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

Is Cardinal Schönborn coping? Or just backpedaling? by Phil Lawler - May 1, 2012

The open rebellion among the Catholic clergy of Austria, and the fact that Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has taken no disciplinary action against the rebels, leads Christa Pongratz-Lippitt to pose a question in a National Catholic Reporter column: Is Austria, led by Schönborn, perhaps...

Congressman Ryan and the liberal anathema by Phil Lawler - May 1, 2012

In a Wall Street Journal column on Rep. Paul Ryan’s speech at Georgetown, William McGurn makes an important point: Now, let us stipulate that those of us who incline to Mr. Ryan's application of Catholic social teaching—not least Mr. Ryan himself—do not assert we enjoy any monopoly. Plainly...

Garry Wills hits a time warp by Phil Lawler - Apr 30, 2012

Defending the Leadership Conference of Women Religious against that nasty old Vatican in the New York Review of Books, Garry Wills invites the reader to step into a time machine and travel back to the early 1960s: The priests drive their own new cars, while nuns ride the bus (always in pairs)....

On the Good Thief by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 30, 2012

Here is another tidbit from Fr. John Saward’s remarkable new anthology, Firmly I Believe and Truly, which seeks to capture The Spiritual Tradition of Catholic England. Fr. Matthew Kellison (1561 - 1642) is meditating on Our Lord’s promise from the cross, “This day thou shalt...

No, Paul Ryan does not admire Ayn Rand by Phil Lawler - Apr 26, 2012

By now you’ve probably heard that Congressman Paul Ryan is a big fan of the “objectivist” philosophy Ayn Rand. If you hadn’t heard those reports earlier this year, Father Tom Reese provided a reminder when he joined the Georgetown faculty members protesting Ryan’s appearance on campus: I am...

Rally sons of Notre Dame!* by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 25, 2012

I’m disappointed with 95 members of the faculty of the University of Notre Dame, who have demanded Bishop Daniel Jenky’s resignation from the Board of Fellows because of references to Obama, Hitler and Stalin in a recent homily. After all, the full text of the Bishop’s remarks is...

What Sally Quinn wants by Phil Lawler - Apr 24, 2012

Sally Quinn, the woman who parlayed her social standing into a career as a columnist for the Washington Post, inadvertently tells readers something about herself in the course of a tirade against the Catholic Church: I’m not a Catholic but when I attend services I want to feel holy and...

Cardinal Mahony dodges again by Phil Lawler - Apr 23, 2012

It’s a coincidence, no doubt, that the Stockton diocese settled a sex-abuse case just before Cardinal Roger Mahony, the former Bishop of Stockton, was scheduled to testify. Actually Cardinal Mahony wasn’t ready to take questions. He had left for Rome, ignoring his date with the...

Getting the Green Pope Right by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 23, 2012

As I pointed out in September of 2010, Pope Benedict’s frequent emphasis on environmental themes is loaded with Christian insight into what we might call human ecology (see Principles of Catholic Environmentalism). Phil Lawler had already made this point nine months earlier, also explaining...

Chuck Colson: the life the secular media didn't notice by Phil Lawler - Apr 23, 2012

Chuck Colson, one of the most prominent Evangelical leaders in America, died on April 21 after suffering a brain hemorrhage. For a short time in the 1970s, Colson was known as a “dirty tricks” expert in the Nixon administration. After undergoing a religious conversion he ignored the...

Do You Have a Date? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 19, 2012

If you’re working with “small” dates as a programmer, you might express today’s date as 2012-04-19. You might use that date as an identifier in a database if you were programming a system that would bring up particular information about particular dates. I’m talking...

Chuck Colson near death; prayers requested by Phil Lawler - Apr 18, 2012

The leaders of Prison Fellowship Ministries have put out an urgent call for prayers for their founder, Chuck Colson, who is apparently nearing the end of his remarkable life. Colson, who is 80 years old, was hospitalized earlier this month with a brain hemorrhage. A White House staff member...

Big Deal! by Chris Pelicano - Apr 18, 2012

"Being offended" is in such vogue these days. It is either the basis for or the dominant element in most major news stories. "Offense" is a kind of fuel that keeps the fire of "righteousness" alive. And "righteousness" is crucial to news stories, it is what...

