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Music to Our Spiritual Ears Sep. 12, 2014

Perhaps the most striking commentary we have posted this week is the beginning of Thomas Van's fascinating exploration of the role of music in the spiritual life: The Mystery of Music, Part I. Stay tuned for more. Moving from spiritual growth to religious persecution, Phil Lawler looks at the...

French Muslims Denounce Terror Sep. 9, 2014

As we recount in an important news story today, the top leaders of the Islamic community in France have denounced terror against Christians in the Middle East. Such denunciations have been rare or non-existent in the past. Meanwhile, the pressures of Western secular states against Christians...

Human Knowing and Human Happiness Sep. 5, 2014

Well, I finally did it. I completed a six thousand word essay entitled On Not Settling for Less: The Cognitive Guide to Happiness which I've been working on for some time. This explains the need to respect all the ways a human person knows reality, rather than focusing exclusively on empirical...

Human Knowing and Human Happiness Sep. 5, 2014

Well, I finally did it. I completed a six thousand word essay entitled On Not Settling for Less: The Cognitive Guide to Happiness which I've been working on for some time. This explains the need to respect all the ways a human person knows reality, rather than focusing exclusively on empirical...

Challenging Times? Sep. 2, 2014

My title today is a play on words: Both Phil Lawler and I have written commentaries which, by sheer coincidence, respond to articles in Time magazine. Phil addresses a misguided opinion piece on Catholic nuns which was posted online on Sunday: Liberal visions of Catholicism: Kickstarter and the...

Frustrating the Moral Law Aug. 29, 2014

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...

Black Mass Thwarted in Oklahoma City Aug. 26, 2014

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...

Difficult Decisions in the Real World Aug. 22, 2014

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...

As Catholic News Unfolds... Aug. 19, 2014

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...

Eyes of Faith Aug. 15, 2014

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...

Riches...in my absence Aug. 13, 2014

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...

Iraq's Christians under Siege Aug. 8, 2014

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...

Comments We Just Had to Make... Aug. 5, 2014

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...

A Diocese in Paraguay Aug. 1, 2014

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...

Sons of Dominic Prepare for Family Synod Jul. 29, 2014

I was delighted to learn that a group of Dominican theologians have published a theological study of pastoral proposals aimed at those who are divorced and remarried. This sets forth, for use at the upcoming synods on the family, the clear Catholic parameters within which such proposals must be...

Straws in the Wind Jul. 25, 2014

Here are some pretty significant straws in the wind from the news of the last two days: ‘China’s aging millions look forward to bleak future’: Another nation learns the hard way that openness to life is a key to socioeconomic health.Vatican plans to clarify language of canon law regarding abuse...

Government Crackdowns on God and Nature Jul. 22, 2014

The big news here in the States is President Barack Obama's addition of sexual orientation and gender identity to the non-discrimination rules governing the American government and its contracts. The USCCB has protested vehemently: USCCB decries Obama’s LGBT executive order as ‘unprecedented...

May God Bless our Readers! Jul. 18, 2014

Today is the last day of my vacation. My wife and I will be driving home from Maine to Virginia over the weekend. I'll be back at my desk next week, and will resume the normal Insights messages on Tuesday. May God bless you for your interest in and support of CatholicCulture.org! Jeff...

What's Wrong with the Pope's latest interview? Jul. 15, 2014

I'm on vacation at the moment, in a small "camp" on the shore of Moosehead Lake in Maine. I've got WiFi (of course), but I'm also doing only absolutely necessary work for this one week. So this Tuesday message will be abbreviated. There is, of course, a brouhaha over Pope Francis' second...

The Seal of Confession Defended Jul. 11, 2014

From a spiritual point of view, I would say one of the most important documents this week is the official Catholic response to the Louisiana Supreme Court's effort to crack the privacy of the Sacrament of Penance: Official Statement of the Diocese of Baton Rouge Regarding Order for Priest to Break...

The Catholic's Sense of the Faith Jul. 8, 2014

The Church's International Theological Commission has published enlightening studies on many questions. The latest is an exploration of the sensus fidei (sense of the faith) which enables the baptized to perceive what pertains to the faith of the Church. For my commentary on this interesting...

