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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

Henri de Lubac's fascinating notes on Vatican II by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Jun 15, 2015

Here I explore the notes made by the French theologian Henri de Lubac as he prepared for and participated in the Second Vatican Council. I will gradually add revealing excerpts and comments from...

The Coup at the (Catholic) U by Dr. Jeff Mirus - May 19, 2015

It was a remarkable thing even for the 1960s—the takeover of the Catholic University of America by its heterodox Department of Theology. I am referring, of course, to the wholesale defiance of...

Church Fathers: The Other Greek Apologists by Thomas Van - Apr 19, 2015

We know the names and some of the works of several other second century Greek Christian writers besides those covered in the preceding two installments. Though all of these explained and defended...

Church Fathers: Background on Heresies by Thomas Van - Jun 1, 2015

We are reaching a point in the history of Christianity at which combatting heresy becomes a principal concern of ecclesiastical writers. We will soon be looking, for instance, at St. Irenaeus, whose...

Top 5: On the Culture

The vernacular in, Latin out. Why? Jun 4, 2015

I’ve changed my mind about not delving into the liturgical arguments in the discussions on the liturgy at Vatican II. I did not quote many of these in my ongoing extracts from Henri de Lubac’s notes on the Council, because the arguments are pretty much the same now as they were then....

Pope Francis simply doesn’t take sides. Jun 5, 2015

It’s been an odd last few days. On Wednesday we learned from Cardinal Robert Sarah that Pope Francis charged him, in his leadership of the Congregation for Divine Worship, to continue the goals for the liturgy as envisioned by Pope Benedict. The next day, the news broke that Cardinal...

Swiss Catholics remind us of the iron law of Faith May 7, 2015

The Swiss are now on record (see Swiss Catholics call for same-sex partnerships), though their record is arguably worse even than that of their German neighbors. But the Swiss report includes critical information which we outsiders learned about Germany only by juggling multiple news...

What Laudato Si' is really about Jun 19, 2015

I have read and heard many comments by politicians and activists on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’. But all the comments focus on the question of human-caused global warming, the reality of which the Pope accepts. Thus comments from “liberals” predictably express...

Vibrant Catholicism, 1: Lamenting the entire 20th century May 28, 2015

I have this vision of offering a comprehensive plan to ensure a vibrant, effective Catholicism going forward—because we certainly haven’t had anything like it for a long time. But this is a seductive vision. Even the best and most comprehensive plans for renewal will run into enormous...

Top 5: On the News

The 'third rail' of the priestly abuse scandal: the role of homosexuality Jun 15, 2015

Last week in this space, I argued that by setting up a tribunal to judge bishops accused of neglect in sex-abuse cases, the Vatican has finally addressed the second of three related scandals. Now let’s address the third scandal. The first scandal, as you may recall, was the sexual abuse...

So now is it 'hate speech' to deplore the Obergefell decision? Monday

The ink was barely dry on last week’s Supreme Court ruling when Father James Martin, SJ, began scolding Catholics who were, from his decorous perspective, too strident in denouncing the decision. ”No issue brings out so much hatred from so many Catholics as homosexuality,”...

We've already redefined marriage, by accepting contraception May 1, 2015

In a must-read column for the Wall Street Journal, Rev. Donald Sensing, a Methodist minister from Tennessee, argues that acceptance of same-sex marriage “will not cause the degeneration of the institution of marriage; it is the result of it.” Understand that Rev. Sensing is not happy with the...

The challenge of Laudato Si Jun 18, 2015

We were expecting something big from Pope Francis: something controversial, something that carried a heavy political charge. What he has given us is something bigger. Laudato Si is more provocative, but less political, than what we expected. Those who try to twist the document into one...

The Finn resignation: 10 years too late, bishops face accountability Apr 21, 2015

Bishop Finn had to go. When he was convicted on criminal charges, he became the poster boy for the American bishops’ mishandling of the sex-abuse crisis. He was an irresistible target for critics of Catholicism: a walking, talking symbol of episcopal negligence. The bishop’s...

Top 5: The City Gates

The marketing failure of 'new' Catholicism May 15, 2015

Years ago, shortly after Coca-Cola made the ill-fated decision to alter its formula, the Wall Street Journal published a witty column, applying the lessons of that marketing debacle to the Catholic Church. (I can’t find that old WSJ piece now; I’ll be grateful if someone can furnish a...

Don't call Patricia Jannuzzi's reinstatement a victory Apr 14, 2015

Do you count it as a victory that Patricia Jannuzzi is back in the classroom? I don’t. It’s a good thing, certainly, that the Catholic-school teacher who was suspended for her Facebook criticism of homosexual activists has been reinstated. I’m happy for her, and for the...

An archbishop's unconvincing defense of marriage May 6, 2015

A contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times reports that he had a friendly exchange with Archbishop Blaise Cupich on the topic of same-sex marriage, and reproduces large chunks of that exchange for his readers. Naturally the archbishop says that he does not support legal recognition of same-sex...

A silent scandal: Catholic schools promoting morally unacceptable vaccines Apr 24, 2015

In at least two American dioceses, the parents of children attending Catholic schools are being told that they must have their children vaccinated, regardless of their moral qualms about vaccines derived from the cells of aborted children. This is an injustice to parents who are determined to bear...

Is Pope Francis purging conservative prelates? Apr 29, 2015

Many traditionalist Catholics have complained that the bishops who have been forced to resign during this pontificate (Finn, Livieres Plano, Tebartz-van Elst) and the cardinals who have been removed from influential Vatican posts (Burke, Piacenza) all are identified as conservative. In a...

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