Beware of Greeks no longer bearing gifts by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 17, 2012

It happened in America during the Great Depression, and it is happening in Greece now. The suicide rate is up 45 percent since the Greek debt crisis forced the government into austerity measures. One man, commenting on the suicide of a friend, put it this way: The government has to understand...

Peer Pressure: Just Say No by Chris Pelicano - Apr 17, 2012

C.S. Lewis once commented that it is impossible to say the right thing about the Blessed Virgin Mary. Whatever is said is either insultingly too little or insultingly too much (depending on the audience). In today's culture the same could be true when addressing the subject of race. Nevertheless,...

Does anybody trust science any more? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 16, 2012

According to a study done at the University of North Carolina, trust in science—or at least in scientists—among American conservatives is waning fast. In 1978, 48 percent of conservatives said they had “a great deal of trust” in the scientific community. But two years ago,...

Roman Catholic Womenpriests and their journalistic cheerleaders, continued by Phil Lawler - Apr 16, 2012

We’ve covered this ground before , but we’ll go over it again because it’s probably important and undoubtedly amusing to notice how completely reporters abandon their normal standards sometimes. This time it’s the Indianapolis Star printing a story that even its own...

Too Short for an Article by Peter Mirus - Apr 16, 2012

I’ve been very busy with work and family over the past two weeks, so here are some seeds that haven’t fully germinated. Hopefully, you’ll get some value from these reflections. The problem of pain. I think we tend to tiptoe around others who are suffering, particularly...

Obama's problem with Moms by Phil Lawler - Apr 13, 2012

If you were working for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign this week, I’m sure you couldn’t have imagined any public statement that would have helped your candidate as much as the mindless burst from Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen that Ann Romney “has actually never worked a day in her life.”...

...and speaking of stay-at-home Moms... by Phil Lawler - Apr 13, 2012

Today I’m sending in my tax returns, so it goes without saying that I’m in a bad mood. Do you realize that you can deduct child-care expenses--unless you care for your own children. And you can deduct education expenses--unless you educate your children at home? If you drop your...

Query to readers: Where is evangelization being done well? by Phil Lawler - Apr 11, 2012

Could you help me with a writing project? I’ve been asked to help put together a book about evangelization, and I feel sure that Catholic Culture readers could provide me with some valuable leads. I'm looking for 10-20 examples of projects that have been successful in bringing converts into...

A farewell to ad-lib liturgists? by Phil Lawler - Apr 10, 2012

Have you noticed the blessing that has come along with the new translation of the Roman Missal? Priests aren’t ad-libbing their way through the Mass any more. Over the years, many priests had grown so familiar with the old translation that they no longer really looked at the Missal. Confident...

Across My Desk: The Effects of the Pill by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 4, 2012

I received a review copy of Mary Eberstadt’s Adam and Eve after the Pill, which is undoubtedly an excellent book. I’m not looking closely at it only because I’ve been sufficiently immersed in the subject that I will not gain much from going through it again, and I already know...

Intemperate language from a Vatican dicastery? by Phil Lawler - Apr 4, 2012

“These people are well known, and the Pontifical Academy and other bodies of the Holy See give them no credibility whatsoever.” Is this how Christians speak of one another? The Pontifical Academy for Life is understandably upset that some pro-life activists were ready to claim credit...

Obamacare: the Baby Boomers prey on their young by Phil Lawler - Apr 3, 2012

My son Joseph, writing for RealClear Policy, has made an important observation about Obamacare that I hadn’t seen before. Even in arguments before the Supreme Court, the Obama administration was loath to discuss the real reason why the individual mandate is an essential element of the plan....

If Obama isn't confident, we should be by Phil Lawler - Apr 3, 2012

"Ultimately, I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress." That’s what President Obama said. Now why did he say it? Obama is setting the...

Only in America: The Etch a Sketch Boom by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 2, 2012

Most people have heard by now of the Romney campaign’s Etch A Sketch gaffe. Asked whether Romney had shifted too far to the right to win in the primaries, chief aide Eric Fehrnstrom said: “You hit a reset button for the fall campaign. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You...

Baseball exceptionalism by Phil Lawler - Apr 2, 2012

When it comes to baseball, I thought I was a true believer. But Joseph Wood, writing for The Catholic Thing, sees signs of divine favor for the game where even I had not detected them: This year, the official opening day of the major league season is April 5, within a week of Easter. Such a...

