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All Catholic commentary from July 2015

Political battles vs. sacrificial service: The Brooks paradox revisited by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 2, 2015

My colleague Phil Lawler has identified a problem in David Brooks’ tactical recommendations for social conservatives (see ’Helpful’ advice for social conservatives: ignore causes, deal with effects). I agree that there are grounds for suspicion, but I am not at all sure that...

Vatican statement clarifies duties of Catholic faithful after Obergefell decision by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 2, 2015

Twelve years ago, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith anticipated the possibility that some states might recognize same-sex marriage, and said: In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights...

Through an even darker glass: On knocking the popes for socialism.... by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 7, 2015

If I have to read one more email explaining that modern popes have failed the Church by preaching socialism instead of the Gospel, I will not be held responsible for my reply. This complaint surfaces from time to time in orthodox Catholic circles for the simple reason that most politically...

Remember how much snow there was in Boston last winter? Guess what. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 8, 2015

Back in February, did you see me complaining about the record-breaking snowfall? Yes, as a matter of fact you did. I also wondered a bit about what would happen when it all melted. For us, fortunately, the melting was gradual, not at all dramatic. But in Boston… that’s a...

A modest proposal—did I say proposal?—regarding consent before sex by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 8, 2015

The Affirmative Consent Project is encouraging American college students to sign a contract affirming their mutual agreement before having sexual intercourse. The contract—the group helpfully provides a form—can be memorialized with a Smartphone photo, since sometimes it’s hard...

Intimations of Immortality, again by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jul 9, 2015

In his famous ode “Intimations of Immortality”, William Wordsworth (1770-1850) reflected on the incomparable beauties of nature and the bitter sweetness of human passing. He wrote: We will grieve not, rather find       Strength in what remains behind;    ...

Pope Francis: Change rooted in local realities, not imposed from above by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 10, 2015

If you haven’t read our news story on two dramatic addresses Pope Francis gave today in Bolivia, you owe it to yourself to do so. The Pope insisted on a change of heart, on the development of a society in which we enter into the lives of others, rather than permitting ourselves to be ruled...

Weekend reading roundup by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 10, 2015

From around the web, a few interesting insights to start a summer weekend: Pope Francis has suggested that the world’s Christians should reach an agreement on a common date for the celebration of Easter, ending the confusion that arises when Catholic and Orthodox churches celebrate on...

Three more short must-read essays by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 13, 2015

As Pope Francis ended his trip to South America—during which he had made some memorable statements on economic affairs—Samuel Gregg observed that the Pope’s rhetoric had a familiar ring; it was uncomfortably close to that of some notable Latin American demagogues, including the...

Post-vacation links by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jul 14, 2015

I've just returned from a two-week vacation, so it's time to catch up with a few things that caught my interest during the first half of June. First, a topic near to my heart: In Dominicana, the official journal of the St. Joseph Province of the Dominican Order, Br. Bonaventure...

Fighting Evil? There’s a Summer Saint for That by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jul 14, 2015

I've been busy with summer traveling, pool fun, and a little minor foot surgery, but have not been immune to feeling a little disheartened by the headlines this summer. With news of Jenner transgenderism, Supreme Court redefinition of marriage, laws forcing people to go against their beliefs,...

Fr. Robert Spitzer on happiness: An effective approach to God? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 14, 2015

Those of us who consider it important to know and love Jesus Christ find ourselves frustrated by the difficulty of convincing others. Over the centuries, a great many Catholic thinkers have turned their attention to questions of apologetics, spiritual development and conversion in the hope of...

The Little Sisters case: being forced by government to act against one's principles by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 14, 2015

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, in its decision that would require the Little Sisters of the Poor to comply with the Obamacare contraceptive mandate, used a revealing argument to dismiss the Little Sisters’ claim that the mandate infringes on their religious freedom. Some background is...

The new North American 'martyrs'—Jesuit missionaries for a very different cause by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 14, 2015

America magazine, the Jesuit weekly, has a painstakingly balanced editorial in response to the Obergefell decision. A stranger to the argument could read the editorial from stem to stern and still not know, with any degree of certainty, whether the editors think the Supreme Court was right or...

The religious liberty defense can, and probably will, obscure the truth. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 15, 2015

To build on Phil Lawler’s comments on the plight of the Little Sisters of the Poor (The Little Sisters case: being forced by government to act against one's principles), I’d like to take a brief but hard look at why religious liberty is such a weak basis for moral political action....

What we don't know by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 16, 2015

Several readers have written to voice their dissatisfaction with our headline story about the Brazilian Archbishop Antonio Carlos Altieri, whose resignation the Vatican announced yesterday. If it’s any consolation, we’re dissatisfied, too. The Vatican announcement, as usual, provided no...

Cooperation, accommodation, and the contraceptive mandate by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 17, 2015

Imagine that you’re running a small business in Germany in the 1930s. A government official comes to your office and tells you to fire all your Jewish employees. You refuse, saying that it be immoral to do so. OK, the Nazi official says. Tell you what; I’ll make an...

Clarifications on the political enforcement of faith and morals by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jul 20, 2015

In response to my exploration of the limitations of the religious liberty defense, some readers raised the question of whether government is morally bound to recognize the Catholic Church as the source of the true religion and to enforce some portion of the Catholic Faith. The answer to this...

Monday-morning reading by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 20, 2015

Some more interesting essays, gathered from other sites, which you shouldn’t miss: The late Father Silvano Fausti, who was spiritual director to Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, made some waves with an interview shortly before his death, in which he revealed that Cardinal Martini advised...

