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Expert commentary on the spiritual, moral, political, social, cultural, and ecclesiastical issues facing Catholics today.

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On the Culture
Commentary and reflection on Catholic life and ideas.

On the News
Analysis of news events and trends.

In Depth Analysis
Extended commentary and thoughtful Catholic essays on complex topics.

The City Gates
Brief, off-the-cuff observations and announcements.

Reviews
Book and media reviews.

On the Good
Celebrates positive work by Catholic individuals and organizations.

Featured Authors

St. Mark to the forefront

I am back at my desk for the first time in nearly a month, and happy to be here. One reason is that it enables me to continue my series on the books of the New Testament. It is time to look at the Gospel of Mark: Mark insists that Christ is the Son of God. On this subject I...

50 years later: coming back to earth after the moon landing

Sunday, July 20, 1969. Millions of Americans were in front of their television sets, watching coverage of the historic Apollo 11 mission. But it was a lovely afternoon in Boston, the Red Sox were hosting the Baltimore Orioles, and cheap seats were available in the distant right-field grandstand...

St. Mark insists that Christ is the Son of God

In my commentary on St. Matthew’s gospel, I emphasize Mathew’s central theme of establishing, point by point, that Jesus Christ is the Messiah expected by the Jewish nation. In sharp contrast, St. Mark insists from the very first that Jesus is the Son of God. Thus Mark largely bypasses...

At the Vatican, two mysteries—one probably easy to resolve

Just a few days after announcing that excavations inside the Vatican yielded no evidence to shed light on the disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi, the Vatican has now said that some human remains were found, and the investigation will continue. What’s going on here? The short answer: in...

New Evangelization Revisited?

Just when we thought we had heard everything from Western ecclesiastical leaders: Phil Lawler highlights a Belgian Cardinal who prefers worldliness to Christianity: The ‘new evangelization’—discarded? In a closely related piece, I probe into The diplomat and...

Self-serving apologies: Not the Catholic way

If you want to seize the contemporary moral high ground, I suggest you apologize for something your ancestors or your organization or your country did hundreds of years ago, checking first to ensure that the behavior in question is universally excoriated in our own more enlightened times. Above...

Unearthing more corruption at the Vatican

Pause for a moment, and think about what it means that the Vatican is excavating two tombs at the Teutonic Cemetery. The Vatican today confirmed what was already apparent: that the excavation of these tombs has been prompted by an investigation into the mysterious disappearance of a teenage girl...

The ‘new evangelization’—discarded?

Yesterday’s CWN headlines included a remarkable interview with Cardinal Jozef De Kesel of Brussels, in which the cardinal welcomed the arrival of secularism in Europe. Read the whole interview (if you have the stomach for it), and see if you can detect therein any statement, any argument,...

The diplomat and theologian: On the Truth and the limits of inclusivity

Two headlines in last Friday’s news caught my attention precisely because of the potential for contradiction in the treatment of the principles they represent. The first, “Vatican diplomat: Foster tolerance, inclusivity to counter attacks on religious believers”, favors the...

Episode 43—Teaching Children Self-Knowledge Through the Liberal Arts—Matthew Mehan

Mr. Mehan’s Mildly Amusing Mythical Mammals (M5) is a book of poems intended as an introduction to the liberal arts for children, helping them to grow in self-knowledge, virtue, and the art of charitable rhetoric. It is...

Out of darkness, light

This week Thomas V. Mirus shares a beautiful reflection on the difference Easter has made: God works through friendship: the Easter that changed me. Fr. Jerry Pokorsky reflects in a different way on the permanent commitment we make in Christ, which ought to prevent: Tinkering with the...

The Peña Parra case: An excellent test of Archbishop Vigano’s credibility

The latest disclosure of claims by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano should provide a welcome test of his credibility. The New York Times reports that Vigano has named the assistant Vatican Secretary of State, Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, as credibly accused of sexual abuse of seminarians since...

