Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Brief, off-the-cuff, and sometimes light-hearted Catholic commentary, observations and announcements.

The Holy Spirit and Evangelization: A Primer by Thomas Van - Wednesday

One thing I have come to realize over the past few years, especially during the reign of Pope Francis, is that in a culture hostile to religious orthodoxy, it is easy for Catholics to fall into the trap of treating orthodoxy as an end in itself. When Francis warns us not to become a...

Russia's demographic recovery + US demographic decline = danger by Phil Lawler - Wednesday

In a quiet development, unnoticed by the major media, the the birth rate in Russia has inched higher than in the US. Thirty years ago the Soviet Union was a crumbling empire. At the time, most people in the West did not notice its internal decay. But the nation’s fertility rate, well below...

James Carroll strikes (at the Church) again by Phil Lawler - Wednesday

In the years since he deserted the priesthood, James Carroll has contributed dozens of op-ed columns attacking the Church in the pages of the Boston Globe. Like an angry young man who posts embarrassing photos of his ex-girlfriend on the internet, Carroll seems determined to persuade the outside...

How same-sex marriage erodes personal freedom and enhances state power by Phil Lawler - Apr 11, 2014

Stella Morabito has done us all a real service, with her readable and cogent analysis of the drive for same-sex marriage, now appearing on the Federalist site. This whole argument isn’t really about allowing homosexuals to marry, Morabito explains. It’s about abolishing marriage as an...

The papyrus that proves nothing, 'resurrected' in time for Easter by Phil Lawler - Apr 10, 2014

How can you tell that Holy Week is approaching? Well, I hope that you’ve been observing Lent, and that you always keep an eye on the liturgical calendar. But even if you don’t, you can tell we’re getting close to Easter because a secular publication has given prominence to a...

Atheists and the historical method by Thomas Van - Apr 10, 2014

Strange Notions, a website devoted to respectful dialogue and debate between Catholics and atheists, has re-posted an interesting piece by atheist blogger Tim O’Neill, entitled “Why History isn’t Scientific (And Why it Can Still Tell Us About the Past)." O’Neill has a...

In Ontario, Catholic schools are welcome; Catholic education is not by Phil Lawler - Apr 8, 2014

Catholic schools are free to operate in Ontario, as long as they don’t provide religious education. That’s the message that seems to be coming from the Ontario Superior Court, which has ruled that Catholic high schools cannot require students to attend Mass. In its immediate impact, the...

As the family goes, so goes the nation by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 7, 2014

When he met bishops of Tanzania making their ad limina visit, Pope Francis outlined the keys to success in a country characterized by too much poverty and an AIDS epidemic: “By promoting prayer, marital fidelity, monogamy, purity and humble service of one another within families, the Church...

Pelosi's piety wins Obama's approval by Phil Lawler - Apr 3, 2014

Some of my friends are shocked that President Obama, on his return to DC after a visit with Pope Francis, gave a set of rosary beads blessed by the Pontiff to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the lawmaker honored by Planned Parenthood for her “outstanding contributions to the reproductive health and...

Yearning to Escape Ourselves, and the Example of John XXIII by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 2, 2014

I can relate to Pope Blessed John XXIII’s desire to get away from the Vatican occasionally. Probably most of us can. It is a strange quirk of our humanity that we benefit from a change of scene. Quite often, the problems and tensions we associate with one place fade away when we get away to...

Easter eBook Released by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 2, 2014

Please note that the Easter volume for the 2013-2014 Liturgical Year has been released and is now available for download in our ebook section. You have to be registered and logged in to download. To register, simply subscribe to one of our email newsletters. This will create a user account for...

New “Liturgical Day” newsletter brings total to Four by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 2, 2014

You probably know you can sign up to receive what we call email newsletters from CatholicCulture.org. We have just added a new one, featuring the Liturgical Day. This joins the daily news headlines, the biweekly Insights messages, and the two-week look-ahead for the liturgical year sent out each...

Kudos to Archbishop Gregory; he 'gets it' by Phil Lawler - Apr 1, 2014

Hats off to Archbishop Wilton Gregory for making a simple, sincere, manful apology when he realized that he had caused scandal by spending over $2 million on a new residence. The archbishop could have attacked his critics, saying that the complaints about his building plans were motivated by...

