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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from August 2011

Budgetary Reform: Opportunity Knocks by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 1, 2011

The heads of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace and of Catholic Relief Services have criticized the new budget proposed by the U. S. House of Representatives because it cuts international assistance by over 13%, while reducing expenditures in other areas considerably...

The New Contraception Mandate: Wrong on Every Level by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 2, 2011

While I object on moral grounds to forcing health insurance companies to provide contraception (see US: private insurers must offer free contraception under new mandate), it is hard to see anything else, moral or otherwise, that is not objectionable about this decision. Most importantly, of...

A 'conscience clause' is not enough by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 2, 2011

No sensible American should have been surprised by the announcement that Obamacare will require subsidies for contraception in every health-care insurance program. From the moment he was sworn in to office—in fact, even before—President Barack Obama has made it clear that he will...

Christ and the New Media by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 4, 2011

This coming weekend—Thursday, August 4 through Sunday, August 7—I’ll be participating in a summer program entitled Christ and the New Media, at Thomas More College in Merrimack, New Hampshire. It’s a jam-packed program, beginning with my talk Thursday evening and...

The Question of Government Size and Scope by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 4, 2011

In Budgetary Reform: Opportunity Knocks, I made the point that budgetary problems should be perceived as an opportunity scale back the size of government. My premise was that, at least in the modern first world, government tends to be very big, deeply committed to social engineering, militantly...

What is the Purpose of Government? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 5, 2011

In my latest In Depth Analysis (The Question of Government Size and Scope), I discussed four issues that should be kept very much in mind before we reflexively turn to government, especially the highest level of government, to solve our problems. But one thing I deliberately avoided in that essay...

Government, Natural Law, and the Modern State by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 8, 2011

The governmental horse still has life enough, I think, for one more beating. Several of our readers have commented on the importance of governmental adherence to a law higher than itself. One of the grave problems in America and many other modern states is that the reigning philosophies of...

A bishop experiences a layman's pain by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 8, 2011

How often have you heard a faithful Catholic complain about liturgical abuses he encountered at Mass in an unfamiliar parish? More than you can count? Okay, then, let me ask a different question. How often have you heard a faithful Catholic bishop complain about liturgical abuses he encountered...

A bourgeois solution to ordaining women by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 9, 2011

Fr. Roy Bourgeois, who faces expulsion from the Maryknoll Order for his support of the ordination of women, gave this reason for refusing to recant: After much reflection, study, and prayer, I believe that our Church's teaching that excludes women from the priesthood defies both faith and reason...

Christian Totality by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 10, 2011

In 1990, Fr. Basil Cole and Fr. Paul Conner, both Dominican priests, co-authored a book on the consecrated life entitled Christian Totality. In 1997, they issued a revised edition to take into account John Paul II’s landmark apostolic exhortation, Vita Consecrata. Owing to the generosity of...

The bourgeois solution and the Protestant perspective by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 10, 2011

Yesterday my colleague Jeff Mirus offered a quick and compelling explanation of why Father Roy Bourgeois is wrong to say that the Church’s refusal to ordain women is “not the way of God, but of men who want to hold on to their power.” In the course of his explanation—which...

Doctrine and Policy: The Authentic Catholic Mind by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 11, 2011

I never cease to be amazed by two kinds of reactions to the positions we take on CatholicCulture.org. On the one hand, some people react to our explanation or defense of Catholic doctrine as if we are articulating just another personal opinion. On the other hand, some react to our suggestions for...

Making the Gospel 'go viral' by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 11, 2011

Last week, for their symposium on “Christ and the New Media”, my friends at Thomas More College asked me to give an introductory talk, summarizing relations between the Catholic Church and the news media in the years since Vatican II. That assignment forced me to think about the...

Bless me Father, for I have answered… by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 15, 2011

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get online correspondence right. I do fine with complimentary messages, or sincere inquiries about the Faith. But when our correspondents blast away with both barrels—and especially when they betray a serious animosity toward the Church or Catholic...

Apart from the mass killings, things are so pleasant! by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 16, 2011

One-child policy a surprising boon for China girls That’s the headline on an AP story that should win some sort of prize for morally obtuse reporting. The most obvious outcome of the China’s one-child policy, coupled with the deeply-ingrained desire for male children, has been...

