Commentary

Most Popular Within the Last 90 Days

Make a selection to view the top 5 items in each commentary section.

Top 5: In Depth Analysis

Reading the news between the lines by Phil Lawler - Apr 7, 2017

For someone who covers the news every day, it’s frustrating to read a story and know that important information has been left out. In such cases, when I have no good way to dig out the missing...

Original Sin: What is it really and why does it matter? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - May 16, 2017

I had a very interesting exchange over the weekend with a man who raised two important questions: First, does the Church teach that the human soul is created at conception? Second, how does the soul...

Cardinals who take up the slack by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 20, 2017

During a pontificate that is often confusing and even self-contradictory, we are fortunate to have two outstanding cardinals in charge of two key congregations. The Guinean Robert Sarah leads the...

Obstacles to “Rightsizing” the Church by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 4, 2017

“This refusal to demand a desire for transformation in Christ cannot continue to be the way of the Church in our time. Her members must learn again to exclude those who refuse to respond to...

How can the laity renew the Church? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - May 2, 2017

In March and April I suggested that what the business world calls rightsizing is absolutely critical to the renewal of the Church. My point was that if the Church does not learn once again to...

Top 5: On the Culture

Three Catholic essay collections, useful in different ways Apr 28, 2017

Recently three different collections of essays crossed my desk, from three different publishers. In some ways, these collections remind me of the various ebook volumes of our own collected essays which CatholicCulture.org makes available as free downloads. But such collections are as different as...

A new legalism denies the moral content of moral rules. May 30, 2017

Guess what? The dismissal of moral norms is a modern form of legalism. This point was made brilliantly last week by Russell Shaw writing in the Arlington Catholic Herald: The old legalism is a morality of young children, for whom being good means doing what parents and other authority figures...

Renewal Phase 2: Making the parish central again May 22, 2017

Back in the late 1960s, when I first began to see the urgent necessity of renewing the Church, the available options were both few and primitive. The disruption of clerical leadership in dioceses, parishes and religious communities throughout the West was so rapid and thorough that it quickly...

Rigidity and conversion do not mix. But don’t be fooled by double-speak. May 9, 2017

When Pope Francis once again rebuked hardhearted Catholics in a homily on May 2nd, all I could do was scratch my head. “This causes suffering in the Church,” the Pope said, “the closed hearts, the hearts of stone, the hearts which do not want to be open, do not want to hear, the...

Don’t worry: The Black Pope is just a symbol of the zeitgeist. Jun 2, 2017

I have added the head of the Society of Jesus to my list of alleged persons who cannot possibly be real. It was not enough that Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal insisted in February that we must discern the meaning of Christ’s teachings for ourselves, and that the Holy Spirit might lead us to an...

Top 5: On the News

A pastoral crisis the Church cannot (yet does) ignore Apr 28, 2017

The Archdiocese of Boston has opened a new church. That news drew headline coverage, in a city that has become more accustomed to stories about church closings. To be perfectly honest, the news stories are a bit misleading. There have been a few new churches opened in Boston in the past 60...

Apres moi le deluge May 8, 2017

As Emmanuel Macron moved toward his landslide victory in the French presidential election, the fashionable media outlets noticed a stunning reality about Europe’s current political leaders: Macron, the newly elected French president, has no children. German chancellor Angel Merkel...

The Benedict Option—not radical enough Apr 21, 2017

The Benedict Option is the most talked-about book of 2017, at least among religious conservatives. Personally I am pleased with this development, for two reasons. First because I count the author, Rod Dreher, as a friend as well as a gifted controversialist, and I’m happy to see his work...

Is the Vatican’s top canonical official undermining canon law? May 11, 2017

My favorite canon lawyer, Ed Peters, has some “Questions in the wake of Cdl. Coccopalmerio’s comments on Anglican orders.” I recommend his analysis highly, for anyone who wants an expert perspective; I happily defer to Peters on the legal issues. Let me add a few comments,...

Why is a Catholic bishops’ conference cheerleading for the European Union? May 9, 2017

Yesterday in this space I remarked on the unsustainable ideology of the European Union, which invents new “human rights” on a regular basis, without recognizing any corresponding duties. Just for example, the European Commission recently promulgated a Pillar of Social Rights,...

Top 5: The City Gates

Did Benedict just break his silence? May 23, 2017

For more than four years, since his resignation took effect, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI has very carefully avoided public comments on the state of the Church. For someone who was a very public figure and a very prolific author, his silence was conspicuous. When he announced his plan to resign,...

No, not every lifestyle is sinful Jun 14, 2017

“Pretty much everyone’s lifestyle is sinful,” Father James Martin told the New York Times. That statement is outrageous. In a sane world, Father Martin’s Jesuit superiors would order him to apologize. We are all sinners; we are all sinful. But we are not all engaged...

And here’s what the Pope didn’t say May 15, 2017

During his latest in-flight press conference, on his return flight from Portugal, Pope Francis made important statements on several hot topics: Medjugorje, sexual abuse, his meeting with President Trump, the prospects for regularization of the Society of St. Pius X. Those comments have deservedly...

Do. Not. Miss. This speech by Cardinal Sarah Mar 31, 2017

If you have time to read just one article over the weekend, here’s what it should be: Cardinal Sarah’s Address on 10th Anniversary of “Summorum Pontificum” Catholic World Report has done a great service by posting this address in its entirety, in an excellent English...

Ebook for Ordinary Time after Easter Released May 26, 2017

We have just released the fifth volume in the 2016-2017 Liturgical Year series of ebooks. Volume five covers the first half of the long stretch of Ordinary Time between the close of the Easter Season on Pentecost and the beginning of Advent. Like all CatholicCulture.org ebooks, this volume is...