The deaths of 2 heroes: one military, the other literary by Phil Lawler - Mar 31, 2014

This past weekend I learned—in one case very belatedly—about the death of two great men, from very different walks of life. Senator Jeremiah Denton was a war hero before he became a US Senator. The bravery that he displayed while a POW in Vietnam was so striking that in its...

about that 'pedophilia' crisis... by Phil Lawler - Mar 31, 2014

Yet again an accounting of sex-abuse charges against American Catholic priests shows that 80% of the reported victims were male, with the largest number of victims coming from the 10-14 age group. What do you call a man who makes adolescent boys the object of his lust? To control the language...

Two great, chart-topping Benedictine chant albums by Thomas Van - Mar 29, 2014

Weeks ago, we reported the unusual phenomenon of two chant albums reaching the top of Billboard’s traditional classical music chart. I say this is unusual, but not unheard of, because it seems to happen every few years since the ‘90s chant craze was kicked off by the 1994 rerelease of...

Pope continues meetings with heads of debtor nations by Phil Lawler - Mar 28, 2014

This week Pope Francis met with the leader of a nation whose proud tradition of democratic government is now endangered by a crippling national debt—a nation whose political leaders have done nothing to alleviate that debt, despite repeated warnings from abroad. The next day, the Pope...

Obama meets the Pope: the spin begins by Phil Lawler - Mar 27, 2014

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Pope Francis, President Obama said that Church concerns about religious freedom and individual conscience were “not really a topic of conversation” during the exchange. That’s funny. The Vatican summary of the discussion mentioned “questions of...

Mother Teresa, the Enigma by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 26, 2014

Is David Scott’s biography of Mother Teresa of Calcutta a disaster or a smashing success? It’s published by Sophia Press, so there are no qualms there. It is spiritually sound, even illuminating, so there are no qualms there, either. But like every other study of Mother Teresa, it...

Fun with statistics by Phil Lawler - Mar 25, 2014

The Society of Jesus has released an internal census, showing that there were 12,298 Jesuit priests in the world last year, and 17,287 members of the Society as a whole. In 1975, those figures were 20,627 and 28,856, respectively. Under normal circumstances we’d call that a steep decline....

The Singing Nun by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 24, 2014

Ah, Phil, Phil, curmudgeonly Phil. Did you really have to say, “An Italian nun is a singing sensation, and I don't care”? When the whole world is brimming with hope that Sister Cristina Scuccia will make people love nuns again, as well as stimulating vocations, did Phil really have...

Will new Vatican commission on abuse answer the one crucial question? (a re-run) by Phil Lawler - Mar 24, 2014

Now that Pope Francis has named the members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, I think it's relevant to mention the question that I raised when the Holy Father first announced plans for the commission. The post that follows originally appeared last December...

An Italian nun is a singing sensation, and I don't care. by Phil Lawler - Mar 24, 2014

During the past week, at least 100 people have sent me links to stories about the nun who has wowed a TV audience with her singing on the Italian version of the popular show, The Voice. Great. Wonderful. I hope she wins. If your cousin goes on that show, I hope he wins, too. But please...

An Open Letter to All of our Users by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 20, 2014

We’re a little over $30,000 short of meeting our expenses for the first quarter this year, which is the largest first-quarter deficit CatholicCulture.org has ever had. I do not know exactly why that is the case, since we are actually reaching more people than ever. Total individual users...

Why dioceses should stop fighting disclosure: that legal strategy always fails by Phil Lawler - Mar 19, 2014

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A judge has ordered a Catholic archdiocese to release documents pertaining to the handling of sex-abuse cases. You already know that story, right? But wait; I’m talking about today’s headline story, not the story that appeared last month or...

A simple rhetorical question by Phil Lawler - Mar 19, 2014

Edward Peters has done it again. My favorite canon-law blogger, again addressing the pressure for a change in Church doctrine regarding the indissolubility of marriage, wraps us another simple but informative post with an unanswerable question: “what do we suddenly know about marriage, human...

Michael Fugee Laicized: What’s wrong with this picture? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 18, 2014

Newark priest Michael Fugee has been laicized after violating an agreement with prosecutors to stay out of any ministry involving children. Contrary to the agreement, Fugee slipped into the neighboring Diocese of Trenton, without seeking permission, and participated in youth programs at two...

