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

New Ebook: You Are Weird, God Is Odd by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 1, 2012

Peter Mirus’ collected essays from CatholicCulture.org between 2004 and 2006 have just been released in ebook form. Long-time readers will remember Peter’s wide variety of topics, unusual perspectives and frequent humor. While Peter still writes shorter pieces for The...

On Marriage, Read This by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 27, 2012

Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark has just issued a pastoral letter on marriage, firmly in the moral context of the culture wars, the 2012 presidential campaign, and the current efforts to enshrine “gay marriage” in law. The letter is entitled When Two Become One: A Pastoral Teaching...

Contraception and Vatican II by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 25, 2012

I’ve noticed a few people arguing lately that widespread contraception can be traced back to the Second Vatican Council. Sigh. This grows so wearisome. To set the record straight, here is what the Council said about contraception several years before Pope Paul VI issued his landmark...

The Modern Pharisee by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 24, 2012

Most of my readers, I suspect, have heard quoted at one time or another Richard Crashaw’s poem “Two Went up to the Temple to Pray”, which is a retelling of Christ’s lesson about the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke’s gospel (18:10-14). Crashaw (1613-1649),...

The Church and Political Friendship with God by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 21, 2012

In a very interesting essay in the October 2012 issue of First Things, Pierre Manent makes a thought-provoking argument about the importance of the Catholic Church to political life. Manent is the director of studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He...

Why not a prayer for newborns? by Phil Lawler - Sep 21, 2012

In my parish--and in virtually every Catholic parish, I think--the petitions at Sunday Mass always include a prayer for those parishioners who have died recently. I have a simple suggestion: Why not add a prayer for those who have been baptized recently as well? Certainly it is a good thing, and...

Mismatch by Phil Lawler - Sep 20, 2012

Image Books, which once published so many Catholic classics, has put out a new volume: Vatican II: The Essential Texts. That’s odd. With so many compilations of the Vatican II documents already on the bookshelves, why would we need a new one? From the publisher’s perspective, what is...

The Catholicization of Social Justice by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 18, 2012

It is really quite astonishing. Jonathan Reyes has just been appointed executive director of the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development. Reyes replaces John Carr, who has served the USCCB for the past twenty-five years. The reason this is astonishing is that the new...

Another non-story about women's ordination by Phil Lawler - Sep 14, 2012

The pattern may now be familiar, but it’s still messy. A reporter tackles the question of how to report on a woman who claims ordination to the Catholic clergy. “Catholic woman ordained deacon,” reads the headline for a WNWO report on the ceremony that took place in Ohio. Yet the first...

Will the SSPX Now Flee for its Life? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 13, 2012

If Bishop Richard Williamson really is expelled from the Society of St. Pius X, he may well set up his own organization and take some people with him, as our news story suggests. But that won’t keep the SSPX from being hoist with its own petard. Williamson has ample precedent for claiming...

Gay Marriage and the Fully Formed Conscience by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 12, 2012

Tina Beattie’s scheduled talk on Mary in the English Diocese of Clifton was cancelled because she signed a letter defending gay marriage. Beattie, a theologian, wrote that it was “perfectly proper for Catholics, using fully informed consciences, to support the legal extension of civil...

An outrageous Vatican reaction to the deaths in Benghazi (updated) by Phil Lawler - Sep 12, 2012

Four American diplomats are killed, and a Vatican spokesman responds not by condemning the killings but by insisting that we should respect the sensitivities of Muslims. Outrageous! There are two separate points to be made here. The Americans who produced a film deliberately insulting Islam...

O'Reilly's amazing surprise by Phil Lawler - Sep 7, 2012

Bill O’Reilly of Fox News is “stunned” and “flabbergasted” and “shocked” that during a speech at the Democratic convention, Caroline Kennedy identified herself as a Catholic and went on to praise President Obama for protecting legal...

A Novena for America by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 6, 2012

Among many other prayers for our country during the Presidential campaign, a six-fold novena of rosaries has been organized by Peter Grimberg at 7:00 pm each evening in the chapel at All Saints Church in Manassas, Virginia (my home parish). The novena follows the pattern recommended in a...

Did Democrats really boo God? Not quite. It's worse than that. by Phil Lawler - Sep 6, 2012

Thousands of bloggers are reporting this morning that delegates at the Democratic convention in Charlotte booed when God was reintroduced into their party’s platform. That’s not entirely accurate. But the true story does not reflect any better on the Democratic Party. This Breitbart...

Thunderbolts? by Phil Lawler - Sep 5, 2012

Does anyone else find it significant that after approving a political platform that pushed for free abortion on demand and same-sex marriage, and removed any mention of God (I know, I know; they have restored Him--reluctantly), the leaders of the Democratic party announced that they would be...

CRS and the non-conforming document [Updated] by Phil Lawler - Sep 3, 2012

Please help me to understand this paragraph in a recent news release from the Catholic Relief Services (CRS). (The same paragraph was reproduced, without change, in a CWN headline story this morning: CRS does not purchase, promote or distribute condoms, nor do we provide funding to other...

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...

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