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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....

Disturbing trends?

Earlier today, Pope Francis issued a motu proprio revising the name and the purposes of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family. The Institute is just thirty-six years old. This latest change may or may not be a cause for alarm, depending on whether you...

The complexity of life in Christ

It seems it should be simple to know how to act in any situation, if we are rooted in Christ. But sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. When it is simple, we often introduce our own obstacles of obscurity. Phil Lawler offers examples in Wednesday's column on trends in the...

Spotlight on Colombia

Since Pope Francis has just completed his apostolic journey to Colombia, we should step away from our own commentary to acquaint everyone with the Pope's points of emphasis on this trip. Before we get to his addresses, however, let me report the very good news that the Indian...

Changing the times, for the better

I am happy to call your attention to news director Phil Lawler's Next Big Thing, a project to warm every Catholic's heart. See: ‘Re-evangelizing New England’—my next campaign. Phil also offers his thoughts on the trashing of Catholicism in the American public...

Preparing to live well

I suspect our lives will not get better until each of us more fully incorporates the rhythms of the Liturgical Year into our personal and family lives. (See September overview.) So let me remind you that we have just entered the second half of the long stretch of Ordinary Time which ends the...

Transcending the need to apologize?

This week I felt compelled to write a critique of the Church's recently-acquired habit of apologizing for alleged past sins. See Curmudgeon’s Corner: The case against Catholic apologies. Of course, one way to “transcend the need to apologize” is not offer an apology...

Doing what is right in our own eyes?

Today I continue my series on Sacred Scripture with a look at the book of Judges. It could hardly be more relevant: Judges: Every man did what was right in his own eyes. Yesterday, Phil Lawler extended his commentary on a point Pope Francis made recently concerning the reform of the...

Liturgical Renewal: Status Report

ALERT: We are finally ready to reveal the details behind recent hints about coming changes. Phil Lawler explans: Coming soon: CWN unveils a new approach to Catholic news coverage. This week, one of our biggest headlines was Liturgical reform is ‘irreversible,’ Pope proclaims. Most...

Catching up on your Catholic reading?

Once again I am writing on Wednesday rather than Tuesday, owing to our intense programming activities yesterday. Before the end of the month, we will unveil a new approach to handling Catholic news. One kind of news we have been living with for many decades in the Church is, sadly, bad news....

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...