The reigning Pontiff of confusion: a continuing story

“The Vatican is now sending ambiguous messages on issues that were considered crucial only a few years ago.” I might have written that sentence, but I didn’t. It comes from an op-ed column in the New York Times—yes, that’s right, the New York Times—by the...

Faithful Catholics: don’t accept confusion about sexual morality

“Pride Month” has come to an end. And for the first two days of July, the first readings at Mass told the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. I’d call that a coincidence—if I believed in coincidences. Just after the middle of the month, Joseph Sciambra posted a very...

In York with a martyr: The challenge of Margaret Clitherow

The Shambles, a narrow street housing butchers where the Clitherow family lived The exterior designation of the shrine in (or at least very near) St. Margaret’s home

Tinkering with the Faith

Jesus teaches us, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) Our life decisions in response to His call are irrevocable. Elijah’s disciple, Elisha, burned the bridge to his past— his plowshare, the implement of his livelihood— to guarantee that...

God works through friendship: the Easter that changed me

To Karina and James Majewski on their wedding day, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. I had looked forward to Easter 2019 for months, even before Lent began; for with it would come the baptism of my new friend—the fiancée of an old and dear one, who had brought her...

Presuming on the Sacred Heart?

I'm in England at the moment, with an opportunity to tour Stonehenge—which I have not yet decided to accept. Today is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, a reality challenged in some way by the very existence of such a place, still a potent focus for Wiccans. Moreover,...

Quick Hits: Priest-pundits mince no words, on death penalty and McCarrick scandal

Today two priest-pundits offer essays that really cannot be missed: Father George William Rutler is at his best, which is very, very good, as he analyzes the US bishops’ discussion of capital punishment for Crisis. He focuses attention on the decision by Pope Francis to change the...

When is religion OK in America? When it is no longer religious.

The recent US Supreme Court decision permitting a cross to remain on public land in Bladensburg, MD is a peculiar one, to say the least. It demonstrates the kind of convoluted reasoning that must characterize justices who have reservations about public expressions of religion but do not wish to...

Mr. Catholic Boston

“Mr. Catholic Boston” has the first name of “Phil”, but according to Phil Lawler, it is not he. But it is a heartwarming story anyway, as our Phil writes it up: Mr. Catholic Boston, RIP. And here is another inspirational tale. On The Catholic Culture Podcast,...

Mr. Catholic Boston, RIP

My friend Jim dropped by on a Sunday afternoon to let me know that Phil Crotty had died. We spent a few minutes swapping stories about Phil—who was a memorable man—and I found myself wondering why, although I missed him already, I was not saddened by his death. Was it because Phil...

On raising our voices in and for the Church

In his commentary “Exit, voice, and loyalty in the Catholic Church” (with which I completely agree), Phil Lawler applies to the Church the three basic responses people make when they are dissatisfied with any institution of which they are a part. Phil concludes: If you, as a morally...

Episode 42—The Missionary of Wall Street—Stephen Auth

Stephen Auth is a highly successful investment manager on Wall Street. In his spare time, he hails down strangers on the streets of Manhattan and convinces them to go to confession. Links Steve Auth, The...

Rediscovering generosity

Children love to take things apart to figure out how they work. Before the advent of hi-tech cars, the average young man could work on an automobile, changing the fan belt or rebuilding the carburetor. Today, we just put gas in the tank, press the ignition button, and schedule routine servicing....

Minimizing polarization in renewal

In recent weeks, I believe I have noticed a greater hardening of Catholic hearts against the Catholic hierarchy. The increased popularity of conspiracy theories is one cause, and of course much of the hardening revolves around Pope Francis. As understandable as this may be at times, I...

It ain’t news ‘til it happens

This isn’t serious complaint. It’s more of a pet peeve. Still… Here at CWN, I have a firm editorial policy: News isn’t news until it happens. If you have a story about something that is going to happen soon, save it. Sure, there are exceptions. Sometimes the mere mention of a forthcoming event...

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