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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

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...

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: 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...

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...

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...

Top 5: On the News

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

The cardinal who can't let go Dec 22, 2014

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has resigned his post as the camerlengo, the official with primary responsibility for handling the temporal affairs of the Holy See in the interim after a Pope’s death. The duties of the camerlengo are not arduous, and Cardinal Bertone could surely fulfill them. Still...

Two beautiful books to give as Christmas gifts Dec 3, 2014

Since Advent is now running along fairly briskly, I want to call your attention to two attractive Catholic books which will make perfect gifts for those you love when we celebrate Christ’s birth. One is a new Bible; the other is a coffee-table book about Mary. Both are from Ignatius...

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