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All Catholic commentary from September 2016

Immigration and the Family by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Sep 1, 2016

In the Book of Genesis, when God created man in his image and ordered man and woman to “be fruitful and multiply,” He implicitly established the family as the foundational social unit. Communities, cities, and nations subsequently have been built upon that basic structure and share in...

Catholics and the environment: Too easily misunderstood? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 1, 2016

Pope Francis’ suggestion that care for the environment should be considered a work of mercy may not really require any comment. But I have the feeling that many will find this startling or confusing or distressing. If I’m correct, then there is reasonable cause to address the...

The Pope's shocking statement on the environment by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 2, 2016

Pope Francis has often surprised, confused, and dismayed me. But nothing that he has said or done thus far in his pontificate has shocked me as much as his Message on World Day of Prayer for Creation. What troubles me about that message is not the Pope’s call for care of the environment....

Why care for the environment shouldn’t make the “works of mercy” list by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 2, 2016

I promised yesterday (in Catholics and the environment: Too easily misunderstood?) to address Pope Francis’ suggestion that care for the environment (“care for our common home” as he phrased it) should be added to the traditional lists of the corporal and spiritual...

Our New Saint, Teresa of Kolkata (Calcutta) by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Sep 4, 2016

Unless you live a completely "unplugged" life, it seems to be common knowledge that little Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, known as Mother Teresa of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), will be canonized by Pope Francis on Sunday, September 4, 2016. Her feast day has been the following day,...

Actually, Mother Teresa did NOT become a saint on Sunday by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 5, 2016

Just for the record—to correct the thousands of inaccurate headlines you’ve already seen— the Pope did not make Mother Teresa a saint yesterday. Nor did she become a saint yesterday. She already was a saint. Pope Francis formally declared her to be a saint. Canonization is what you might call...

Repentance: A refusal to remain on the peripheries by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 6, 2016

One of the reasons Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected as Pope Francis is because of the intervention he made at the meetings of cardinals prior to the conclave which elected him. These interventions, which highlighted what each cardinal believed to be the most serious needs of the Church, were...

Phyllis Schlafly: telling the truth about woman by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 7, 2016

If a “feminist” is someone who promotes the dignity of women’s role in society, then unquestionably the most influential American feminist of the late 20th century was the late Phyllis Schlafly. Since the word “feminist” has been hijacked by ideologues, to serve the...

Should we criticize Pope Francis, or not? If so, how?
Part 1: Rationale
by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 8, 2016

Over the last thirty days my own criticism of Pope Francis has been more pronounced than usual. Given last week’s extensive criticism of the Pope’s suggestion regarding the works of mercy by both myself and Phil Lawler, it may seem that CatholicCulture.org is in the midst of...

Stalled Vatican financial reforms could hurt cause of evangelization by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 8, 2016

The Wall Street Journal has noticed that the ambitious financial reforms begun under Pope Francis have run out of steam. Reporter Francis X. Rocca notes that the diminished authority of Cardinal George Pell, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, is "a sign that the Vatican's...

Quick Hits: Global Catholic population explosion, health unknowns of test-tube babies by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 9, 2016

If you have been worrying about the declining number of Catholics, the distinguished historian Philip Jenkins has news for you: the universal Church is in the midst of a remarkable growth spurt! In Catholicism’s incredible growth story, Jenkins reports that the worldwide Catholic...

Ten years later, recognizing the prophetic message of the Regensburg address by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 12, 2016

Ten years ago today—on September 12, 2006—Pope Benedict XVI delivered his memorable address at Regensburg. The speech drew violent protests from the Islamic world, scolding rebukes from Western political leaders, and even embarrassed demurrals by other Catholic leaders (including...

Not heretical: Pope Francis’ approval of the Argentine bishops’ policy on invalid marriages by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 13, 2016

According to news reports, Pope Francis has commended the bishops of Argentina for recognizing that Amoris Laetitia permits Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics in some cases, without benefit of annulment. The result is that some Catholics are now saying that Pope Francis has crossed the...

Unlocking the mystery of Our Lady of Guadalupe by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 13, 2016

Earlier this year, Ignatius Press brought out an English edition of a remarkable coffee-table book entitled Guadalupe Mysteries: Deciphering the Code. Authored by film director Grszegorz Górny and photographer Janusz Rosikoń, the 280-page oversize hardback book is printed in full color on...

Change and the Liturgical Year by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Sep 13, 2016

Last week I attended my very first school parent meeting as a parent. After eight years of homeschooling, our family is now taking a different path for our sons' education. Our oldest entered 7th grade at the local Catholic junior and senior high school and we decided to...

‘What? Still at it?’—For Christians, eternity has already begun by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 13, 2016

Reading In This House of Brede, the beautiful novel by Rumer Godden, I came across this nugget: “There is a story about Newman that I like very much. In his room he had a picture—I think his landlady had given it to him—of the Blessed in Paradise praising God, and every time...

For those who are outraged: Even Pope Francis does not know the proper interpretation of Amoris Laetitia. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 14, 2016

Okay, so here’s a gift to all those who were indignant with yesterday’s defense of Pope Francis against the charge of heresy. The gift is this: Pope Francis, writing privately, is not a definitive interpreter of how the Church is to understand his Magisterial statements. The...

Quick Hits: Negative feedback on necessary distinctions, papal intentions, and moral complexity by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Sep 15, 2016

Necessary Distinctions: Recently I have written both to defend the Pope from the charge of heresy and also to insist that his own private interpretation of Amoris Laetitia does not tell us anything about what that act of the Magisterium requires us to believe. Given the distinctions necessary to...

