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Commentary

Most Popular Within the Last 90 Days

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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: 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...

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...

Church Fathers: St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Part II by Thomas Van - Wednesday

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

A Vatican official's disgraceful diatribe Jun 4, 2015

A few weeks ago I worried that the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences was pushing the Vatican into needless and divisive political controversy. Now I’m afraid the same Pontifical Academy is pushing itself into disgrace. The story begins in April, when the Pontifical Academy of Social...

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...

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...

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...

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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