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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from July 2013

The Authority Principle Revisited: The Key to the Formation of Culture by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 1, 2013

If you look around the world today (or in any era), you’ll find that human culture expresses the dominant values of a society. For example, in the United States we have a predominately commercial culture because we have predominately commercial values. The lives of huge numbers of people in...

Surveillance, Big Brother, and the Restlessness of the Heart by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 2, 2013

A recent article by Glenn C. Arbery of Assumption College raises intriguing questions about our modern culture of universal surveillance and the omniscience of God (“Search Me, O God”, First Things, June/July 2013). Arbery points out the depth and breadth of our culture’s...

CWN contributor wins international award for human rights in journalism by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 2, 2013

Anto Akkara, who has been working with CWN for over a decade as a correspondent in India, has been awarded the Titus Brandsma award for journalism by the International Christian Organization of the Media (ICOM). The Titus Brandsma award recognizes a journalist who has made a major contribution to...

False advertising for an Islamic beheading by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 3, 2013

Last week several internet sites posted a video that allegedly showed the grisly murder of three Catholic priests by Islamic militants in Syria. Frankly, I question the prudence of posting that video. What possible purpose is served—apart from prurient interest—by showing a beheading? However,...

Anti-Christian Laws in Europe by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jul 3, 2013

Paul Coleman has published an outstanding yet fairly brief review of legal discrimination against European Christians in the June/July issue of First Things. This is a somewhat unhappy announcement because, for a certain period of time, you have to be a subscriber to read it on their website...

Patriotism, Tempered and Pure by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 3, 2013

July fourth is a national holiday in the United States, the celebration of the country’s independence from England. Our independence and subsequent expansion from coast to coast is, I suppose, a dubious moral achievement, but at least it teaches us about the contingency and...

Fox News rewrites history by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 5, 2013

On the Fox News site today—July 5—one finds an AP news story about a meeting between Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The focus of the story—in fact, the entirety of the story—is devoted to a discussion of same-sex marriage. "Francis, who vigorously...

Lumen Fidei, The Light of Faith by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 5, 2013

Not infrequently, it is a disservice to summarize an encyclical before it has had a reasonable chance to make its own direct impact on readers around the world. I think this is very much the case with Pope Francis’ first encyclical, Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith), dated June 29th and...

No, it's not a 'joint' encyclical by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 5, 2013

Just to guard against confusion, let’s get something straight: Lumen Fidei is not a “joint project” written by two Popes. There is only one Pope—Francis—and he is the author of this encyclical. It’s no secret—in fact Pope Francis chose to emphasize it—that Pope Benedict XVI began drafting this...

Battles There Will Be, but Christianity Is Not about Winning by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 9, 2013

We have a natural tendency to approach the conflicts of our times with a desire to “win”. We want to win the battle over the HHS Mandate; we want to win the fight for traditional marriage; we want win court cases that might marginalize Christians; we want win rights for the unborn; we...

A statue of Pope Francis? Perhaps a miscalculation! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 10, 2013

The Pope has asked for the immediate removal of a statue erected in his honor at his old cathedral in Buenos Aires. One understands his concern. This is no time for immortalizing churchmen in statues while they are still alive, or perhaps even after they are dead. Let’s just say that this is...

Two 'must' reads by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 11, 2013

thinkers have recently produced items that Catholic Culture readers definitely shouldn’t miss. Archbishop Charles Chaput and Father James Schall, SJ, are always worth reading, but in these cases they have outdone themselves. Archbishop Charles Chaput, spoke at the National Shrine last week on...

In the Philippines, another assault on the integrity of marriage by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 11, 2013

Under the new “reproductive health” law approved by legislators in the Philippines, couples would need a certificate of compliance from local family-planning officials in order to obtain a marriage license. I’m still waiting for the howls of protest from liberals who want to...

Legal abortion comes to Ireland, riding a wave of falsehoods by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 12, 2013

In Ireland, as in the US, the legalization of abortion was accomplished by means of falsehoods. Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, was not raped, as she originally claimed. Sandra Cano, the named plaintiff in the companion Doe v. Bolton case, never even sought an abortion. Both women...

Should Health Be Proclaimed a Right? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 15, 2013

The effort of the Catholic bishops in Ghana to add a “right to health” provision to a new Bill of Rights there is interesting, though perhaps ultimately unworkable. It is clear that the bishops do not regard sickness as a violation of human rights; they are really talking about certain...

Planned Parenthood serves Texas women by leaving town by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 18, 2013

“Ensuring Texas women have access to the care they need to stay healthy, especially women in rural and underserved areas, goes to the heart of our mission," says Planned Parenthood. So the group is closing down three Texas clinics. Huh? How’s that? Why would you help women stay healthy by...

