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Expert commentary on the spiritual, moral, political, social, cultural, and ecclesiastical issues facing Catholics today.

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On the Culture

Commentary and reflection on Catholic life and ideas by Dr. Jeff Mirus, President of CatholicCulture.org.

On the News

Catholic commentary and analysis on contemporary events and trends by Phil Lawler, Director of Catholic World News.

In Depth Analysis

Extended commentary and thoughtful Catholic essays on complex topics.

The City Gates

Brief, off-the-cuff, and sometimes light-hearted Catholic commentary, observations and announcements.

Weekend reading by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Friday

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...

Frustrating the Moral Law by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Friday

Once we start denying the natural law, the complications multiply. Consider the moral complications in this case: New abortion-suicide controversy in Ireland. Consider also the unfortunate confusion among some Churchmen over conflicts between the natural moral law and religious dialogue. Phil...

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

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,...

An Appointment that Francis Should Withdraw by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Thursday

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...

A new approach to Vatican appointments? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Thursday

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...

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

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...

Does the EU flag evoke the patronage of the Virgin Mary? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Wednesday

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 diocese as corporate sponsor by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Wednesday

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...

Lectures on Art and Faith in NYC by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - Tuesday

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....

Black Mass Thwarted in Oklahoma City by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Tuesday

It seems the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has been successful in thwarting a Black Mass scheduled there for September. How they did it is also of interest. See my latest On the Culture: A lesson in prudence: Stopping the Black Mass in Oklahoma City. Less hopefully, it also seems that large...

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

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...

St. Paul on Helping those in Need by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Monday

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...

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

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,...

Difficult Decisions in the Real World by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Aug 22

This week Pope Francis continued to wrestle with the best course to encourage in Iraq. Phil Lawler analyzes the Pope's position in his latest On the News: In Iraq, the Pope has good reason to seek intervention, but fear unilateral US action. For my part, I again look at the challenges of...

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

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...

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

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

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...

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

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...

As Catholic News Unfolds... by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Aug 19

What I am noticing today is how many significant news stories affecting Christians are unfolding at the same time. For example, the latest defiance of the Vatican by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in America fairly begs for suppression. See my latest On the Culture analysis: It is...

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

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...

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

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...

Church Fathers: The Didache and the Epistle of Barnabas by Thomas Van in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 19

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...

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

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...

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

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...

Another glimpse of Tolkien by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - Aug 18

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...

Eyes of Faith by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Aug 15

Everything, for Christians, must be seen through the eyes of Faith. Let us view recent news in this way. Thus the response to Pope Francis' Apostolic Visit to Korea is bittersweet: China blocks young Catholics from attending papal Mass; arrests fearedNorth Korea fires test missiles in show...

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

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...

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

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...

Riches...in my absence by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Aug 13

I apologize for the appearance of my so-called Tuesday message on Wednesday this week. A combination of being out of town for two days and having to do some emergency programming for CatholicCulture.org's financial processing system led to the delay. This also means I have not written new...

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

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...

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

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...

Iraq's Christians under Siege by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Aug 8

Most readers know about the growing disaster for Christians in Iraq as the Islamic State gains ground. Pope Francis is distraught and the American Bishops have slated August 17th as a day of prayer for our Iraqi brothers and sisters. Here are three relevant news stories, posted...

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

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...

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

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...

Comments We Just Had to Make... by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Aug 5

Two small but intriguing stories have provoked commentary over the past few days. For example, it has just been announced that last year's special collection produced $24 million for retired religious. Without intending to diminish anyone's charity, I can't help but comment on this in On the...

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

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...

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

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...

A Diocese in Paraguay by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Aug 1

The controversy surrounding the Diocese of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay is fascinating, and now the Vatican has suspended priestly ordinations there. Consider these two news stories: Vatican confirms suspension of ordinations in troubled Paraguay dioceseParaguay: diocese defends bishop, says...

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

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...

Talk to your kids about porn! by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - Aug 1

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...

Showing the Courage to battle homosexual impulses by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jul 31

For an apostolate dedicated to helping people live out the Christian virtue of chastity despite a same-sex attraction, “Courage” is a particularly apt name, for two reasons. In our sex-saturated society, it takes some courage to say that one might have sexual urges that should...

In other words, to be a Christian means this: by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jul 31

After reading my three part exploration of Hans Urs von Balthasar’s trenchant book, Who Is a Christian?, some have wanted a more precise explanation of how to be a truly devout Christian. Here is the best advice I can offer. The virtue of devotion is nothing other than a general...

Wanted: a balanced Catholic perspective on immigration by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jul 31

For a Christians, it seems, immigration is—or should be—a complicated issue. On the one hand, charity compels those of us who are comfortable to help those who are in need, including those who seek to escape from poverty, crime, or persecution. On the other hand, a legitimate concern...

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Weekend reading 5 hours ago
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