Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

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

At last an American prelate addresses the real problem in the sex-abuse scandal by Phil Lawler - Feb 1, 2013

Electrifying? Yes. Exhilarating? That too. But above all encouraging. ”Finally!” I shouted to myself when I heard the news from Los Angeles. For more than a decade, since the explosion of the sex-abuse crisis, American Catholic bishops have been issuing apologies, promising changes,...

Newman, a Model for Converts by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 1, 2013

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman set himself to the task of defending the Catholic character of the Anglican Church in what is now known as the Oxford Movement. But as he continued to study the Fathers and the early history of the Church, he saw that the early heretical sects were in the...

Obama's latest 'compromise' offer on the mandate is a Trojan Horse by Phil Lawler - Feb 1, 2013

Last July I predicted that President Obama would offer a new “compromise” to soften Catholic opposition to the HHS mandate. My timing was wrong; I thought it would be a pre-election promise, a campaign ploy. But I think my analysis was fundamentally right. Bottom line: Obama’s ultimate goal is...

What All Parents Should Want for Their Children by Peter Mirus - Feb 1, 2013

Over the past month I have been reflecting with particular focus on cooperating with grace and allowing that cooperation to transform my private and public life. So perhaps it was providential that this morning, as I picked a bible off the bookshelf to study a passage in Matthew’s Gospel,...

Magisterium of the Theologians? That's twice now.... by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 31, 2013

Are we in the midst of a Modernist surprise attack? (But no, “surprise” and “Modernist” can hardly be used in the same sentence.) Anyway, twice recently people have emailed me to make fun of something on CatholicCulture.org, and when I’ve replied with some citation or...

No time for the Pope by Phil Lawler - Jan 30, 2013

If you are less than 38 years old, only one US president in your lifetime has allowed a full 4-year term to lapse without having his Secretary of State visit the Pope. Or put it this way: Since 1974 only one Secretary of State (acting/deputy secretaries don’t count) has not made time to meet...

Of same-sex marriage and male lactation by Phil Lawler - Jan 29, 2013

“Legislating for the right for people of the same sex to marry is like legalizing male breastfeeding,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said in an interview with the Catholic Herald of London. With all due respect to the archbishop—whose overall defense of...

A child with 3 genetic parents? It's a daunting possibility by Phil Lawler - Jan 28, 2013

What would be the moral implications of producing a child with three biological parents? The National Catholic Register offers a disturbing but thought-provoking analysis of that question—which, unfortunately, is no longer far-fetched. Scientists in Oregon have discovered a way to...

Clean House! by Chris Pelicano - Jan 28, 2013

A client of mine creates and sells products that help families to know and grow in the Catholic Faith. His customer base is as enthusiastically and unapologetically Catholic as he and his staff are. He recently told me that while writing some promotional copy for his products he seriously...

Please, stop grousing about media coverage of the March for Life by Phil Lawler - Jan 28, 2013

A word of advice for my fellow pro-lifers: Stop complaining about media coverage of the March for Life. Sure, the coverage is paltry. Yes, the stories are biased. The same media outlets that give front-page coverage to protests involving a few hundred demonstrators virtually ignore a mass march...

Does your diocese/parish advertise in the National 'Catholic' Reporter'? by Phil Lawler - Jan 28, 2013

If the National Catholic Reporter does not deserve to be called a “Catholic” publication—if in fact the Reporter has been calling itself “Catholic in defiance of the local bishop for more than 40 years—why do so many Catholic dioceses and parishes still advertise in...

2012-2013 Liturgical Year Series: Lent by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 25, 2013

I’ve just released the third volume of our 2012-2013 Liturgical Year Series, which covers Lent. That season begins this year on February 13th. Currently, of course, we’re in Ordinary Time before Lent, which is the second volume. These eBooks include all the days of...

If you hate the light, close the hatches! by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 24, 2013

One grows tired of world government. Even as the UN Human Rights Council presses toward declaring abortion a human right, the United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child is trying to put an end to “life windows” throughout the world. Life Windows, or Baby Hatches, are...

DC reporters struck deaf, blind! by Phil Lawler - Jan 24, 2013

Hundreds of news reporters and assignment-desk editors in Washington, DC, are suffering from the onset of a disease that causes partial deafness and blindness.  For reasons that doctors have been unable to explain, nearly all of the victims of this disease work in the news business--although...

Why Cardinal Mahony should have resigned 10 years ago by Phil Lawler - Jan 23, 2013

In 2002, when Pope John Paul II called the leaders of the US bishops’ conference to Rome for a discussion of the sex-abuse crisis, one cardinal, speaking to the Los Angeles Times under cover of anonymity, said that the prelates would push for the resignation of Boston’s Cardinal...

A subtle but powerful pro-life argument presented in (!) the New York Times by Phil Lawler - Jan 22, 2013

Today’s New York Times carries a stunning op-ed piece by Chuck Donovan on abortion statistics. I say it’s “stunning” for two different reasons, which apply to two different categories of readers. Some readers will be stunned to learn that the federal government does not...

