Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Commentary and reflection on Catholic life and ideas by Dr. Jeff Mirus, President of CatholicCulture.org.

Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 3: Ecclesiastical Discipline by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Thursday

In the previous installment emphasizing the “impact of grace”, I noted the problematic nature of any kind of institutionalized program to press deficient Catholics to select themselves out of the Church. Once again, I am referring to those who claim the Catholic name but do not fully...

Journey to the Sun: A Strange Biography of Junípero Serra by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Wednesday

Gregory Orfalea’s biography of the great missionary to California, Junípero Serra, is exceedingly strange. In the good sense of the word, it is genuinely foreign and fascinating. The author has a gift for telling an exotic story with plenty of intriguing detail, even when the evidence...

Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 2: The Impact of Grace by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Tuesday

I suggested in the previous installment that the Church’s membership ought to consist not just of anybody who happens to have acquired the name of “Catholic” but of sinners who recognize the mission of the Church and fully accept the need for that mission in their own lives. At a...

Smaller Church, Bigger Faith? The Problem of the New Evangelization by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Monday

It seems to me that the Church faces a critical obstacle to the New Evangelization, an obstacle which arises inescapably because this is in significant part a re-evangelization. I am referring to the profound deficiency in Christian witness within the Church herself. Again, I beieve this...

Theological Bias, or, What’s our news department thinking, anyway!? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 11, 2014

We get the darnedest emails. In this case I’m referring to the one which accused us of cherry-picking what we wanted, rather than what happened, in our coverage of Pope Francis’ advice to students at the Gregorian University in Rome. Our headline was: “Do theology on your knees,...

Divorce is the most prevalent form of child abuse. by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 10, 2014

We have a donor who occasionally posts in Sound Off!, offering insight into current issues from a psychological point of view. This is not surprising. His Sound Off! alias is Shrink and he is, in fact, a psychologist. I call your attention to a trenchant comment he made following my second essay...

Fighting the Devil: Dangerous Emotions at Work by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 8, 2014

Late last week I had an unusual experience. I found myself getting impossibly angry over the situation in Charlotte, North Carolina, about which I had written twice and Phil Lawler once (see list of essays at the end). I realized I was experiencing an unpredictable emotional reaction which was not...

What the Charlotte controversy reveals about the acceptance of Catholic teaching by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 3, 2014

News coverage is now available for the resolution of complaints about Sister Jane Dominic Laurel’s controversial presentation at a Catholic high school in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Nashville Dominican sister spoke at a school assembly about Church teaching on marriage, divorce,...

Knowing Less than We Think: Dieting, Global Warming, Morality, Revelation by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 1, 2014

One of the gravest deficiencies of our modern worldview is that we are completely unaware of how little we know. There are both special and universal reasons for this. One of the special reasons, for example, is the rapid technological advance of the past two centuries, which has tended to give us...

A Life Hidden in God by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 31, 2014

This year I have been using Bishop Jaques-Benigne Bossuet’s Meditations for Lent. I’ve found it uniformly helpful, and some of the individual meditations have touched me deeply. Here is an example, the meditation for the Fourth Sunday in Lent, entitled “A Life Hidden in...

Noah: far from a natural disaster by Thomas Van - Mar 29, 2014

Darren Aronofsky’s Noah lets us know within the first thirty seconds that it isn’t a literal translation of the Biblical account. In the course of a text opening that quickly recounts the story of Eden, the fall of Adam and Eve, and Cain’s murder of Abel, we learn that Cain and...

Homosexuality, divorce and remarriage: Will a Catholic school in North Carolina set the tone for the Church? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 28, 2014

A continuation of one of the most important Catholic stories of the past decade is unfolding at a Catholic high school in Charlotte, North Carolina. Parents and students at that school are divided in response to a presentation critical of homosexuality at a school assembly. The resolution of this...

The Clash of Law: Parsing the Modern War against Catholics, Catholicism and the Church by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 25, 2014

Opposition to Catholicism in the modern West is brought to a head almost universally through the pressure of today’s legal systems. Typically our neighbors do not, all on their own, dislike Catholics enough to harass or bully them. We do not, as Catholics, fear walking down the street, or...

