Commentary

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Top 5: In Depth Analysis

The Controversy at the Heart of Amoris Laetitia by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Apr 11, 2016

If Catholics who have divorced and remarried without obtaining an annulment can in some cases be given permission to receive communion, will this do more harm than good? That’s the...

Vatican did not tell bishops to avoid reporting abuse-- and reporters missed the real story by Phil Lawler - Feb 12, 2016

This week I read dozens of headlines about a new Vatican document that allegedly instructed bishops not to report sex-abuse complaints to the local police. For example: Catholic Church Tells...

Responding to the papal interview as if truth matters by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 19, 2016

I don’t want to belabor the point; Phil’s commentary on the latest papal interview is outstanding as it stands (The damage done—again—by the Pope’s interview). We may...

Religious unity, evangelization and the salvation crisis by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 8, 2016

Having examined the fundamental difference between the quest for religious unity and evangelization, it seems sensible to ask what, in the modern period, has caused evangelization (with its...

How I won’t grow spiritually, but you might: New efforts to keep it simple. by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 3, 2016

There are three elements in spiritual reading which will generally put me off. I am going to enumerate them because your own case may be very different. These elements are characteristic of five...

Top 5: On the Culture

Divorce and remarriage: Why has Pope Francis chosen to leave one door open? Apr 8, 2016

I haven’t finished reading Pope Francis’ synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. It is a sweeping document, and I want to take my time with it. But I can suggest one very understandable reason for Pope Francis’ decision to emphasize a case-by-case approach to integrating...

On praising Obama and other relativists: Is a discreet silence really so bad? Mar 22, 2016

One tires of L’Osservatore Romano, whose editors too often seem overeager to ingratiate themselves with our world’s cultural elites. Over the past few years, we have seen the paper find reasons to praise the legacy of various musicians, writers and entertainers who have no significant...

Contrary to popular belief: Relativism cannot enlighten; it can only darken the mind. Feb 26, 2016

We live in a culture in which people brag about their enlightenment. The logic for this self-delight is surprisingly thin. There is the fallacy of progress, of course, which leads us to assume that the latest developments in human thought and attitudes are invariably the best. And of course there...

Beware the great foot-washing scandal! Mar 17, 2016

I confess that I find the brouhaha over whether women can have their feet washed on Holy Thursday to reflect rather badly on Catholics who let this get under their skin—either way. Now that this is an approved option, I’d like to explain why there is no reason to be upset about it on...

Pope Francis tells exploitative employers to keep their donations: Questions? Mar 2, 2016

Continuing his catechesis on mercy at his Wednesday audiences, today Pope Francis emphasized that true conversion is “not the ritual of sacrifice but rather of justice.” And, indeed, this message appears again and again throughout both the Old and New covenants. The Pope went on to...

Top 5: On the News

The damage done—again—by the Pope's interview Feb 18, 2016

How damaging was the latest papal interview? Let me count the ways. Tomorrow, no doubt, the Vatican press office will go into its now-familiar “clarification” mode. Loyal Catholic defenders of Pope Francis will argue that the Holy Father’s words were taken out of context. But...

The Pope's confused message undermines his own pastoral program Apr 8, 2016

Amoris Laetitia is not a revolutionary document. It is a subversive one. Pope Francis has not overthrown the traditional teachings of the Church, as many Catholics had either hoped or feared that he would, in this post-Synod exhortation. Instead he has sought to carve out ample room for a...

To preach, to sanctify, and... Is something missing? Feb 3, 2016

Pope Francis knocked me off balance, and prompted some new thoughts about the state of the Catholic Church, with something he said in a recent homily. Or rather, to be more accurate, he stunned me by what he did not say—by leaving out part of a very familiar series. Let me explain first...

Reasons for skepticism about the Pope's meeting with Patriarch Kirill Feb 25, 2016

“Finally!” Pope Francis said when he embraced Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. “Now things are easier,” came the reply. How much easier? Two weeks after that historic meeting in Cuba, do the prospects for warmer ties between Rome and Moscow seem much improved? There are...

The drive for Vatican reform has stalled Apr 21, 2016

The news that the Vatican has suspended an external audit might appear to be only a minor administrative matter, interesting only to accountants. But as an indicator of the trends in Rome today, it is as significant of Amoris Laetitia. It is, in my view (and I am by no means a financial...

Top 5: The City Gates

The irony behind the Oscar for Spotlight Feb 29, 2016

What's wrong with this picture? - Spotlight has won the Oscar for Best Picture of 2015. - The Oscar is presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).  - Spotlight is the story of how, in 2002, the Boston Globe exposed sexual abuse of children in the Boston...

Debunking the debunkers: how the best scholarly evidence confirms the Gospels Mar 18, 2016

Any day now, a major media outlet will release a feature story which, with a great deal of promotional ballyhoo, will claim to call into question the ordinary Christian understanding of the Gospel story. It’s become an annual tradition: as Easter approaches, and secular journalists look for...

In Africa, a Catholic explosion! Mar 7, 2016

Let’s be honest: statistics can be dull. But sometimes a number leaps off the page (or the screen). That happened to me this morning, with our CWN headline story about the growth of the world’s Catholic population. During that time period, the Catholic population soared by 41% in Africa and 20%...

Lenten sacrifices: What about Sundays? Feb 9, 2016

One of the priests in our parish frequently tries to get us to be tougher when it comes to a willingness to sacrifice. Each year around this time he speaks repeatedly about the desirability of extending our Lenten practices throughout all the days of the Lenten season. He is unimpressed by the...

NPR discovers the 'secret' that pro-lifers have been sharing for a generation Feb 3, 2016

Congratulations to National Public Radio for discovering what Steven Mosher has been telling the world for the past 35 years: that China's brutal "one-child" population policy led to flagrant and widespread human-rights abuses, including millions of forced abortions, and produced a...