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Through the Holy Door of Lent

Each year we have to stoop fairly low to enter what we might call the “holy door” of Lent. (I recall again that this is the only liturgical season which is also a four-letter word.) Still, with all we know about this penitential season, one burning question has remained unanswered—until I...

A preview of the Pope's synodal exhortation?

We don't expect Pope Francis to promulgate his post-synodal exhortation until March, but we have a preview of his thoughts on some key marriage questions in his latest address to the Roman Rota: Adequate Preparation for Marriage. Usually I begin these messages with references to our own...

Sing to the Lord!

Some excellent diocesan music directives, which I will come to in a moment, have given me the title for this Insights message. At present I am continuing to explore the difference between the quest for religious unity and evangelization. The former has its place in the nature of things, but the...

The Problem of Religious Unity

Several hundred years ago, we would have lived in an era of inter-religious hostility. Most efforts at evangelization would have been adversarial. Today we are far more likely to seek good relationships with men and women of good will who are not Catholic. But sometimes the result is that we do...

Pope Francis: Attempting to Overcome Divisions

Thomas Van's series on the Fathers of the Church continues this week with Origen's Life and Legacy. This is the first installment of several pieces covering the work of one of the most influential thinkers in Christian history. Speaking of thinkers, I continue to explore the progressive...

Snowy thoughts both timely and timeless

Perhaps the most timely item on CatholicCulture.org today is our commemoration of the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children, which the American Bishops have added to our liturgical calendar. Jennifer Gregory Miller explains in January 22: Day of Prayer and Penance in the...

Temperatures Rising?

If I've had to go out once today, I've had to go out a thousand times. During these errands, the outside temperature has varied between 13 and 24 degrees Fahrenheit (-11 and -4 Celsius). I know this doesn't seem very cold to some of our northern readers, but I've lived to tell you that my...

To be or not to be: The question of politics

Consider Phil Lawler's excellent analysis of Catholic hospitals and the fight for medical standards. It is, I think, a case in point of the futility of legitimate politics in America. It is also one more nail in a coffin, and I want you to know what lies inside. Isn't it time that we...

Thoughts on business (among other things)

Since Cardinal Turkson offered a clarification of the Pope's ideas about business recently, I thought I would try to explain more clearly what it is that Catholic social teaching wishes to communicate to businessmen. See Business is a vocation; that's why the Church won't leave it...

Mind Control? A Growing Problem

In different ways this week, both Phil Lawler and I examined how our dominant culture teaches us to think about the wrong things and in the wrong way. That's true of Phil's piece from Tuesday evening on Burning incense to the false gods of political correctness, commenting on New York City's...

As Christmas gives way to Ordinary Time...

Welcome back to ordinary life (at least in a few more days)! I offer the fruits of my reflections over the Christmas break in Why are we driven to distraction? (Or, how do saints keep their cool?) In addition, today in a book review I try to set the tone for how I hope we will think and live as...

On to Christmas!

It's that time of year when I really do not want to overwhelm you with news and developments. True, Phil Lawler has taken advantage of the lull in the news cycle to examine Under-the-Radar signs of progress in Vatican reforms. It is also true that in a referendum, Slovenia rejected same-sex...

Advent gives way to Christmas

We all know how it is. By now most of Advent has slipped by, and we are very likely fixated on Christmas. But you can conclude Advent with little effort and great spiritual profit if you take note of Jennifer Gregory Miller's latest offering: Observing the O Antiphons. These run from December...

Understanding Witness to Jews

I mentioned on Friday that the Vatican had issued a new theological exploration of the relationship between Catholics and Jews. I also noted that headlines about this document, including our own, needed to be understood in the right way. Finally, I promised to write more fully about the...

Welcome to the Jubilee Year for Mercy!

I did not send an Insights message on Tuesday, as it was a Holy Day, but I do want to remind everyone that the new Jubilee Year of Mercy opened on that day, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Here is the homily Pope Francis gave when he opened the Holy Door: The Holy Year Is a Gift of...

