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All Catholic commentary from July 2017

As Cardinal Müller’s term expires, the liturgy offers a reminder by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 3, 2017

Did you notice? On July 2—the day when Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s term expired a prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—in the Collect for Sunday Mass we prayed “that we may not be wrapped in the darkness of error but always be seen to stand in the...

Want to understand sexual morality? Read—and grasp—Leviticus. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 3, 2017

Leviticus is a Biblical book which only the Mother of God could love, or so it seems at first glance. This book provides the details of the Israelites’ ritual law, the manner of ordinations, the prescribed methods of celebrating the major feasts, distinctions between clean and unclean...

The improbable claims of Cardinal Pell’s accusers by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 3, 2017

We cannot guarantee that Cardinal George Pell is innocent of all wrongdoing. But we can say with confidence that at least to date, the charges that have been aired against him are extremely unconvincing. Julia Yost makes that case persuasively for First Things in a devastating review of...

Another Vatican ‘reform’ cast in doubt by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 5, 2017

The timing isn’t perfect, unfortunately, for the Vatican’s offer of free treatment for Charlie Gard at Bambino Gesu Hospital—just after an AP investigative report uncovered serious problems with medical care at the Vatican-run institution. But there is solace in the news that the...

Catholic Social Teaching: Rooted in Leviticus? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 5, 2017

There is not as much about social justice in Leviticus as there is about sexual morality. Or is there? We ought to be more aware, after all, that sexuality lies at the very root of the social order. This means that sexual morality, including its focus on the family, is pretty much the sine qua non...

In Charlie Gard’s case, a basic moral principle: should the state decide? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 5, 2017

Behind the complicated medical and legal questions of the Charlie Gard case, there stands one clear moral principle: Loving parents—not hospital administrators, not judges, not government officials—should control the treatment of their children. Should Charlie be removed from his...

Pope Francis and Humanae Vitae: The difference to me by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 7, 2017

Let us return for a moment to Phil Lawler’s commentary on June 23rd, A papal commission reconsidering Humanae Vitae? No, but…. I was visiting family in California when Phil posted this, but I did want to say something further about what is a very important topic. The points made in...

The truth about the Vatican sex-and-drugs scandal by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 7, 2017

If you’ve been following the news this week, you’ve probably seen sensational reports about a gay-sex-and-cocaine ring at the Vatican. The stories, alas, are true. But the details have been thoroughly garbled in virtually every media report. What actually happened? Last week a...

Cardinal Müller’s exit: the official ‘term-limits’ explanation strains credulity by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 10, 2017

Cardinal Gerhard Müller is understandably unhappy with the way he was dismissed as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. But he insists that he has never been, and will never be, a critic of Pope Francis. He has repeated the official explanation for his removal: that the...

Avoid despair over Church problems, even those made worse by the Pope. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jul 11, 2017

Over at onepeterfive.com, Maike Hickson reports some (alleged) details surrounding Pope Francis’ decision not to renew the term of Gerhard Cardinal Müller as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Nobody knows whether these details are authentic. Indeed, if you read...

A dead woman kept alive? The story makes no sense, unless... by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 11, 2017

What’s wrong with this headline? Brain dead pregnant woman, 21, was kept alive for 123 days... Obvious, isn’t it? If she was kept alive, she can’t have been dead. “Alive” and “dead” are not compatible conditions. But when brain-death is involved,...

The question Father Martin keeps dodging by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 13, 2017

In his book Building a Bridge, the popular Jesuit author, Father James Martin, argues for acceptance of homosexuals in the Catholic Church. Remarkably, in a book dedicated to that topic, he manages to avoid the obvious question. So in a trenchant First Things review of the Martin book, Father...

An ignorant, intemperate Vatican assault on American conservatism by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 13, 2017

With a harsh denunciation of American conservatism, published in the semi-official Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, the Vatican has plunged headlong into a partisan debate in a society that it clearly does not understand, potentially alienating (or should I say, further alienating) the Americans...

Priestly Atonement, by the Numbers by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 14, 2017

As I continue this excursion through the somewhat trying Biblical books of Leviticus, Numbers and eventually Deuteronomy, one of the most important concepts in Numbers that I’d like to introduce is that of atonement. The idea of atonement is absent in Genesis, makes a slight appearance in...

