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Insights provides critical perspective on the issues that affect your life as a Catholic today. Delivered twice weekly.

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The long, hot Summer culture

Tensions boiled over in Charlottesville, Virginia last week during an unlikely white supremacist rally in what most think is a quiet and cultured university town. Almost nobody seems to understand what is at stake here, so I guess a Catholic voice had to emerge sooner or later. See my latest On...

Spiritual Questions, Spiritual Lessons

As everyone knows by now, in CatholicCulture land Wednesday is the day for Tuesday's Insights message if Tuesday was a Holy Day of Obligation—in this case the Solemnity of the Assumption. We do have new material worth highlighting. For example, Thomas V. Mirus calls our attention to...

New ways to build solidarity between laity and clergy?

This week I am raising what I hope is an important question, but without knowing the precise solution. I'll be very interested in your thoughts. See Our bishops and priests need direct support and protection. Can we supply it? I should also mention that we have several staff either on...

Music and the Way of Beauty to God

This week CatholicCulture.org expands its coverage of the arts, which are integral to the qVia Pulchritudinis, the Way of Beauty as a path to God. Thomas V. Mirus interviews a notable Catholic musician who offers his art for the glory of God. See Uncaging The Nightingale: The Mark Christopher...

Borrowed Time?

Fr. Jerry Pokorsky reminds us this week that we are all Living on Borrowed Time. It's a good reminder of the importance of thinking about things properly. Speaking of which, in my latest On the Culture commentary, I examine distinctions that ought to be very important not only to the US...

The importance of doing God's will

We seem to live in an age in which even many Catholics constantly advocate love without any reference to what love entails. This reduces love to whatever behavior our culture perceives as nice. But Catholics ought to know better. For one thing, the Biblical Book of Deuteronomy reveals just how...

Reading between the lines

This week both Phil Lawler and I are, in different ways, recommending that we make a point of reading between the lines. We don't wish to encourage unjustified conclusions, but it is important to recognize the rhetorical devices used by those who would weaken our faith. That's the...

Missing Link!

It really is unlikely, I suppose, that I am the missing link between apes and men. But there was a missing link in yesterday’s Insights message. Here is the proper link to the first of Phil Lawler’s commentaries mentioned there: A partisan vision at the Vatican? Further thoughts...

Advocates of secularization

This message may have an odd title, but that's my beneath-the-surface take on the Spadaro debacle and what it reveals about the unfortunate pontificate of the current pope. When a Vatican leader and the Pope's principal advisor rants against serious Christians and consistently uses the...

Keeping the Faith, in everything

Better late than never! After an unproductive day trying to program something new, I'll have to keep today's (tonight's?) Insights message brief.... But we do have several new things which are worthy of note, beginning with Fr. Jerry Pokorsky's homiletic essay on the vital...

Necessary & unnecessary commentary

Sometimes the only thing we can do is state the obvious. Some might consider this unnecessary, but we do hope it helps to prevent confusion. For example, here's a story about another absurd essay in La Civilta Cattolica: Papal advisers lash out at American conservatives,...

Fact and fiction in Catholic news

Today's theme seems to be the problem of getting at the truth surrounding the actions of key players at the Vatican. Distressingly, many outlets distributed legitimately distressing but also error-ridden stories last week. None of this is pretty, but on Friday Phil Lawler let us know The...

The best laid plans...

First some housekeeping: I'd like to remind you to check out our new online STORE, which highlights products with Catholic value. Anything you purchase after entering Amazon through the CatholicCulture.org store will earn us 8% of the purchase price. The link takes you directly to the...

Two changes to CatholicCulture.org

Over the past ten days we have made two significant changes to CatholicCulture.org which I want you to know about. 1. New CatholicCulture.org Store We have opened a CatholicCulture.org store, which you can enter by clicking the new SHOP option on our main menu. This new STORE takes...

Borrowing trouble?

Back at my desk: I arrived home at about 3:30 am today after visiting family. I've chopped through accumulated mail and overgrown grass. It is time to get going again on CatholicCulture.org. Still, I haven't yet done anything worth noting in today's Insights message. So let me...

The sins of the Church?

Grappling with the alleged “sins of the Church” is very difficult. Too often no distinction is made between the Church as body and bride of Christ and the Church as represented by her individual members, all of whom are sinners. Keep this in mind as you read Phil...

Questions affecting Catholic renewal

Announcement: I'll be visiting family between June 13th and June 26th, so I'll be on a seriously reduced work schedule. I will probably send only one Insights message each of the next two weeks. Today, however, I took up a vexing question in the Church's efforts to address...

Called and gifted for glory

Over the weekend I found myself surprised by a message I found very close to the beginning of the Old Testament. See: Called and gifted for glory: An unlikely lesson from Exodus? Interestingly, Pope Francis has been sounding a similar theme, especially in his addresses to participants...

The closing of the Catholic mind

In How conservative ideas are censored, and how to break that barrier, Phil Lawler explains the need to escape mere politics and put more energy into education and culture. Catholic ideas cover a broader range, but most often they are rejected as well. Worse, they are too often drowned out from...

Back at my desk, in a terrible rush...

It is 6:30 pm, I'm being called for dinner, and I've barely had time to catch up on the things that piled up while I was away for the Memorial Day weekend. Who hasn't been in this situation? So, with apologies for brevity, I will have to take the easy way out, and simply list the...

Renewal pros and cons

Please note: I will be out of town on Friday, so there will be no Friday Insights message. Also, last week I highlighted Cardinal Sarah's address at our National Prayer Breakfast. Oops! That address was given last year. Apologies. Today I'd like to take a page from Pope Francis'...

Successful Easter Campaign (says R2-D2)

I am extraordinarily pleased with the results of our Easter Campaign to win a challenge grant of $14,000. We actually received donations of over $16,000. I have posted the list of qualifying donations: 2017 Spring Matching Gifts. Thanks to all who participated! Less optimistically, both...

Original sin at work

We never have to look far to see the results of Original Sin in our world, but over the weekend I found that some people have odd ideas about it. So let's start with my latest In Depth Analysis: Original Sin: What is it really and why does it matter? Now, perhaps, we can better...

Fascinating Catholic Issues

This week we have a very diverse set of issues grabbing headlines and commentary. The Catholic way of life never ceases to fascinate! Before I give the highlights, though, I want to ask you to take a moment—if you have not already done so—to help us collect the matching funds...

Europe on the rocks

Over the past few days, Phil Lawler has brought us all up to date on the continued decline of Europe, including the Church in Europe. See especially these two notable commentaries: Apres moi le deluge Why is a Catholic bishops’ conference cheerleading for the European...

Shhh! Media at work!

It is amazing how important modern means of communication are to the formation of culture around the world. It is no wonder, then, that Pope Francis would like to reform how the Curia communicates with the world. See Phil Lawler's analysis: The obstacles to reform of the...

Back to True Catholic Renewal

Phil Lawler has raised important questions about Catholic renewal in cities that keep closing churches without a decline in the nominal Catholic population. See A pastoral crisis the Church cannot (yet does) ignore. This reminded me that I had not yet proposed an answer to a question I raised a...

Our political bishops

Yesterday CatholicCulture.org published a special report on a matter which has been undermining confidence in the Church for some months now: Internal documents show split within Knights of Malta. It seems like our bishops are becoming increasingly political. Do they ever ask themselves how...

God's Love and our Response

I'm very happy to announce that we have a Challenge Grant for the Easter Season. Any new gifts given starting today will be matched up to $14,000. Please be generous! Less happily, Phil Lawler has looked into the operations of the St. Luke Institute, which has played a key role in...