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

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Putting things in (Catholic) perspective

When the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said he cannot answer the cardinals' questions about Amoris Laetitia without the Pope's approval, I took notice. In fact, Cardinal Müller managed to communicate quite a lot, and he did so in a way that is really quite...

Cardinal Müller walks the tightrope: A Catholic tutorial?

I have been advocating the end of an unhealthy preoccupation with the problems presented by Pope Francis, but I am going to risk further comment because I find that Cardinal Müller’s current predicament offers a fairly healthy way to put things in perspective. The head of the...

Quick Hits: the most perceptive columns on Amoris Laetitia and the dubia

Many gallons of ink—or maybe I should say millions of pixels—have been spent in analysis of the heated debate over Amoris Laetitia and the dubia raised by the four cardinals. Among the most useful analyses (leaving aside several that have already been

On liberation from false marriages and sexual sin

In considering all the false unions which pass for marriage nowadays, we find that they are so endemic in our culture as to present two highly significant temptations. The first is to deny the grave evil of entering into these marriage substitutes on the grounds that they are so commonplace as to...

The impoverished faith of the San Diego diocese

How would you feel if, after struggling to make ends meet for most of your life, you learned in your old age that you were the rightful heir to an enormous fortune, but your father had never told you about that inheritance? You would feel terribly betrayed, wouldn’t you? In the Diocese...

Entering Advent, yearning but at peace

Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter closing the Jubilee of Mercy makes excellent reading for Advent, in which we should be yearning for the mercy that only Christ brings. I introduce the letter here: Misericordia et Misera: To extend mercy beyond the close of the Jubilee. An interesting...

When questions are perceived as threats, a guilty conscience is at work.

As the fallout from Amoris Laetitia continues to settle, it is difficult to imagine a more illuminating exercise than to compare recent statements by San Diego’s Bishop Robert McElroy and Cardinal George Pell. Bishop McElroy’s new policies invite the divorced and remarried to discern...

Fidel Castro, RIP?

God has given us an Advent meditation with the death of Fidel Castro, President of Cuba, politician, revolutionary, mass murderer. Here are examples of responses by world leaders: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a statement hailed Castro as a “remarkable leader” and a...

The Morality of Money, 6: Social Consequences of Inflation

We have seen the damage inflation does to the common good primarily in terms of its strictly economic impact. But in The Ethics of Money Production, Hulsmann enumerates a great many ways in which inflation has been corrosive of social and moral life in the past two centuries, and it would not do...

Misericordia et Misera: To extend mercy beyond the close of the Jubilee

Americans are about to celebrate their Thanksgiving holiday. This is a wonderful opportunity to reflect not only on the material gifts we have received, but also on the spiritual gifts. Which of us can fail to thank God not only for food, clothing and shelter, but for Christ, the Church, the...

Jubilee ends, but mercy must continue.

The Jubilee Year of Mercy was brought to a close on Sunday, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Pope Francis issued an apostolic letter on mercy, and extended faculties for absolution by SSPX priests, and absolution of the sin of abortion. Here is the new apostolic...

When it comes to Pope Francis, is it time to turn the corner?

CatholicCulture.org has tried to be both accurate and forthright in reporting and commenting on the words and actions of Pope Francis. We have tried to treat Francis as sons; to give Francis the benefit of every doubt; to recognize the complexity of the issues he addresses; to acknowledge the...

Rackets

During my pop-philosophy years as a youngster, I happened to catch the “Longshoreman philosopher” Eric Hoffer on “60 Minutes.” Fascinated by his street wisdom I eventually got around to reading his book The True Believer where he wrote: “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business,...

The Rex Mottram approach to Amoris Laetitia and the dubia

“I believe that the pope has spoken,” said Cardinal Kevin Farrell, regarding the question of whether Amoris Laetitia has changed Church teaching on the admission of divorced/remarried Catholics to Communion. But to be fair, Cardinal Farrell made that remark more than a month ago,...

Is it clear? Is it authoritative?

Let’s imagine that I’m your boss, and I summon you to meet me at my office tomorrow. Since you haven’t been here, I send directions. You find them confusing, so you ask: “Should I turn right or left as I come off the highway?” I reply: “My directions are...

The Morality of Money, 5: Moral Hazard and Malinvestment

Fractional-reserve banking depends on the assumption that the bank’s clients will not all try to redeem their notes at once: that there will not be a “run” on the bank. But as Hulsmann and other Austrian economists have argued, even if one banker is cautious in the degree of his...

The Francis wars escalate

Before we delve into the trials of the Church, let me remind everyone that this Sunday is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. It is important to remember that we have an invincible king. What has been most interesting throughout this week is the escalation of the...

The Morality of Money, 4: Manipulation by the State

Fractional-reserve banking and inflation can happen on a free market, but only on the fringes. In The Ethics of Money Production, Hulsmann argues that it is government that allows inflation to become widespread, either protecting it by legalizing the falsification of money, or itself perpetrating...

The Morality of Money, 3: Money, Banking, and Inflation

A crucial period of transition between natural and forced money in the West was the emergence of banking as we understand it today—that is, fractional-reserve banking. In The Ethics of Money Production, Hulsmann details the development of banks from mere money warehouses to money-creating...

Driven by frustration, could some cardinals go too far? A caution

Our Catholic World News service has reported on Cardinal Burke’s statement that a group of Catholic prelates may address a “formal act of correction” to Pope Francis. According to Burke, this could be made necessary by the refusal of Pope Francis to correct the confusion about...

