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

Liberal visions of Catholicism: Kickstarter and the world's largest NGO by Phil Lawler - Monday

When pundits set out to criticize the Catholic Church, they sometimes expose more about their own preconceptions than about the alleged failures of the hierarchy. Consider: In a highly tendentious Time essay about tensions between the Vatican and American women religious, Jo Piazza begins with...

OTG: The Blessed Book of Beasts by Thomas Van - Saturday

There is a long-standing Judeo-Christian tradition of using animals to teach moral and spiritual lessons. Jesus used sparrows to illustrate God’s care for his creatures, and the book of Proverbs describes certain animals as wise. The saints John Chrysostom and Francis de Sales often used...

Weekend reading by Phil Lawler - Friday

Going into the long Labor Day weekend, here are a few thought-provoking editorial columns: David Quinn, writing in the Irish Independent, argues that ”Commercial surrogacy is a disaster and must be banned .” He illustrates his point with a few of the tangled legal issues that inevitably arise...

A new approach to Vatican appointments? by Phil Lawler - Thursday

Vatican journalist John Thavis makes an interesting observation about today’s news that Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, to become Archbishop of Valencia. That appointment, Thavis notes, “violated the age-old Roman...

The rising, dangerous influence of 'transgender' ideology by Phil Lawler - Wednesday

Stella Morabito, who has been writing perceptive commentary for the Federalist site on the dangers of the trans-gender movement, has made another important contribution with her observation that radical feminists, of all people, are violently opposed to this, the latest offensive of the sexual...

Does the EU flag evoke the patronage of the Virgin Mary? by Phil Lawler - Wednesday

Have you ever taken a good look at the flag of the European Union. Twelve stars, forming a circle against a blue background. Does that remind you of anything? Philip Jenkins, in a fascinating piece for Aleteia, makes the connection to the Book of Revelation (12:1), and the woman “clothed...

The diocese as corporate sponsor by Phil Lawler - Aug 27, 2014

Full disclosure, part I: If you come visit the Lawlers, you’ll notice solar panels on the roof of our home. We had them installed because we thought it was a good investment—and, yes, good stewardship of resources. It made sense. Full disclosure, part II: If you are inspired by our example, and...

OTG: Lectures on Art and Faith in NYC by Thomas Van - Aug 26, 2014

Last fall, Jeff Mirus posted about an upcoming lecture series, The Art of the Beautiful, put on by the Catholic Artists Society in Manhattan. The CAS is an association of artists and media professionals, centered in New York City, working for the greater glory of God and the common good....

St. Paul on Helping those in Need by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Aug 25, 2014

St. Paul never seems to have done anything by halves, whether he was persecuting or preaching Christ. The same was true of the manner in which he challenged other Christians to live the Gospel. This came home to me again last night while reading the eighth chapter of his second letter to the...

2013-2014 Liturgical Year Volume 6 Released by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Aug 25, 2014

I have just released the sixth and final ebook volume of this year's liturgical year series. This series makes available, in ebook form, all the daily information in our liturgical year section. It features the feasts, saints biographies, historical and devotional information, activities,...

The real reason why divorced/remarried German Catholics are leaving the Church by Phil Lawler - Aug 22, 2014

From Germany and the Frankfurter Allgemaine Zeitung, via England and The Tablet, comes news that many German Catholics who have divorced and remarried are now formally leaving the Church “because they are afraid that church authorities will find out that they have remarried in a register...

An unexpected surge in confessions? by Phil Lawler - Aug 21, 2014

Have you noticed that when you go to Confession these days, you wait longer in line? I thought perhaps this was happening only in my parish, but friends elsewhere report a similar phenomenon. A friendly priest, with whom I chatted recently, reports that he’s long been in the habit of bringing...

An Iraqi archbishop's warning to the West by Phil Lawler - Aug 19, 2014

From his temporary lodging in Erbil, Iraq, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Amel Nona of Mosul sent a grim warning to the West, in an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera. His words speak for themselves. Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western...

The cause for beatification of Archbishop Romero: BBC botched the story by Phil Lawler - Aug 19, 2014

Secular journalists frequently get things wrong when they report on the internal affairs of the Catholic Church, and for some reason British journalists have a particular bad track record in that respect. But rarely does a secular outlet get a story so thorough muddled as this BBC report on the...