Disappointed by Jason Berry's Render Unto Rome by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 17, 2011

Jason Berry is an outstanding reporter, whose diligent work has helped to expose some of the most unpleasant truths about life in the Catholic Church, especially in the US. He has exposed corruption with a thoroughness and clarity that have made it impossible to dismiss his critique of the current...

Taxing the world's oldest profession by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 17, 2011

An Italian lawmaker has suggested legalizing prostitution, in order to regulate the industry and collect taxes. Maurizio Marchetti, a member of the ruling People of Freedom party, asks: “Is it moral for a person to work illegally, earning €10,000 a month and feeding a criminal...

The Juridical Key to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 17, 2011

Back in May, when the Vatican issued an Instruction on the use of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite (see Universae Ecclesiae), I briefly addressed the question of how easily those who wished to have Mass in the extraordinary form would be accommodated: Inevitably then, the attitudes of...

Our Collective Wisdom: Responding Properly by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 18, 2011

It is time to unveil the wisdom of the many CatholicCulture.org users who have kindly submitted their thoughts on how best to respond to those who condemn or rudely challenge the Church, the Faith and the related positions we must take in defending and advancing a Catholic worldview. You may...

Reliable Old Churchmen: Long Odds by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 19, 2011

There are reasons the Vatican imposes a retirement age on priests and bishops. One of these reasons is that few people retain sound judgment for very many years after their seventy-fifth birthday. There are always exceptions, of course, and a tender of retirement does not have to be accepted...

Revisiting the Wisdom of the Elderly by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 20, 2011

In yesterday’s On the Culture entry (Reliable Old Churchmen: Long Odds), I mused on the dangers of looking to aging, retired Churchmen for justification for this or that viewpoint or course of action. Last night I found myself seriously wondering whether that point needed to be made, or...

How the Vatican can restore trust among American nuns: just wait a bit by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 22, 2011

While he was prefect of the Congregation for Religious, Cardinal Franc Rodé began an apostolic visitation of women's religious orders in the US, motivated by the concern that many communities had "simply acquiesced to the disappearance of religious life" while others were...

Jason Berry responds to Phil Lawler's review by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 22, 2011

Jason Berry writes: I am grateful to Philip Lawler for his favorable remarks on my reporting of the abuse crisis in previous books, and the overall tone of his review. In like measure I have appreciated the respectful treatment that he and writers like Michael Rose and Tom Bethell have given my...

An Elementary and Practical Catholic Education by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 22, 2011

I’m still proceeding bit by bit through Newman’s The Idea of a University. Most recently, I was particularly impressed by what the great and recently beatified Cardinal recommended by way of “general religious knowledge” of the Catholic Faith in the section on...

Priestly Vulnerability by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 23, 2011

The recent news story out of Canada about a man who extorted money from a priest under the threat of a false allegation of sexual abuse reminds me of how vulnerable priests have become in today’s culture. This seems to be true in both secular and ecclesiastical culture. Ever since the...

On the Earthquake by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 24, 2011

In Tuesday’s Insights message, I mentioned the great Washington, DC earthquake of 2011. Washington was not at the center, of course; that was in Mineral, Virginia, a town of fewer than 500 people some sixty miles southwest of the nation’s capital as the crow flies—roughly...

Catholic Gender Moralism and Cultural Chauvinism by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 25, 2011

Bro. Rex Anthony Norris of the Little Portion Hermitage in the Diocese of Portland, Maine was kind enough to send us the text of a letter to the editor he found in the August 9th issue of Christian Century. I cannot recommend the magazine as a guide to faith of any sort, but it does occasionally...

On the Crisis of Theology and the Need for Rulers by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 29, 2011

Fr. Thomas Weinandy caught my eye last week when he complained of a “crisis” in Catholic theology characterized by a rejection of Catholic faith and morals. Fr. Weinandy is the chief staff aide to the US bishops’ committee on doctrine. What are we to say about this crisis? The...

Dealing with the Austrian “Priest's Initiative” by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 31, 2011

There could hardly be a more appropriate sequel to my previous commentary (On the Crisis of Theology and the Need for Rulers) than the new threat of open disobedience by the Priest’s Initiative in Austria. Claiming the support of 329 priests, this group states that it will proceed to give...

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