55 million legal abortions? The number is actually much higher by Phil Lawler - Jan 22, 2013

This week I've seen dozens of comments on the 55 million abortions that have been performed in the US in the years since Roe. Shocking as it is, that estimate is much too low. There have been roughly 55 million surgical abortions. The government doesn't keep good statistics on the number of...

G. K. Chesterton, Jane Austen, and Politicians by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 22, 2013

Good writing often depends on imaginative connections. Thus when G. K. Chesterton noticed a writer in a leading daily paper rhapsodizing about the new attitudes of women which would make a difference in the General Election of 1930, he was immediately struck by the writer’s citation of Jane...

Thinking again about organ donation by Phil Lawler - Jan 21, 2013

When you renew your driver’s license, you’ll probably be encouraged to check off a box to enroll as an organ donor. (At least you’ll be asked; in some places the government would make the decision for you, and you’d be enrolled as an organ donor without waiting for your...

What Sort of Second Coming? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 17, 2013

I made a reference to William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) in my essay earlier today, Graceless: Being Human without God. The reference was to his brilliant poem, “The Second Coming”, which was written in 1919 in the aftermath of World War I. The poem went through a...

How liberal ideology undermines religious freedom by Phil Lawler - Jan 16, 2013

For the 2nd day in a row (refresh your memory here) Catholic World Report carries an interesting commentary on religious freedom. Benjamin Wiker identifies Benedict Spinoza as “the father of modern political liberalism.” While Spinoza claimed to advance the cause of religious freedom,...

Why are India's Catholic leaders recommending sex education? by Phil Lawler - Jan 16, 2013

By recommending sex-education programs as a response to the public outrage against rape, Indian Catholic leaders seem to be inviting trouble in two separate ways. First, Church leaders are saying that a proper sort of sex education, emphasizing the gift of sexuality and the dignity of the human...

The media's strange obsession with Archbishop Gänswein's looks by Phil Lawler - Jan 16, 2013

Yes, I know that Archbishop Georg Gänswein--the Pope’s private secretary and now the Prefect of the Pontifical Household as well—is on the cover of Vanity Fair. Yes, I know that Italian reporters refer to him as “Gorgeous George,” compare him with George Clooney, and delight in the fact that he...

Vatican II on religious freedom: doctrinal novelty or development? by Phil Lawler - Jan 15, 2013

When traditionalist Catholics argue that Vatican II marked a break from traditional Church teachings, they usually cite Dignitatis Humanae, the decree on religious freedom. That document is a central point of contention in talks between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X; the...

The 4th-oldest Pontiff by Phil Lawler - Jan 14, 2013

As of today, Pope Benedict XVI is the 4th-oldest Pope to lead the Church in the past 7+ centuries—that is, in the years since reliable records have been available. Pope Benedict is now 85 years and 270 days old: exactly the same age that Blessed Pius IX had reached when he died in...

Excommunication? Let the punishment fit the crime by Phil Lawler - Jan 11, 2013

My favorite canon-law blogger, Edward Peters, is unhappy with the Rockford Pro-Life Initiative for demanding the excommunication of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, an advocate of same-sex marriage. Peters does not agree with Quinn—not by a long shot. On the contrary, he believes that Quinn should...

Not Enough Children in California by Peter Mirus - Jan 9, 2013

I found this news item from the Wall Street Journal hardly shocking. "Declining migration and falling birthrates have led to a drop in the number of children in California just as baby boomers reach retirement, creating an economic and demographic challenge for the nation's most populous...

Unprofessional by Phil Lawler - Jan 9, 2013

Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas, has announced that a priest of that diocese has been laicized, “due to a history of professional misconduct as a priest…” Professional misconduct? Was he a professional, then? God save us from professional...

It's not really news when a retired cardinal dies, but... by Phil Lawler - Jan 2, 2013

Like any prominent man with a wide circle of acquaintances, Pope Benedict XVI is constantly sending out short notes of congratulations, condolences, encouragement, and sympathy. Ordinarily the Vatican doesn’t bother to mention these missives. But today the press office announced that the Pope had...

iPad meets Blackberry in the confessional by Phil Lawler - Jan 2, 2013

A woman goes to Confession. As he offers his counsel, the priest consults his iPad to cite some verses from Scripture. The penitent replies: I’m sorry, I said, I don’t have a pen and paper, I may not remember what you say. Wait—I’ve got my BlackBerry. “Tell me...

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...

Want more commentary? Visit the Archives.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Liberal visions of Catholicism: Kickstarter and the world's largest NGO September 1
The Blessed Book of Beasts August 30
Weekend reading August 29
Frustrating the Moral Law August 29
Weep for slaughtered Christians, not for dialogue with Islam August 29

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
‘A real via crucis’: Pope Francis, patriarch plead on behalf of Iraq’s Christians CWN - August 8
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians in flight as Islamic State advances CWN - August 8