DDOS Attack by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 30, 2012

CatholicCulture.org was the victim of a distributed denial of service attack yesterday. A DDOS attack occurs when hackers gain control of hundreds or thousands of insecure computers around the world, and then use a master program to instruct these PCs to hit a particular website hard and fast with...

The bees are back!-- for the Easter Vigil by Phil Lawler - Mar 29, 2012

As a hobbyist beekeeper I am elated to learn that my favorite insects have been restored to their proper place in the liturgy. Shawn Tribe of the New Liturgical Movement brings the welcome news that the new translation of the Exsultet, sung at the Easter Vigil, will once again pay tribute to the...

God's unexpected presence by Phil Lawler - Mar 29, 2012

In the Gospel read at today’s Mass (Jn 8:51-55), Jesus states more clearly than ever before that He is indeed the Messiah. The response from the Jews in the Temple is remarkable. Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM." So they picked up...

The curious non-violence of Father Pfleger by Phil Lawler - Mar 27, 2012

Do you remember Father Michael Pfleger? Of course you do. How could you forget the Chicago priest whose public mockery of Hillary Clinton—then competing with his favorite candidate, Barack Obama, for the Democratic presidential nomination—earned him a brief leave of absence? How...

The Anglicans balk at an agreement to disagree by Phil Lawler - Mar 27, 2012

Anglican believers are apparently not enthusiastic about the Anglican Covenant, a document designed to explain how people who do not share the same faith can remain members of the same faith. Let me rephrase that. The Anglican Covenant is a statement that shows how people who don’t believe...

Why not admit it was a bad idea? by Phil Lawler - Mar 27, 2012

The Vatican has cancelled a conference on stem-cell research that had been scheduled for April. You already knew that; we reported the story yesterday. But today’s AP report adds a curious note. The conference has been scrubbed, Vatican officials say, because not enough people had registered to...

On Queens and the Queen by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 27, 2012

Henry Constable (1562 - 1613) had a good political career going in Elizabethan England, but by the time he turned 32, he was convinced that he had to forsake the Church of England and become a Catholic. Sometimes abroad and sometimes at home but in prison, he became a fine Catholic poet. For...

Conservatives are invisible (continued) by Phil Lawler - Mar 26, 2012

Last Friday morning I predicted that the mainstream media would ignore the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies. I’m not boasting; it was an easy prediction to make. But I failed to foresee an interesting contrast. The Washington Post gave zero coverage to the 140+ rallies that drew at...

Today's rallies, and why the media won't notice them by Phil Lawler - Mar 23, 2012

At noon today, tens of thousands of Americans—hundreds of thousands, probably—will participate in the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies in cities scattered from coast to coast. My confident prediction is that these event will receive less media coverage than a single rally, involving a few...

Easter eBook Released by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 22, 2012

If you’re following the Liturgical Year with the aid of the eBooks we’ve developed for this purpose, you’ll be happy to know that the fourth volume in the series, Easter, was just releaed today at shop.catholicculture.org. This one covers the period from the Easter Vigil through...

When everyone is wrong, blame the Catholics by Phil Lawler - Mar 22, 2012

The first sensational headlines said that Catholic Church officials had castrated young men in the Netherlands a generation ago, allegedly to stop their homosexual activities. If the report is true, this was a brutal, appalling offense. But wait. It seems that at the time, castration was a...

Bishop on Board by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 21, 2012

A few days ago, we received an encouraging email from Bishop Hugh Slattery, MSC, in South Africa. I think it says something wonderful about the scope and impact of what we do here at CatholicCulture.org. It may even provide incentive for a a special Lenten donation to our work: Greetings from...

Bishop-bashing, selectively denounced by Phil Lawler - Mar 21, 2012

First Father Tom Reese announced that conservative clerics are too free with their opinions: These days, arch-conservative priests feel much more comfortable attacking their bishops than do liberals because they feel they’ll get support from conservative Catholic blogs and maybe some in the...

Journalistic incompetence by Phil Lawler - Mar 19, 2012

Imagine that there’s a lively public debate about the comparative value of two different automobiles. You’re interested in the debate, so you read a newspaper article about it. But then you notice something remarkable: The newspaper refers to a shock absorber as a “differential stabilizer,” and...

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