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Demoting papal controversy?

I am considering reducing emphasis on controversial news and commentary about Pope Francis by placing it nearer to the end of these messages. Like Cicero, who often began a speech by saying “There is no need for anyone to tell you” about whomever he was about to skewer, I think...

Pontifical Academy for...Life?

Sadly, Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia is very much in the news again. A new appointee to the Pontifical Academy for Life has now asserted, based on arguments in that Exhortation, that not only is artificial contraception within marriage not immoral in all cases, but in...

Praise and Blame

Recent developments have once again raised the question of when to praise and when to blame Church leaders. A perfect case involves nearly 2,000 converts from Islam who took exception to Pope Francis’ constant positive portrayals of that religion. Pope Francis routinely insists that...

ALERT: Fix your PCs and phones

Epiphany is this Sunday, and you should bless your home. But instead of a normal Insights message today, I am writing to help protect you in a different way. There are newly-discovered design flaws in the computer chips you use every day. Everyone who uses CatholicCulture.org depends on...

Christmas: Not Over Yet!

The Christmas Season lasts through the Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord (on January 8th). Since we shouldn't waste it, here's help: First, Fr. Jerry Pokorsky trims the hills and fills the valleys with his latest homiletic essay, Expecting Perfection. Second, Jennifer...

Mixed message? No, sin and redemption!

Today we will have to have enough joy in our hearts to weather a few Vatican storms—but then you will be rid of me. During Christmas week, our staff will be on a reduced schedule, and there will be no Insights messages. But let's start on a positive note. I'd like to...

Amazingly, Christmas around the corner...

There is still barely enough time to get the things you may need to celebrate Christmas more fully in your home this year: Consider our recommendations in the Christmas section of our Store. Figure out what to highlight throughout the season by visiting our Christmas...

Ups and downs in the news

Phil Lawler has noticed that the Australian Abuse Commission wants celibacy to be banned. See Oh sure, blame celibacy. Actually, I strongly suspect we could build much better relationships between civil and spiritual authority if we took a page from the Bible: Nehemiah’s rightly ordered...

In Praise of Discernment

Pope Francis speaks often of discernment, and the Lord knows too few of us habitually engage in active discernment. I recall St. Paul’s dictum: “Do not quench the Spirit...but test everything; hold fast what is good, abstain from every form of evil.” [1 Thes 5:19-22] St....

Fidelity is Change

My title is taken from Pope Francis' message for the 7th festival of Catholic social teaching. It is certainly true, for our fidelity is constantly being tested. And we can get in horrible ruts, too. But that was not the case with our Fall Campaign. We won our Challenge...

Apostasy and the Presence of God

I have grown tired of the continuing chorus of commentators who have attempted to justify apostasy in the wake of Scorsese’s film, Silence. I have also tried to do something about it. Please see: The Silence question is apostasy. Too many get the answer wrong. The sadness of all...

The ups and downs of renewal

Today I posted a new essay on renewal, a topic dear to all of our hearts: Renewal in secular cultures: The need to distinguish between sheep and goats. At the same time, Phil Lawler has commented on two areas in which the need for renewal is particularly urgent: When cardinals fail to...

Our Thanksgiving, and Yours

CatholicCulture.org staff will be on a reduced schedule on Thursday and Friday to encourage family celebration of our Thanksgiving holiday. There will be no Friday message, so let me focus in this one on all the new things we are thankful for: Potential New Podcast: We are considering...

Bishops taking up the slack?

There are encouraging signs that the American bishops do not wish to encourage the dubious changes some think the Pope is authorizing. Phil Lawler’s recent observations are on point: Archbishop Naumann’s election: a relief, not a victory Another encouraging sign from...

From the nuclear option to joyful expectation

An old song that became a World War I anthem says it is “a long, long way to Tipperary”, and so it must have seemed to Irish boys far from home. Today we must navigate the even longer way between the destructive power of nuclear weapons and our joyful expectation of the coming of...