The Church’s catalogue of ills, according to S. H. Webb by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 20, 2014

I was amused rather than annoyed by Stephen H. Webb’s featured post over at First Things, entitled Why is the Catholic Church so Defensive? In this short piece, Webb is prompted, by his recent viewing of the Secrets of the Vatican documentary on PBS, to indulge in a personal lament over...

Synod 2014 on marriage: Lots of smoke, but hardly any mirrors by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 17, 2014

In my last Insights message, I prophesied that the media furor over divorce, remarriage, and the sacraments in the Catholic Church would not result, at the 2014 Extraordinary Synod and thereafter, in the same sort of breakdown in Catholic discipline that followed Vatican II (closing in 1965)...

A Strange Case: The Clash’s drummer-turned-chiropractor on music, healing, and his return to Catholicism by Thomas Van - Mar 15, 2014

The Clash is one of those bands you’re almost guaranteed to have heard whether you know it or not. The seminal English punk act made a dent in the rock music scene in 1977 with their first, self-titled album, featuring a simple, aggressive style with political lyrics, exemplified by songs...

Fighting Heterosexuality: The Sin of Categorizing Persons by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 13, 2014

My title is not a slip of the pen; it is not supposed to be “fighting homosexuality”. But what could I possibly have against heterosexuality? The problems with this term were recently outlined by Michael Hannon in First Things. The argument is imperfect, I think, but it bears close...

Homosexuality and Marriage: Channeling your inner Dolan is not enough by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 11, 2014

On Sunday night’s “Meet the Press” (NBC television), it was predictable that Cardinal Timothy Dolan would have been asked some pointed questions about gay marriage, civil unions, and homosexuality. I haven’t seen the entire transcript, but the Yahoo! News story we...

Cloistered: The Inside Story by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 10, 2014

It is very interesting to see how secular publishers deal with our contemporary cultural objection to serious religious engagement. An author cannot advocate Christianity, but he can do a study of somebody else’s theology. An author cannot urge fallen-away Catholics to return to the Church,...

The Crisis of the German Hierarchy Comes to a Wrongheaded Head by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 5, 2014

Sadly, the German cat is now rather obviously out of the bag, at least for those who thought it was still in the bag: German bishop demands change in Church teachings on sexuality. Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier is using the recent survey in preparation for the Synod on the Family to prove that...

Bought with a Price: The Gold Standard for Dealing with Pornography by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 4, 2014

Today, Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington released a new and expanded edition of his 2006 Pastoral Letter, Bought with a Price (see the original edition in our library). The new edition—available in a very attractive booklet or downloadable as a PDF file—is advance-dated to March...

The Circumcision Circumstance: High Stakes? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 3, 2014

Last week I wrote a little City Gates piece on the meaning of the Council of Florence’s condemnation of circumcision (see Against Circumcision: A Classic Out-of-Context Danger). Little did I know that this would ignite a firestorm of controversy on our Facebook page. It seems several...

Why should you support our campaign for 500 gifts? (And fast!) by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 27, 2014

Right now, we’re running a campaign to receive a total of 500 donations in any amount during the last ten days of February. As of this writing, we have 299 to go. (The current number is on the Action Alert banner at the top of the page.) The number was chosen because by February 15th, we...

Vatican Reform: Time for a New Inquisition by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 25, 2014

Do you remember the Roman Inquisition? Unfortunately, when people today think of “the Inquisition”, they think of the Spanish Inquisition, which was unduly influenced by the Spanish crown. Even so, its weaknesses were horrendously exaggerated by hostile English historians in what has...

Pope Francis insists on renewed attention to the Constitution on the Liturgy by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 21, 2014

I was very happy to see Pope Francis insist on a renewed commitment to the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium). The history of the late 20th-century liturgical renewal involved several steps backward in practice, and it has taken some time for...

The Children’s Guide to the Papacy by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 18, 2014

Magnificat and Ignatius Press have teamed up to publish a striking children’s book entitled Our Holy Father, the Pope. As the subtitle indicates, it briefly covers “the Papacy from Saint Peter to the Present”. The text is by Don R. Caffery, a father who decided to write this book...

Everybody wants to speak with authority, but how? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 17, 2014

In a delightful article in the February issue of First Things, entitled “Bloodless Moralism”, Helen Rittelmeyer enjoys skewering our contemporary desire to buttress every moral argument with data from the social sciences. It’s a bad habit to reduce morality to statistics, she...

