Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $36,699 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

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

Is Cardinal Kasper losing his grip? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Friday

It may well be that the discussion of the Kasper Proposal will continue all through the coming year up to and including the 2015 Synod on the Family. I have expressed the optimistic hope that the proposal is actually now dead, except in the media, but time will tell. Meanwhile, one wonders whether...

Do not confuse sacramental discipline and Catholic doctrine. by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Thursday

In the aftermath of the push for the Kasper Proposal at the 2014 Synod on the Family, some Catholics have fallen into the fairly serious error of confusing sacramental discipline with Catholic doctrine. It is Catholic doctrine, for example, that valid sacramental marriage is indissoluble,...

Has the Vatican finally discovered how to avoid inaccurate English translations? by Phil Lawler - Wednesday

The good news: Nobody has complained about inaccuracies in the English-language translation of the Synod's final document. The bad news: That's because the Vatican hasn't yet issued an English...

Cardinal Kasper's unsubtle threat by Phil Lawler - Tuesday

As I mentioned last week, Cardinal Kasper generally assumes—and rightly so-- that journalists will sympathize with his campaign to change Church teaching. So it would be foolish to ignore his insistence that his embarrassment at the Synod was caused by a dark conspiracy , and now...

When Catholics are less Catholic than non-Catholics by Phil Lawler - Monday

The Catholic Church does not settle doctrinal questions by majority vote. And since surveys of Catholic opinion usually record the answers of any respondents who identify themselves as Catholics, we don’t have many reliable indications of what faithful, practicing Catholics think, anyway....

Cardinal Kasper's nose is growing again by Phil Lawler - Oct 18, 2014

First Cardinal Kasper claimed that he had never made those shocking comments dismissing the views of African bishops. Then we heard the conversation. Now the cardinal says that he won’t comment on the taped interview because it was unauthorized and journalist Edward Pentin had not introduced...

No, mainstream religious orders aren't attracting vocations as fast as younger traditional orders by Phil Lawler - Oct 17, 2014

Let’s say you have two children. One of them, a little toddler, has put on 5 pounds in the past month. The other, a teenage boy, has also gained 5 pounds over the same span of time. Which one would you say is growing faster? The toddler, obviously. It’s not surprising when a healthy...

The Synod: Is the sky falling? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 17, 2014

I confess I marvel at how many people assume that conflict among bishops at the Synod on the Family must mean that the sky is falling. If one side or the other in a particular dispute employs strategies that seem more appropriate to politics, the fear is that they are evil geniuses destroying the...

A Manichean Luther by Thomas Van - Oct 17, 2014

An in-depth article at Unam Sanctam Catholicam takes a look at modern scholarship which reveals that Martin Luther's theology was far less orthodox than is commonly believed: For most of post-Reformation history, it has been axiomatic in theological histories of the controversy to propose...

The trouble with 'gradualism' by Phil Lawler - Oct 15, 2014

Pope Francis has compared the Church to a field hospital, a place where wounded people come to be healed. Let’s apply that very useful metaphor to the relatio post disceptationem, the interim document from the Synod of Bishops, and in particular to that document’s call for...

Pastoral-needs quiz by Phil Lawler - Oct 10, 2014

Among the following groups, which does NOT require special pastoral attention and a warm welcome into every Catholic parish? active homosexuals cohabiting couples couples who are divorced and remarried (no annulment) daily communicants who do not contribute to the Bishop’s...

It's safe. Perfectly safe. No need to mention it. by Phil Lawler - Oct 10, 2014

Researchers at the University of Adelaide, Australia, are questioning whether estrogen in the environment might account for a rise in obesity and a drop in sperm count among men in affluent countries. The Daily Mail helpfully informs us that chemicals similar to estrogen can be found in PVC pipes...

Why the Wesolowski trial belongs at the Vatican by Phil Lawler - Oct 3, 2014

Suppose you were arrested and told that you’d be facing criminal charges that could lead to a 12-year prison sentence. Would you say that the police were “sheltering” you? I doubt it. Yet a Boston Globe editorial complains that the Vatican is sheltering Jozef Wesolowski, the defrocked...

How ESPN makes Uncle Screwtape happy by Phil Lawler - Oct 2, 2014

Anthony Esolen is always worth reading. He hits nails on heads. And he comes at his targets from unexpected angles, so that the point is pounded home almost before the reader can see where it’s going. A professional football star is charged with subjecting his child to pitiless physical...