OTG: Pilgrimage - they don't make it like they used to by Thomas Van - Mar 15, 2014

What’s the difference between a pilgrimage and a vacation? There was a time when going on a pilgrimage involved a great deal of sacrifice. Pilgrims traveled great distances to holy sites, often on foot, enduring great physical hardship to reach their destinations for some spiritual purpose...

Impending Catholic debate on divorce: more serious than birth-control dispute by Phil Lawler - Mar 14, 2014

In the Light of the Law, the blog run by canon lawyer Edward Peters, is always informative and sometimes more. This post, on the “gathering storm” over the possibility that divorced and remarried Catholics might be admitted to the Eucharist, is more. Peters shares my belief that...

The best appraisal of this pontificate on its 1st anniversary by Phil Lawler - Mar 13, 2014

Among the many articles that I have seen assessing the first year of this pontificate and attempting to explain the unusual appeal of Pope Francis, my favorite is this one by Father Bernardo Cervellera, the director of the AsiaNews service. A missionary priest and a veteran Vatican observer,...

Doctrinal changes wrought by Pope Francis by Phil Lawler - Mar 13, 2014

On the anniversary of the papal election, John White has an interesting post on the Catholic Vote site, with an exhaustive list of all the Church teachings that have changed during the first year of this pontificate. If you get your information from Rome via the secular media, you might find...

Mercy for the Divorced and Remarried by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 12, 2014

Another high-ranking Churchman, this time the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, has emphasized that the status of divorced and remarried Catholics “should be looked at with a merciful eye.” This is certainly something we all need to keep in mind, but the $64,000...

Idle questions for Monday musings by Phil Lawler - Mar 10, 2014

If you say that you’re not going to judge someone, can you then say “Bravo” about his public statements? Isn’t it perfectly acceptable to judge someone’s public statements (as opposed to his private actions, or the state of his soul)? And isn’t...

What's left for the Legionaries? by Phil Lawler - Mar 7, 2014

What do you do with a religious order that has lost its mission? In a revealing interview last week with the Catholic News Service, the new leader of the Legionaries of Christ spoke about how the order’s founder, the late Father Marcial Maciel, had covered up his criminal...

Developments in the Orthodox world bear great ecumenical promise by Phil Lawler - Mar 6, 2014

Pay close attention to the latest news about the effort to convene a meeting of all the patriarchs of the world’s Orthodox churches. This could be a truly historic development. ”The All-Orthodox Council has not convened for more than 1,000 years,” remarks the Interfax news...

Synod Gamesmanship: Raising Expectations to Create Pressure by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 6, 2014

As Phil Lawler reminded us yesterday, during and after the Second Vatican Council there was a deliberate effort on the part of many theologians and bishops to use the press to encourage Catholics to expect Church teaching to change. Phil also noted that the same process is beginning again. It is...

Douthat's grim prediction on the crusade for acceptance of same-sex marriage by Phil Lawler - Mar 3, 2014

Here’s an insightful and sobering op-ed column by Ross Douthat of the New York Times, who fears that the US Supreme Court will eventually follow “the logic of its own jurisprudence” and redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. Starting out from that grim prediction, Douthat predicts...

The Casuistry of Divorce and Remarriage by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 28, 2014

At daily Mass this morning, Pope Francis contrasted the reality of marriage as upheld by Jesus Christ with the casuistry of the Pharisees. Casuistry is the application of moral principles to particular cases so as to determine the required course of action. But abuse has given the word very...

Financial pressures on priests to avoid controversy by Phil Lawler - Feb 28, 2014

In an interesting piece that appears today on The Catholic Thing, Father Mark Pilon makes an interesting point about the collapse of catechesis in Germany. The same point might apply in the US and other countries as well. As you will recall, the German bishops have announced that most...

When pregnancy is viewed as the most dangerous disease by Phil Lawler - Feb 28, 2014

The “news item” that follows is not accurate. I have taken an actual lead paragraph and altered it in a small but critically important way, which I will disclose below. In a new study, researchers found an increased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) among women who have taken...

Want more commentary? Visit the Archives.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Holy Spirit and Evangelization: A Primer 20 hours ago
Journey to the Sun: A Strange Biography of Junípero Serra 22 hours ago
Russia's demographic recovery + US demographic decline = danger 24 hours ago
James Carroll strikes (at the Church) again 24 hours ago
Improving the Church April 15

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days