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

Payoffs? Bonuses? Nonsense! Milwaukee archdiocese offered severance payments. by Phil Lawler - Jun 1, 2012

Let’s say you run a business. You discover that several of your employees have engaged in gross misconduct. Naturally you want to fire them. But it’s complicated. You have contractual obligations to these workers. If you stop paying them immediately, they could sue. You’d probably win in court,...

A Commentator’s Time and Energy Test by Dr. Jeff Mirus - May 31, 2012

I wanted to add another vote of confidence for those who are working so hard to expose Planned Parenthood, but that would have involved a careful critique of the incomplete treatment of lying in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and a reminder that catechisms are conveniences, not definitive...

Calm down, folks. This isn't a Vatican crisis. by Phil Lawler - May 31, 2012

Reuters says that the Vatileaks scandal is “the worst crisis in Pope Benedict’s pontificate”…”a scandal that has shaken the very centre of the Church.” Vatican Insider offers offers this melodramatic tidbit: “Somehow this is even worse than the storm caused by the Church paedophilia scandal,”...

Angrily? by Phil Lawler - May 30, 2012

“Pope Benedict on Wednesday angrily denounced media coverage of a leaks scandal shaking the Roman Catholic Church, saying it presented a false image of the Holy See.” Thus runs the lede of a Reuters story today. Yes, the Pope definitely said that the media reports were creating a...

Caught on videotape, Planned Parenthood tries to spin out of trouble again by Phil Lawler - May 30, 2012

How do you go about claiming your innocence, after you’ve been caught red-handed on videotape? It ain’t easy. But if you’re a PR flak for Planned Parenthood, at least you have some experience, since—thanks to Live Action undercover work—Planned Parenthood has been...

How not to defend yourself against an accusation of promoting violence by Phil Lawler - May 29, 2012

It’s not the first time this has happened, and regrettably won’t be the last time, but today’s CWN headline story from Pakistan raises a question about the logic of militant Islam. If someone accuses you of a tendency toward violence, do you really think you can dispel that notion by threatening...

Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, R.I.P. by Dr. Jeff Mirus - May 25, 2012

I admit it. I liked Ettore Tedeschi. He was a breath of fresh air when it came to the comments of Vatican officials on the economy. But now Tedeschi, the head of the Vatican Bank, has been fired. Still, consider these 2011 stories: Vatican bank’s president criticizes America’s...

Hans Küng's extremism runs full circle by Phil Lawler - May 24, 2012

You’ve head the theory that when left-wingers push things to an extreme, they meet the right-wingers coming from the other direction? Here’s a bit more evidence: Hans Küng, the favorite theologian of the Catholic Left, has rendered his judgment that Pope Benedict XVI should not reconcile with...

A laughable Iranian challenge to Christianity by Phil Lawler - May 24, 2012

A publisher in Iran is text touting a discovery that will “undermine the Christian Church and its authority and will revolutionize the religion in the world.” The publisher doesn’t actually have the evidence that will produce this stunning result. But if you’re going to...

Are these what trends look like? by Phil Lawler - May 24, 2012

Here’s a report that speaks volumes about trends in the Catholic Church in America. This year one graduate of New York’s archdiocesan seminary—just one—was ordained to the priesthood for the archdiocese. That one new priest, Father Patric D’Arcy, chose to celebrate his first Mass in the...

Children Do Matter, and the Book is Free by Dr. Jeff Mirus - May 23, 2012

Johann Christoph Arnold is a Christian pastor, teacher, writer, and expert on family life and conflict resolution. He’s written more than one book about raising children, and he has also written on sex, marriage, forgiveness and overcoming the fear of death. He also gets around; his book on...

The 1921 Murder of a Priest by Dr. Jeff Mirus - May 23, 2012

Perhaps you read today’s news story, Alabama: Methodist bishop seeks forgiveness for priest’s 1921 murder, and perhaps you had no idea what it was all about. But if you were reading CatholicCulture.org back in early 2010, or you have browsed back that far since, you would know exactly...