The myth of religious violence by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 2, 2014

At CatholicCulture.org we grow weary of hearing so many people who should know better praise our secular institutions for saving us from the violence inherent in religious faith. Nonetheless, we “soldier” on, ministering to ignorance. After all, it doesn’t take more than a...

Using the figure of Pope Francis for evangelization by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 1, 2014

Pope Francis is often illuminating, yet sometimes frustrating. His words and actions are never bland; in fact, they are nearly always pointed. This accounts for the continued preoccupation of the media, and for the enormous attention he has garnered from Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Those...

If Catholic priests never preach on sexual morality, be suspicious by Phil Lawler - Oct 1, 2014

So now we know why Bishop Kieran Conry never preached about sexual morality. What about the umpteen other bishops and priests who never come near the subject? Do they, too, have something to hide? Think about it. What are the possible reasons for a pastor’s silence on issues of sexual...

Oh, that sort of misconduct by Phil Lawler - Sep 29, 2014

Bishop Kieran Conry has resigned, admitting to personal misconduct. Although he has not been specific, it seems likely that he’s referring to some form of sexual misconduct. Fair enough. We don’t need to know the details. But there are some things that we do know about Bishop...

Don’t worry about terrorism; worry about workplace violence? by Phil Lawler - Sep 29, 2014

The Oklahoma beheading, analysts solemnly tell us, was an act of workplace violence, not terrorism. They explain that the killer acted on his own; he was apparently not in contact with any terrorist group. Why doesn’t that reassurance make us feel any better? Because if you’re...

Two steps forward, one step back: mixed signals from Vatican on abuse and accountability by Phil Lawler - Sep 26, 2014

Yesterday, buoyed by the latest news from the Vatican, I concluded a happy comment by observing that with the removal of a Paraguayan bishop: The message from Rome is loud and clear: It doesn’t matter what else you do; if you don’t protect children from abuse, you’re out. Today the Vatican...

Legitimately Fuzzy Grounds for Annulment by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 26, 2014

When I wrote about motivations for annulment yesterday, I concentrated on the dispositions which all those who take marriage seriously as a sacramental vocation should have when it comes to entering the process. One of the practical reasons a proper disposition is essential for both the...

Another giant step forward in the Vatican's fight to stop abuse—and demand accountability by Phil Lawler - Sep 25, 2014

Just yesterday I made the observation that Pope Francis has ratcheted up the intensity of the drive against clerical abuse, by authorizing the arrest and prosecution of former papal nuncio Josef Wesolowski. Today, with the removal of Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano, the ratchet clicked several...

Criminal trial for defrocked archbishop: Vatican ratchets up intensity on abuse by Phil Lawler - Sep 24, 2014

For Pope Benedict the first major test was Father Marcial Maciel. For Pope Francis it is the former papal nuncio (and former archbishop), Josef Wesolowski. Both Pontiffs passed the first test. Father Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, was still riding high in Rome in 2005. Protected...

Those 'inclusive' invocations at inter-faith events: are they really Christian prayers? by Phil Lawler - Sep 24, 2014

When asked to say a blessing at an inter-religious gathering, how many Catholic priests carefully avoid any mention of Jesus? Even a prayer offered to the “Father” might trouble adherents of those faiths that believe in a deity infinitely removed from the human estate. But “the...

The implicit “if” in Catholic social teaching on climate change by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 24, 2014

The Vatican Secretary of State’s moral endorsement of a Herculean effort to deal with climate change is a perfect example of why Catholic social teaching is best offered conditionally. In the realm of social teaching, any concrete moral imperative X applies only on the presumption that the...

The Kasper proposal: a friendly amendment by Phil Lawler - Sep 24, 2014

An old friend recently wrote to me with a suggestion that seems so practical, it deserves broad consideration: I find in myself growing sympathy for Cardinal Kasper's concern for a "pastoral solution" to the problem of admitting divorced and remarried Catholics to Communion, and I...

On annulments, the process is not the problem by Phil Lawler - Sep 23, 2014

Canon-law expert Edward Peters makes a compelling argument that while there may be serious problems regarding annulments, the canonical process is not the problem. Peters observes that Catholics are unhappy about annulments for two quite different reasons: There are basically two groups...

