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

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

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

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Extended commentary and thoughtful Catholic essays on complex topics.

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

Every Aspect of the Catholic Thing by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Friday

CatholicCulture.org prides itself on being comprehensive. We try to take every aspect of Catholicism and the Church into account in forming our judgments and informing our readers. I hope you will help us keep doing this, because we need to raise a little more than $7,000 over the next four...

News Posturing: How the dramatis personae use each other by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Friday

One of the reasons following the news is often so depressing is that so many of the situations that receive publicity are characterized by deep moral flaws. When I spoke about developing a “theology of the news” in a recent Insights Message, I pressed the case that we must...

The intractable practical problems with the Kasper proposal by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Friday

We all know that “the Kasper proposal” will be front and center in the October discussions of the Synod of Bishops. But what is the Kasper proposal, exactly? Cardinal Walter Kasper has suggested opening a “penitential path” for Catholics who have divorced and remarried,...

No, the Pope did not endorse a gay-friendly children's book by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Friday

The Guardian headline is an eye-catcher: Pope Francis sends letter praising gay children's book Wow! That’s newsworthy material for sure, isn’t it? Let’s take a closer look. Did the Pope write the letter in question? No. Did the letter praise the book? No. So what’s the real...

Legal pressure does not make sterilization moral by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Thursday

It is just plain wrong. I mean the decision of Mercy Medical Center Redding in California to perform a sterilization on Rachel Miller only after the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the Center’s initial refusal. Earlier, when refusing the sterilization, the Center cited the US...

Just as you suspected, most polls are useless. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Wednesday

It is now safe to discount the results of almost any major poll which relies on user responses to polling questions. And if polling companies use other kinds of adjustments to attempt to make their data more correct, then there is much more than mere polling at work. Robert Wuthnow is a...

Intrinsic evil can't be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Wednesday

Facing the threat of a lawsuit, Mercy Medical Center in Redding, California—a Catholic hospital— allowed doctors to perform a tubal ligation, sterilizing a woman, in what appears to have been a direct violation of Catholic moral teaching and the US bishops’ Ethical and Religious...

'Catholicism by osmosis is dead'—Weigel hits the nail on the head by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Wednesday

Reflecting for Catholic World Report on the “smaller, purer Church” that Pope Benedict XVI foresaw, George Weigel makes one of those grand, sweeping generalizations that are so striking because they are so true: This same judgment—Catholicism by osmosis is dead—and this...

Human Life is Family Life by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Tuesday

Sometimes we tend to forget, amid the troubles of the day, that the most controversial issues are nearly always family issues. You'll see that in today's Highlights of new material on CatholicCulture.org. For example, in reflecting on the problems posed by our technocratic society, I could not...

The confusion, complexities and dangers of marriage annulments: A call to order by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Tuesday

It’s a sad thing, a broken marriage. I am referring literally to a broken or severed marriage. Of course, all relationships can be broken or severed, and there is sadness in each case. But marriage is the most intimate and fruitful union of a man and a woman, the nexus of the family, a...

Christian happiness is the key to cultural renewal. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Monday

In the August/September 2015 issue of First Things, James Kalb explored the possibilities for rolling back the technocratic culture which dominates the modern West. Technocracy is a problem because it is based on the belief that nature is something to be manipulated according to our own desires,...

A foolish mistake by pro-life demonstrators by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Monday

How dumb was it for thousands of pro-lifers to wear that hi-tech reflective clothing on Saturday, so that when they gathered to demonstrate outside Planned Parenthood clinics, there were completely invisible to reporters from secular news outlets? Quite naturally the reporters, arriving on the...

Convincing the World: St. John Paul II's Encyclical on the Holy Spirit by Thomas Van in "On the Culture" - Aug 23

The Holy Spirit may seem, from a human perspective, the most obscure person of the Holy Trinity. He is certainly the least “personifiable” in an anthropomorphic sense, as is easily seen in countless depictions of the Trinity in Christian art. In the course of human history He has been...

A Theology of News by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Aug 21

Those who have been reading my highlights of Henri de Lubac's notes on the Second Vatican Council will remember Cardinal Suenens making this point: A certain theology of the news is necessary among the laity. That's important to us at CatholicCulture.org, and I'm pleased that our users...

Is Catholicism Biblical? That question is backwards! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 20

The other day I referred to Dave Armstrong’s fine collection of essays, Proving the Catholic Faith is Biblical (see What I learned on my vacation, about God and man). But anyone who demands that we prove that Catholicism is properly rooted in Scripture has his religious fundamentals all...

Are religious people happier? Why yes, yes they are. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 19

I have not read the whole study, but the news is good: Those who participate in religious organizations are happier than those who do not, even if they are active in other political or social organizations. Our story links to the website with the full text. Many might find this surprising,...

