Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

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

Links to the past by Thomas Van - Thursday

The New York Times Magazine has given some much-needed attention to ISIS's genocide of Christians with a long essay by Eliza Griswold: "Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East?" In First Things, Mark Movsesian comments further on the U.S.'s responsibility for...

Fetal tissues and vaccinations; are you part of the problem? by Phil Lawler - Thursday

If you’re appalled by the revelations about the sale of fetal tissues-- and how could you not be—pause for a moment and think on this passage from a New York Times op-ed defending the ghoulish traffic: Fetal cells extracted from the lungs of two aborted fetuses from Europe in the...

Vatican delegations ought to avoid the rhetoric of the world. by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Thursday

One does wonder occasionally about Vatican diplomacy. For example, in recent remarks at the UN, the Vatican delegation urged that controversial issues be left out of the UN’s sustainable development goals (see Avoid controversial issues in drafting development goals, Holy See tells UN). This...

Monday-morning musings by Phil Lawler - Jul 27, 2015

The PR flacks of Planned Parenthood tell us—with straight faces!—that they don’t “sell” fetal tissue; they only ask for “compensation”—that is, enough to cover their costs, plus a little extra (for the Lamborghini). When you go to the...

But WHY are these videos so damaging to Planned Parenthood? by Phil Lawler - Jul 25, 2015

It's odd, isn't it, that Planned Parenthood has been hurt so badly by revelations about the sale of fetal organs? We already knew that unborn babies are killed, by the tens of thousands, in PP clinics. Isn't the killing a worse offense? If I told you that I planned to chop you up...

Recreating a true home: John Cuddeback at work by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jul 23, 2015

Professor John Cuddeback, head of the Philosophy department at Christendom College, is particularly interested in family life and the importance of the “household”. Drawing on sources both philosophical and practical, Cuddeback maintains a website devoted to the philosophy and practice...

Father Barron's departure: bad news for Chicago by Phil Lawler - Jul 23, 2015

The headline on a Crux story says it all: “With the Rev. Robert Barron headed to LA, Archbishop Cupich can further reshape Chicago.” Many Catholics who know his work are rejoicing at the news that Father Barron, an outstanding evangelist, will become a bishop. Unfortunately...

NOW channels Groucho Marx by Phil Lawler - Jul 22, 2015

Give NOW credit for consistency. The group always defends abortionists. So it’s no surprise that NOW has defended Planned Parenthood against criticism fueled by the latest damaging undercover videos. Those videos, NOW charges, are part of a “tissue of lies.” “The...

Monday-morning reading by Phil Lawler - Jul 20, 2015

Some more interesting essays, gathered from other sites, which you shouldn’t miss: The late Father Silvano Fausti, who was spiritual director to Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, made some waves with an interview shortly before his death, in which he revealed that Cardinal Martini advised...

Clarifications on the political enforcement of faith and morals by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jul 20, 2015

In response to my exploration of the limitations of the religious liberty defense, some readers raised the question of whether government is morally bound to recognize the Catholic Church as the source of the true religion and to enforce some portion of the Catholic Faith. The answer to this...

Cooperation, accommodation, and the contraceptive mandate by Phil Lawler - Jul 17, 2015

Imagine that you’re running a small business in Germany in the 1930s. A government official comes to your office and tells you to fire all your Jewish employees. You refuse, saying that it be immoral to do so. OK, the Nazi official says. Tell you what; I’ll make an...

What we don't know by Phil Lawler - Jul 16, 2015

Several readers have written to voice their dissatisfaction with our headline story about the Brazilian Archbishop Antonio Carlos Altieri, whose resignation the Vatican announced yesterday. If it’s any consolation, we’re dissatisfied, too. The Vatican announcement, as usual, provided no...

The Little Sisters case: being forced by government to act against one's principles by Phil Lawler - Jul 14, 2015

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, in its decision that would require the Little Sisters of the Poor to comply with the Obamacare contraceptive mandate, used a revealing argument to dismiss the Little Sisters’ claim that the mandate infringes on their religious freedom. Some background is...

Post-vacation links by Thomas Van - Jul 14, 2015

I've just returned from a two-week vacation, so it's time to catch up with a few things that caught my interest during the first half of June. First, a topic near to my heart: In Dominicana, the official journal of the St. Joseph Province of the Dominican Order, Br. Bonaventure...