Is Pope Francis deliberately subverting papal teaching authority? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 15, 2016

Today the greatest threat to the teaching authority of the Pope is the Pope himself. Pope Francis specializes in unsettling remarks-- most frequently, it seems, during in-flight interviews. But the responsibility of the Roman Pontiff is to settle questions: something that Pope Francis seems...

Papal governance by sleight-of-hand strains my grasp of culpability and Canon Law. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 16, 2016

The quarrel over the position I took in “Not heretical: Pope Francis’ approval of the Argentine bishops’ policy on invalid marriages” has prompted both serious rebuttals and catcalls around the web. All of this swirls around the Pope’s pastoral approach to divorce and...

Quick Hits: press coverage of Islam and violence; police too ignored abuse complaints by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 16, 2016

The Bridge Initiative is unhappy with the coverage of Islam provided by Catholic World News (among other outlets). In a report on Catholic public attitudes toward Islam, the Bridge Initiative—an initiative of the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at...

Quick Hits: Questions on Pope's ad-lib reforms, the 'dance' on doctrine, preparing for persecution by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 19, 2016

Three must-read columns—none terribly optimistic—from the weekend’s harvest: By all accounts, in the conclave of March 2013, Cardinal Bergoglio was chosen by the cardinals to be a reforming Pope: specifically, he had a mandate to bring change to the Roman Curia. Has that...

Should we criticize Pope Francis, or not? If so, how?
Part 2: Methods
by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 20, 2016

There is a big difference in the general “atmosphere” as I post this second part of my reflection on the problem of criticizing the pope. I wrote Part 1 just before it became clear that Pope Francis had privately told the bishops of Argentina that they had given his apostolic...

A quick note on “doctors of the law” by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Sep 20, 2016

As every schoolboy knows, certain parties are fond of rebuking others for being “doctors of the law.” Good Catholics, of course, have faced the charge of being Pharisaical ever since Western culture became sufficiently pagan to hold the moral law in disdain. For indeed, most Catholics...

YOUCAT and DOCAT: Catholic teaching for teens and young adults by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 21, 2016

After Pope St. John Paul II promulgated the preliminary French version of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church in the 1992 and the final Latin edition in 1997, the Church mandated that all catechetical materials should be consistent with this new and comprehensive official text. The desire for...

Quick Hits: Cosmo lauds virginity, mastery of the tongue, underrated ceilings, the Chancellor and the Bard by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Sep 22, 2016

Astoundingly, the degenerate-by-default Cosmopolitan has published a young woman’s article about the beauty of the consecrated life. (Yes, the piece was originally published in Good Housekeeping, but it’s still remarkable.) In “I Am Happily Married to God—as a...

Should we criticize Pope Francis, or not? If so, how?
Part 3: Caveats
by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 22, 2016

In Part 1 of this series, I explained why criticism of Pope Francis has considerable value. In Part 2, I explored a dozen different forms or methods of criticism which can be used in various circumstances, whether to criticize Pope Francis or anyone else. In this final part, I want to call...

Quick Hits: 'must read' posts on support for Humanae Vitae, Catholics in China, Catholic conscience by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 22, 2016

Three more items to put in the "must read" column: Janet Smith speaks with Catholic World Report about the tremendous positive response to a statement by scholars supporting the Church's teaching on contraception. The tide has turned, she says, and bright young Catholic scholars...

A whiff of schism: when different Catholics hold radically different beliefs by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 23, 2016

At a Catholic parish in Athy, Ireland, a lesbian couple who resigned from parish ministry after entering a legal marriage has returned to active participation—and to loud applause. So now everyone is welcome in St. Michael’s parish, right? Wrong. Anthony Murphy, the editor of...

Good King Wenceslaus by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Sep 27, 2016

September 28 is the Optional Memorial of St. Wenceslaus (or Wenceslas) and St. Luis Ruiz and Companions. The priest has the option of choosing either saint for celebrating Mass, and lately it seems the Japanese martyrs are chosen in my parish....

Living under the dictatorship of relativism: The cornerstone of politics is virtue by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 27, 2016

Most of us in the so-called “free world” now live under a sort of consistently totalitarian dictatorship. This is exemplified in the United States by President Barack Obama who, as time began to run out for his administration, decided to govern by executive order whenever he could not...

Amoris Laetitia in America: The bishops’ joy…and the bishops’ tact by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Sep 28, 2016

Have you heard the one about the cardinal who asked the various episcopal conferences to comment on the Church’s reception of Amoris Laetitia? The US Bishops responded that bishops and priests around America were delighted and inspired by the Pope's apostolic exhortation, and had already...

Two thoughtful critiques of the Pope’s approach by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 28, 2016

“Has Pope Francis Failed?” by Matthew Schmitz is a remarkable little essay, not only because it is persuasively argued, but also because it appears today in, of all places, the New York Times! The fact that the Times would run such a piece is, in a way, evidence for the author’s...

Quick Hits: Not always what they seem: Deaconesses, Jesuits, Christmas displays by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Sep 29, 2016

Deaconesses: The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, published an article by Carlo Carletti today which could inadvertently lead even the elect astray (cf. Mt 24:24, Mk 13:22). A professor of archeology, Carletti wrote that Pope Francis’ study of women in the diaconate should...