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

No items posted on September 01, 2012.

A friendly question for pro-life Romney enthusiasts by Phil Lawler - Aug 31, 2012

If you were already so certain that Mitt Romney is a great champion of the pro-life cause, why are you exulting over a single sentence in his speech? “As president, I will protect the sanctity of life.” That was it. One sentence—9 words—in the course of a 38-minute speech. Not a developed...

Romney, abortion, and the 'health of the mother' exception by Phil Lawler - Aug 29, 2012

Pro-lifers take note: In a CBS television interview, Mitt Romney went further than any previous Republican presidential nominee has gone toward accepting legal abortion. "My position has been clear throughout this campaign," Romney said. "I'm in favor of abortion being legal in the...

A Mostly Pro-Life Romney? Pro-lifers Do a Body Count by Peter Mirus - Aug 28, 2012

There are several ways in which you might look at Romney’s views on abortion, which allow what I call “the usual three exceptions” (rape, incest, health/life of the mother). The first is that Romney is not “principled pro-life,” meaning that he is really pro-abortion...

Without the dogma, the values wilt by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Aug 28, 2012

The final section of Sigrid Undset’s Stages on the Road (see my review Correcting History Personally: Stages on the Road) is filled with cultural and religious wisdom about marriage. This section is entitled “Reply to a Parish Priest”, and it deals with the question of why, even...

I hate PowerPoint by Phil Lawler - Aug 28, 2012

Do you share my distaste for PowerPoint presentations? Do you share my distaste for PowerPoint presentations? (Do you share my distaste for PowerPoint presentations?) Here’s my complaint. Here’s my complaint. (Here’s my complaint.) The fellow doing the presentation The...

Public Trust and the Libor Scandal by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Aug 27, 2012

Now that Barclays (the second largest bank in Britain) has admitted that it routinely rigged the London InterBank Offered Rate (Libor), the condemnations are starting to pour in. Libor determines the price of $800 trillion in financial instruments, affecting the prices of such common things...

A Warning from Eastern Europe by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Aug 27, 2012

A recent column by Jacek Zakowski in Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza was selected by The Week magazine as one of the best columns in Europe for the issue of August 3rd. Zakowski expressed his displeasure that Poland was gradually giving up the liberties it had fought so hard to gain after the fall...

And Rick Warren won't be hosting the Al Smith dinner, either by Phil Lawler - Aug 27, 2012

Do you remember the presidential debate that Rick Warren, the pastor of the Saddleback Church in California, hosted in 2008? The famous Evangelical leader had planned a similar event this year. But now he has withdrawn his invitations to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Warren explains that “it...

No Right to Choose Wrongly by Chris Pelicano - Aug 24, 2012

The "freedom to choose" has grown out of all proportion in American culture over the last several decades. "I have a right to choose for myself," seems to have become the definitive (and way-overused) response to any issue at hand. And even though free will is a defining human attribute, it is not...

Musing on the unpredictability of birth and death by Phil Lawler - Aug 24, 2012

The birth of a delightful new grandson, and then the death of an esteemed old friend, have prompted me to think about how unpredictable these events usually are. Many of life’s other important moments—Baptisms and First Communions, weddings and ordinations, graduations and retirements, awards...

Paul Ryan’s Flash Mob by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Aug 23, 2012

In a recent Insights message, I mentioned that two American bishops had spoken out positively about Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate for Vice President. Thanks to notes from both Thomas Vaughan and Br. Timothy Combs, OP, I now know that the day before I wrote, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver...

The unseemly competition to condemn Rep. Akin by Phil Lawler - Aug 22, 2012

Why are so many pro-lifers rushing to condemn the moronic public remarks by Rep. Todd Akin about “legitimate” rape? Pia de Solenni characterizes Akin’s comments as “idiotic” rather than “moronic,” but she asks the same question. Granted, what the Missouri...

Topsy-Turvy Morality in Politics by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Aug 22, 2012

I can’t help but reflect that, in the correspondence we receive here, those who criticize liberal political leaders typically say things like, “He is pro-abortion.” And those who criticize conservative political leaders typically say things like, “He doesn’t care...

