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All Catholic commentary from August 2014

Talk to your kids about porn! by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 1, 2014

Parents typically find it easy to talk to their young children about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, peer pressure and “stranger danger.” So why is it that so many parents are so afraid of or uncomfortable with talking about sex? It could be because sex is the most personal of all of...

Apologies: The danger in lamenting what everyone laments by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 1, 2014

Pope Francis has apologized for the past hostility of Catholics to Evangelicals (and the one Evangelical pastor he spoke to has apologized for past Evangelical hostility to Catholics). I am prepared to admit that this actually addresses a significant problem where Pope Francis hails from, in Latin...

Another argument for reform in the Roman Curia by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 1, 2014

Next time someone asks you why we need reform of the Roman Curia, you might point out that it took the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW) nine years to decide that the Sign of Peace should be exchanged with dignity. How difficult is it to imagine an organization efficient enough to reach that...

Feastday Highlights: The Transfiguration by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Aug 5, 2014

Interspersed throughout the Season of the Year (Ordinary Time) are feasts of Our Lord that are not directly connected to the Temporal Cycle, but integrated in the Sanctoral Cycle. There are two cycles within the Liturgical Year, Temporal (or Proper of Time) and Sanctoral. The Temporal Cycle...

$24 million for retired religious? Therein hangs a tale. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 5, 2014

Should I write about this? I’m concerned about retired religious, and I have even donated from time to time to help them. And yet the special collection in American churches to assist with the care of retired religious remains something of an insult to the laity. What could I possibly mean...

Oklahoma’s Black Mass: Untethered art or Satanic overreach? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 6, 2014

So far this year in the United States, we know of two efforts to stage a public Black Mass. The one scheduled to take place at Harvard University in May was ultimately cancelled as Catholics rallied to a Eucharistic Holy Hour. But a new plan in Oklahoma raises even deeper questions. I would not...

Private Schools in Uganda: Taxing, Very Taxing by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 7, 2014

I appreciate the remarks made by the Ugandan bishop of Kasana-Luweero when he objected to the government’s repeal of tax-exemptions for private schools. But in his zeal to present private schools as an ally of government, Bishop Paul Ssemogerere may have fallen into a subtle trap. Bishop...

The bogus popularity of the LCWR by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 11, 2014

Back sometime around 1970, a mischievous pollster conducted a 3-question survey that conclusively demonstrated the ignorance of American voters. Similar polls have been taken several times since then, always with the same result. The three questions go like this: Are you satisfied or...

No, the Vatican has not endorsed the US military action in Iraq by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 12, 2014

Several internet sites are reporting that Pope Francis has endorsed the US bombing campaign in Iraq. Those reports are inaccurate. Some leading Church officials—not including the Pope—have spoken in support of military action to prevent the continued slaughter of Christians. But...

How we should and should not think of the Church by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 14, 2014

Between about 1960 and 1985, some remarkably weird theories about the nature of the Church emerged in fashionable theological circles. As a general rule, these theories were mirrors of the prevailing Western cultural euphoria. Indeed, they were based almost exclusively on wishful thinking. All of...

A Rose for the Assumption by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 15, 2014

How lovely is this Dawn of the everlasting day, who, carried into heaven, seems only to grow in the blessedness of her incomparable glory. May the secrets of eternal sweetness wafting upon those who love her always fill our hearts, and may we always rejoice in the blessings prepared for the souls...

Another glimpse of Tolkien by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 18, 2014

On a whim, I recently went to the library and picked up a book that may interest Tolkien devotees like myself. Every year from 1920 to 1943, Tolkien wrote letters to his children in the character of Father Christmas, who sent them not just presents but lovely drawings and stories of his home at...

Immigration: first, acknowledge the system is broken by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 18, 2014

Samuel Gregg of the Acton Institute offers another balanced reflection on the immigration controversy, noting that the Church encourages affluent societies to show generosity toward migrants, while demanding that migrants respect the laws and norms of the societies that accept them. But...

It is time to revoke the Catholic status of the LCWR by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 18, 2014

Today’s news of the LCWR’s closing act of defiance against ecclesiastical authority tells us all we need to know. Those familiar with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious have been painfully aware that the spirituality of the group is rooted in paganism, its cherished causes...

Church Fathers: The Didache and the Epistle of Barnabas by Thomas V. Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 19, 2014

The Didache One of the most important sources from the age of the Apostolic Fathers is “The Lord’s Teaching through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations,” commonly referred to by its short name, the Didache (Greek for “teaching”). While the Didache was lost until the...

The cause for beatification of Archbishop Romero: BBC botched the story by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 19, 2014

Secular journalists frequently get things wrong when they report on the internal affairs of the Catholic Church, and for some reason British journalists have a particular bad track record in that respect. But rarely does a secular outlet get a story so thorough muddled as this BBC report on the...

An Iraqi archbishop's warning to the West by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 19, 2014

From his temporary lodging in Erbil, Iraq, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Amel Nona of Mosul sent a grim warning to the West, in an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera. His words speak for themselves. Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western...

Feastday Highlights: The Queenship of Mary by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Aug 19, 2014

The Memorial of the Queenship of Mary on August 22nd is a title of Mary that is more difficult to grasp in this more "democratic" era. Most queens around the world are ceremonial and symbolic and do not rule a county. Revisionist history presents most queens as corrupt or power-hungry....