If the Vatican's main spokesman doesn't know what the Pope's doing, who does? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 20, 2015

Don’t let the understated headline fool you. There’s dynamite in this CWN headline story. It’s not big news that the director of the Vatican press office admits he is “confused” by Pope Francis. We’re all confused. Join the club, Father Lombardi. But when...

NOW channels Groucho Marx by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 22, 2015

Give NOW credit for consistency. The group always defends abortionists. So it’s no surprise that NOW has defended Planned Parenthood against criticism fueled by the latest damaging undercover videos. Those videos, NOW charges, are...

Mary and Martha and our Place in Bethany by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jul 22, 2015

This article was originally published in 2014. I had not planned a vacation, but the past couple of weeks became a vacation by default with health concerns and funerals and family events. I hope to be back more in the swing of writing, especially as the Church celebrates some of my favorite...

Call me Troglodyte: The Cross and carbon credits by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 22, 2015

At the recent Vatican conference on climate change and human trafficking, Governor Jerry Brown of California accused powerful U.S. corporate interests of denying climate change. He said these “interests” use their money and influence “to keep from office people such as yourselves...

Father Barron's departure: bad news for Chicago by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 23, 2015

The headline on a Crux story says it all: “With the Rev. Robert Barron headed to LA, Archbishop Cupich can further reshape Chicago.” Many Catholics who know his work are rejoicing at the news that Father Barron, an outstanding evangelist, will become a bishop. Unfortunately...

Recreating a true home: John Cuddeback at work by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jul 23, 2015

Professor John Cuddeback, head of the Philosophy department at Christendom College, is particularly interested in family life and the importance of the “household”. Drawing on sources both philosophical and practical, Cuddeback maintains a website devoted to the philosophy and practice...

Church Fathers: St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Part I by Thomas V. Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 23, 2015

As we have seen, the problem of heresy became an increasingly pressing issue for Christians towards the end of the second century. Popes and bishops excommunicated the inventors and adherents of heresies and wrote pastoral letters warning the faithful. Among these protectors of the flock were the...

On Pilgrimage with St. James the Greater by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jul 24, 2015

July 25 is the feast of St. James the Greater, apostle. St. James the Greater was one of the twelve Apostles, but had a special relationship with Jesus. How many times do we hear of the threesome, Peter James, John? They were present at the Transfiguration, they also were called to...

A Vatican conference with a pronounced leftward political tilt by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 24, 2015

If we had the name of a Republican politician who was invited to attend last week’s Vatican conference on climate change and human trafficking—any Republican, just one Republican—we might feel just a bit better about the result. But the strongly partisan cast of the final...

But WHY are these videos so damaging to Planned Parenthood? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 25, 2015

It's odd, isn't it, that Planned Parenthood has been hurt so badly by revelations about the sale of fetal organs? We already knew that unborn babies are killed, by the tens of thousands, in PP clinics. Isn't the killing a worse offense? If I told you that I planned to chop you up...

Monday-morning musings by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 27, 2015

The PR flacks of Planned Parenthood tell us—with straight faces!—that they don’t “sell” fetal tissue; they only ask for “compensation”—that is, enough to cover their costs, plus a little extra (for the Lamborghini). When you go to the...

God the Designer: Yes or No? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 28, 2015

Two weeks ago we saw how Fr. Robert Spitzer explored the nature of human happiness as a means of opening others to both the presence of God and a relationship with Him. I reviewed his book in Fr. Robert Spitzer on happiness: An effective approach to God? Today I will examine a different way to God...

New York Times propaganda piece on fetal-tissue sales by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 28, 2015

Today’s New York Times report on the sale of fetal tissue is the journalistic equivalent of a diet pill: a “news” story designed not to satisfy, but to suppress, the reader’s appetite for information. Let’s start with the photo at the top, because although it is not part of the story, it sets...

Church Fathers: St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Part II by Thomas V. Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 29, 2015

The previous article introduced the figure of St. Irenaeus of Lyons, “father of Catholic theology,” and gave an overview of his surviving texts, most notably the five-volume work

Vatican delegations ought to avoid the rhetoric of the world. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jul 30, 2015

One does wonder occasionally about Vatican diplomacy. For example, in recent remarks at the UN, the Vatican delegation urged that controversial issues be left out of the UN’s sustainable development goals (see Avoid controversial issues in drafting development goals, Holy See tells UN). This...

The mystery of conversion, always deeply rooted in Divine mercy by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 30, 2015

There is a three-year-old in the house these days, as my oldest son and his family are visiting. Today young Jeffrey got to play on the red caboose which is displayed on the pavilion grounds in our town. This prompted a discussion of the traditionally lamentable demise of the caboose. By the...

Fetal tissues and vaccinations; are you part of the problem? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 30, 2015

If you’re appalled by the revelations about the sale of fetal tissues-- and how could you not be—pause for a moment and think on this passage from a New York Times op-ed defending the ghoulish traffic: Fetal cells extracted from the lungs of two aborted fetuses from Europe in the...

Links to the past by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jul 30, 2015

The New York Times Magazine has given some much-needed attention to ISIS's genocide of Christians with a long essay by Eliza Griswold: "Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East?" In First Things

Toasting through the Liturgical Year by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jul 31, 2015

When Jesus gave us the gift of the Eucharist, He used the universal basics of life, bread and wine, to be transformed into His Body and Blood. The Mass, repeated daily all over the world, transforms the humble offerings of bread and wine into the Eucharist. In every county grapes are grown and...