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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from August 2013

Why are reporters so consistently wrong about Catholicism? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 1, 2013

Why is it that… If a political reporter for a major American newspaper improperly describes a senator’s statement on immigration, he’ll be judged incompetent and might lose his job. If a sports reporter doesn’t know where the shortstop is placed defensively on a baseball diamond, he’ll be...

A moving portrait of a priest who has disappeared—kidnapped?—in Syria by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 2, 2013

In a moving column for the Wall Street Journal, Stephanie Saldana provides some detail for the story of Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, the priest who is now missing in Syria. Saldana, a friend of the Jesuit priest, explains that Father Dall’Oglio was so thoroughly committed to the people...

The Pope of Mercy? Yes, and there's more to that message by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 2, 2013

In his weekly column for the National Catholic Reporter, John Allen argues that if the message of Pope Francis can be summed up in a single word, it is “mercy.” He’s right. Something is lost, of course, when a Pope’s message is boiled down to a single word. So while I...

Perceptive commentary: Scalia, Douthat, Schall, Allen by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 5, 2013

Over the past weekend, several internet sites posted thoughtful commentaries that our readers shouldn’t miss. We’ll offer only a bare-bones summary of each piece; we recommend reading each one in its entirety. Writing for Catholic Answers, Father Paul Scalia asks us all to consider which we...

Newman for the Rest of Us: Holiness, not Argument by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 6, 2013

Back when I was teaching at Christendom College, I assigned Blessed John Henry Newman’s Apologia pro Vita Sua (the title means a defense of his life) to a class of freshmen. This is the absolutely brilliant prose classic in which Newman explains and defends his spiritual progression into the...

Might there be a silver lining in the cloud hanging over Catholic medical care? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 7, 2013

The war to eviscerate Catholic medical care can only escalate. Two of today’s news stories provide cases in point. In Ireland, a member of the board of a Catholic hospital in Dublin has said that his hospital cannot comply with the new abortion law. But there is no reason to expect Catholic...

Hint: how to identify the 'miracle priest' from that accident scene in Missouri by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 9, 2013

By now you’ve surely heard about the “mystery priest” who inexplicably appeared at the scene of an accident in Missouri, prayed with the victim and emergency workers, made things come out right, and then disappeared. (If somehow you’ve missed the story, here is just one...

Personal Piety: A Case Study? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 9, 2013

Indulge me, if you will. I am finally on the way home from that cross-country trip to visit relatives and vacation in two of our national parks. Driving all day today and tomorrow will put me back in Manassas, Virginia Saturday evening, with time enough to catch up with yard work on...

Judge William Clark, RIP—a Reagan confidant, an unsung hero of the Cold War by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 12, 2013

William P. Clark, the most trusted friend and ally that President Ronald Reagan had in Washington, died on August 10 at the age of 81, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Judge Clark—as he was known to his many friends and admirers, after a career on the bench that ended...

The 'mystery priest' appears, but the mystery remains by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 13, 2013

OK, the mystery is solved. The priest who appeared at an accident scene in Missouri is Father Patrick Dowling, of the Jefferson City diocese. (For some reason it seems appropriate that a priest associated with a mystery is named Father Dowling. I can almost hear the late Ralph McInerny...

Salvation Comes in Many Forms by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 14, 2013

And then there's this from Mumbai in India. It was sent to CatholicCulture.org by SOUL, which is encouraging. Could this be a new take on the Feast of the Assumption? URGENT PRESS NOTE AND ANNOUNCEMENT: RE: AUGUST 15 - WE DEMAND FREEDOM FROM POTHOLE-RIDDEN...

Why Sociologists Can’t Define the Catholic Tradition by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 14, 2013

To begin in the middle, the problem is that the discipline of sociology cannot make value judgments. Sociology is useful in its own way, but its own way is very limited. When it transgresses its limits, as many sociologists are wont to do, it fails utterly. That’s what I encountered in a new...

A divorce-prevention measure that lasts (at least) two generations! by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 14, 2013

Sociologists from Ohio State University have found that children from large families have markedly lower divorce rates. The equation that emerged after a 40-year study, involving a sample of 57,000 American adults, was simple: The more siblings you had as a child, the less likely you were to...

Does your parish really welcome potential converts? Here's a test. by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 14, 2013

What does Pope Francis mean when he speaks critically about the “self-referential” church? The Pope has warned repeatedly against thinking of the Church as a club, a benevolent group, or a non-profit organization. He has insisted that the Church cannot be understood solely in terms...