Today America Needs Evangelization Jul. 4, 2014

Given that the United States celebrates its founding today, we at CatholicCulture.org are enjoying what amounts to a partial holiday. We want to join in the fellowship of family and friends, but this is not a religious feast! Now me, I am sitting on the side of Lake Champlain, wondering when...

Corporate Victory over HHS Mandate Jul. 1, 2014

The US Supreme Court ruled yesterday that closely-held corporations cannot be forced by the government to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees. This is a huge step in eliminating the HHS Mandate for abortion, contraception and sterilization from Obamacare. Please see our Catholic...

Plans for the Synod Move Forward Jun. 27, 2014

As I announced yesterday, the working document for this Fall's Synod on the Family has now been released. It was significantly influenced, as Pope Francis wished, by responses to the questionnaire circulated around the world. So now we have a good idea of the Synod's agenda: Vatican issues...

When a Catholic is not a Catholic Jun. 24, 2014

In a remarkable homily in Calabria last Thursday, Pope Francis did not hesitate to say that some people make commitments which break their communion with the Church. It is amazing how this ties in with the In Depth Analysis essay I mentioned last Friday. Today I explain the significance of the...

Recognizing Reality Jun. 20, 2014

You probably saw the news that the Presbyterian Church (USA) has approved same-sex marriage. This is one of the stories which prompted me to focus once again on the increasing modern tendency to make moral judgments without any morality. See my latest On the Culture essay: Exercising human...

When Appearances Deceive Jun. 17, 2014

This seems to be a week for things being the opposite of what they seem, or the opposite of what they should be. For example, the prominent American Catholic politician Nancy Pelosi has rebuked her own bishop for his stand on marriage. Phil Lawler wonders whether she will next excommunicate...

Yes means Yes; No means No. Jun. 13, 2014

My title comes from James 5:12. It is appropriate for many reasons, not least because Phil Lawler found today that he had to defend his reading of the lamentable testimony on sex abuse by the archbishop of St. Louis. See: The mistaken defense of Archbishop Carlson. If Archbishop Carlson failed...

There's Still Life in the Catechism! Jun. 10, 2014

The head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recently explained and defended the Catechism of the Catholic Church at an Irish seminary. At root, I would say he was inoculating the seminarians against Modernism. See my latest On the Culture essay: Defending the Catechism against the...

The Family, and the Spirit Jun. 6, 2014

It is not new news, really, but the word from Japan is the same as what we have heard from around the West: Japanese bishops report laity indifferent toward Church teaching on marriage. At the same time, Phil Lawler has noticed a disturbing trend among older Catholic couples in the United...

Signs of Grace Jun. 3, 2014

Do you know what happened to the Communist puppet in Poland, General Wojciech Jaruzelski, before he died? See Phil Lawler's City Gates piece: A happy epilogue for the Cold War. Phil is also happy about the humility of the bishops of the Philippines, especially as compared with some others. See...

Pope Francis Moves on Two Fronts May. 30, 2014

Pope Francis has been very active in attempting to heal important long-standing rifts. The Vatican has announced that the Pope and the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople have set the stage for a new Council at Nicea in 2025, in the hope for a reunion of East and West into one Church. At...

Approaching the Ascension May. 27, 2014

This Thursday is Ascension Thursday, except where the feast is moved, for the convenience of a more widespread celebration, to the following Sunday. Jennifer Gregory Miller explains this solemnity, and its movement, in The Feast Who Was Thursday. Flashing back for a moment to the furor over...

On Catholicism and Country Music May. 23, 2014

Country music icon Collin Raye has tried to put his Catholic faith and his family first. Ignatius Press published his autobiography last month. Now, Thomas Van has interviewed Raye for CatholicCulture.org: “You can always try to shoot a famous person”: Collin Raye on country music and the folly of...

Fortitude in the Church May. 20, 2014

You may recall Italian bishop Nunzio Galatino's deeply offensive remarks about people who quietly pray rosaries outside abortion clinics. Perhaps that has something to do with the themes of the Pope's recent address to the Italian Episcopal Conference. Whatever the case, Phil Lawler sets the...

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