Immigration: first, acknowledge the system is broken by Phil Lawler - Aug 18, 2014

Samuel Gregg of the Acton Institute offers another balanced reflection on the immigration controversy, noting that the Church encourages affluent societies to show generosity toward migrants, while demanding that migrants respect the laws and norms of the societies that accept them. But...

Another glimpse of Tolkien by Thomas Van - Aug 18, 2014

On a whim, I recently went to the library and picked up a book that may interest Tolkien devotees like myself. Every year from 1920 to 1943, Tolkien wrote letters to his children in the character of Father Christmas, who sent them not just presents but lovely drawings and stories of his home at...

A Rose for the Assumption by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Aug 15, 2014

How lovely is this Dawn of the everlasting day, who, carried into heaven, seems only to grow in the blessedness of her incomparable glory. May the secrets of eternal sweetness wafting upon those who love her always fill our hearts, and may we always rejoice in the blessings prepared for the souls...

No, the Vatican has not endorsed the US military action in Iraq by Phil Lawler - Aug 12, 2014

Several internet sites are reporting that Pope Francis has endorsed the US bombing campaign in Iraq. Those reports are inaccurate. Some leading Church officials—not including the Pope—have spoken in support of military action to prevent the continued slaughter of Christians. But...

The bogus popularity of the LCWR by Phil Lawler - Aug 11, 2014

Back sometime around 1970, a mischievous pollster conducted a 3-question survey that conclusively demonstrated the ignorance of American voters. Similar polls have been taken several times since then, always with the same result. The three questions go like this: Are you satisfied or...

Private Schools in Uganda: Taxing, Very Taxing by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Aug 7, 2014

I appreciate the remarks made by the Ugandan bishop of Kasana-Luweero when he objected to the government’s repeal of tax-exemptions for private schools. But in his zeal to present private schools as an ally of government, Bishop Paul Ssemogerere may have fallen into a subtle trap. Bishop...

Another argument for reform in the Roman Curia by Phil Lawler - Aug 1, 2014

Next time someone asks you why we need reform of the Roman Curia, you might point out that it took the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW) nine years to decide that the Sign of Peace should be exchanged with dignity. How difficult is it to imagine an organization efficient enough to reach that...

Talk to your kids about porn! by Thomas Van - Aug 1, 2014

Parents typically find it easy to talk to their young children about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, peer pressure and “stranger danger.” So why is it that so many parents are so afraid of or uncomfortable with talking about sex? It could be because sex is the most personal of all of...

In other words, to be a Christian means this: by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jul 31, 2014

After reading my three part exploration of Hans Urs von Balthasar’s trenchant book, Who Is a Christian?, some have wanted a more precise explanation of how to be a truly devout Christian. Here is the best advice I can offer. The virtue of devotion is nothing other than a general...

Wanted: a balanced Catholic perspective on immigration by Phil Lawler - Jul 31, 2014

For a Christians, it seems, immigration is—or should be—a complicated issue. On the one hand, charity compels those of us who are comfortable to help those who are in need, including those who seek to escape from poverty, crime, or persecution. On the other hand, a legitimate concern...

OTG: Dominican theologians assess proposals for divorced and remarried by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jul 29, 2014

A group of eight Dominican theologians in the United States has released what I believe is a seminal study in preparation for the 2014 and 2015 synods on the family. The title of this important study is “Recent Proposals for the Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried: A Theological...

Wrongheaded diocesan legal defenses in abuse cases by Phil Lawler - Jul 24, 2014

A Missouri judge observes that when the Kansas City diocese suggests that it might want to reconsider an agreement with sex-abuse victims, it “sends a bad message.” It sure does. Yet it’s a message that Church leaders keep sending. In Minnesota, another judge rejected a...

New HHS Mandate must truly eliminate complicity by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jul 23, 2014

It will be interesting to see what the White House comes up with next, now that the HHS Contraceptive Mandate in its present form has been shot down. The most likely outcome would be a proposal which keeps contraceptive, abortifacient and sterilizing procedures covered by medical insurance without...