Have you ever had too much good news? by Phil Lawler - Aug 14, 2012

How much good news can a family absorb in the space of two weeks? The Lawler family has been testing the limits. I hope you won’t mind if I share the “burden.” It all began at the beginning of August, when our son-in-law returned from Afghanistan. Lt. Philip Turner had finished...

Slandering Ryan by Phil Lawler - Aug 14, 2012

Since charity begins at home, we can count on the bloggers of the Catholic left to treat their fellow Catholic Rep. Paul Ryan with respect, even if they disagree with him. Right? Wrong. A National Catholic Reporter blogger sets the tone, comparing Ryan with Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Suggesting changes...

The Crystal Cathedral: Center of Culture? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Aug 9, 2012

“We can create the most significant Catholic cultural center in the world outside of the Vatican.” Thus did Hank Evers of the Orange Catholic Foundation enthuse when visiting Catholic dignitaries toured the newly-purchased Crystal Cathedral in California. Would that it were so easy!...

Liberal women's religious orders aren't worse off. Or are they? by Phil Lawler - Aug 8, 2012

Claims that liberal women’s religious orders are dying out “are not based in fact,” according to an analysis by two women religious in America magazine. Yet the article cites statistics that actually buttress the conservative claim. Sisters Mary Johnson and Patricia Wittberg...

Final Liturgical Year eBook Available by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Aug 8, 2012

We’ve just released the sixth and final volume of our eBook series for the 2011-2012 liturgical year, Ordinary Time Completed. The current volume (5) ends on September 1st, and the new volume (6) covers the remainder of the liturgical year, Ordinary Time from September 2nd through December...

What do bishops want? by Phil Lawler - Aug 7, 2012

One day the US bishops’ conference is urging Congress to take action to undo the contraceptive mandate. The very next day the conference is urging Catholics to lobby their Congressmen for more funding for food stamps. Can anyone fail to notice that the second message dilutes the impact of...

Glued to the Games by Chris Pelicano - Aug 5, 2012

I have never been accused of being an avid sports fan, but I always enjoy watching the Olympic Games. The breadth of ordinary humanity engaged in such an extraordinarily wide range of athletic endeavors at such high levels of performance is truly amazing. Also amazing, and just as appreciated, is...

What's in a Name? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Aug 3, 2012

Do you see a resemblance between the line drawing at left and the photograph below? They look pretty much like the same guy to me, though sixty-four years apart. The little guy's initials are JAM; my initials are JAM. The little guy's first name is Jeffrey; my first name is Jeffrey. The little...

Chicken Sandwiches and Kindred Spirits by Chris Pelicano - Aug 2, 2012

I just came back from a long lunch with friends I didn't know. Yes, I went with my wife and a couple of our kids to Chick-fil-A for lunch. So did a lot of other people—not only in my small town but all across the country. We parked in an overflow parking lot, waited for an hour inside the...

After Chick-fil-A day, don't be out to lunch by Phil Lawler - Aug 2, 2012

August 1 was the first day of implementation of the HHS contraceptive mandate. What did Christian Americans do to protest this grossly unjust policy? Thousands of them… went to lunch. At Chick-fil-A. Don’t get me wrong. I have no complaint with Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day (except...

GOP silence: day 2 by Phil Lawler - Aug 2, 2012

As the HHS contraceptive mandate went into effect yesterday, did you hear the stinging denunciations issued by national leaders of the Republican Party, condemning this gross assault on religious liberty by the Obama administration, and signaling that this would be a major issue for Republican...

Obama says: speak out! by Phil Lawler - Aug 1, 2012

The State Department’s Religious Freedom Report for 2011 reminds us that as citizens of the world, we all have a duty to condemn injustice. “As President Obama said, they ought to ‘bear witness and speak out’ when violations of religious freedom occur.” So here we stand on August 1: the day...

Dead men hold no bank accounts by Phil Lawler - Jul 30, 2012

The “Moneyval” audit of the Vatican bank, the IOR, turned up this interesting tidbit: there were 236 cardinals who held accounts there. Which wouldn’t be remarkable, except that at the time of the audit, there were only 213 cardinals alive. This is not necessarily evidence of...