The US can do more to promote religious freedom in the Islamic world, veteran diplomat argues by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 18, 2013

In a short but thorough presentation on the National Review site, Thomas Farr, the first director of the State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom, argues that American policy-makers could do much more to encourage religious freedom in the Islamic world. Muslim leaders do...

Reflections on the Virus Attack by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 18, 2013

As our registered users know, the CatholicCulture.org web server was subjected to a virus attack, originating in China, on July 7th. Since that time, fighting off the attack and making our server secure again has occupied almost all of my time. The fact that I can write this article means the...

Good News, Good Possibilities by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jul 19, 2013

I woke up this morning and suddenly realized how much good news we reported during the two weeks in which my role here at CatholicCulture.org was dominated by the virus. During this time, it fell to Phil Lawler (as usual) to make sure we kept our news service running no matter what. Consider this...

Catholic Relief Services vs. Malaria: The Real Issue by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 22, 2013

Catholic Relief Services has once again set off alarm bells in the pro-life community, this time by granting $2.8 million to Population Services International to fight malaria, even though PSI’s primary purpose, as the name suggests, is to control population through contraception and...

Making the Sign of the Cross on the Road by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jul 23, 2013

My wife and I are in the midst of an experiment. Earlier this year I put a bed in an old Ford van and made a few other modifications for convenient work and travel at very low expense. Last Friday we set off to visit some of our far-flung children and one or two national parks. The theory is that...

On global warming, the most important thing to know is what we don't know by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 23, 2013

Global warming has stopped. After a long upward trend, world temperatures have stopped rising. But the doomsayers—the people who have been warning for years that a steady rise in temperatures will bring disaster—are not comforted. The dangerous rise in temperatures hasn’t really...

What to expect during the Pope's trip to Brazil by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 23, 2013

Pope Francis has shown himself to be an unpredictable Pontiff, so it is a dangerous business to try to guess which issues will emerge as most important during his visit to Brazil. But without trying to read the Pontiff’s mind, and discern what he will say to the crowds at World Youth Day (WYD), we...

Tangled Webs: Church and State in Springfield, Massachusetts by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 24, 2013

I used to think divorce and remarriage was the chief means for people to weave a tangled web from which there is no escape, either for themselves or for their children. Of course Mary the Untier of Knots, and certainly Our Lord Himself, may have something to say about my assertion of “no...

A few more things Pope Francis didn't say by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 25, 2013

Have you seen these lines circulating on the internet recently? "We need saints without veil or cassock. "We need saints who wear jeans and sneakers. "We need saints who go to the movies, listen to music and hang out with friends." The lines are drawn from a poem that is...

Scripture on a Billboard, and the Problem of Authority by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jul 25, 2013

Streaking across Nebraska, working on CatholicCulture.org in the back of an old Ford van (now repaired), I see out my window a billboard which proclaims: “The Holy Bible. God’s word. Absolute. Final.” That’s about as flat as the Nebraska landscape. I suppose it would be...

Invisible people popping up in Rio by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 26, 2013

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but the crowds at World Youth Day (WYD) in Rio are much larger than the mainstream media predictions. Just last week we were hearing that WYD might be a disappointment. Early registrations were lagging behind expectations. The Brazilian government...

Homosexuality and forgiveness: the Pope's surprising message by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 29, 2013

Pope Francis did not alter Church teaching or discipline when he told reporters that he would not judge a homosexual priest. But he did send a very important signal about his pastoral priorities. Most journalists, I’m afraid, have missed that message. Context is everything. To understand...

Was the Pope imprudent to talk about homosexuality? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 30, 2013

Let me ask a serious question, to which I don’t think there is a clear and simple answer: Should the Pope (or any other Church leader) always avoid public statements that the media could distort? We can all agree, I hope, that in his remarks to reporters on the flight from Rio to Rome, Pope...

Nature’s Way and Nature’s Grace by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 30, 2013

Having just spent several days in Yellowstone National Park, my wife and I are now heading south. We’ve come through (or past, really) the Grand Tetons and our next major stop will be Rocky Mountain National Park and its surrounding area. After a few days there, we’ll be heading...

A ban on the extraordinary form? The background story on the Franciscans of the Immaculate by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 31, 2013

If you’re troubled by the news that the Vatican ordered a Franciscan community to stop celebrating the traditional Mass, consider: The decree from the Congregation for Religious included two salient points. The restriction on the extraordinary form of the liturgy quickly commanded attention....

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