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All Catholic commentary from August 2016

Don’t discount meaning. It leads to happiness. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 2, 2016

I’m gazing out a window overlooking Willsboro Bay on Lake Champlain. I have an opportunity to do this for a few days most Summers, because my mother-in-law has a “camp” up here. Each time I do so, I am struck by the beauty of the place. And each time I experience this beauty, it...

Understanding the Vatican’s structure for financial management by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 2, 2016

Over the last several years, the effort to make the administration of Vatican funds more transparent—and the administrators more accountable—has reached center stage in the ongoing process of curial reform. Economic and financial reform have become increasingly important with rising...

Three questions on Biden's latest display of contempt for the faith by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 2, 2016

A Catholic who participates in a ceremony at which a woman claims priestly ordination is subject to the penalty of excommunication, because that ceremony is a parody of a sacrament. So what about a Catholic who participates in—in fact, officiates at—a same-sex wedding, which is also a...

Is Catholic-Muslim dialogue possible? Yes, but... by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 4, 2016

This week began with the striking statement from Pope Francis that Islam should not be regarded as the source of terrorist violence. The Pope's statement, suggesting that Islam is no more or less prone to violence than other faiths (including our own), is one in a long line of simliar claims,...

On papal language: Fundamentalism, my foot. Or Christ’s feet, hands and side. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 4, 2016

At first I tried to laugh off Pope Francis’ remarks about Islamic violence, during the in-flight interview following World Youth Day in Poland. These comments were made in response to a question raised by Antoine Marie Izoarde of i.Media: “Why do you, when you speak of these violent...

The Transfiguration: August 6 by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Aug 5, 2016

The Feast of the Transfiguration carries my thoughts to grape jelly and weddings. Because the cycle of the Liturgical Year repeats annually, the seasons of the year and family life and memories become intertwined...

Final Liturgical Year volume for 2015-2016 now available by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 9, 2016

The final ebook for the 2015-2016 liturgical year has been released in our ebooks download area. The sixth volume overall in the annual series, Ordinary Time Completed rounds out the current liturgical year, taking you right up to Advent. This volume covers all the days from August...

St. Lawrence's Universal Appeal by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Aug 9, 2016

August 10 marks the Feast of St. Lawrence (Laurence) of Rome, deacon and martyr, known for his charity for the sick, poor and abandoned. Under the persecution of Emperor Valerian he was grilled to death on a gridiron in 258.  St. Lawrence and St. Stephen are the two deacons...

Is there any hope left for the renewal of the Church? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 9, 2016

Throughout the West, it is not hard to see how far authentic Catholic renewal still has to go before it can have a significant cultural impact inside or outside the Church. Indeed, the Church very often continues to form a secular culture even among her own children, as she has done since I was a...

Restoring a Catholic Culture through Liturgical Cooking: Early August Thoughts by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Aug 9, 2016

A repost from August 2014, with ideas for St. Dominic, St. Lawrence and St. Clare:  I'm currently reading Eternity in Time: Christopher Dawson and the Catholic Idea of History edited by Stratford Caldecott and John Morrill. It is a collection of essays by various authors...

Will Catholic bishops really lead an ongoing Catholic renewal? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 10, 2016

I wrote yesterday that Catholic renewal is not dead, but that under Pope Francis its center of gravity has shifted from the pope to the bishops. I proposed that the vacuum created at the top of the hierarchy during this pontificate could well spur bishops around the world to take greater personal...

Catholic bishops 'don't get it'—the fundamental problem is a corrupt clerical culture by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 11, 2016

“Who is going to save our Church? Do not look to the priests. Do not look to the bishops. It’s up to you, the laity, to remind our priests to be priests and our bishops to be bishops.”                          ...

Episcopal renewal: The thin line, and our response by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 12, 2016

Two other questions were raised by the correspondent I mentioned yesterday, concerning whether or not the world’s bishops are likely, in the absence of effective papal leadership, to take a greater responsibility for furthering authentic Catholic renewal in their own dioceses. The first of...

When everybody else 'gets it'—the bishops' blind spot by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 12, 2016

My column yesterday, on how bishops “don’t get it,” has prompted some revealing responses. Without a single exception, the lay people who have taken the time to respond to me have agreed with my basic point: that our bishops are unaware of the extent to which they are the...

Feastday Highlights: The Assumption by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Aug 12, 2016

From the archives, originally written in August 2014. Please Note for 2016: August 15 is not a holyday obligation in the United States. The diocese of the United States celebrate only six Holydays of Obligation during the Liturgical Year. In most provinces the Solemnity of the Ascension is...

Islam: When the Church can speak authoritatively, and when she cannot by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 16, 2016

This would be hilarious if it weren’t evidence of confusion in the Church. It seems that Relevant Radio carried a debate between Robert Spencer and Msgr. Stuart Swetland on this question: “Is Islam violent?” Spencer runs the website jihadwatch.org and Msgr. Swetland, who holds a...

Is 'corruption' the right way to describe the dysfunction of the Catholic hierarchy? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 17, 2016

Several readers have questioned my use of the term “corruption” to describe the current state of the Catholic hierarchy. Few if any bishops use their positions for illicit gains, my friends write; so it is not accurate to say that they are corrupt. I see the point, but I disagree. Let...