The enduring problem with Canon 401-2 by Phil Lawler - Jul 30, 2012

Today the Vatican news service announced that two more bishops have resigned, citing #401-2 of the Code of Canon Law. That canon, as knowledgeable Catholics now know, stipulates that the Pope may accept the resignation of a bishop who is unfit to continue with his duties because of illness or...

Talk about a disturbing headline by Phil Lawler - Jul 27, 2012

Sure, we’re accustomed to journalist attacks on the Vatican. Still a headline like this one, from Melbourne’s Herald Sun, is a bit much: Pope accused of stealing more than $1million in funds Will they stop at nothing? Does any wild-eyed accusation against the Vatican get headline...

We may not see, but there are no coincidences. by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jul 26, 2012

Enjoying our time on the banks of Lake Champlain, but having to stay out of the rain today, my wife and I drove around the Lake into Vermont and then out onto the various islands accessed by Route 2. Eventually we ended up on Isle La Motte, where stands a large statue of Samuel de Champlain...

Sadly, Penn State Had Some Catholic Dioceses as a Model of "What Not to Do" by Peter Mirus - Jul 26, 2012

Throughout reports on the abuse scandal surrounding Penn State, I haven't been able to escape that feeling of deja vu. There are so many similarities to the Church sex abuse scandals of recent years, it is both familiar and frightening. If you are following the Penn State story and keep history in...

Death inside an abortion clinic: no story here by Phil Lawler - Jul 24, 2012

Did you hear about the young woman who was shot and fatally wounded outside a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Chicago last week? Oh, wait. She was fatally injured inside the clinic, in the course of an abortion. That’s why the story hasn’t been among the top headlines every day this...

Vatican expects low medal count at London Olympics by Phil Lawler - Jul 23, 2012

Brace yourself for a shock. AP reports that the Vatican shows a growing interest in sports, “but the prospects of the world's tiniest sovereign state actually fielding an Olympic squad are slim.” Just thought you’d want to know. In case you were wondering....

The Gates Foundation to the rescue by Phil Lawler - Jul 20, 2012

Imagine that you’re a young woman living in South Sudan. You’ve just learned that you are pregnant. This is exciting, because you and your husband are anxious to have children. But it’s also frightening, because you know that in your country, pregnancy and childbirth are dangerous. You wish...

To Write Well of God and the Church… by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jul 19, 2012

I was just reading about Blessed Dominic of the Mother of God, CP, known in civilian life as Domenico Giovanni Luigi Barberi. He lived from 1792 until 1849, and he had a mystical experience in which he was called to be a missionary to England. This would have been during the period after...

Guess what? Sex sells! by Phil Lawler - Jul 19, 2012

And now, from the sort of useful scientists who can demonstrate that water is wet, comes this study showing that young people who watch sexual activities in movies are more likely to engage in sexual activities themselves. Now who would ever have thought of that?! The Dartmouth researchers...

Email’s Downward Spiral by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jul 19, 2012

Sometimes the level of discourse degenerates. This morning I awoke to find the following response to one of our fund appeals in my In Box. It came from a registered user whose unlikely title is “Rev.”: “Typical, typical catholic—always asking for money! support gay...

99% pure by Phil Lawler - Jul 18, 2012

Speaking to the National Council of Priests of Australia, Father Timothy Radcliffe, the former worldwide head of the Dominican order, said that the Church should embrace the modern world, enjoying such developments as the acceptance of homosexuals and the debate on women’s ordination. (He...

Words I Wish Had Been Mine: On Charity by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jul 17, 2012

“The cause of the failure [of charity] may be traced to that delusive system which characterizes the religion of the day. The object of this system is to destroy the broad line of distinction between the natural and the supernatural virtues; to raise the one to a level with the other; and to...

Obama and the woman-haters by Phil Lawler - Jul 16, 2012

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who chairs the Democratic National Committee, explains to the world why all Jewish Americans should support President Obama: …the president has an incredible record of support and advocacy on the issues, domestically, that Jews care about–fighting, for example,...

All we want is the Crown Jewels by Phil Lawler - Jul 16, 2012

If you are a British history buff, you’ll want to know that the town of Angers, in France, is demanding restitution for the murder of the Earl of Warwick. The killing was a “state crime,” Angers argues, and the British nation should take responsibility. It’s an old complaint. The unfortunate...

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