Three more short must-read essays by Phil Lawler - Jul 13, 2015

As Pope Francis ended his trip to South America—during which he had made some memorable statements on economic affairs—Samuel Gregg observed that the Pope’s rhetoric had a familiar ring; it was uncomfortably close to that of some notable Latin American demagogues, including the...

Weekend reading roundup by Phil Lawler - Jul 10, 2015

From around the web, a few interesting insights to start a summer weekend: Pope Francis has suggested that the world’s Christians should reach an agreement on a common date for the celebration of Easter, ending the confusion that arises when Catholic and Orthodox churches celebrate on...

Intimations of Immortality, again by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jul 9, 2015

In his famous ode “Intimations of Immortality”, William Wordsworth (1770-1850) reflected on the incomparable beauties of nature and the bitter sweetness of human passing. He wrote: We will grieve not, rather find       Strength in what remains behind;    ...

A modest proposal—did I say proposal?—regarding consent before sex by Phil Lawler - Jul 8, 2015

The Affirmative Consent Project is encouraging American college students to sign a contract affirming their mutual agreement before having sexual intercourse. The contract—the group helpfully provides a form—can be memorialized with a Smartphone photo, since sometimes it’s hard...

Remember how much snow there was in Boston last winter? Guess what. by Phil Lawler - Jul 8, 2015

Back in February, did you see me complaining about the record-breaking snowfall? Yes, as a matter of fact you did. I also wondered a bit about what would happen when it all melted. For us, fortunately, the melting was gradual, not at all dramatic. But in Boston… that’s a...

Vatican statement clarifies duties of Catholic faithful after Obergefell decision by Phil Lawler - Jul 2, 2015

Twelve years ago, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith anticipated the possibility that some states might recognize same-sex marriage, and said: In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights...

A Baptist leader with a message the Synod of Bishops should hear by Phil Lawler - Jun 30, 2015

Having read scores of essays, op-eds, and blog posts about the Obergefell decision, I keep coming back to this outstanding piece by Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s commission on ethics and religious liberty. Moore drives home the point that marriage will...

'Helpful' advice for social conservatives: ignore causes, deal with effects by Phil Lawler - Jun 30, 2015

New York Times columnist David Brooks offers friendly advice for social conservatives: “Put aside a culture war that, at least over the near term, you are destined to lose.” Brooks makes a point of saying that he admires social conservatives, and wants to see them succeed. He thinks success...

Good news/bad news on the Vatican PR overhaul by Phil Lawler - Jun 29, 2015

The good news: The Vatican has a new streamlined media operation, with one office responsible for coordinating all communications work. The bad news: that office is staffed by four Italians and one Argentinean-- all of whom have been working for the existing Vatican media groups and/or the...

The non-judgmental judge by Phil Lawler - Jun 26, 2015

Robert Mickens is not happy about the huge pro-family rally that was held in Rome last weekend. Mickens writes: Without calling into question the good will or intentions of the individual participants, the gathering seemed like an exercise in fear-mongering through the use of misleading,...

How often did police join in the cover-up of sexual abuse? by Phil Lawler - Jun 25, 2015

Cardinal Sean Brady has apologized yet again for the failure to stop the predatory behavior of a pedophile priest, the late Brendan Smyth. If you’ve been following the story you know that Cardinal Brady—now retired, but once the Archbishop of Armagh, successor to St. Patrick, and...

What’s all this about air conditioning? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jun 23, 2015

It never ceases to amaze me that some people who consider themselves good Catholics are ever ready to jump all over the Pope, even with ridicule, whenever he says something that—in their sole and generally ill-considered estimation—is “stupid”. Such persons frequently...

Invoking martyrs for marriage while we wait for the Supreme Court ruling by Phil Lawler - Jun 22, 2015

As we nervously await a momentous decision from the US Supreme Court, today we celebrate the feast of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher. It’s appropriate to invoke their help, in our prayers that the Court will be guided by right reason in ruling on a case that would re-define...

My favorite podcast: the History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps by Thomas Van - Jun 20, 2015

Do you enjoy learning about philosophy? (If not, please leave the premises immediately. Don’t let the Adorno hit your Aspasia on the way out.) I suspect a fair number of our readers would like to know more about philosophy, but find themselves with relatively little time to pursue that...