So, is Christianity 'over'? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 18, 2016

There are days, I confess, when the news gets me down. But I hope that I’ll never be so discouraged that I’d say this: I think we have to accept the fact that Christianity—in the sense of Christianity as the common religion, with a mass following—is...

The madness of non-practicing Catholics: boycotting the feast by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 18, 2016

If you attended Mass today, you probably heard the parable of the king’s banquet. And if you read the CWN news headlines, you learned that Mass attendance has plummeted in the Pittsburgh diocese. This is the story about the life of the Catholic Church in our day. And it isn’t just...

The intrusion of secular values: A mysterious case study by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 19, 2016

I’ve noticed a great many negative cultural trends in the course of my life. In fact, from the Catholic perspective, very few trends in Western culture have been positive. It distresses me that I have not managed to leave a healthier cultural environment to my children and grandchildren. But...

I Would Rather Be a Peasant: Contemplating the Rural Life by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Aug 19, 2016

The month of July is just a recent memory. With the change of months, I reluctantly switched my Magnificat to the August edition. I will miss the July issue and its inspiration. While I was recuperating from this summer’s foot reconstructive surgery, my father (in his role as Eucharistic...

The Womanpriests fantasy: installment 614 by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 22, 2016

If you're a regular reader, you know by now that I take a special interest in the contortions that journalists go through when they report on the bogus "ordinations" of Catholic women. Reporters will usually concede that the Catholic hierarchy does not recognize these...

On guard against ourselves: The problems of aging leadership by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 23, 2016

One of the reasons Saint John Paul II was so remarkably popular was because he was a comparatively young man when he was elected Pope. He was just 58 years of age, which in our day falls some years shy of being elderly. Fifty-eight may well be the new forty-five. In any case, while he had many...

The French burkini ban is... too revealing by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 24, 2016

On beaches in France, where topless sunbathing is common, police are now forcing some women to strip, enforcing a ban on the Muslim burkini. If this seems like madness—and it does—the reasoning behind the policy is even crazier. French officials are reacting—quite...

Back to Amoris Laetitia: When do we owe “religious submission of mind and will”? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 24, 2016

A Spanish ecclesiology professor, Fr. Salvador Pie-Ninot, has asserted in L’Osservatore Romano that Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia is an act of the ordinary Magisterium which requires religious submission of mind and will. Speaking very generally, he is right that...

Reading Mother Teresa: A Public Service Announcement by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 26, 2016

With the canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta coming up on September 4th in Rome, there is renewed interest in her life and work. On the other hand, Mother Teresa was so famous during her lifetime that many of our older readers will already be very familiar with her story, which has been told...

Is the Vatican, under Pope Francis, moving away from teachings of John Paul II on life and marriage? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 26, 2016

Yesterday’s top CWN headline story, about problems with the sex-education guide issued by the Pontifical Council for the Family, sheds more light—or perhaps I should say, casts a darker shadow—on a story that appeared earlier this month, about new appointments to the Roman...

Quick Hits: What works—in attracting priestly vocations, in reviving Catholic liturgy by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 26, 2016

Last week we reported on the collapse of vocations to the Catholic priesthood in Germany, where only 58 men were ordained last year. There were just 96 new seminarians in 2015—in a country where the Catholic population is officially listed at about 50 million. By contrast there are about...

Fighting yesterday’s battles: A real-world political example by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 26, 2016

When I wrote On guard against ourselves: The problems of aging leadership, I referred to the danger (which we all face) of getting locked in to the way we perceive problems and solutions in our 20s and 30s, but failing to become aware of important shifts in the challenges we face as we grow older....

The Better Pastor: Learning to really manage your parish by Peter Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 26, 2016

Patrick Lencioni is a well-respected business author, writing primarily about team leadership and management. The magic of his popular books, written in the fable format, is that he uses storytelling to engage the heart and the mind—and unbeknownst to either, to begin the change...

Quick Hits: a 700-year-old tattoo parlor, voting for Jesus, the Tolkien Professor by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - Aug 27, 2016

In this country, tattoos have always been associated with alternative lifestyles of various kinds. But you should know that for a a lot longer than that, getting some ink has traditionally denoted the alternativest of lifestyles: that of the medieval pilgrim. If you don't...

Did you know who's behind the Go Topless movement? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 29, 2016

Yesterday (in case you missed it) was Go Topless Day: the day when thousands of feminists all over the world protest being treated as sex-objects, by encouraging men to stare at their bodies.  I am not making this up. The Go Topless movement was founded by a man—a...

Are you grieving? Here is hope and consolation. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 29, 2016

I’m a sucker for old Catholic books. Not having been written in the midst of our own controversies, they have an air of solidity. The authors do not typically fall all over themselves responding to the least sensitivities of our modern naysayers, and in most cases they were written during a...

Quick Hits: the confusion of the 1970s, the necessity of telling right from wrong by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 29, 2016

Two essays that appeared online over the weekend fall squarely into the “must-read” category: Writing for The Catholic Thing, Father Robert Imbelli discovers “A Pure Distillation of 1970s Catholicism” in an article by Jim Purcell that appeared in the National...

More “programs” or Divine fire? The Catholic choice by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 30, 2016

Unlike a great many other societies throughout history, our society still seems to place considerable value on helping the poor, particularly in terms of social justice. This arose as a direct result of Christianization, but we are now in an interim stage of spiritual decline in which our concern...