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

No items posted on January 01, 2013.

A 3-minute game for your Christmas party by Phil Lawler - Dec 24, 2012

Here’s a little Christmas present, together with a suggestion: Go to this web site, and enjoy an old recording of the Ave Maria, by Blessed John Paul II. Then cue up the Youtube video for your family and/or friends. Don’t let them see the video or hear the introduction. Challenge them to name...

Help for Homilists by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Dec 18, 2012

I had never heard of a “homiliary” before one of our colleagues in England, Mark Alder (www.christendom-awake.org), called my attention to the four-volume homiliary for the Roman Liturgy by the Dominican priest, Fr. Aidan Nichols (see my review of his outline of systematic theology,...

Volume 2 of the 2012-2013 Liturgical Year Released by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Dec 14, 2012

We’ve just released the second volume in our ebook series for the 2012-2013 liturgical year. This volume covers Ordinary Time before Lent, which runs from January 14th through February 12th. Of course, the current Advent-Christmas volume is also still available. Our liturgical year ebooks...

Good and bad in the online response to the CT school shootings by Phil Lawler - Dec 14, 2012

The online responses to the unspeakably awful shootings at a school in Connecticut show both the best and the worst of the internet culture. The best: Many people were immediately moved to prayer, and to encourage others to pray, for those who died and those who have survived but will be...

Tradition and Preaching: Back to the Future by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Dec 13, 2012

One of the tasks of the USCCB’s November meeting was to review and approve the American bishops’ first statement on preaching in some 30 years. It was approved by an overwhelming 227 to 11 vote, with only 4 abstentions. The original English text of this 54-page document will be...

A cardinal takes his medicine by Phil Lawler - Dec 12, 2012

Cardinal Francis George, who is recovering from chemotherapy after a second bout with cancer, told the Chicago Tribune that his treatment is going well: He also drinks asparagus juice three times a day, served by the Polish nuns who prepare his meals and insist on the gloppy green potion's...

The key to long life? by Phil Lawler - Dec 7, 2012

You may complain that your children are responsible for your grey hair, but at least you’re likely to live long enough to comb it. That’s the gist of a new study, which shows that parents live longer than childless couples. But then what do you do with your time, when you...

This week's very practical saints by Phil Lawler - Dec 7, 2012

Early Advent is a great time for taking practical steps to put your spiritual life in order, and appropriately enough, this week we celebrate the feasts of two saints who showed a marvelous grasp of practicalities. St. Nicholas is a popular favorite as the real man behind the Santa Claus story....

The National Catholic Reporter is in rebellion; which side are you on? by Phil Lawler - Dec 5, 2012

The National Catholic Reporter believes that the teaching of the Catholic Church is “unjust.” So if your diocese is advertising in the Reporter for a justice-and-peace coordinator, you can’t safely assume that the applicants’ understanding of “justice” will match that of the universal...

Cardinal Sodano: trouble letting go? by Phil Lawler - Dec 4, 2012

A belated “Happy Birthday” to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who turned 85 on November 23. Despite his advanced age—10 years beyond ordinary retirement age, 5 years beyond the age at which prelates typically surrender even honorary titles in the Roman Curia—Cardinal Sodano remains the Dean of the...

The unCatholic Press: Left for Dead at the Barricades by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Dec 4, 2012

The National Catholic Reporter is fading fast, as demonstrated by its open appeal for doctrinal disobedience among Catholics. The occasion for this appeal was the expulsion of Fr. Roy Bourgeois from Maryknoll for his outspoken support of the ordination of women. The NCR believes its call for...

Father Schall's 'last lecture'—don't miss it! by Phil Lawler - Dec 3, 2012

If you live in or around Washington, DC—or can get there this Friday evening—don’t miss this event: Father James Schall will speak on “The Final Gladness,” in his “last lecture at Georgetown” on Friday, Dec. 7, at 5:00 pm in Gaston Hall. If you’re...

We Cannot Have Both. by Chris Pelicano - Dec 3, 2012

It has been said a million times: in Scripture, in Sermons, in Literature, in History, and in Individual Lives. “You CAN’T have both.” And it’s always worth repeating. The more you love the world the less you love God the more you love God the more you reject the...

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;...

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