The mountain moved by Phil Lawler - Jun 17, 2015

Were you aware that Mount Everest has moved—about three centimeters to the southwest? They say it’s because of the April earthquake in Nepal. For my part, I’d be looking for someone with faith the size of a mustard seed. In this case, a biggish mustard seed....

The Conciliar discussion on Divine Revelation, from de Lubac’s notes by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jun 15, 2015

I have just added a new section to Henri de Lubac’s fascinating notes on Vatican II. The addition covers the discussions of the doctrinal schema which would eventually become the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation. The proceedings at the Second Vatican Council in mid-November of 1962...

Watching The Diary of a Country Priest: Bresson's film adaptation by Thomas Van - Jun 10, 2015

Since I've just finished a series of articles on Bernanos's novel The Diary of a Country Priest, I’d like to say something about the famous film adaptation by Robert Bresson, which deserves its reputation as one of the greatest Catholic films ever made. The film hews very...

The real lesson of free speech, surely, is that ungrounded pluralism is doomed. by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jun 9, 2015

It’s a complex question, freedom of speech, and it demands prudence on all sides. This was illustrated all too clearly by the imprisonment of Htin Linn Oo, who criticized the behavior of certain Buddhist monks in Myanmar. A well-known writer and member of the opposition to the party in...

Archbishop Nienstedt isn't—and shouldn't be—the sole focus of the criminal complaint in Minnesota by Phil Lawler - Jun 8, 2015

The criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis are very bad news for Archbishop John Nienstedt. He now becomes the American bishop most clearly in the cross-hairs of Church critics; the calls for his resignation will be louder and more frequent. Like his most recent...

Reading The Diary of a Country Priest: Suffering and Humility by Thomas Van - Jun 8, 2015

[This is part of a series of articles collecting insightful passages on various themes from Georges Bernanos's classic novel The Diary of a Country Priest.] Suffering I can understand how a man, sure of himself and his courage, might wish to make of his death a perfect...

Two quick music links: Ennio Morricone and Ted Gioia by Thomas Van - Jun 8, 2015

This week the Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone will be conducting a Mass he composed for the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Jesuit order. The Mass is titled "Missae Papae Francisci." Morricone has scored many great films including The Mission, The Good, the...

Against Interfaith-Dialogical Mushiness by Thomas Van - Jun 4, 2015

At Good Letters, a blog hosted by Image journal, poet Brian Volck writes on the falsity of the cliché "All religions are really saying the same thing in different words." Volck notes that successful interfaith dialogues, such as the one between the Dalai Lama and...

OTG: Climate change, Catholic mediation, and taming the wolf by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jun 3, 2015

Over at the Taming the Wolf Institute, Greg Stone offers an interesting approach to the thorny questions raised by the recent support of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences for the moral and political aims of the global warming movement. I commented on this briefly in What was the climate change...

Did sexual abuse prompt a murder? by Phil Lawler - Jun 3, 2015

As I read this story from yesterday’s CWN headline coverage, a scenario arose full-blown in my mind. I know nothing about what happened to Father Joseph Kerrigan. I don’t even know whether he was guilty of sexual abuse, as charged. But I can easily imagine what might have happened, in this or...

Reading The Diary of a Country Priest: Hell by Thomas Van - Jun 2, 2015

[This is part of a series of articles collecting insightful passages on various themes from Georges Bernanos's classic novel The Diary of a Country Priest.] In the following two passages, the protagonist tries to give a member of his flock some idea of the true horror of...

Pope Francis: Get it? Got it. Good! by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jun 1, 2015

The older I get, the more I tend to screen out all the “noise” which my lengthening experience has confirmed to be useless. So maybe this is just me. But my impression is that the cacophony of self-serving jabber surrounding the pontificate of Jorge Mario Bergoglio has subsided...

Want more commentary? Visit the Archives.

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Another Month Closer to God July 31
Links to the past July 30
Fetal tissues and vaccinations; are you part of the problem? July 30
The mystery of conversion, always deeply rooted in Divine mercy July 30
Vatican delegations ought to avoid the rhetoric of the world. July 30

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days