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

No items posted on July 01, 2012.

More Religious Liberty Initiatives by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jun 28, 2012

Today’s Supreme Court ruling suggests we have a long fight ahead of us on not only religious liberty but on liberty in general. The Court upheld the health insurance mandate which lies at the core of Obamacare, justifying it under the power of the Congress to levy taxes. So it is just as...

After the Supreme Court defeat... by Phil Lawler - Jun 28, 2012

Two quick thoughts on today’s astonishing, disastrous, incomprehensible Supreme Court ruling: Now it’s up to us. It would have been nice if the Supreme Court had eliminated the latest and greatest threat to religious freedom in America. But it didn’t happen. Now either we Catholics Americans...

A priest answers protesters by Phil Lawler - Jun 26, 2012

Here's an excellent example of a pastor responding skillfully to a difficult situation.  Confronted by a group of angry protesters at the cathedral in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Father Ted Martin shows intelligence, pastoral sensitivity, wit, and an extraordinary amount of patience as he answers...

Fortnight for Freedom Variations by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jun 26, 2012

It is interesting and encouraging that so many different groups are running their own Fortnight for Freedom programs around the country, some of them going beyond the USCCB materials, but often in the same spirit. I’ll single out just three examples that we’ve been alerted to here...

Fortnight? What fortnight? by Phil Lawler - Jun 25, 2012

A friend just contacted me: a reporter for a secular media outlet. At an editorial conference, he had suggested some coverage of the Fortnight for Freedom, and drawn blank stares from his colleagues. Fortnight for what? None of the other reporters or news editors had heard anything about the...

...and on a personal note... by Phil Lawler - Jun 22, 2012

Twice in the past month, I’ve escorted a daughter into church to meet her waiting bridegroom—in both cases, thank God, a young man I not only like but admire. Yes, it’s been a busy month. (And I trust you’ll understand if I haven’t been writing as much commentary as usual.) It’s difficult to...

The Fortnight for Freedom Prayers by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jun 22, 2012

This morning I had my first taste of the devotions published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop for its Fortnight for Freedom. The Fortnight is an effort to raise awareness and seek Divine assistance for the cause of religious liberty in the United States, particularly with...

Cardinal Dolan's useful new book by Phil Lawler - Jun 21, 2012

For those who want to participate in the “Fortnight of Freedom” but aren’t sure how to begin, here’s a suggestion: Download a copy of Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s new eBook, True Freedom: On Protecting Human Dignity and Religious Liberty. Written in an uncomplicated,...

An editorial for the (comic) archives by Phil Lawler - Jun 20, 2012

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has a short editorial about what it sees as a “larger, overarching crisis” in the Catholic Church. There’s the Vatileaks mess, and some people think that’s a major scandal. Then the president of the Vatican bank was ousted. That’s it?...

Pope Benedict the preacher, at his very best by Phil Lawler - Jun 19, 2012

Sandro Magister of L’Espresso calls attention to a homily on Baptism delivered by Pope Benedict XVI on June 11, describing it as “one of the highest moments of that masterpiece which his homilies on Baptism are.” A friend had sent me a copy of the same homily, with a one-word commentary:...

Outed by Phil Lawler - Jun 18, 2012

The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) is very unhappy with Cardinal Dolan’s report on the Pontifical Irish College. In a report to the Vatican after his apostolic visitation of the Irish seminaries, Cardinal Dolan reportedly said that some faculty members should be replaced. (The...

Has the CHA switched sides on Obamacare? Or just adopted new tactics? by Phil Lawler - Jun 18, 2012

The Catholic Health Association (CHA) has finally stopped beating the drums in support of Obamacare . But before you begin celebrating, and welcoming the CHA back into the fold, take a moment to read this sobering analysis from the Cardinal Newman Society. It turns out that the CHA is calling for...

Cardinals involved in Vatileaks? Why not? by Phil Lawler - Jun 15, 2012

Italian news reports have said that two cardinals have been implicated in the Vatileaks scandal. The Vatican press office insists that’s mere speculation. Could it be true? Could princes of the Church be guilty of violating confidences? It sounds shocking. But… When they enter a conclave...

SNAP's anti-Catholicism is showing... by Phil Lawler - Jun 14, 2012

Out of compassion for young people who were sexually abused, maybe you were initially sympathetic toward SNAP. As the weeks and months and years wore on, and SNAP continued to churn out denunciations of the Church, maybe your sympathy was tested. Eventually you began to wonder whether SNAP was no...

Another very predictable 'surprise' by Phil Lawler - Jun 14, 2012

From Dublin comes the news that the crowds at the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) are greatly exceeding expectations. For some oversubscribed events, organizer have been forced to put up giant TV screens, to relay the speeches to the people unable to squeeze into the assigned sites. For...

Free Society, or Artificial Restriction? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jun 13, 2012

In a letter in the June/July 2012 issue of First Things, James Stoner argues that “the legal case for the suppression of obscene pornography in a free society cannot rest on spiritual crisis and the need for confraternal prayer, but on the social costs of the use of pornography, its...

Vatileaks: an interesting French perspective by Phil Lawler - Jun 12, 2012

If you want an interesting perspective on the current upheaval at the Vatican, and you read French comfortably, I strongly recommend this detailed analysis by my old friend and sometime colleague, Jean-Marie Guénois of Le Figaro. Having spent more than 20 years covering the Vatican, Guénois...

With this ring I me wed by Phil Lawler - Jun 11, 2012

Well, why not? If a woman can marry another woman, why shouldn’t a woman by able to marry herself? Once you start tinkering with the definition of marriage, there’s no clear bright line at which you have to stop. “I feel very empowered,” said Nadien Schweigert after she pledged lifelong...

The SSPX and the 'official' Church by Phil Lawler - Jun 8, 2012

How ironic it is that Bishop Bernard Fellay of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) refers to the Vatican as “the official Church.” Did you notice? “So the attitude of the official Church is what changed; we did not.” And again: “The official authorities do not want to acknowledge the errors of...

Washington Post columnist critiques Vatican for something it didn't say by Phil Lawler - Jun 7, 2012

Washington Post columnist Lisa Miller has produced a hilarious piece. But I’m afraid the humor is unintentional. Miller takes Vatican officials to task for using the term “radical feminist” to describe some American women religious. The title of her column tells the story:...

Disposable babies by Phil Lawler - Jun 7, 2012

Doctors may soon be able to screen unborn children for 3,500 different genetic disorders, London’s Daily Telegraph reports. The testing won’t even be invasive: a blood test from the mother, a cheek-swab from the father. If the tests were done for the benefit of the babies—if there were some...

Another Time, Another Place by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jun 7, 2012

Count on Catholic World News and CatholicCulture.org for some of the greatest journalistic writing on the planet. Consider the close of today’s story, Australian bishop who called for discussion of women’s ordination resigns: In 2010, Bishop Power called for “total systematic...

New Apologetics Volume by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jun 5, 2012

The third volume of my collected Essays on Apologetics is now available in our eBook store, in the Kindle store, and in the Nook store. When you purchase from shop.catholicculture.org, of course, we get the full benefit of your expenditure, and you get the book in all three supported formats...

Jockeying for position, in Rome and at home by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jun 4, 2012

The continuing Vatileaks problem should surprise nobody over the age of about thirty-five; in other words, nobody who has significant experience working within groups of highly-committed people. As one of the founders of Christendom College, I was certainly deeply committed to the Faith, and...

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...

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