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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

Replacing problems with persons: Eve Tushnet’s new book, Gay and Catholic by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Nov 14, 2014

Over the last three days I’ve read Eve Tushnet’s remarkable book, Gay and Catholic. Tushnet, who is now in her mid-30s, realized that she was “gay” in middle school, admitted...

Church Fathers: St. Ignatius of Antioch by Thomas Van - Dec 6, 2014

Tradition has it that the church at Antioch was founded by St. Peter himself, who served as its bishop for seven years before moving on to found the church at Rome. (Robert Spencer...

Why believe in God? And why are some answers so unbearably thin? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 8, 2015

I just spent a very enjoyable couple of hours reading a collection of essays from religious artists answering the question of why they believe in God. By religious “artists”, I mean...

Church Fathers: St. Polycarp and St. Papias by Thomas Van - Jan 24, 2015

St. Polycarp, Apostolic Father The earliest extant detailed account of the arrest and martyrdom of a single individual is that of St. Polycarp (70-156), Bishop of Smyrna. According to St....

On the failure of history—and historians—without Christ by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Thursday

When I was a brash young graduate student in the very early 1970s, Professor Lawrence Stone tried to teach me that the English Revolution and civil war were essentially caused by social and...

Top 5: On the Culture

Our Paradoxical Times: An economy of waste, a culture of the absurd Jan 13, 2015

Anyone who has read John Steinbeck’s harrowing novel The Grapes of Wrath, or anyone who knows anything about the marketing of both baby formula and cigarettes in the third world, or anyone who examines military contracts, knows the lengths to which businesses will sometimes to go to enhance...

Episcopal action on the SSPX: A basic strategy for unity Nov 4, 2014

In the past few days, two bishops have been reported as announcing the excommunication of Catholics who attend Masses offered by priests of the Society of St. Pius X. First we heard from Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, who reaffirmed the policy of his predecessor. Today there are...

The “Orthodox Practice”: A solution to divorce, remarriage and Communion? Dec 12, 2014

Since the working document for the 2015 Synod on the Family includes, among its points for discussion, the “Orthodox practice” on marriage, we should take a few moments to discover the questions this raises. It is a case of discerning whether the Church can find, in the way the...

How do we react when the Pope fails to express our top concerns? Jan 15, 2015

Pope Francis’ in-flight interview on January 15th touched on a number of issues that have profound social implications: Freedom of religion, reconciliation among different religious groups, freedom of speech, the exploitation of children, and the misuse of nature, including climate...

Bergoglio’s List: Pope Francis and political oppression in Argentina Nov 6, 2014

Within hours of the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the papacy, the world press began to retail stories that Fr. Bergoglio may have been complicit in serious human rights violations under the military regime which ruled Argentina between 1976 and 1983. This innuendo was based primarily on...

Top 5: On the News

Why Cardinal Burke cannot lead a 'loyal opposition' Nov 11, 2014

In the quiet little New England town where we live, we’ve just been through an unusually contentious local election. The aftermath has reminded me of an important lesson that I learned years ago. When the votes were counted in our local contests, one losing candidate issued a gracious statement...

Which American archbishops—if any—will receive red hats at the February conclave? Dec 23, 2014

Sometime early in the new year, Pope Francis will reveal the names of the new cardinals who will be elevated at a consistory in February 2015. How many American prelates will be on the list? Quite likely, none at all. There are currently 18 US citizens in the College of Cardinals. The only...

Guess who thinks Pope Francis shouldn't give so many interviews? Jan 23, 2015

“Interviews are not my forte,” then-Cardinal Bergoglio once remarked, and for that reason he seldom sat down to speak on the record with reporters. When two journalists sought a formal interview, he advised them to publish excerpts from his sermons and essays instead. (A Call to...

In showdown with American sisters, the Vatican blinked Dec 16, 2014

The Vatican blinked. After a 3-year study of American women’s religious orders, undertaken because of problems that are both grave and obvious, the Congregation for Religious has released a report that avoids direct criticism of religious orders, instead suggesting that the communities should...

Murder, blasphemy, and the limits of intolerance Jan 10, 2015

Let’s stop the posturing, shall we? You say, “je suis Charlie.” But would you have published the cartoons that made the editors of Charlie Hebdo the target of jihadist killers? Would you publish them even now? Let me put the question differently. You say that you will fight...

Top 5: The City Gates

A revealing book recommendation from the Pope Jan 20, 2015

Twice now, Pope Francis has recommended Robert Hugh Benson's apocalyptic novel, Lord of the World. It’s interesting that an English novel—written more than a century ago, and no longer easy to find—would figure prominently in the public remarks of a Pontiff who is not fluent...

Yet another revealing 'error' in a Vatican translation Nov 3, 2014

Surprise, surprise! When the Vatican finally released an English-language version of the final report from the Synod, the translation contained at least one blatant omission. And I bet you can’t guess what effect this “error” will have on readers’ understanding. Credit...

We're losing the next generation(s) of Catholics Dec 4, 2014

In the past few days I’ve spoken to two friends who work as musicians in two different parishes. One friend had a story that sounded very familiar. The older parishioners die, and when their middle-aged children come to bury them, they’re completely lost during the funeral. They...

This year's best interview with an American cardinal Nov 17, 2014

No, I don’t mean the troubling “60 Minutes” interview with Cardinal O’Malley. About that, the less said, the better. If you’re interested in a wide-ranging interview with an influential American cardinal who actually speaks his mind (and if you don’t want to be interrupted by commercials for...

The Didache Bible Is Here Jan 21, 2015

I already mentioned the new Didache Bible, before it was actually available, in Two beautiful books to give as Christmas gifts. But I definitely want to call it to your attention again now that you can purchase it. It’s a brand new Bible developed and published jointly by the Midwest...

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