Bishop Pat Buckley? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - May 23, 2012

So I got this email through our Contact Form from someone calling himself “Bishop Pat Buckley”, directing us to his new blog. So I clicked the link. and I noticed in his profile that his “occupation” is indeed “Catholic Bishop”, and I also noticed that the blog...

An abortionist's upside-down logic by Phil Lawler - May 22, 2012

Abortionist Willie Parker told a sympathetic interviewer from the Washington Post why he opposes a bill that would outlaw the destruction of unborn babies after 20 weeks of gestation. If you believe his argument, Parker is motivated entirely by his empathy for people in need—not at all by the...

Going Gaga by Dr. Jeff Mirus - May 22, 2012

The request of the Philippine bishops that the government bar the performances of Lady Gaga there raises a number of interesting questions. How far should freedom of expression extend? What is the role of government in the protection and promotion of morality and religion? Should the Church look...

Georgetown, Sebelius, and the LA Times: who's stifling debate now? by Phil Lawler - May 18, 2012

Are the editors of the Los Angeles Times misinforming their readers intentionally? Or are they really too stupid to make simple distinctions? In an editorial with the grossly misleading title “Silencing Kathleen Sebelius,” the Times criticizes the Washington archdiocese for finding fault with...

The Times, same-sex unions, and dissident priests, continued by Phil Lawler - May 18, 2012

Earlier this week I wrote about a remarkable report in the New York Times, which asserted that some Catholic priests bless same-sex unions. The Times report was remarkable, I argued, precisely because the paper treated it as unremarkable—as if “everyone knows” some priests give...

To participate in a study of Spiritual Motherhood to uplift priests... by Dr. Jeff Mirus - May 18, 2012

Mary Gannon Kaufmann is writing a book on spiritual motherhood of priests based on the 2007 document from the Congregation for the Clergy, Adoration, Reparation, Spiritual Motherhood for Priests. The title of the book is Becoming a Life-giving Woman: What Spiritual Motherhood of Priests Holds for...

The Curmudgeon Stone by Dr. Jeff Mirus - May 18, 2012

Admit it, I’m a curmudgeon. Oh, wait, I’m the one who has to admit to being a curmudgeon. You only need to admit that you think I’m a curmudgeon. And the evidence is? Well, for one thing, reading about the healing stone to be unveiled at the next International Eucharistic...

The low price of defaming the Church by Dr. Jeff Mirus - May 17, 2012

Kenyan Bishop Philip Sulumeti’s case against the Irish RTE television network is interesting on a number of counts. In general I’d rather bishops did not sue, but since he has sued, I hope he’ll use any settlement for the good of his flock. The suit concerns a false charge on a...

The cardinal's silence continues... by Phil Lawler - May 16, 2012

Following up on an editorial in the archdiocesan newspaper, the Archdiocese of Washington has issued a statement on Georgetown’s commencement invitation to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The archdiocese understands the “concerns, objections, and even outrage” that the invitation has caused....

But the Georgetown issue could be worse… by Dr. Jeff Mirus - May 15, 2012

Phil Lawler rightly notes Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s lack of backbone in doing anything about Georgetown’s invitation of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to speak at commencement (Cardinal Wuerl's silence on Sebelius: disappointing, not surprising). Nonetheless, it would seem that...

Liberal Catholics, taking care of their own by Phil Lawler - May 15, 2012

From the one-hand-washes-the-other department: Georgetown University is honoring Kathleen Sebelius, and Commonweal magazine is honoring Georgetown’s President John DeGioia, presenting him with the “Catholic in the Public Square” award. With straight faces, Georgetown officials will tell...

Cardinal Wuerl's silence on Sebelius: disappointing, not surprising by Phil Lawler - May 14, 2012

The Catholic Standard, the newspaper of the Washington archdiocese, gives Georgetown University a well-deserved editorial thumping for inviting HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to speak at commencement. The Standard rightly notes that the invitation from Georgetown to Sebelius—who has taken the...