Eucharistic Adoration, a Sure Sign of Catholic Renewal by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 22, 2014

In a large church, Eucharistic Adoration is normally held in a side chapel. The number of adorers is seldom great at any one time. In fact, often people deliberately spread themselves thin to cover an around-the-clock cycle. Not so yesterday in the State of Oklahoma. In Oklahoma City, the...

St. Augustine's warning to pastors by Phil Lawler - Sep 18, 2014

If you’re a Catholic pastor—and especially if you’re a bishop—today’s Office of Readings, from St. Augustine’s sermon On Pastors, isn’t easy to dismiss lightly. The defects of the sheep are widespread. There are a very few healthy, fat sheep – that is, those that are made strong by feeding on...

Side effects of the Pill? Oh, don't worry. by Phil Lawler - Sep 17, 2014

Count on it: Within a few weeks there will be a new study assuring women that they should not worry about links between the Pill and multiple sclerosis. The question in my mind, however, is whether women of child-bearing age will have time to not worry about the possible connection between the...

Scotland demonstrates the provisional nature of sovereignty by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 17, 2014

The campaign for Scotland’s independence from the United Kingdom draws to a close today. While I am sure this question is enormously important to many in Scotland, when viewed from a distance it best serves to illustrate the principle that political entities have no absolute character. By...

New Ebook on Renewal and Evangelization by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 15, 2014

We have just released our latest collection of essays from CatholicCulture.org, this time on the subject of renewal. It is entitled Renewal and Evangelization: Person, Church and World. The author is yours truly, Jeff Mirus. The book includes some fifty essays written between 2005 and 2014,...

More evidence that you can't trust the Pill by Phil Lawler - Sep 15, 2014

All too often, debates about family planning proceed from the assumption that the Pill is foolproof. Not so. A useful article in the New York Times, complete with an informative graph, compares the effectiveness of various forms of family planning over long periods of time, and makes an...

Did Cardinal McCarrick compare Allah to the Trinity? by Phil Lawler - Sep 15, 2014

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick began a speech to a Muslim group with the traditional Islamic invocation: “In the name of God, the merciful and compassionate,” according to a report by the Daily Caller. The retired Archbishop of Washington also used a traditional Islamic formula in a reference to...

OTG: An intriguing new Catholic publisher: Tuscany Press by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 15, 2014

Some months ago a surprising book came across my desk, a review copy of a novel from a publisher I had not yet heard of—David Beckett’s The Cana Mystery. The story revolves around the discovery of the “lost jars of Cana”, the jars used when Our Lord changed water into wine....

Addressing the Root Cause of Clerical Homosexual Behavior and Pederasty by Richard Cross - Sep 12, 2014

The Church has attempted to address the issue of clerical pederasty—arguably belatedly—as a problem of crime and punishment on the one hand, and personality on the other. The announced appointment of Robert Geisinger, SJ will hopefully address the problem of abuse with a more...

OTG: Important New Manual of Catholic Medical Ethics by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 10, 2014

A comprehensive guide to medical ethics, based on the teachings of the Catholic Church, has just been released by Connor Court Publishing in Australia. The text was originally assembled and edited by Dutch Catholic professionals, and has recently been published in an English edition under the...

A Smart Move: The Pope appoints a Jesuit to prosecute sex abuse by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 10, 2014

The decision of Pope Francis to appoint an American Jesuit to spearhead the Church’s prosecution of clerical sex abuse cases is very likely also a shot across the bows of the Society of Jesus itself. It is an excellent way to buttress forces of renewal within the Jesuits by utilizing one of...

A guide for bishops talking to pro-abortion politicians by Phil Lawler - Sep 10, 2014

Speaking with John Allen of Crux about the question of whether pro-abortion Catholic politicians should be denied the Eucharist, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said that the American bishops have left that argument behind. “Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the...

What lesson can be learned from Cardinal Brady's resignation? by Phil Lawler - Sep 8, 2014

Calls for the resignation of Cardinal Sean Brady began to circulate in Ireland early in 2010. But the Primate of All Ireland resisted the pressure, saying that he planned to serve (note the verb: serve) until reaching the normal retirement age. And so he did. Now the Pope has accepted Cardinal...

Want more commentary? Visit the Archives.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Church Moves On, Slowly 23 hours ago
Is Cardinal Kasper losing his grip? October 24
The Pope is not the problem October 23
Do not confuse sacramental discipline and Catholic doctrine. October 23
Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal October 22

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6