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All Catholic commentary from September 2014

Liberal visions of Catholicism: Kickstarter and the world's largest NGO by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 1, 2014

When pundits set out to criticize the Catholic Church, they sometimes expose more about their own preconceptions than about the alleged failures of the hierarchy. Consider: In a highly tendentious Time essay about tensions between the Vatican and American women religious, Jo Piazza begins with...

Reality 101: The fat between our ears by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 2, 2014

I had my annual physical exam today, always a pleasant experience for an old man who looks (or perhaps I mean acts) as if he is 25. In the examination room, my doctor pointed out the June 23rd issue of Time magazine, the one with the cover story entitled “Ending the War on Fat”. It...

NY archdiocese should sever ties with St. Patrick's Day parade by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 4, 2014

You don’t honor a saint by encouraging a sin. No doubt there have been homosexual persons marching down Fifth Avenue every year in the St. Patrick’s Day parade. There was never any ban on their participation; there was no test of sexual orientation for marchers. But next year the...

What Pericles might say about the St. Patrick's Day parade by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 4, 2014

There are times when the public influence of Catholicism waxes, and times when it wanes. Sometimes everyone wants to participate in Catholic celebrations, and sometimes the majority wants to keep Catholics out of civic affairs. Right now we’re living through a time when the public...

On Not Settling for Less: The Cognitive Guide to Happiness by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 4, 2014

This essay explores the relationship between human experience, human knowing, and human happiness. It grew to some six thousand words, so I divided it into sections, with a table of contents and links to jump between contents and text. It should be easy to read at intervals, in...

The Nativity of Mary: Family and Birthday Blessings by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Sep 7, 2014

The feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary continues Our Lady's Thirty Days which began on the feast of the Assumption. This feast is the last of the Church's celebration of earthly birthdays celebrated in the Liturgical Year, the other two being the Birth of John the Baptist and...

What lesson can be learned from Cardinal Brady's resignation? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 8, 2014

Calls for the resignation of Cardinal Sean Brady began to circulate in Ireland early in 2010. But the Primate of All Ireland resisted the pressure, saying that he planned to serve (note the verb: serve) until reaching the normal retirement age. And so he did. Now the Pope has accepted Cardinal...

Insurance Coverage: A Litmus Test for Institutional Catholic Communities by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 8, 2014

The University of Notre Dame, which had been fighting the HHS Mandate to provide contraceptive insurance in student health-care programs, has now reversed field. Despite having claimed that such coverage would constitute scandal, the University now intends to offer it. At least two observations...

A guide for bishops talking to pro-abortion politicians by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 10, 2014

Speaking with John Allen of Crux about the question of whether pro-abortion Catholic politicians should be denied the Eucharist, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said that the American bishops have left that argument behind. “Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the...

A Smart Move: The Pope appoints a Jesuit to prosecute sex abuse by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Sep 10, 2014

The decision of Pope Francis to appoint an American Jesuit to spearhead the Church’s prosecution of clerical sex abuse cases is very likely also a shot across the bows of the Society of Jesus itself. It is an excellent way to buttress forces of renewal within the Jesuits by utilizing one of...

Important New Manual of Catholic Medical Ethics by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Sep 10, 2014

A comprehensive guide to medical ethics, based on the teachings of the Catholic Church, has just been released by Connor Court Publishing in Australia. The text was originally assembled and edited by Dutch Catholic professionals, and has recently been published in an English edition under the...

Successful societies are (always) rooted in the family by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 11, 2014

Creating the ideal society through individualistic emancipation is a fool’s project. It cannot be done. That is why the more our politics emphasizes the freedom of each individual to pursue his own vision of reality, the more government control is necessary to keep the social order from...

Most Holy Name of Mary: What's In a Name? by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Sep 11, 2014

September 12 marks the Optional Memorial of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a few days following the Memorial of her Nativity. This feast is the counterpart of the Optional Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. Honoring the Holy Name of Mary as a feast was originally...

The Mystery of Music, Part I by Thomas V. Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 12, 2014

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. —Victor Hugo The unique power of music to move the human heart is universally acknowledged. Music is often given a special place among the arts, as in Walter Pater’s claim that “all art...

Addressing the Root Cause of Clerical Homosexual Behavior and Pederasty by Richard Cross in "The City Gates" - Sep 12, 2014

The Church has attempted to address the issue of clerical pederasty—arguably belatedly—as a problem of crime and punishment on the one hand, and personality on the other. The announced appointment of Robert Geisinger, SJ will hopefully address the problem of abuse with a more...

Senator Cruz undermined the cause of persecuted Christians by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 12, 2014

For the record, Senator Ted Cruz was not “booed off the stage” when he addressed a Washington conference on persecution of Christians in the Middle East. He left the stage voluntarily. Yes, the Texas senator was booed. And yes, the reaction to his comments was impolite. (Conference...

