on direct abortion, and confirming that...

The Mirror Image of Abortion by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 30, 2009

 In Worcester, Massachusetts-- a city close to the quiet little town where I live-- a ghoulish crime has drawn national attention. A young woman with a troubled past was found dead: an apparent murder victim. She had been 8 months pregnant, and the child had been cut out of her womb--...

it's complicated by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jul 30, 2009

 Roughly 13 million abortions are performed every year in China, Reuters reports. Thus the Asian superpower, which has roughly 4 times the population of the US, has more than 10 times as many abortions. Why? Reuters offers the politically correct explanation that "there is little...

The 'Coup' in Honduras: a Primer by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 30, 2009

 How much do you know about the June coup in Honduras? Well, the first thing you should know is that it wasn't really a coup. President Manuel Zelaya was removed from office legally, by the country's attorney general, acting on an order from the nation's highest court. The president's arrest...

'Potential Frailty' by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 31, 2009

 When the Pope sneezes, the professional Vatican-watchers in Rome jump to attention. They ask themselves: Does the Holy Father have a cold? Is his health slipping? Should we dust off those speculative stories about the prelates most likely to be his successor? When an 82-year-old man slips...

The Problem(s) with Federal Health Care by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 31, 2009

The Catholic Medical Association has sent a pointed message to the Federal government: Back off and start over in planning for the future of health care in America. In a statement released earlier this week, the CMA said that “health-care reform encompasses both individual rights and the common...

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