A legislative mockery: Massachusetts lawmakers rush to replace unconstitutional 'buffer zone' bill by Phil Lawler - Jul 22, 2014

You might think that, when a state law is struck down as unconstitutional, by a 9-0 decision of the US Supreme Court, the legislators who passed that law would feel chastened. Not in Massachusetts. Reacting with almost comical haste to the unanimous Supreme Court decision that overturned a...

Fool me once... by Phil Lawler - Jul 14, 2014

Back in October a 90-year-old Italian journalist published an “interview” in which he published some provocative quotations from Pope Francis. Only later did we learn that he hadn’t taken notes, and the “quotations” were reconstructed from his own memory of the...

OTG: Crowdfunding can change lives by Thomas Van - Jul 11, 2014

A professor at Christendom College has started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to pay for psychological counseling for students who cannot afford it. The campaign, which has reached a third of its monetary goal with 34 days remaining, will provide a $1,500 course of treatment for two...

The 'papal World Cup rivalry' story has now jumped the shark by Phil Lawler - Jul 11, 2014

“World Cup final pits Pope Francis versus retired Pope Benedict,” shouts the headline on the CBC site. Hmm. A 77-year-old man with a limp against an 87-year-old man with a cane. Playing soccer. No offense to either Pontiff, but if that’s what they’re showing on TV this Sunday, I think I’ll...

Hot (news) flash: the Pill suppresses fertility by Phil Lawler - Jul 10, 2014

Something’s seriously wrong with the headline on this story: Birth control pills may damage women’s fertility, experts say If you take blood-pressure pills, and find that your blood pressure is lower, you aren’t upset, are you? I mean, the purpose of blood-pressure pills is to suppress blood...

Catching up on summer reading by Phil Lawler - Jul 10, 2014

A flood of important recent news stories, many of them calling for some careful analysis, has left me with little extra time in the past week or two. So instead of commenting on some of the thought-provoking articles that I have found on other sites, I have set them aside for future notice. Now...

Lay theologians on board? Two applications of the sensus fidei by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jul 9, 2014

In yesterday’s In Depth Analysis on the new document from the International Theological Commission (The ITC’s compelling exploration of the sensus fidei—the sense of faith), I focused mostly on what is required for a member of Christ’s faithful to participate effectively in...

The war(s) on women by Phil Lawler - Jul 4, 2014

So I guess all Americans face a choice. If you're not prepared to wage all-out war on women's reproductive powers, you're engaged in a war on women. By the same logic, if you learn that a certain pesticide prevents trees from bearing fruit, and you urge the government not to...

The enduring myth of pro-life violence at abortion clinics by Phil Lawler - Jun 30, 2014

In a Boston Globe column decrying what she sees as the negative effects of the Supreme Court decision that struck down a Massachusetts law establishing a 35’ “buffer zone” outside abortion clinics, Yvonne Abraham suggests that sidewalk counselors impose terrible burdens on...

What about false prophets? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jun 27, 2014

A Sound Off! comment raised a good question about my most recent discussion of Pope Francis’ teachings on the Church (More on Communion with the Church from Pope Francis). I had touched briefly on the ways in which non-Catholic Christians and even non-Christians can be joined to the Church....

Great news! I've made the major leagues! by Phil Lawler - Jun 24, 2014

All my life I have wanted to play shortstop for the Boston Red Sox, and at last my dream will come true! I am in the starting lineup for tonight’s game, which will be played on the field behind the library. We’ll be using a Wiffleball, and playing with 4 men on a side, in accordance with the new...

And this week's Comical Coverage of Catholicism Award goes to... by Phil Lawler - Jun 24, 2014

Sometimes the misleading news reports about the Catholic Church are disturbing. Other times, they’re merely comical. Take for example this entry from KTVI, the Fox affiliate in St. Louis: Catholic priests to vote on whether married men can be ordained It turns out that the...

Pope Francis fails the litmus test of the Left by Phil Lawler - Jun 23, 2014

The subhead for wild diatribe against Pope Francis on the Salon site gives you a pretty accurate indication of what to expect: Don't buy his populist rhetoric. The new pope is every bit the sexist homophobe as his predecessors Anna March is an angry, angry woman. She has just discovered...

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Liberal visions of Catholicism: Kickstarter and the world's largest NGO September 1
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