The Week in the Shadow of the Exalted Cross by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Sep 14, 2014

Beginning with Sunday, this week unfolds a mosaic of feast days that all relate to the cross of Christ and refer back to Sunday's feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Sunday, or the "Lord's day" is the "primordial feast" and "basis and center of the liturgical...

Calvary is a must-see Catholic film by Thomas V. Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 15, 2014

The first half of 2014 saw the release of a number of high-profile films with religious themes which have ranged in quality from abysmal to decent. I don’t even need to tell you to forget them all, because you probably have already. The only one you need to see came out last month –...

An intriguing new Catholic publisher: Tuscany Press by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Sep 15, 2014

Some months ago a surprising book came across my desk, a review copy of a novel from a publisher I had not yet heard of—David Beckett’s The Cana Mystery. The story revolves around the discovery of the “lost jars of Cana”, the jars used when Our Lord changed water into wine....

Did Cardinal McCarrick compare Allah to the Trinity? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 15, 2014

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick began a speech to a Muslim group with the traditional Islamic invocation: “In the name of God, the merciful and compassionate,” according to a report by the Daily Caller. The retired Archbishop of Washington also used a traditional Islamic formula in a reference to...

More evidence that you can't trust the Pill by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 15, 2014

All too often, debates about family planning proceed from the assumption that the Pill is foolproof. Not so. A useful article in the New York Times, complete with an informative graph, compares the effectiveness of various forms of family planning over long periods of time, and makes an...

New Ebook on Renewal and Evangelization by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Sep 15, 2014

We have just released our latest collection of essays from CatholicCulture.org, this time on the subject of renewal. It is entitled Renewal and Evangelization: Person, Church and World. The author is yours truly, Jeff Mirus. The book includes some fifty essays written between 2005 and 2014,...

Gregory the Great, Christ, the Church and the Soul in the Song of Songs by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 16, 2014

The Song of Songs is a fascinating book of Sacred Scripture, and one that has an equally fascinating interpretive history. It has the form of an erotic poem of love between a man and a woman, but nearly all commentators have understood it as an allegory of the love between God and His people. For...

Scotland demonstrates the provisional nature of sovereignty by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Sep 17, 2014

The campaign for Scotland’s independence from the United Kingdom draws to a close today. While I am sure this question is enormously important to many in Scotland, when viewed from a distance it best serves to illustrate the principle that political entities have no absolute character. By...

Side effects of the Pill? Oh, don't worry. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 17, 2014

Count on it: Within a few weeks there will be a new study assuring women that they should not worry about links between the Pill and multiple sclerosis. The question in my mind, however, is whether women of child-bearing age will have time to not worry about the possible connection between the...

St. Augustine's warning to pastors by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 18, 2014

If you’re a Catholic pastor—and especially if you’re a bishop—today’s Office of Readings, from St. Augustine’s sermon On Pastors, isn’t easy to dismiss lightly. The defects of the sheep are widespread. There are a very few healthy, fat sheep – that is, those that are made strong by feeding on...

From simple husband to ascetical priest by Richard Cross in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 18, 2014

In my previous comments on asceticism (see Addressing the Root Cause of Clerical Homosexual Behavior and Pederasty), I proposed that each bishop live an ascetical life, and by his own example and directives, oversee the ascetical discipline of his priests. Ascesis, or the practice of...

Each of us is destined to marry Jesus Christ by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 18, 2014

Long ago and far away (I mean the mid-1970s in North Carolina), I wrote a book. Trained as an historian but always more interested in evangelization, I decided to do a sort of popular survey of history from creation to the end of the world. The purpose was to trace the action of God in His plan of...

The Islamic roots of terrorism must be addressed by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 19, 2014

“Now let’s make two things clear,” President Barack Obama said in his televised address to the American people on September 10. First, he said, “ISIL [the Islamic State] is not Islamic.” But that’s precisely what is not clear about the Islamic State and about...

The Mystery of Music, Part II by Thomas V. Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 22, 2014

Speak, you who are older, for it is fitting that you should, but with accurate knowledge, and do not interrupt the music. —Sirach 32:3 The task Labat sets about in The Song That I Am (see The Mystery of Music, Part I) is to consider “music as a language communicating an...

Eucharistic Adoration, a Sure Sign of Catholic Renewal by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Sep 22, 2014

In a large church, Eucharistic Adoration is normally held in a side chapel. The number of adorers is seldom great at any one time. In fact, often people deliberately spread themselves thin to cover an around-the-clock cycle. Not so yesterday in the State of Oklahoma. In Oklahoma City, the...

On annulments, the process is not the problem by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 23, 2014

Canon-law expert Edward Peters makes a compelling argument that while there may be serious problems regarding annulments, the canonical process is not the problem. Peters observes that Catholics are unhappy about annulments for two quite different reasons: There are basically two groups...

