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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from September 2011

What Does it Mean to Be Saved? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 1, 2011

  A point that confuses both Catholics and Protestants is what Scripture means when it speaks of “salvation” or being “saved”. Protestants, following Luther, often think that being saved in Scripture refers to making it to heaven, without reference to membership in...

Why do Catholics have big families? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 1, 2011

Yes, there is such a thing as a stupid question. If you have more than two or three children, I’m sure you’ve heard it—often posed by a complete stranger: Oh, you have such a big family! Are you Catholics? Although I am delighted that our faith is commonly associated with the...

'Loyal opposition' to the new Mass translation by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 5, 2011

What’s the best way for an influential liturgist to help with the implementation of the new translation of the Roman Missal? Why, by criticizing it, of course! Do you follow that logic? Neither do I. But then, I’m not a liturgist. “I hope the transition to the new missal goes...

Living Catholic in Kerala by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 6, 2011

I wonder if there is a more important news story just now than this one from yesterday: India: parishes establish fund to promote large families. Yes, I’m annoyed by Cardinal Shönborn’s abysmal failure to meet his dissident Austrian priests head-on; and yes, I find the...

Conscience and Taste: The Impact of Education by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 7, 2011

Before setting aside Newman’s The Idea of a University, I wish to take up one final point. The great English cardinal discusses the kinds of vices that tend to be rooted out by education as well as the kinds of vices which education very frequently implants and cultivates. This is one of...

Prayer: A Primer on the Path to Union by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 9, 2011

Prayer can be classified in more ways than we can count. From one point of view, we are either praying with the Church in liturgical prayer, or praying more generally in a group, or praying alone. From another point of view, we are praying either vocally or mentally. From still another vantage...

A Skirmish in Scotland, but We Need a War by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 12, 2011

The bishops of Scotland are speaking out against same-sex marriage with a considerably more militant tone than has been the case in most other places. Since only 16% of the Scottish population is Catholic, what the bishops are able to accomplish will likely depend on the alignment of other forces....

Muscular Catholicism: Some Examples by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 13, 2011

I’ve been using the term “muscular” lately to describe the kind of Catholicism it will take to reconvert the Western world and reform Western culture. A truly muscular Catholicism is a tough combination of faith, prayer, sacrifice and effective action. It enlists the aid of...

Advice for a new bishop by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 13, 2011

The first reading at today’s Mass, in which St. Paul offers his advice on the selection of bishops, reminded me of a conversation with friends several years ago. As the Church was still reeling from the effects of scandal, we asked each other: What advice would you give to a newly appointed...

Bishops who take the lead—in the wrong direction by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 14, 2011

Point #1: Retired Bishop Edward Daly of Derry, Ireland, believes that the Church should relax the discipline of clerical celibacy. OK; that’s a plausible argument. Priestly celibacy is not a matter of doctrine. But at a time when so many people are making the same argument for all the...

The Politics of Christianity, and of Secularism by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 14, 2011

It is interesting to see the media in a dither over the religious beliefs of the Republican candidates for President. Bill Keller wrote in the New York Times that the Republican candidates “belong to churches that are mysterious or suspect to many Americans.” In the International...

Dueling monologues by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 16, 2011

Beginning today, two Catholic universities are joining two non-denominational divinity schools for a series of talks entitled “More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church.” The organizer of the first session, Christine Firer Hinze of Fordham, outlines her...

L'Affaire Pavone by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 16, 2011

I don’t profess to know who is right and who is wrong with respect to the serious concerns expressed by Bishop Patrick Zurek over Priests for Life founder Fr. Frank Pavone’s handling of his apostolic affairs (see CWN coverage). The claims and counter-claims are sufficiently at odds...

Difficult Theology and the Goodness of God by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 20, 2011

It is amazing, sometimes, the corners into which religious thinkers can paint themselves as they strive to unravel the mind of an infinite God. This can be true of any of us meditating on an aspect of God’s plan, and perhaps placing it somewhat askew in our own catalogue of truth. It can be true...

A publicity stunt: ludicrous yet successful by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 20, 2011

The headline of a Time magazine story poses a question: “Could the Vatican Go to Court for Human-Rights Abuses?” The answer is simple: No. Every informed observer agrees that the International Criminal Court is not likely to pursue human-rights charges against the Vatican....

Father Pavone's last stand by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 21, 2011

More than three years ago, readers on this site received fair warning that Father Frank Pavone was cruising toward a showdown with officials in the Diocese of Amarillo. Read the comment by Diogenes from August 2008, and you will find the simmering conflict neatly summarized, many months before it...

Conscience: Its Strengths and Limits by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 21, 2011

When Father Hermann Geissler of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith called attention to Blessed John Henry Newman’s teaching on conscience, he was making an important point. This is the kind of story which we put at the very bottom of the day’s headlines, because it does not...

Small Desk, Big Plans by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 22, 2011

I have a little desk (66” wide but just 20” deep) tucked into the corner of a tiny bedroom office, which also houses some bookshelves, file cabinets, and bunk beds in case anybody is so incautious as to come for a visit. This desk, with its bulletin board on the wall behind it, is the...

The Pope on Natural Law: Foundation of Politics by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 23, 2011

In his address to the German parliament yesterday, Pope Benedict insisted—albeit in his uniquely gentle and probing way—that the natural law is the foundation of political culture. Beginning with the story of Solomon’s request for a listening heart, to govern his people according...

They have no wine by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 23, 2011

“The Phoenix Diocese will stop offering consecrated wine for Communion at most Masses, a change considered one of the most fundamental to Roman Catholic Church customs in decades.” Thus begins a strange news report in the Arizona Republic, on the decision by Bishop Olmsted to...

Elevator music by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 26, 2011

In the land of Bach and Beethoven, what sort of music would you expect to hear at a Mass celebrated by the Pope, with a congregation of about 70,000, in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium? Something magnificent, right?  Definitely not elevator music—which is the charitable description that...

Is Morality Gone? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 26, 2011

On September 13th, David Brooks wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times calling attention to the near complete lack of moral thinking among American youth (see If It Feels Right…). It seems that in 2008 Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith interviewed 230 young adults between the ages...

Roman Persecution by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 27, 2011

I admit it. It did not improve my mood when I saw the news of Maryknoller William Grimm accusing the Vatican of persecution of the Japanese. And why? Well, it seems Fr. Grimm doesn’t like the new requirement that the Japanese liturgical texts be a faithful translation of the Latin. Fr....

Monsters: New Fiction from Gail Caress by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 28, 2011

Reviewing fiction is difficult, because significant aspects of the review depend on personal taste. For example, some people simply do not like fantasy. So let me express a certain conflict of interest right up front: I enjoy many kinds of fantasy, but I generally do not enjoy fantasy that is set...

The contrasting deaths of two Pontiffs by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 29, 2011

Exactly 33 years have passed since we heard the shocking news that Pope John Paul I had died, just 33 days after being elected to Peter’s throne. I still vividly recall how I learned about the death of the “Smiling Pope.” I had arrived at a sleepy railroad station to catch an...

CWN has turned 15 by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 30, 2011

While my mind was on other things, the Catholic World News service quietly passed its 15th anniversary. Thanks to the loyal readers who have been with us since the beginning! At a time when so many internet enterprises are foundering, I think the birthday is worth at least a small nod of...

Toward a Viable Catholic Political Strategy for our Times by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 30, 2011

Yesterday’s Catholic World News story about the brutality of China’s one-child policy is heart-wrenching. You’ll find the testimony from the recent US Congressional hearing compelling. But it raises a question which, in America at least, we too often fail to ask. I’m not referring to the...

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