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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

On the failure of history—and historians—without Christ by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jan 29, 2015

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...

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...

O Canada! Assisted suicide, the Christian meaning of defeat, and King Alfred the Great by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 10, 2015

Last week’s news that the Canadian Supreme Court had struck down Canada’s law against assisted suicide is an object lesson. The justices have become the latest poster children for what...

Church Fathers: The Shepherd of Hermas by Thomas Van - Feb 13, 2015

The Shepherd (or Pastor) of Hermas, an important second-century Christian text, is categorized as an apocryphal apocalypse; it consists of a series of visions urging repentance and penance in...

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....

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...

Christ freed us from our sins! But this is not enough. Really. Jan 19, 2015

I have known a number of Catholics who were able to speak very eloquently about the forgiveness of our sins and our freedom in Christ. They had a knack for helping others realize how much God loved them, so that they could be unburdened by fear, doubt and guilt. Unfortunately, in some cases, they...

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...

Thinking morally about vaccinations: My turn! Feb 4, 2015

In two recent posts, Phil Lawler has ably summarized several important factors in the moral debate over vaccinations made from fetal tissue (see Conscientious objection to vaccinations and The vaccination debateS—notice the plural). In response, critics in some quarters have advanced moral...

On Pope Francis: Getting our heads out of the sand Mar 10, 2015

Every pope is controversial, but not all are controversial in the same quarters. You may recall how controversial (indeed, how annoying and even appalling) Pope John Paul II was to all those who aspired to worldly sophistication (and to schismatic Traditionalists). How they loved to denigrate the...

Top 5: On the News

Insights on the enigma that is Pope Francis Friday

Two years after his election, millions of Catholics are still trying to understand Pope Francis. Two recent essays have provided useful perspectives: Writing for Crisis, Msgr. Hans Feichtinger, a priest of the Diocese of Passau, Germany, makes the important point that Pope Francis is not, like...

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...

Conscientious objection to vaccinations Jan 30, 2015

Following an outbreak of measles that was traced back to Disneyland, public-health authorities are ramping up their campaign to persuade all American parents that their children should be vaccinated. This campaign places pressure on some parents who have moral objections to the use of certain...

THE challenge for the New Evangelization: bringing men back to church Feb 17, 2015

Here’s a simple formula, tried and true, for getting families into church: If the fathers come, the wives and children will come, too. Steve Wood, who founded St. Joseph’s Covenant Keepers, cites research done by Southern Baptists on bringing families into churches: If a...

Liberal liturgists try to explain away a key appointment by Pope Francis Mar 11, 2015

Within a few weeks after the election of Pope Francis, rumors began to circulate in Rome that the new Pontiff would appoint Archbishop Piero Marini as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW). For liberal liturgists, these rumors were cause for celebration; for conservatives, for...

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...

Notre Dame has lost two contrasting giants Feb 27, 2015

On successive days, death has claimed two giant figures in the history of America’s most iconic Catholic university: two revered men, with very different ideas about that university’s proper role. The death of Father Theodore Hesburgh on February 26 will claim headline coverage, and...

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...

Can the 'new evangelization' succeed while cradle Catholics are leaving in droves? Feb 20, 2015

Writing in the Catholic Herald, Stephen Bullivant suggests that we should “Put the New Evangelisation on Hold until we try to figure out what is causing a mass exodus of cradle Catholics from the Church. Bullivant is addressing a British audience (did you notice the “s” in...

A thin-skinned Vatican spokesman harms his own standing Mar 5, 2015

Father Thomas Rosica works with the Vatican press office, and is sometimes quoted by the English-speaking media as a spokesman for the Vatican. So you might take it for granted that he has some understanding of the field of public relations. You’d be wrong. Hounded by an obscure Canadian...

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