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

No items posted on November 01, 2012.

Douglas Kmiec’s Contribution to the Insanity of the Fashionable by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 31, 2012

Do you see an internal contradiction between the following two paragraphs, both drawn from the Catholic ex-Ambassador Douglas Kmiec’s explanation of why he will definitely vote for Barack Obama in the upcoming American presidential election? Paragraph 1: ...when you see someone who's...

New Advent and Christmas eBook Ready by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 30, 2012

The 2012-2013 liturgical year begins on December 2nd with the First Sunday of Advent. I want all those who make use of our liturgical year resources to enhance their experience of the domestic church to know that the Advent and Christmas eBook for the new year is now available. Our liturgical...

James Likoudis: The Defense against the Claims of Eastern Orthodoxy by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 29, 2012

James Likoudis was one of several mentors from whom I was privileged to learn when I was struggling to become more effective in defending and advancing the Catholic faith some forty years ago, in my twenties. Likoudis was already established as a proponent of authentic Catholic renewal, a leading...

A quirky predictor of the presidential race? by Phil Lawler - Oct 26, 2012

Yesterday I was ruminating on the fact that running for the US presidency has become a full-time job. The only full-time job that allows a candidate scope for constant campaigning is, in fact, the presidency itself.  If you look back over recent campaigns, you'll notice that the presidential...

So who's the abortion 'extremist' now? by Phil Lawler - Oct 25, 2012

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat has done a nice analysis of a familiar topic: media bias in coverage of the abortion debate. Douthat keys on the media treatment of Richard Mourdock, who has reporters gasping for breath in disbelief because he said a human life—even a life conceived by...

The Strongest Argument for Romney by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 25, 2012

While we’re on the topic of the morality of voting in this year’s American Presidential election (see A Note on Political Choices, and Political Lies), I want to do justice to my other hand by explaining what I think is the most compelling argument to vote for Romney, even though I...

St. Kateri and the 'convergence' of cultures by Phil Lawler - Oct 22, 2012

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Anne Leahy, the Canadian ambassador to the Holy See, had some puzzling things to say about the canonization of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. First the Canadian envoy remarked that St. Kateri “is really put up as a model for the universal Church, but as a model, in...

Surprise, surprise: that photo op by Phil Lawler - Oct 20, 2012

On the web site of Catholics for Obama—right above the story blasting critics of the Plan B contraceptive—you’ll find a photo of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, roaring with laughter, with a smiling President Obama beside him, at the Al Smith dinner. (You won’t see Mitt Romney;...

When it comes to anti-life violence, a double standard by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 18, 2012

Writing in Life Issues Connector, the newsletter of Dr. J. C. Willke’s Life Issues Institute, Executive Director Bradley Mattes points out the frightful imbalance in both the mainstream media and the Obama administration’s handling of pro-life and anti-life violence. Recall the...

Does the New York Times now oppose dissent from Church teaching? by Phil Lawler - Oct 16, 2012

In a New York Times op-ed, Michael Peppard, a Fordham theology professor, strains to make the argument that Paul Ryan dissents from Catholic teaching on abortion. Ryan, he observes, has promised “to oppose abortion, with the exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother.” But...

Do You Want to Be Like God? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 15, 2012

I tried to write something today about my frustration with those who were frustrated with me for expressing my Frustration with Ryan and Biden, but I ended up going in so many directions that it will require a fresh mind on a future day to sort it into anything worthwhile. Maybe it is really two...

I won't force your conscience by Phil Lawler - Oct 15, 2012

If Vice President Biden hires me as a speechwriter, here are are few passages that I'll suggest: The Catholic Church teaches that we should pay our taxes. I accept this teaching of my Church, and in my own personal life I pay my taxes. But I would not impose on the conscience of another...

A visit to Hong Kong by Phil Lawler - Oct 12, 2012

If you’re a regular visitor to the Catholic Culture site, you may have noticed that I have been unusually quiet, posting only a few comments during the past few weeks. And if you’re a truly avid reader, you might even have noticed that when I did post blog comments, they appeared in...

Rebuking Biden, the USCCB pulls its punch by Phil Lawler - Oct 12, 2012

The US bishops’ conference has called Joe Biden to account for a grossly inaccurate statement the Vice President made during last night’s debate. That’s good. But in correcting the record, the USCCB curiously avoids mentioning Biden’s name. The USCCB statement says that...

Year of Faith Resources by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 11, 2012

Remember that the Year of Faith begins today. You'll find a great deal of information in our Year of Faith section. The opening has been deliberately set to coincide with the work of the Synod on the New Evangelization, which will be a constant theme throughout the year. The emphasis for...

What’s Different about the Catholic Religion? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 11, 2012

I’ve argued repeatedly that the key to Catholicism, in comparison with every other religion on earth, is its authority principle. That is, only the Catholic Church claims that it is an infallible custodian of Divine Revelation, such that in every age it can preach Jesus Christ “the...

Can a Catholic be a minister of a non-Catholic sect? by Phil Lawler - Oct 10, 2012

Can a minister of a non-Catholic denomination still be classified as a Catholic? The Washington Post seems to think so, notes the perceptive critic Terry Mattingly, who regularly exposes the tone-deafness of the secular media regarding religious affairs. A Post profile of Chip DiPaula Jr., a...

More Judicial and Editorial Equivocation by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 4, 2012

According to the New York Times, Judge Carole Jackson was obviously correct when she ruled that HHS-mandated health care coverage is no more offensive to a religious employer than paying salaries. Her argument was that the problem arises only if an employee “makes an independent...

Sherry Boas: Wing Tip by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 2, 2012

Sherry Boas is back with a new novel entitled Wing Tip. Boas, author of the Lily Trilogy which I reviewed in late 2011 (Lily: Real Life, Real Literature), now turns her attention to the life and ministry of a priest, Fr. Dante De Luz, who learns that his father is not the man who raised him but a...

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...

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