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

No items posted on March 01, 2013.

The next Pope won't be another Benedict XVI...or John Paul II by Phil Lawler - Feb 28, 2013

Cardinal Dolan was very perceptive, I think, in his comment that the cardinals need to “work through some grief” before they can concentrate on the task of selecting a new Pope. It will take a few days, at least, to adjust to the reality that Benedict XVI is really gone. One’s first instinct...

CatholicCulture.org on LifeSiteNews by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 28, 2013

We have received some inquiries about my criticism yesterday of the way some Catholic media organizations handled Fr. F. Dariusz Oko’s paper, “Standing with the Pope against Homoheresy” (see The Homosexual Network: News, No News, and Exploitation). The most important question is...

The Homosexual Network: News, No News, and Exploitation by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 27, 2013

A few Catholic organizations are suddenly very excited about “having the goods” on the so-called “gay mafia” within the Church. They seem to believe an epic story has broken, and they are apparently jostling with each other to appear to be the first to convey this momentous...

How many bishops has Pope Benedict persuaded to resign? by Phil Lawler - Feb 26, 2013

If the only news you read comes from popular commentators in the secular media, you might think that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning because he could not make any progress in fighting corruption within the Church. Those who follow Catholic news carefully know better. In our news coverage yesterday...

Perceptive commentary: Zuhlsdorf, Weigel, Quinn, Paprocki by Phil Lawler - Feb 22, 2013

As a service to our readers, once again we call attention to some of the most interesting commentary that has appeared on other sites regarding the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the prospects for the March conclave. For our efforts to correct some of the less astute commentary, see our...

A caution on new reports regarding Peru by Phil Lawler - Feb 20, 2013

Today’s CWN headlines include a report on an intriguing Vatican contretemps regarding the rebellious “Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.” (I use the “scare quotes” because the Vatican has determined the institution does not deserve to be known as either...

Is the Default Position Shifting to Subsidiarity? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 19, 2013

Not so long ago, most ecclesiastical officials and Catholic academicians emphasized solidarity as a political ideal. Owing to a common misunderstanding of both government and solidarity, that emphasis was almost always at the expense of subsidiarity. In recent years, however, the tide in favor of...

Perceptive Commentary: Warren, Douthat, Henneberger, Horowitz, Oko by Phil Lawler - Feb 18, 2013

Several informative and/or provocative commentaries on the Pope’s resignation and the impending papal conclave appeared over the weekend. There were many inaccurate reports and misleading columns as well, of course. But for now let's call attention to some of the best: ...

Papal health rumors expose more Vatican PR blunders by Phil Lawler - Feb 15, 2013

Since Pope Benedict announced his plans to resign, enterprising reporters—understandably anxious to explore any possible medical explanation—have ferreted out the facts that the Pope had the battery on his pacemaker replaced recently, and hurt his head in a fall during his trip to...

Perceptive Commentary: On the resignation—Bernardo Cervellera, John O'Sullivan, Michael Kelly by Phil Lawler - Feb 14, 2013

Among the scores of editorial commentaries that have appeared since Pope Benedict announced his plans to resign, a handful have been particular insightful. Among the best: ”Benedict XVI’s decision for the Church's mission and the truth of the world.” Father Bernardo...

Religion as Sentiment? Newman Speaks by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 14, 2013

While reading Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski’s Epistemic Authority, I couldn’t help thinking of Blessed John Henry Newman. It was Newman who gave us the most comprehensive description of how the human person legitimately attains certainty, especially in religion. He did this in his seminal...

That's sooooo 1968! by Phil Lawler - Feb 13, 2013

If you read the Daily Telegraph interview with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, you could be forgiven for thinking that contraception is the toughest issue facing the Catholic Church today. I’d phrase the problem somewhat differently. The toughest issue facing the Catholic Church today is the...

The Conclave and the Papal Election: Rollup of All News and Commentary by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 12, 2013

Here is a list of all of our news and commentary on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of his successor, in reverse chronological order. Items marked “Catholic World News” are news stories; items marked with a personal name are commentaries by that...

Junk Reporting on Electing a Pope by Peter Mirus - Feb 11, 2013

Around the news sites and blogosphere, you have begun to see only the first of the many inaccurate, meaningless, irresponsible, and completely misinformed (not to mention heretical, in some cases) reporting on Pope Benedict's resignation and the election of a new pope. Talking heads, so called...

The Tuft-less Titmouse by Chris Pelicano - Feb 11, 2013

How do you know when you are being deceived? It depends, in part, on the nature of the deception. Some deceptions are direct, bold-faced statements or assertions contrary to the truth. Some deceptions are more sins of omission, so-called half-truths, that mislead by appearing to be complete and...

Don't blame Benedict XVI for the sex-abuse scandal by Phil Lawler - Feb 11, 2013

Among the many inaccurate stories that have circulated in the wake of Pope Benedict’s resignation, one in particular should be nipped in the bud. This pontificate has not been scarred by a failure to address the sex-abuse scandal. The claim that Pope Benedict ignored sexual abuse is a...

Who will be the next Pope? Advice for oddsmakers by Phil Lawler - Feb 11, 2013

1. Don’t waste your time reading about the bookies who are already taking bets. The bookies are just trying to stir up a little action. 2. Don’t pay too much attention to the stories in the mainstream press about the “leading candidates,” either. Some offer a...

In India, cardinals praise new book by CWN contributor by Phil Lawler - Feb 11, 2013

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Evangelization, led the chorus of praise for a new book by frequent CWN contributor Anto Akkara. Cardinal Telesphore Toppo referred to the book as “prophetic.” The book, Early Christians of 21st Century, recounts the...

What do you call an ex-Pope? by Phil Lawler - Feb 11, 2013

Among the many questions raised by the resignation of Pope Benedict, this one isn’t in the top 20. But since it has already been asked, and the director of the Vatican press office has admitted that he doesn’t know the answer, let’s give it a moment’s thought: Question:...

Now more than ever, accurate Vatican coverage is essential by Phil Lawler - Feb 11, 2013

Brace yourself for a deluge of inaccurate stories in the mainstream media about the pontificate of Benedict XVI, ill-informed speculation about the papal succession, and generally misleading coverage of Catholic affairs. If you want accurate, reliable information and analysis, stick with Catholic...

RIP Mike Schwartz, happy warrior of the pro-life movement by Phil Lawler - Feb 8, 2013

If you have been active in the American pro-life movement—in any capacity, at any time since 1973—you have been influenced by Mike Schwartz, whether you know it or not. Most of the movement’s leaders are acutely aware of Mike’s influence, and many have paid tribute to him...

For the Love of Morality: Keep Government Minimal by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 8, 2013

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati went up against Judge S. Arthur Spiegel when it tried to fire Christa Dias, a Catholic school employee, for using artificial insemination to become pregnant. Spiegel ruled against the Archdiocese on the grounds that there may be evidence of pregnancy discrimination in...

The lighter side of a bishop's life by Phil Lawler - Feb 7, 2013

Even as I mourn the death of Bishop John D’Arcy, I can’t help remembering the morning that we had breakfast together, and I saw a different side of the life of a Catholic bishop. It was a Monday: October 20, 1986. (How do I remember the date? Read on.) I had moved to Indiana almost a...

More Evidence for Academic Irrelevance by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 6, 2013

Academic publishing—especially niche market academic publishing, such as specifically Catholic academic publishing—seems to be in serious trouble. I realized this again while looking through some book flyers enclosed in the latest mailing from the Society of Catholic Social Scientists....

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...

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