On Gay Marriage: Piling it Higher and Deeper in Virginia by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 14, 2014

Where we live in northern Virginia, our major problems are relatively infrequent, unless you count traffic. But this week we were faced with two of them, one right after the other. On Wednesday night, mother nature dropped twelve to fifteen inches of snow, ensuring that most of Thursday was spent...

The Church’s Mark of Apostolicity, the Preservation of all the Rest by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 11, 2014

When it comes to the marks of the Church identified in the Nicene Creed (one, holy, Catholic and apostolic), the mark of apostolicity is by far the most straightforward. The fullness of Revelation in Jesus Christ was entrusted to the apostles, who were commissioned to carry on his mission in the...

The Church’s Mark of Catholicity, on the Surface and in its Depth by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 5, 2014

The third of the Church’s marks, as enumerated in her creeds, does not trace back to the life of the Trinity quite as obviously as do unity and holiness, nor even so easily to the life of our Savior Himself. Yet the connections are there. With the help once again of Figuring out the...

Being a Good Father by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 31, 2014

When I look back on the roughly thirty-five years my wife and I spent raising our six children, I tend to remember my own deficiencies as a father more than anything else. Some parents have a wonderful capacity to remember all the good times in extraordinary detail, but the specific moments which...

What IS usury, anyway? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 30, 2014

Yesterday we reported that Pope Francis denounced usury during his Wednesday general audience. Of course, our reporter did not deign to explain what usury is, and that is just another demonstration of the wisdom of the Catholic World News team. Because in modern commercial societies, usury is a...

Who Is the Enemy? A Growing Emphasis on Changing Ourselves by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 29, 2014

Those who have followed the history of the Church over the past 50 years, and have also followed my own writing, will have noticed some significant shifts. When I began to develop a sense of Catholic mission in the 1960s, this mission was shaped by the widespread failure of the hierarchy of the...

The Church’s Mark of Holiness, Noted by Friends and Foes by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 27, 2014

Once again we begin with the Catholic profession of Faith in a Church that is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Yet because of the sins of her members, there can be no mark of the Church’s life that is harder to defend than the mark of holiness. We may feel this acutely in the wake of...

When people face death, what are their thoughts? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 23, 2014

In November of 1968, a Phillips gas drilling platform was hammered by a Winter gale. The waves of the North Sea pummeled the rig some twenty-three miles out of Great Yarmouth, England. During the height of the storm, with winds averaging about 50 mph, the rig crew suffered an enormous blowout from...

The Church’s Mark of Unity, and How It Works by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 22, 2014

Each week we profess our faith in a Church that is not just holy, Catholic and apostolic, but also one. Traditionally, the unity of the Church has been considered in terms of unity of faith, unity of cult, and unity of charity. Members of the Church believe the same things, worship in the same...

Lessons of the Pro-Life Blackout: From Pressure to Persecution by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 21, 2014

In describing the annual bout of blindness, Phil Lawler presents a welcome tongue-in-check look at how the annual March for Life in Washington is typically handled by the media. The spontaneous blackout of effective news coverage of this event—which actually creates a very effective...

Bishop Williamson’s separation ought to bring the SSPX to its senses by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 20, 2014

The inherent separatism of the Society of St. Pius X and other similar Traditionalist groups is made glaringly obvious by the progress of Bishop Richard Williamson’s breakaway organization. In his latest newsletter, Williamson rejoices in the establishment of a new (and expensive) Queen of...

Get Comfortable with Absurdity: Catholics and the Civil Order by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 16, 2014

In our continuing discussions of the future of Christian politics, we may differ over the likelihood of being able to stem the legal breakdown of marriage. The latest cause for alarm is a federal judge’s decision that the marriage amendment to the Oklahoma State Constitution is...

Religious Liberty in Decline, Especially for Christians by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 15, 2014

According to the latest Pew study, the number of states which highly restrict religion increased from 20 to 24 from 2011 to 2012. Most of the restrictive nations are Muslim, Communist, or former Communist. But this does not come close to telling the whole story. In the Declaration on Religious...

Want more commentary? Visit the Archives.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 3: Ecclesiastical Discipline April 17
The Holy Spirit and Evangelization: A Primer April 16
Journey to the Sun: A Strange Biography of Junípero Serra April 16
Russia's demographic recovery + US demographic decline = danger April 16
James Carroll strikes (at the Church) again April 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days