Highlight on the Eucharist

Sorry, but I am getting a little nervous. We must still raise $23,000 more in donations to win the Challenge Grant by December 2nd. Please pray and, if you have not yet done so, offer a gift that will be matched. Still, enough said. Here are today's Insights: Pope Francis has ended...

Happy news is NOT boring.

Happy news really does exist, and it is a good thing to call attention to now and then. First, however... The increasingly common assertion that Pope Francis is not really the pope can only do great harm. The reason is in my latest title: Theories that Francis is not the Pope...

Suffering in the Church

It is the nature of the Church militant (that’s us) to be engaged in many conflicts, and so to suffer more than we would like. A case in point is the suffering over the state of the Church which has led to Fr. Thomas Weinandy’s resignation as a theological advisor to the American...

For all the saints

Jennifer Gregory Miller sets the tone today with a a new major entry in the Liturgical Year Blog, For All the Saints. Tomorrow, after all, is The Solemnity of All Saints, a Holy Day of Obligation. And Thursday is The Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed, that is, All Souls...

Going bump in the night?

With Halloween in the offing, Jennifer Gregory Miller has dusted off her deservedly famous column from 2015, Halloween is for Catholics. It's not about evil spirits and other horrors. But I think the condition of the Church can also lead us to ponder things that go bump in the night....

Operating between the lines

The recent news most likely to affect our spiritual lives in the coming decade is Pope Francis' public rebuke of Robert Cardinal Sarah for attempting to clarify the current requirements for liturgical translations I believe this is important enough to merit the attention our editors...

A new prophetic voice

Phil Lawler waxes prophetic today in his latest On the News commentary about the Faith in the “Old World”. See The Church in Europe: ‘kept in the sacristy’? This is highly relevant to another very tiny comment he wrote called Connect the dots. Late Tuesday, just...

Coming soon: our new, improved daily headline message

When we introduced the new look for CWN, many readers expressed dismay that in our daily headline mailing, the individual headlines no longer functioned as links to the news stories. We quickly recognized the difficulty— especially since we had dramatically increased the number of news...

No Respecter of Persons!

I'm concerned that some readers did not understand my recent comments on the sin of “human respect”, so I lead off today with a significant essay entitled: Human respect: Not only a sin in our time, but a theology. Should you read it, you will learn that in the Catholic world,...

Arts and entertainment: Enriching us spiritually

I spend most of my time on the application of Catholic principles to what we call “the real world”. But this focus on “the real world” can make strong Catholics dismissive of the vital role of the arts as somehow “unreal”. Yet the arts...

The Power and Poverty of Words

All hands on deck, please! We need everyone's help to win the $60,000 challenge grant we have been offered. This week, I ask you to help us knock at least $10,000 off this goal: Let's get it under $50K. Every dollar you donate will be matched. Thanks! Now, the Latest on...

Gratitude where gratitude is due

I am grateful: For our Boosters, who have just announced a matching grant of $57,385 for our 2017 Fall Campaign: Faith, Commitment, Renewal! Your gift now will be matched! For Pope Francis: Given how we struggle to parse what comes out of Rome, I am happy to be grateful to Pope...

Continuing confusion (and/or) hope

In new commentary so far this week, Phil Lawler acquaints us with three excellent columns found elsewhere: Quick hits: Hitchens on Martin, Spaemann on Seifert, Douthat on Hefner. I continue my trip through the books of the Bible. See: Samuel: A spiritual and political tale of two kings. Part...

No rest for the weary?

In view of the renewed clash between Pope Francis and his critics over the past week, kudos to Thomas V. Mirus for daring to write about something else. The topic is student brothers at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington. See The Dominicana Spirit. Phil Lawler and I have been less...

A limping papacy?

A renewed focus has been placed on problems in Rome. For example, the former Vatican auditor general has charged that he was fired because he had been investigating financial irregularities within the Vatican. Phil Lawler raises the relevant question: Was the Vatican auditor general fired...

Toward a better pastoral vision

Today I decided to take up the frequent misuse of the term “pastoral” to justify downplaying unpopular teaching of Christ and His Church. See: The pastoral imperative—and when it becomes a sin. Some of the grist for my mill came from earlier commentaries by Phil Lawler....