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

No items posted on December 01, 2012.

The Pope opening a Twitter feed? That's not news by Phil Lawler - Nov 29, 2012

If you’ve checked the news recently, on any site other than Catholic World News, you’ve probably read that Pope Benedict is opening a Twitter account. This morning when I plugged “pope” and “twitter” into a Google news search, I received 68,000 results, most of...

Keeping silent is bad strategy, on abortion and on contraception by Phil Lawler - Nov 28, 2012

Senator John McCain, who knows a thing or two about losing political campaigns, thinks that Republican candidates need to stop talking about abortion. “I can state my position on abortion. But other than that, leave the issue alone,” said Sen. McCain. “I would allow people to...

Succinct Spirituality by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Nov 26, 2012

Just yesterday I was reading once again Jean Leclercq’s introduction to Bernard of Clairvaux’s Selected Works (in the Paulist Press Classics of Western Spirituality series), and I came across this summary of St. Bernard’s approach to conversion and holiness: Man’s end is...

The Saudi contribution to religious freedom by Phil Lawler - Nov 26, 2012

The King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue opens today in Vienna. Why in Vienna? Well, it couldn’t really be based in Riyadh, could it? It might be a bit messy, inviting people into town to talk about inter-religious harmony, and then...

Can a man die twice? The problem with 'brain death' by Phil Lawler - Nov 24, 2012

Boxer Hector Camacho died on Saturday, his doctor said: His death was reported by Dr. Ernesto Torres, the director of the Centro Medico trauma center in Puerto Rico, who said Camacho had a heart attack and died a short time later after being taken off life support. This is confusing, because the...

Evangelization Ideas by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Nov 19, 2012

We’ve received quite a number of suggestions for effective evangelization (as requested in Evangelization Techniques and Opportunities). Let me summarize some of the better ideas thus far. Frank Hermann of Steubenville, Ohio offered a stiff dose of reality when he reminded us that...

Evangelization Techniques and Opportunities by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Nov 16, 2012

It is time to start brainstorming about fresh ways to evangelize during this Year of Faith. Obviously the occasions one chooses to evangelize depend somewhat on the particular aspect of the Gospel message one is most qualified and called to present. Thus some might evangelize in the course of...

Two More Items from Catholic England by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Nov 14, 2012

I’m almost done reading through Fr. Saward’s fine anthology of The Spiritual Tradition of Catholic England. Here are two brief quotations from twentieth-century authors. The first comes from the famous novelist, Evelyn Waugh, who very strongly lamented the changes in the liturgy...

THE book for Advent this year by Phil Lawler - Nov 14, 2012

Maybe you’ve already grasped the significance of today’s CWN headline story. But just in case, let me spell it out: Pope Benedict’s new book, The Infancy Narratives, will be available November 21. Advent begins December 2. So if you want to prepare to celebrate the...

An Interpretation of Archbishop Lori’s DREAM by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Nov 13, 2012

Like Martin Luther King, I have a dream. My dream is that bishops will one day speak intelligently about the DREAM Act. Archbishop William Lori tried and failed at the USCCB’s Fall meeting. Archbishop Lori wanted to show that (a) the DREAM Act represents “Gospel values taught to us by...

Bishops, spare us your tweets! by Phil Lawler - Nov 12, 2012

Our American bishops, meeting in Baltimore this week, have apparently decided that the world needs to hear more of their offhand comments. There’s a push to encourage more bishops to blog and tweet, and a supportive study that says (to quote the UPI headline): “Poll: Catholics want...

The ethics of adultery by Phil Lawler - Nov 12, 2012

Perhaps you’ve seen the speculation that an anonymous writer who asked for advice from the resident ethicist at the New York Times some weeks ago was the man cuckolded by General Petraeus. The situation described by this unhappy man does fit the facts of the case. The anonymous correspondent...

What’s in a Name? “I am weird” vs. “Defining Issues” by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Nov 12, 2012

At the end of last week we tried an experiment. In early October we had released a collection of essays by Peter Mirus in an eBook entitled “You are weird. God is odd”, featuring the CatholicCulture.org pencil drawing of Peter on the cover. The title for the collection was taken from...

Advice for losers by Phil Lawler - Nov 12, 2012

Father Tom Reese is not infallible; he admits as much himself in a post-election column for the National Catholic Reporter. But he evidently considers himself a lot closer to infallibility than the American bishops, to whom he offers a great deal of advice. ”Here I am writing as a political...

Irish bishops channeling Nancy Pelosi by Phil Lawler - Nov 9, 2012

When questioned about details of Obamacare, Rep. Nancy Pelosi famously remarked that “we have to pass the bill so that we can find out what is in it.” This is the “shoot first, aim later” approach to legislation. Once the bill becomes law, the problems will become obvious. Did I detect...

Job losses we can live with by Phil Lawler - Nov 9, 2012

The porn-video producers of California’s San Fernando Valley are threatening to leave the state, after voters approved a referendum measure requiring porn actors to use condoms onscreen. How do you think government officials should respond to this threat? I suggest something along these...

Can we trace Romney's loss to a single moment? by Phil Lawler - Nov 7, 2012

Last night several analysts claimed that Mitt Romney’s fate was sealed when Chris Christie put his arm around President Obama. The embattled president was suddenly seen as a non-partisan leader, the pundits explained, and Romney’s appeal for bipartisan support lost traction. Personally I think...

A few quick questions while we're waiting by Phil Lawler - Nov 5, 2012

Yes, I realize that the attention of most readers is riveted on the US presidential race. Mine too. But while we’re waiting, a few passing comments on news stories that raised questions in my mind: First is the story of the late Jimmy Saville, identified in the CWN news story as “an English...

The assisted-suicide drive in Massachusetts won't be easy to kill by Phil Lawler - Nov 2, 2012

For someone who has spent years trying to combat the pernicious influence of the Kennedy family and the Boston Globe on Massachusetts political scene, it’s a surreal experience to find the Globe joining with Ted Kennedy’s widow in public opposition to Proposition 2, the referendum that...

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...

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