Did the Pope himself wonder whether Amoris Laetitia was orthodox? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 17, 2017

Pope Francis has referred to Cardinal Christoph Schönborn as the “authoritative interpreter” of Amoris Laetitia. So when the Austrian cardinal spoke to an Irish audience about the controversial papal document, people naturally paid careful attention. According to Austen Ivereigh’s account: ...

Keeping the Faith by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Jul 17, 2017

We live in troubled times: times that can challenge our faith. It is wearisome (but necessary because good Christians face reality) to be reminded of the renewal of the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, terrorism, uprisings, wars and rumors of wars and so on. In recent years even the...

Making sense of the Old Testament God by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jul 17, 2017

In Priestly Atonement, by the Numbers, when I mentioned the apparently harsh measures (such as plagues) which God took to make sure the Israelites did His will, I acknowledged how “difficult it may be for us to grasp the importance of teaching the Israelites in this particular way”....

Quick Hits: Catholicism in the movies by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jul 18, 2017

I’ve long appreciated the movies of Joel and Ethan Coen, and finally got around to viewing their most recent, Hail, Caesar! The film is already among my favorites by the brothers—it’s one of their most warmhearted, a humorous portrayal of a Hollywood studio in the 1950s. I...

Gluten-Free and Holy Communion by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jul 19, 2017

“Gluten-free” is a popular buzzword right now, found in the news, food packaging, recipes, menus and diets. And it seems like the Catholic Church is responding to the current trend. On July 8, the Congregation for Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments issued a Circular Letter to...

A partisan vision at the Vatican? Further thoughts on that Civilta Cattolica essay by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 19, 2017

A week after the appearance of the Spadaro-Figueroa rant against American conservatives, I am still shaking my head with disbelief, wondering how a semi-official Vatican journal could have published such a harshly partisan and grossly misinformed analysis of American politics. I am not...

I’m right; you’re wrong: the Spadaro-Figueroa approach by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 20, 2017

Marcelo Figueroa—the co-author, with Father Antonio Spadaro, of that astonishing Civilta Cattolica essay—is not dismayed the critique offered by Archbishop Charles Chaput. On the contrary, he tweets: “Esto me confirma que...

Quick Hits: Vatican trial’s intrigue; the archbishop as bystander by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 21, 2017

Having spent many years covering Vatican affairs, John Allen writes with authority when he reports that the Vatican press corps is not accustomed to handling criminal trials. However he remarks—and goes on to demonstrate—that a Vatican trial can have its own special sort of intrigue....

L’Osservatore Romano’s latest gambit: Preferring culture to truth? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jul 24, 2017

To avoid choking, one can only smile at the latest essay in L’Osservatore Romano which claims that Pope Francis’s plan for renewal is accepted by the “people” but resisted by “priests and bishops”. Typical of Vatican periodicals during this pontificate, the...

Benedict XVI is silent, but we all know what he thinks by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 24, 2017

When Pope-emeritus Benedict praised the late Cardinal Joachim Meisner for maintaining his faith in the Church “even if at times the ship is almost filled to the point of shipwreck,” many readers thought he was referring to the state of Catholicism under Pope Francis. Was...

On the importance of doing God’s will (contra mundum) by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jul 27, 2017

I’ve joked several times about how hard it is to slog through the legal/ritual books of the Pentateuch: Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. But these do contain a number of dramatic historical episodes, from plagues to wars, including acts of both cowardice and courage—from going...

Quick Hits: Collegiality or resistance; from ‘field hospital’ to long-term care by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 27, 2017

Over on The Catholic Thing, Father Mark Pilon has two interesting perspectives on the argument—put forward recently in L’Osservatore Romano—that the world’s bishops and priests are the “main obstacle” the reforms planned by Pope Francis. First, he notes...

Living on Borrowed Time by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Jul 31, 2017

In our day there are many medical “miracles.” As we grow older, we experience medical issues that are now routinely and successfully treated whereas they could have taken our lives a century ago. So we are cured and live to see another day—or many more years. But in fact, with...

Quick Hits: ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ Catholics; harsh rhetoric and divisiveness by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 31, 2017

Readers occasionally complain about the use of the terms “liberal” and “conservative” to identify different perspectives within the Catholic Church. Although we use the terms ourselves sometimes, as a quick way to identify schools of thought, we acknowledge that it is...