Welcome Back! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Aug 18

In a way, I'm welcoming myself back, as I resume the biweekly Insights messages which highlight new materials on CatholicCulture.org. But I'm also welcoming back a good many readers who return to the website about this time each year, after having been less involved with it during the Summer....

De Lubac's final notes on the Second Vatican Council by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 18

I have just posted the final installment of my highlights from Henri de Lubac's notes on the Second Vatican Council. De Lubac’s notes reveal something of the theological differences, objectives, conflicts, maneuvering and humor involved in the conciliar effort to chart a course of...

What I learned on my vacation, about God and man by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 18

I returned to my desk full-time yesterday after spending a couple of weeks denying, as much as possible, that my desk even existed—attempting to slip quietly from routine into refreshment. Everyone knows that this process has inescapably limited results. The reason is found in a variation on...

The Popes, the Pill, and Climate Change by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Aug 18

Politics can be unpleasant. And Church politics, for most thoughtful believers, can be the most unpleasant of all political logrolling. To be “political” suggests a kind of relativism, pandering to this or that group for support, a pandering that is incompatible with the objective...

Another papal resignation on the horizon? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 18

Karl Keating, the founder of Catholic Answers, raises an interesting question: A New Pope in 2016? This is not a prediction, he emphasizes; it’s a sort of mental exercise. Pope Francis has referred to the resignation of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, as “a beautiful gesture of...

Henri de Lubac's fascinating notes on Vatican II by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 18

Here I explore the notes made by the French theologian Henri de Lubac as he prepared for and participated in the Second Vatican Council. I will gradually add revealing excerpts and comments from successive stages of de Lubac’s involvement. Each stage will be linked below. They will be...

What's your diocese doing for the campaign to defund Planned Parenthood? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 17

Pro-life activists are complaining about the lack of coverage in the mainstream media for Planned Parenthood fetal-tissue trafficking. There’s ample reason for those complaints; the silence of the major news outlets is a second scandal. But really, are you surprised? The major secular outlets...

The enigma that is Pope Francis: a few new clues by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 14

Are you still trying to understand Pope Francis? Join the club. For those of us who are struggling to understand the Holy Father’s way of thinking, Nick Miroff of the Washington Post has provided a few very useful insights. First he cited the influence of Argentina’s Juan Peron, a populist...

The 'seamless garment' may wear thin in the age of the laity by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 14

Recently in this space I argued that Archbishop Blaise Cupich of Chicago had pushed the “seamless garment” argument much too far, by suggesting that support for the death penalty is morally equivalent to dismembering unborn babies and offering the parts for sale. This is—or should be—a familiar...

The most important topic(s) for the Synod by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 13

What will be the single most important topic on the agenda when the Synod of Bishops meets in October? If you follow the news headlines, you’re likely to respond that the top priority will be the question of Communion for Catholics who are divorced and remarried. Or possibly you’ll say the...

Eugene Genovese, a Communist turned Catholic by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - Aug 10

Eugene Genovese (1930-2012) was a historian of the American South, known especially for his landmark book Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made. He was also a Marxist and, in his own words, "a supporter of the international movement and of the Soviet Union until there...

With Archbishop Cupich, the 'seamless garment' jumps the shark by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 6

The late Cardinal Bernardin muddied the waters of Catholic social teaching with his “seamless garment” argument, suggesting that opposition to abortion was no more important than opposition to the nuclear freeze. But Archbishop Blaise Cupich, who now sits in Cardinal Bernardin’s...

Why can't Planned Parenthood live without its abortion clinics? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 6

Thomas Van has already called attention to the argument by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat that effectively demolishes the most common defense of Planned Parenthood. But it bears repeating: this is an essay you’ll want to read. The argument that Douthat shreds is that people who oppose...

Douthat unmasks the moral cowardice of PP defenders by Thomas Van in "The City Gates" - Aug 6

Two weeks after his excellent op-ed "Looking Away from Abortion," Ross Douthat has delivered another blow to moral cowardice. In his latest NYT blog piece,...

Insights Messages: A Brief Lull by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Aug 5

In the normal course of events, you would have received my Tuesday Insights message yesterday. These biweekly messages (each Tuesday and Friday) highlight new materials on CatholicCulture.org. However, I am currently out of town and preoccupied with family affairs, so there will be a brief...

Another Month Closer to God by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "Insights" - Jul 31

Today marks the end of July; one more month gone; one month closer, God willing, to seeing Our Lord face to face. In On the Culture, I take up the question of what leads people to conversion, prompted by the two recent books I've reviewed: The mystery of conversion, always deeply rooted in...

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Recent Catholic Commentary

Every Aspect of the Catholic Thing 16 hours ago
News Posturing: How the dramatis personae use each other 17 hours ago
The intractable practical problems with the Kasper proposal 19 hours ago
No, the Pope did not endorse a gay-friendly children's book 22 hours ago
Legal pressure does not make sterilization moral August 27

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