Commentary

Most Popular Within the Last 90 Days

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Top 5: In Depth Analysis

Confidence in the Church: What do we do when we want to cry? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 14, 2016

It’s been a difficult year for deeply-committed Catholics, by which I mean those who accept all that the Church teaches and who sincerely try to conform their lives to Christ in accordance...

Should we criticize Pope Francis, or not? If so, how?
Part 1: Rationale
by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 8, 2016

Over the last thirty days my own criticism of Pope Francis has been more pronounced than usual. Given last week’s extensive criticism of the Pope’s suggestion regarding the works of...

Papal governance by sleight-of-hand strains my grasp of culpability and Canon Law. by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 16, 2016

The quarrel over the position I took in “Not heretical: Pope Francis’ approval of the Argentine bishops’ policy on invalid marriages” has prompted both serious rebuttals and...

Is it a mark of rigidity to accuse others of rigidity? A spiritual proposal concerning Pope Francis. by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Nov 15, 2016

Like a great many other Catholics, I was astonished by Pope Francis’ harsh dismissal of young people who prefer the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. It is a dangerous business to assume...

Should we criticize Pope Francis, or not? If so, how?
Part 2: Methods
by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Sep 20, 2016

There is a big difference in the general “atmosphere” as I post this second part of my reflection on the problem of criticizing the pope. I wrote Part 1 just before it became clear that...

Top 5: On the Culture

When it comes to Pope Francis, is it time to turn the corner? Nov 22, 2016

CatholicCulture.org has tried to be both accurate and forthright in reporting and commenting on the words and actions of Pope Francis. We have tried to treat Francis as sons; to give Francis the benefit of every doubt; to recognize the complexity of the issues he addresses; to acknowledge the...

Not heretical: Pope Francis’ approval of the Argentine bishops’ policy on invalid marriages Sep 13, 2016

According to news reports, Pope Francis has commended the bishops of Argentina for recognizing that Amoris Laetitia permits Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics in some cases, without benefit of annulment. The result is that some Catholics are now saying that Pope Francis has crossed the...

Driven by frustration, could some cardinals go too far? A caution Nov 17, 2016

Our Catholic World News service has reported on Cardinal Burke’s statement that a group of Catholic prelates may address a “formal act of correction” to Pope Francis. According to Burke, this could be made necessary by the refusal of Pope Francis to correct the confusion about...

For those who are outraged: Even Pope Francis does not know the proper interpretation of Amoris Laetitia. Sep 14, 2016

Okay, so here’s a gift to all those who were indignant with yesterday’s defense of Pope Francis against the charge of heresy. The gift is this: Pope Francis, writing privately, is not a definitive interpreter of how the Church is to understand his Magisterial statements. The...

The Pius Wars? No longer a slur on Pius XII, but the Pope’s own war against Hitler Oct 11, 2016

Do you recall the Pius wars? The conflict over the legacy of Pope Pius XII is probably best known from John Cornwell’s highly-biased book Hitler’s Pope, a title that is also a shameless bit of name-calling. But that was in 1999. Since then so many scholars have leapt to the...

Top 5: On the News

A whiff of schism: when different Catholics hold radically different beliefs Sep 23, 2016

At a Catholic parish in Athy, Ireland, a lesbian couple who resigned from parish ministry after entering a legal marriage has returned to active participation—and to loud applause. So now everyone is welcome in St. Michael’s parish, right? Wrong. Anthony Murphy, the editor of...

Is Pope Francis deliberately subverting papal teaching authority? Sep 15, 2016

Today the greatest threat to the teaching authority of the Pope is the Pope himself. Pope Francis specializes in unsettling remarks-- most frequently, it seems, during in-flight interviews. But the responsibility of the Roman Pontiff is to settle questions: something that Pope Francis seems...

On request for clarification of Amoris Laetitia, the Pope’s silence speaks volumes Nov 16, 2016

We should not be surprised that the Pope has declined a request for clarification of Amoris Laetitia. Are faithful Catholics confused by that document? Absolutely. That is the Holy Father’s intent. The confusion is not a bug; it’s a feature. The defenders of the papal document (and...

The impoverished faith of the San Diego diocese Wednesday

How would you feel if, after struggling to make ends meet for most of your life, you learned in your old age that you were the rightful heir to an enormous fortune, but your father had never told you about that inheritance? You would feel terribly betrayed, wouldn’t you? In the Diocese...

Trump, Brexit, and the collapse of a world order Nov 9, 2016

The election of Donald Trump punctuates the end of an era—and I don’t mean just the Clinton era. We are living through a time of global historical change: the demise of an international order. Somehow our leading politicians, pundits, and pollsters, who spend their days analyzing...

Top 5: The City Gates

The anti-Catholic Catholics (and the bishops who support them) Oct 14, 2016

Yesterday Ross Douthat of the New York Times embarked on a lengthy Tweetstorm —21 tweets in all—questioning whether it’s accurate to refer to the leaked emails from the Clinton campaign as evidence of “anti-Catholic” bigotry. Douthat—who is no friend of the...

A Vatican enemies list? Oct 19, 2016

Last week the Vatican Insider—ordinarily a solid source of news and reasonable analysis from Rome—published a remarkable piece with an inflammatory headline, “Catholics who are anti-Francis but love Putin.” The article is troubling, for several reasons: The article...

The Rex Mottram approach to Amoris Laetitia and the dubia Nov 22, 2016

“I believe that the pope has spoken,” said Cardinal Kevin Farrell, regarding the question of whether Amoris Laetitia has changed Church teaching on the admission of divorced/remarried Catholics to Communion. But to be fair, Cardinal Farrell made that remark more than a month ago,...

Here’s an idea: just cancel the Al Smith dinner Oct 25, 2016

You say you weren’t happy about the Al Smith dinner? Neither was I. Neither was John Gehring. Yes, I’m writing about that John Gehring, the liberal political operative who did PR work first for the US bishops’ conference, then for Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, the group that...

Democrats trying to change Church teachings? Nothing new. Oct 12, 2016

“We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good,” wrote John Podesta, the chairman of the Clinton campaign. He was responding to a supporter who had suggested a campaign to bring change within the Catholic Church, to “demand the end of a middle ages...