In Iraq, the Pope has good reason to seek intervention, but fear unilateral US action by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 20, 2014

When Pope Francis said that armed intervention is justified to stop the slaughter of Christian refugees in Iraq, he made a distinction that is often missed, I’m afraid, in American discussions of warfare. After saying that “it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor,” the Holy...

St. Pius X: Restoring All Things in Christ by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Aug 21, 2014

August 21 marks the hundredth anniversary of the death of Pope St. Pius X, who reigned from 1903 to 1914. When I think of St. Pius X, there are notables from his papacy that come to mind: the changing the age of reception of First Communion from 12 or 14 to the age of reason, around the age of 7...

The Problem with Catholic Social Teaching by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 21, 2014

Long-time readers will know of my respect for Samuel Gregg, director of research at the Acton Institute. Not only do we have a number of his articles on social-economic-political issues in our library, but I favorably reviewed his book Tea Party Catholic last December (see Political principles...

An unexpected surge in confessions? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 21, 2014

Have you noticed that when you go to Confession these days, you wait longer in line? I thought perhaps this was happening only in my parish, but friends elsewhere report a similar phenomenon. A friendly priest, with whom I chatted recently, reports that he’s long been in the habit of bringing...

The real reason why divorced/remarried German Catholics are leaving the Church by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 22, 2014

From Germany and the Frankfurter Allgemaine Zeitung, via England and The Tablet, comes news that many German Catholics who have divorced and remarried are now formally leaving the Church “because they are afraid that church authorities will find out that they have remarried in a register...

2013-2014 Liturgical Year Volume 6 Released by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 25, 2014

I have just released the sixth and final ebook volume of this year's liturgical year series. This series makes available, in ebook form, all the daily information in our liturgical year section. It features the feasts, saints biographies, historical and devotional information, activities,...

St. Paul on Helping those in Need by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 25, 2014

St. Paul never seems to have done anything by halves, whether he was persecuting or preaching Christ. The same was true of the manner in which he challenged other Christians to live the Gospel. This came home to me again last night while reading the eighth chapter of his second letter to the...

Feastday Highlights: The Familial Example of Sts. Monica and Augustine by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Aug 26, 2014

As August closes, we celebrate back-to-back memorials of famous mother and son, St. Monica and St. Augustine of Hippo. These are some other of our  "family feasts" for my family, as the 28th is my parents' wedding anniversary. Saints Monica and Augustine became the special...

A lesson in prudence: Stopping the Black Mass in Oklahoma City by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 26, 2014

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City filed a lawsuit against the group which intended to conduct a Black Mass in the OKC Civic Center Music Hall. The suit was grounded in the claim that the Satanist group could not hold a Black Mass without a consecrated host, and that the group could not possess a...

Lectures on Art and Faith in NYC by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 26, 2014

Last fall, Jeff Mirus posted about an upcoming lecture series, The Art of the Beautiful, put on by the Catholic Artists Society in Manhattan. The CAS is an association of artists and media professionals, centered in New York City, working for the greater glory of God and the common good....

The diocese as corporate sponsor by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 27, 2014

Full disclosure, part I: If you come visit the Lawlers, you’ll notice solar panels on the roof of our home. We had them installed because we thought it was a good investment—and, yes, good stewardship of resources. It made sense. Full disclosure, part II: If you are inspired by our example, and...

Does the EU flag evoke the patronage of the Virgin Mary? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 27, 2014

Have you ever taken a good look at the flag of the European Union. Twelve stars, forming a circle against a blue background. Does that remind you of anything? Philip Jenkins, in a fascinating piece for Aleteia, makes the connection to the Book of Revelation (12:1), and the woman “clothed...

The rising, dangerous influence of 'transgender' ideology by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 27, 2014

Stella Morabito, who has been writing perceptive commentary for the Federalist site on the dangers of the trans-gender movement, has made another important contribution with her observation that radical feminists, of all people, are violently opposed to this, the latest offensive of the sexual...

A new approach to Vatican appointments? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 28, 2014

Vatican journalist John Thavis makes an interesting observation about today’s news that Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, to become Archbishop of Valencia. That appointment, Thavis notes, “violated the age-old Roman...

An Appointment that Francis Should Withdraw by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 28, 2014

At his Wednesday audience, Pope Francis lamented divisions in Catholic parishes, so often caused by gossip and other sins of the tongue. He also explained that the unity of the Church has its origins in the unity and communion of the Trinity itself. But last December he appointed Bishop Nunzio...

Weep for slaughtered Christians, not for dialogue with Islam by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 29, 2014

Faced with the savage violence of the Islamic State (ISIS), Christians can be tempted toward two unhelpful emotional reactions. On one extreme is the thirst for vengeance. If Muslims extremists kill innocent Christians, intemperate voices suggest that we should kill innocent Muslims. Then we,...

Weekend reading by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 29, 2014

Going into the long Labor Day weekend, here are a few thought-provoking editorial columns: David Quinn, writing in the Irish Independent, argues that ”Commercial surrogacy is a disaster and must be banned .” He illustrates his point with a few of the tangled legal issues that inevitably arise...

The Blessed Book of Beasts by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 30, 2014

There is a long-standing Judeo-Christian tradition of using animals to teach moral and spiritual lessons. Jesus used sparrows to illustrate God’s care for his creatures, and the book of Proverbs describes certain animals as wise. The saints John Chrysostom and Francis de Sales often used...