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Spiritual growth under pressure

Sometimes spiritual growth occurs under pressure from others to become holy, and sometimes it occurs under the pressure to abandon holiness. Once we grow to love God, of course, absolutely everything can spur us to greater holiness. The fallout over Communion for the divorced and remarried will...

The tone of life, and of evangelization

I found myself thinking today about the various ways we speak to people about our faith, and I realized that we don't use any sort of a prophetic voice any longer. That is a style of speech that we have to be careful with, but surely it cannot always be wrong. See Denunciation, condemnation...

Questioning Mary?

We Catholics are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. Pope Francis has offered special indulgences throughout the entire anniversary year, from November 27, 2016 through November 26, 2017. If you are interested in taking advantage of this spiritual...

Gearing up for the New Year

The Catholic year begins in Advent, but there is something about the rhythm of the Christmas holidays that causes us to feel the need to gear up for the new year in early January. I tried to gear up for 2017 fundraising by improving our pledge-tracking system. That was supposed to take about...

Shifting gears for Christmas

A great Catholic truth is how hard it is to set spiritual priorities in Advent when so many practical matters must be resolved before Christmas. I'm sure Our Lord understands, but Jennifer Gregory Miller is here to help with The Jesse Tree, Part 2: Finding the Essential for the...

Advent: Christ, Hope, Truth

Quite a few people have told me their celebration of Advent has been enhanced by the O Antiphons, which they learned about from Jennifer Gregory Miller. So I consider it a good thing that, as Jennifer wrote today, she is “interrupting her Jesse Tree posts because the O Antiphons begin...

Mary, Advent, Christmas, Marriage, and Hope!

In this season of hope andf joyful expectation, I am delighted that so many readers enjoyed the first installment of my review of Mary of Nazareth. The title has gotten out of hand, but here is Part 2: Sing of Mary, 4b: Everything there is to know about the Mother of God, Part 2. In a...

Thinking about ordination and marriage

As you may know, the Congregation for the Clergy has issued new guidelines for priestly formation. It's a good basic survey of the field, but I did notice a few things of particular interest. See The Gift of the Priestly Vocation: The importance of countercultural formation. In thinking...

Advent opportunities

This is a good time to regain our spiritual focus, especially in such a divisive period of Church history. One way to put stress on hold is to recognize Three things the Pope can't say. Phil Lawler makes it simple and concrete. (Some other writers here can get a little abstract at...

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...

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...

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...

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, 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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Is Al Smith turning in his grave?

In the wake of this year's Al Smith Dinner in New York City, Phil Lawler suspects that Al Smith himself is turning in his grave. This the dinner at which New York's Cardinal hosts the presidential candidates in an upbeat public celebration to raise money for charity. The problem is...

Inspiration from Pope Francis

I was very happy to comment yesterday on two important talks in which Pope Francis stressed the courage required for evangelization, and highlighted a decidedly more spiritual mission for the Society of Jesus: Pope Francis: Two moments of much-needed inspiration. More good news: By...

When religion goes public

A great many issues in our secular world revolve around the public presence of religion. We begin in France, where a leading political figure has called for a ban on all public displays of religious identity. See my commentary in Religion in public? Our modern political stupor. I also...

On anti-Catholic Catholics

Many have expressed horror at Democrat strategists in the United States who seek to undermine the Catholic Church's adherence to its own Faith. Yet we often overlook what Catholics within the Church are doing. Late last Friday, Phil Lawler connected the dots to reveal The anti-Catholic...

Confidence in the Church (and matching funds too)

I'm happy to announce the launch of our 2016 Fall Campaign. Between now and November 22nd, our Boosters will match every new gift to CatholicCulture.org. I hope every reader will join in! In the last few months we have noticed that more and more Catholics are seriously discouraged by what...

Pius XII's private war against Hitler

Christians seldom get to savor the sweet taste of success in this world, and yet we would rather be downtrodden Christians than lordly pagans. Still, it is nice to know that Pope Pius XII has been thoroughly vindicated. No, he was NOT a Nazi collaborator. In fact, Pius orchestrated a private...

Humor: Deep thoughts in a better perspective?

Perhaps the most enjoyable new commentary we posted this week is Fr. Jerry Pokorsky's entertaining reflection on Jewish Humor. Read that before you tackle some of our more somber topics! For example, on Wednesday I explained why an Episcopalian bishop's acceptance of a crucifix...

Eyes on Georgia, without proselytism

The title refers not to the American state of Georgia, of course, but Georgia in the Caucasus, which Pope Francis visited on Friday and Saturday. One interesting news story from the visit: In Georgia, Pope speaks of ‘world war’ against marriage, decries gender theory;...

Mercy exemplified

This week the American bishops responded to a request from the office of the Synod of Bishops to report on the reception of Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. It's a remarkable and revealing response. See my commentary: Amoris Laetitia in America: The...

Toward a new politics?

It is probably self-evident that if politics is ever to become helpful again, we need a politics which recognizes the family as the first, most basic, and must important unit of society. But in our world, even this basic concept requires a kind of interior conversion to grasp. Here's a...

Conflicts coming to a head

As politicians continue to deny Church teaching without censure, and as pastors become even more confused about what they must insist upon and why, the divisions within the Catholic community are becoming even more problematic than they were in the late 20th century. Phil Lawler covers an...