Advent: A Time of Transcendence

Advent is definitely a time to scale back our worldliness in order to scale up our anticipation of the world to come. But in a materialistic age, how do we know we are transcendent beings? That's the question Fr. Robert Spitzer wanted to answer in the second volume of his quartet on human...

The latest updates, with 8 days and $15,000 to go!

I am sending this copy of our twice-weekly Insights message to all registered users so that I can highlight our Fall Campaign while giving those who do not usually receive Insights some idea of what it normally contains. Recently a senior writer over at First Things magazine expressed...

We carry on with 8 days and $15,000 to go!

I am sending this copy of our twice-weekly Insights message to all registered users so that I can highlight our Fall Campaign while giving those who do not usually receive Insights some idea of what it normally contains. Recently a senior writer over at First Things magazine expressed...

In the US, a time of Thanksgiving

The American holiday of Thanksgiving falls on the last Thursday of November, and a great many Americans take a four-day weekend. While we would never ignore an extremely important Catholic news story, we do plan on spending time with family. There will be no Insights message on Friday. At the...

Back to Politics?

Perhaps it isn't surprising that we must turn back to politics occasionally, especially with Pope Francis reminding us again and again to welcome migrants and refugees as much as we possibly can (as, in fact, the Catechism teaches). In any case, Phil Lawler took up one part of the question this...

Pope Francis: Questions about Communion

The response is somewhat confusing, and perhaps subject to different interpretations, but when Pope Francis answered a question from a Lutheran woman who wished to receive Communion with her Catholic husband, he once again raised more questions than he answered. It will be interesting to see...

So much to think and pray about...

This has been one of those thought-provoking weeks. For example, Pope Francis delivered a major address to the Italian bishop. But I have questions: The Pope on Christian Humanism: To understand, we need concrete applications. Or again, now Msgr. Charamsa (the practicing homosexual who recently...

A solid basis for judgment?

We still have about $45,000 in matching funds in our Fall Challenge, which must be met by December 8th. We need a big surge, but at least we've knocked off 25% of it now. The “Vatileaks II” story remains important. On Monday Pope Francis made it clear that the leak of curial...

Continuing the Good Fight

I hate to lead with distressing news, but CatholicCulture.org's efforts to keep up the good fight are sputtering. I need to ask everyone to read my latest commentary: If you hope to see us in 2016, please act now. We have explored some large issues this week, however. For example, Thomas Van...

The Penances of November

As Jennifer Gregory Miller pointed out on Saturday, the month of November teaches us the Close Connection of the Communion of Saints. In particular we are reminded to gain indulgences for the poor souls in purgatory. This gives the month a penitential quality which is not lost on us here at...

All Saints and All Souls

If you are wondering what's next in terms of the recently-completed Synod of Bishops, it is now up to the Pope: Papal document will summarize Synod conclusions. This will be worth reading. Phil Lawler thinks one aspect of the conclusions of the bishops could create confusion: The deliberate...

Wrapping up the Synod and Moving On

We will not see the final Synod document in an official, complete English translation for some time. And under the new rules this year, that document is really for the Pope's eyes only. Nonetheless, all sides seem to be claiming victory! Perhaps that's not a very fruitful approach. To keep up,...

Good news of all kinds!

First, Phil Lawler explains that, as far as the Synod goes, those who wish to change the Faith have lost: The Synod's liberal cabal in damage-control mode. Of course, I did tell everyone this would be the outcome back on October 6th before it happened, but I mentioned that in a previous...

Synod coverage spurred by $60,000 challenge grant

I am very happy to announce that our CatholicCulture.org Boosters along with several other key supporters have put together a $60,000 challenge grant. This will bring in about 80% of the remaining income we need this year, if other donors will match it. Your Fall Campaign donation now will be...

A New Initiative but the Same Faith

On October 24th, we plan to release a new design for CatholicCulture.org. The most obvious change will be to the home page, which will provide a better overview of the materials posted, day by day, over the past ten days, along with particularly important items at the very top of the page. But...