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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 - Aug 18, 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...

Church Fathers: St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Part I by Thomas Van - Jul 23, 2015

As we have seen, the problem of heresy became an increasingly pressing issue for Christians towards the end of the second century. Popes and bishops excommunicated the inventors and adherents of...

The confusion, complexities and dangers of marriage annulments: A call to order by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Aug 25, 2015

It’s a sad thing, a broken marriage. I am referring literally to a broken or severed marriage. Of course, all relationships can be broken or severed, and there is sadness in each case. But...

Church Fathers: St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Part II by Thomas Van - Jul 29, 2015

The previous article introduced the figure of St. Irenaeus of Lyons, “father of Catholic theology,” and gave an overview of his surviving texts, most notably the five-volume work...

Church Fathers: The Third Century and the School of Alexandria by Thomas Van - Saturday

The situation of Christianity in its third century was quite different from the second. The old paganism was in decline, not just because of the spread of Christian faith but because of other shifts...

Top 5: On the Culture

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...

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...

Through an even darker glass: On knocking the popes for socialism.... Jul 7, 2015

If I have to read one more email explaining that modern popes have failed the Church by preaching socialism instead of the Gospel, I will not be held responsible for my reply. This complaint surfaces from time to time in orthodox Catholic circles for the simple reason that most politically...

On marriage, law, politics and the death of the West Jun 26, 2015

Here we go again. The United States Supreme Court has created a new legal definition of marriage and ruled that all states must recognize same-sex marriage. In other recent news, a UN committee has demanded that Ireland hold two referendums—or referenda, according to grammarians of the...

Read like a Catholic: Avoid category mistakes in assessing the new encyclical. Jun 17, 2015

Tomorrow we will have a new encyclical. Based on the earlier version leaked to Sandro Magister, it is going to be a fairly long one. Responsible commentators are using the leaked version to be able to respond more quickly to the encyclical when it appears, but they are holding their fire until...

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? Jun 29, 2015

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,”...

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...

If the Vatican's main spokesman doesn't know what the Pope's doing, who does? Jul 20, 2015

Don’t let the understated headline fool you. There’s dynamite in this CWN headline story. It’s not big news that the director of the Vatican press office admits he is “confused” by Pope Francis. We’re all confused. Join the club, Father Lombardi. But when...

'Catholicism by osmosis is dead'—Weigel hits the nail on the head Aug 26, 2015

Reflecting for Catholic World Report on the “smaller, purer Church” that Pope Benedict XVI foresaw, George Weigel makes one of those grand, sweeping generalizations that are so striking because they are so true: This same judgment—Catholicism by osmosis is dead—and this...

Top 5: The City Gates

With Archbishop Cupich, the 'seamless garment' jumps the shark Aug 6, 2015

The late Cardinal Bernardin muddied the waters of Catholic social teaching with his “seamless garment” argument, suggesting that opposition to abortion was no more important than opposition to the nuclear freeze. But Archbishop Blaise Cupich, who now sits in Cardinal Bernardin’s...

Vatican statement clarifies duties of Catholic faithful after Obergefell decision Jul 2, 2015

Twelve years ago, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith anticipated the possibility that some states might recognize same-sex marriage, and said: In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights...

Archbishop Nienstedt isn't—and shouldn't be—the sole focus of the criminal complaint in Minnesota Jun 8, 2015

The criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis are very bad news for Archbishop John Nienstedt. He now becomes the American bishop most clearly in the cross-hairs of Church critics; the calls for his resignation will be louder and more frequent. Like his most recent...

But WHY are these videos so damaging to Planned Parenthood? Jul 25, 2015

It's odd, isn't it, that Planned Parenthood has been hurt so badly by revelations about the sale of fetal organs? We already knew that unborn babies are killed, by the tens of thousands, in PP clinics. Isn't the killing a worse offense? If I told you that I planned to chop you up...

A modest proposal—did I say proposal?—regarding consent before sex Jul 8, 2015

The Affirmative Consent Project is encouraging American college students to sign a contract affirming their mutual agreement before having sexual intercourse. The contract—the group helpfully provides a form—can be memorialized with a Smartphone photo, since sometimes it’s hard...

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