Good enough to print twice by Peter Mirus - May 11, 2012

It is worth pulling this excerpt out of a recent In Depth Analysis article (Subsidiarity: What It Really Means) and letting it have its own space. Dr. Jeff Mirus writes: How often have we heard a bishop or a mainstream Catholic university faculty, in the course of political, social and...

SSPX Athletics by Peter Mirus - May 11, 2012

Hey... who would have guessed that the SSPX would make the news (and discussion) on ESPN this week? The story is that an SSPX high school baseball team forfeited a game with an opponent because it had a girl on the team. Officials at Our Lady of Sorrows declined comment. In a written statement...

Forces of Darkness in Grand Rapids by Dr. Jeff Mirus - May 11, 2012

The Mayor of Grand Rapids, Michigan, speaking at a fundraising event for Planned Parenthood, proclaimed that “every year, the forces of darkness seek to deprive women of the health and education they need by choking off the funding to Planned Parenthood.” This shows as clearly as...

Ordinary Time After Easter: New eBook Released by Dr. Jeff Mirus - May 9, 2012

We have just released the fifth volume of our Liturgical Year series of eBooks, Liturgical Year 2011-2012, Vol. 5: Ordinary Time after Easter. This volume covers about half of the long stretch of Ordinary Time between Pentecost and the beginning of Advent. The dates are May 28 through September...

Obama's evolution on same-sex marriage was no random selection by Phil Lawler - May 9, 2012

Is anyone honestly surprised that President Obama has announced his support for same-sex marriage? The timing may be a bit unexpected; Obama might have preserved a bit of ambiguity about his stance until after the November elections. But when he said that his views were “evolving”—after...

When 6-Year-Olds Are Guilty of Sexual Harassment by Peter Mirus - May 8, 2012

It's better to laugh than cry, right? This Associated Press article (excerpted below) made me want to do both. Why? Well, first I thought the whole article must be a joke... but then I realized it wasn’t. A 6-year-old boy was suspended from his suburban Denver school for three days after...

On immigration, the bishops are late...again by Phil Lawler - May 7, 2012

Over the years the US bishops’ conference has issued statements on dozens of political issues: a habit that I lamented in a comment last week. The statements keep coming, in seemingly endless profusion. But the USCCB’s enthusiasm for particular issues seems to wax and wane. In the 1980s, for...

Advocacy for Prosperity, Health and Happiness by Dr. Jeff Mirus - May 3, 2012

Again and again studies show what is obvious through common sense: Men and women who shape their lives and families through a commitment to life-long marriage are happier, enjoy greater prosperity and better health, and live longer than those who do not. The difference is striking at all social...

Yes, But Assuming Divorce Isn’t Part of My Career Strategy... by Peter Mirus - May 3, 2012

Over the course of my career I’ve worked with many clients. I’ve encountered good businesses that ask reasonable things of their employees, but I’ve also seen business models and attitudes that are not compatible with a well-balanced life. The reality seems to be that many...

Unwanted advice, offered and received by Phil Lawler - May 3, 2012

Someone named Lindy McDowell, writing in the Belfast Telegraph, opens a column with a seemly display of humility: I wouldn’t presume to tell the Pope how he should go about his business or to advise the Vatican on matters theological. You know what’s coming next, don’t you? You know what the...

US diplomacy arranged a precarious future for Chen Guangcheng by Phil Lawler - May 2, 2012

When the Chinese human-rights activists Chen Guangcheng left the US embassy in Beijing, where he has sought refuge after a dramatic escape from house arrest, American officials assured the world that the Chinese government had promised that Chen and his family would be unharmed. But: If the...

'Pay your taxes.' Is that the Gospel message? by Phil Lawler - May 2, 2012

He’s at it again. Or perhaps I should say he’s at it still. Father Tom Reese appeared on The Colbert Report for a session of snark about Congressman Ryan’s budget. Once again Father Reese said that Ryan’s budget is morally unacceptable because it trims funding for...

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...

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