Vatican official suggests reinventing the wheel

Archbishop Kevin Farrell (who will be known as Cardinal Farrell in just a few days) is not pleased with Archbishop Charles Chaput. The prefect of the Vatican’s new dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life is disappointed because the Archbishop of Philadelphia has forthrightly stated that,...

Living the Sadness of Christ

The other week, when I was trying to think of something I should write about, I was fresh out of ideas. Even worse, I was feeling bored and lethargic. There can be many different causes for these problems, but in my own case, running out of ideas typically means I am spending too much time...

Urgent: With a $50,000 Challenge Grant in the balance, I need your help.

This Fall, eighty-three of our Boosters joined forces to offer a Challenge Grant of $50,000 to make it easier for CatholicCulture.org to raise the funds it needs to continue its mission in 2017. As of this writing, we have matched roughly $41,000, which means we still have approximately $9,000 to...

On request for clarification of Amoris Laetitia, the Pope’s silence speaks volumes

We should not be surprised that the Pope has declined a request for clarification of Amoris Laetitia. Are faithful Catholics confused by that document? Absolutely. That is the Holy Father’s intent. The confusion is not a bug; it’s a feature. The defenders of the papal document (and...

The morality of money, and more

I think you will be interested in the unusual series of articles on the morality of money authored by our young resident polymath, Thomas Van. Highly relevant to Catholic social teaching, the first two of six installments are already available: 1. The Problem of Money Production 2. Natural...

Advent-Christmas Ebook released for new liturgical year

The Advent and Christmas ebook volume for the 2016-2017 liturgical year has been released in our ebooks download area. This is the first volume of the coming new liturgical year, which begins on November 27th, the First Sunday in Advent. It may be downloaded free of charge in the following...

Is it a mark of rigidity to accuse others of rigidity? A spiritual proposal concerning Pope Francis.

Like a great many other Catholics, I was astonished by Pope Francis’ harsh dismissal of young people who prefer the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. It is a dangerous business to assume that another person’s preferences constitute “rigidity”. And it is even more...

The Morality of Money, 2: Natural and Forced Money

It is easy for us in the twenty-first century to take for granted that our money has no value whatsoever other than as a medium of exchange, and that it works as such simply because our governments imbue it with value—hence the term “fiat money.” If money derives its value solely...

Just 9 days to go, and $16,236 left to match!

We are now in the final countdown phase of our Fall Challenge. We have nine days left and $16,236 left to match. This means that we can get any gift you make matched, up to $16,236. Your gift will count twice! But if we do not receive such gifts, we get nothing. And we must match the entire...

The Morality of Money, 1: The Problem of Money Production

It is not uncommon to hear of Popes or bishops strongly criticizing the global economic order, and calling for the creation of new institutions to implement financial and monetary reform. Pope Benedict XVI, for example, suggested that a “true world political authority” was needed to...

Back to the basics of being Christian

The quadrennial silly season in the United States is officially over, and Donald Trump has somewhat improbably emerged as the next US President. It goes without saying that Phil Lawler and I both have something to say about this: Phil particularly notices the similarity between the defeat...

Down with Trump! The privileged class triggers student revolts (again)

In the wake of the election of Donald Trump, some have taken to the streets in protest. I read a fairly comprehensive account of this in USA Today. It is clear that Trump is a polarizing figure. In fact, throughout the campaign he obviously intended to be a polarizing figure. But that’s not...

We have been Trumped. What does that mean to us?

For anyone who has suffered under the progressive transformation of the United States government into a regulatory bureau of social engineering, the election of Donald Trump is a sign of hope. The hallmark of Trump’s campaign was his refusal to give a tinker’s damn about political...

Trump, Brexit, and the collapse of a world order

The election of Donald Trump punctuates the end of an era—and I don’t mean just the Clinton era. We are living through a time of global historical change: the demise of an international order. Somehow our leading politicians, pundits, and pollsters, who spend their days analyzing...

A time to tear down and a time to build

The third chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes opens with this famous line: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” My title is taken from verse 3 of this chapter. Most obviously, the title applies to the Benedictine monks at Norcia, whose work...

A word about the futility of politics in the West, on election Tuesday in America

Foster parents in the United Kingdom have been refused permission to adopt their foster children because they do not think placement of children with same-sex couples is a good idea. It is difficult to conceive of a better example of the secular regulatory State at work. As little as a...

Norcia just before the earthquakes: My time with the monks

Last week I spent two nights in Norcia, Italy, the birthplace of St. Benedict, the father of Western monasticism. I was blessed with a rare personal encounter with the monks of Norcia, joining them in both prayer and work, an opportunity seldom offered to pilgrims. My glimpse of their way of life...

The importance of words (and the Word)

It seems that the most noteworthy materials added to CatholicCulture.org this week can be linked to a common theme—the importance of words and how we use them. For example, I have been warned recently by several people not to succumb to the temptation to defend Pope Francis. That is a...

Rehabilitating Pope Francis, and saving ourselves

Over the past few weeks I’ve received a number of emails which rebuke me for a tendency to defend Pope Francis whenever I believe I can do so reasonably. As someone who has also criticized the Pope on several issues, I find the logic of this position elusive, to say the least. I would think...

What part of ‘never’ does America magazine fail to understand?

Isn’t it nice that after the Pope says that “the final word is clear,” we have America magazine available for “Putting Pope Francis’ comments on women’s ordination in historical context“—that is, to make sure that things aren’t clear. You...

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