Adoption not Abortion: A Down Syndrome Miracle by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 16, 2013

In case you didn’t already hear this news: In early July, a woman learned through pre-natal testing that her baby had Down Syndrome. She went to an adoption agency and explained that she would abort the baby if a family could not be found to adopt her child in the next few days. In a little...

The Pride of St. Dominic: Muscular Renewal by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 16, 2013

A few of our readers seem intent on rebuking me for not taking every possible opportunity to condemn bishops for their weak leadership, as if my job is to be a whistle blower. Of course, I’ve offered my fair share of criticism, and that is unlikely to end any time soon. But it is...

A Pro-Abort under Cover: Haunted by Truth by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 20, 2013

Someone sent me a link to Caitlin Bancroft’s August 15th blog entry in The Huffington Post online. Bancroft, who is a law student and a legal intern for NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, has apparently gone under cover to some pro-life crisis pregnancy centers—turning the tables, so to...

Liturgical Year, Volume 6 by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 20, 2013

The sixth and final volume of our 2012-2013 liturgical year series is now available in our ebook store: The 2012-2013 Liturgical Year: Ordinary Time Completed. Actually, it is about time that we released this title, as it starts with the 21st week of Ordinary Time (August 25th), in just five...

Why the 'Pope of Mercy' won't abolish the concept of sin by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 21, 2013

Earlier this month I wrote an On the News column supporting John Allen’s argument that “if the message of Pope Francis can be summed up in a single word, it is ‘mercy.’” Of course the message isn’t that simple, I observed (and Allen would surely agree); one...

Chris Christie, theologian? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 21, 2013

New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie, who is Catholic, acknowledged that he was ignoring Church teaching when he signed a law banning “reparative therapy” for young homosexuals. Regrettably, Christie has shown a very poor understanding of the Church teaching that he chooses not to follow. In a...

Public Life and Godly Mission: What Are the First Things Today? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 23, 2013

There is a good deal of soul searching going on over at First Things. In the August/September issue, editor R. R. Reno explores “The Challenges We Face” and three other contributors respond—the Catholic George Weigel (“Fighting on New Terrain”), the Evangelical...

A quick glance back to 1978 by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 26, 2013

Do you remember what you were doing 35 years ago today—assuming that you’re old enough to make that question relevant? Do you remember hearing the words: Habemus Papem? It was on this date in 1978 that Pope John Paul I was elected. Unless you were living in Rome at the time, or paying very...

What hath Obamacare wrought? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 26, 2013

Catholic supporters of Obamacare—and they were, regrettably, many of them—argued that the program, whatever its drawbacks, would make quality health-care coverage more accessible to all Americans. How is that working out? Are there more doctors, more nurses, more hospitals and clinics available,...

Dominicans at Work: The Achievements of America’s Western Province by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 26, 2013

Since writing The Pride of St. Dominic: Muscular Renewal, I have been correctly taken to task for presenting the American Western province of the Dominican Order in a negative light. My essay tended to minimize previous problems in the Eastern province, which was the chief subject of the piece,...

No, Pope Benedict didn't hear voices by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 26, 2013

Discerning readers should have realized that we had some reservations about the story that Pope Benedict resigned after a mystical experience in which, according to an anonymous source, he said “God told me to.” The CWN headline on that August 21 story ended with a question mark: a sign that we...

Sisters in Crisis: The Definitive Guide by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 27, 2013

Among the more important books released by Ignatius Press recently is an updated edition of Ann Carey’s Sisters in Crisis. Originally published in 1997, the initial study closed before the more dramatic efforts of the Vatican to reform women religious in the United States. The new 2013...

To defend marriage, the truth is enchanting enough by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 28, 2013

Although my few personal dealings with Joseph Bottum have been friendly enough, I cannot say that I really know the man. So I will not join those who have questioned his motives for writing “The Things We Share: A Catholic’s Case for Same-Sex Marriage, which appeared this past weekend...

“Marginalization Gamesmanship” and Catholic Love by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 29, 2013

One of the most confusing issues in the Church today is the apparent conflict between orthodoxy on the one hand and service to the poor and marginalized on the other. This apparent conflict is particularly noticeable in the tensions between the Vatican’s disciplinary authority and wayward...

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