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

Sing of Mary, 4a: Everything there is to know about the Mother of God, Part 1 by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Dec 6, 2016

One way to retreat from vexing situations, without failing to grow in our ability to handle them well, is to turn our attention to Mary, who faced so many of these situations without being able to...

Is it a mark of rigidity to accuse others of rigidity? A spiritual proposal concerning Pope Francis. by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Nov 15, 2016

Like a great many other Catholics, I was astonished by Pope Francis’ harsh dismissal of young people who prefer the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. It is a dangerous business to assume...

Cardinal Müller walks the tightrope: A Catholic tutorial? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Dec 2, 2016

I have been advocating the end of an unhealthy preoccupation with the problems presented by Pope Francis, but I am going to risk further comment because I find that Cardinal Müller’s...

Rehabilitating Pope Francis, and saving ourselves by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Nov 4, 2016

Over the past few weeks I’ve received a number of emails which rebuke me for a tendency to defend Pope Francis whenever I believe I can do so reasonably. As someone who has also criticized the...

Sing of Mary, 4b: Everything there is to know about the Mother of God, Part 2 by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Dec 13, 2016

Having introduced Michael Hesemann’s remarkable book last week, I’d like to complete my consideration, as promised, of Mary of Nazareth: History, Archeology, Legends. The pervious...

Top 5: On the Culture

When it comes to Pope Francis, is it time to turn the corner? Nov 22, 2016

CatholicCulture.org has tried to be both accurate and forthright in reporting and commenting on the words and actions of Pope Francis. We have tried to treat Francis as sons; to give Francis the benefit of every doubt; to recognize the complexity of the issues he addresses; to acknowledge the...

Driven by frustration, could some cardinals go too far? A caution Nov 17, 2016

Our Catholic World News service has reported on Cardinal Burke’s statement that a group of Catholic prelates may address a “formal act of correction” to Pope Francis. According to Burke, this could be made necessary by the refusal of Pope Francis to correct the confusion about...

Down with Trump! The privileged class triggers student revolts (again) Nov 11, 2016

In the wake of the election of Donald Trump, some have taken to the streets in protest. I read a fairly comprehensive account of this in USA Today. It is clear that Trump is a polarizing figure. In fact, throughout the campaign he obviously intended to be a polarizing figure. But that’s not...

When questions are perceived as threats, a guilty conscience is at work. Nov 29, 2016

As the fallout from Amoris Laetitia continues to settle, it is difficult to imagine a more illuminating exercise than to compare recent statements by San Diego’s Bishop Robert McElroy and Cardinal George Pell. Bishop McElroy’s new policies invite the divorced and remarried to discern...

Norcia just before the earthquakes: My time with the monks Nov 6, 2016

Last week I spent two nights in Norcia, Italy, the birthplace of St. Benedict, the father of Western monasticism. I was blessed with a rare personal encounter with the monks of Norcia, joining them in both prayer and work, an opportunity seldom offered to pilgrims. My glimpse of their way of life...

Top 5: On the News

On request for clarification of Amoris Laetitia, the Pope’s silence speaks volumes Nov 16, 2016

We should not be surprised that the Pope has declined a request for clarification of Amoris Laetitia. Are faithful Catholics confused by that document? Absolutely. That is the Holy Father’s intent. The confusion is not a bug; it’s a feature. The defenders of the papal document (and...

The rhetorical strategy to debunk the dubia Dec 16, 2016

At this point it’s quite clear: close associates of Pope Francis, defenders of Amoris Laetita and critics of the four cardinals who submitted the famous dubia are all reading from the same script. When you notice that many different people are using the same arguments—in fact the same...

The impoverished faith of the San Diego diocese Nov 30, 2016

How would you feel if, after struggling to make ends meet for most of your life, you learned in your old age that you were the rightful heir to an enormous fortune, but your father had never told you about that inheritance? You would feel terribly betrayed, wouldn’t you? In the Diocese...

Trump, Brexit, and the collapse of a world order Nov 9, 2016

The election of Donald Trump punctuates the end of an era—and I don’t mean just the Clinton era. We are living through a time of global historical change: the demise of an international order. Somehow our leading politicians, pundits, and pollsters, who spend their days analyzing...

Fantasy and reality in the ‘Kasper proposal’ Jan 6, 2017

The debate on Amoris Laetitia has been simmering steadily since my last entry on the subject. Father Raymond de Souza has helped put that debate in perspective, with a clear and compelling summary—easily the best that I have seen—of where the argument now stands. At this point the...

Top 5: The City Gates

Three things the Pope can’t say Dec 5, 2016

Within the Catholic Church, the authority of the Roman Pontiff is considerable. But even papal authority—and especially papal infallibility—has its limits. The Pope speaks with authority when he sets forth the deposit of the Faith, explaining—in union with the college of...

Spadaro’s irrational faith Jan 6, 2017

Father Antonio Spadaro, the Italian Jesuit who has been identified as “the Pope’s mouthpiece,” frequently uses his Twitter account(s) to belittle all those who have questions about Amoris Laetitia. But this gem from yesterday might have a boomerang effect: Theology is no #Mathematics. 2 + 2 in...

The Rex Mottram approach to Amoris Laetitia and the dubia Nov 22, 2016

“I believe that the pope has spoken,” said Cardinal Kevin Farrell, regarding the question of whether Amoris Laetitia has changed Church teaching on the admission of divorced/remarried Catholics to Communion. But to be fair, Cardinal Farrell made that remark more than a month ago,...

Here’s an idea: just cancel the Al Smith dinner Oct 25, 2016

You say you weren’t happy about the Al Smith dinner? Neither was I. Neither was John Gehring. Yes, I’m writing about that John Gehring, the liberal political operative who did PR work first for the US bishops’ conference, then for Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, the group that...

Going with the flow: Amoris Laetitia and the secular temptation Jan 10, 2017

Imagine three Catholic priests, each with his own parish: Father X has lost his faith. He continues serving as a pastor, going through the motions, because he’s accustomed to the work and he thinks he helps people. That is, he thinks he helps people, with his counsel and encouragement....