SSPX adherents pose an obstacle to reconciliation by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 23, 2014

I am delighted that the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X are talking again. This means that hope for a reconciliation of the SSPX with the Church has not been abandoned. But in thinking about this today, I realized something quite significant. Because the SSPX is not territorial in nature,...

Contemporary Observation of Ember Days by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Sep 23, 2014

Even Catholics who lived before Vatican Council II would say that Ember Days are one of the most confusing Catholic practices. Ember Days are an extension of our agrarian roots, but were usually seen merely as fast and abstinence days on the calendar. Most Catholics born after 1965 typically have...

The Kasper proposal: a friendly amendment by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 24, 2014

An old friend recently wrote to me with a suggestion that seems so practical, it deserves broad consideration: I find in myself growing sympathy for Cardinal Kasper's concern for a "pastoral solution" to the problem of admitting divorced and remarried Catholics to Communion, and I...

The implicit “if” in Catholic social teaching on climate change by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Sep 24, 2014

The Vatican Secretary of State’s moral endorsement of a Herculean effort to deal with climate change is a perfect example of why Catholic social teaching is best offered conditionally. In the realm of social teaching, any concrete moral imperative X applies only on the presumption that the...

Those 'inclusive' invocations at inter-faith events: are they really Christian prayers? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 24, 2014

When asked to say a blessing at an inter-religious gathering, how many Catholic priests carefully avoid any mention of Jesus? Even a prayer offered to the “Father” might trouble adherents of those faiths that believe in a deity infinitely removed from the human estate. But “the...

Criminal trial for defrocked archbishop: Vatican ratchets up intensity on abuse by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 24, 2014

For Pope Benedict the first major test was Father Marcial Maciel. For Pope Francis it is the former papal nuncio (and former archbishop), Josef Wesolowski. Both Pontiffs passed the first test. Father Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, was still riding high in Rome in 2005. Protected...

Annulment Motivation: The Crux of the Matter by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 25, 2014

It created a stir on our Facebook page when Phil Lawler called attention to Edward Peters’ argument that, on annulments, the process is not the problem. One person became so heated in his castigation of Peters that I felt obliged to delete the entire thread so the discussion could start...

Another giant step forward in the Vatican's fight to stop abuse—and demand accountability by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 25, 2014

Just yesterday I made the observation that Pope Francis has ratcheted up the intensity of the drive against clerical abuse, by authorizing the arrest and prosecution of former papal nuncio Josef Wesolowski. Today, with the removal of Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano, the ratchet clicked several...

Cosmas, Damian and Saints of the Canon by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Sep 26, 2014

September 26 is the combined optional memorial of Cosmas and Damian, two saints of the Roman Canon (or Eucharistic Prayer I). Although not much is known about these twin brothers, there is much to be learned from contemplating their feast. Medical Missionaries Cosmas' and Damian's...

The Mystery of Music, Part III by Thomas V. Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 26, 2014

In the next world I shan’t be doing music, with all the striving and disappointments. I shall be being it. —Ralph Vaughan Williams Our experience of beauty and mystery is often most intense when dissimilar things are united; the supreme example of this is the Incarnation, in which...

Legitimately Fuzzy Grounds for Annulment by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Sep 26, 2014

When I wrote about motivations for annulment yesterday, I concentrated on the dispositions which all those who take marriage seriously as a sacramental vocation should have when it comes to entering the process. One of the practical reasons a proper disposition is essential for both the...

Two steps forward, one step back: mixed signals from Vatican on abuse and accountability by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 26, 2014

Yesterday, buoyed by the latest news from the Vatican, I concluded a happy comment by observing that with the removal of a Paraguayan bishop: The message from Rome is loud and clear: It doesn’t matter what else you do; if you don’t protect children from abuse, you’re out. Today the Vatican...

Don’t worry about terrorism; worry about workplace violence? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 29, 2014

The Oklahoma beheading, analysts solemnly tell us, was an act of workplace violence, not terrorism. They explain that the killer acted on his own; he was apparently not in contact with any terrorist group. Why doesn’t that reassurance make us feel any better? Because if you’re...

Oh, that sort of misconduct by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 29, 2014

Bishop Kieran Conry has resigned, admitting to personal misconduct. Although he has not been specific, it seems likely that he’s referring to some form of sexual misconduct. Fair enough. We don’t need to know the details. But there are some things that we do know about Bishop...

Bishop Finn in Kansas City: Not quite up to date? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 30, 2014

Frankly, I was among the most vigorous supporters of Bishop Robert Finn when he took over the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in May of 2005. It did not take this “Opus Dei” bishop long to start making the kinds of changes which are so critical to both Catholic renewal and the New...

St. Thérèse and Her Way of Trust and Love For Our Lives by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Sep 30, 2014

  Fifteen years ago my then-future husband proposed on October 1, the memorial of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, also known as "The Little Flower". The date was not chosen lightly. Early on in our courtship he asked me for a Lenten book suggestion. I suggested my...