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

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Commentary and reflection on Catholic life and ideas.

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Analysis of news events and trends.

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Extended commentary and thoughtful Catholic essays on complex topics.

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Brief, off-the-cuff observations and announcements.

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Celebrates positive work by Catholic individuals and organizations.

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Revelation: Minimal authority, lived in suffering

It could have been done differently, of course. God could have presented a continuous interior Revelation to each and every one of us, so that we all could enjoy a perfect uninterrupted awareness of His Being and His Divine will. But that would have made an even worse mess than we are in now. For...

An unwonderful life?

I am running far behind today, so let me just summarize the latest commentary on CatholicCulture.org. Fr. Jerry Pokorsky does a reverse take on the beloved Jimmy Stewart movie, It's a Wonderful Life. He takes a look at the good that could have been done in It could have been a wonderful...

It could have been a wonderful life

On Christmas Eve 2008, in upstate New York, George Bailey contemplates suicide. Cynical jeers about him reach the underworld, where Mephistopheles Mouch, Fallen Angel 2nd Class, is assigned to George. George has been an unusually valuable asset. Hell has big plans for him. So if he is able to...

Oh, good. In February the Pope might make a statement about abuse

Give John Allen credit for honesty, in his analysis (for Crux) of what we can expect from the February meeting at the Vatican to discuss the sex-abuse crisis. Not much: Almost by definition, Americans are likely to be frustrated with what may seem the scant results of the February...

Ending abuse and other amazing things

In today’s commentary, I explain what we can all do to end the abuse crisis. See Sacrificing ourselves for the Church? At the same time, Phil wonders about this future possibility: Coming soon: a religious struggle for control of the internet? Pope Francis will soon visit the United...

Greater use of audio? Now 3 tests. Feedback requested.

I’ve been thinking about ways to make a more personal connection with those who use our website. One way to make that connection is to use the human voice in some of the resources we provide. I’ve been experimenting just a little with the creation of audio material. At the same...

Coming soon: a religious struggle for control of the internet?

“We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division, and violence: You have no place on our platforms. You have no home here.” That was the message of Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, Inc., in a recent address to the Anti-Defamation League. And that would be...

Does ‘America’ have ‘dubia’ about Pope’s remark on homosexuality?

Evidently caught off guard by the Pope’s expression of concern about widespread homosexuality in the clergy, America magazine has rushed to reassure readers that the Pontiff’s remarks must be understood in the proper context. Father James Martin, the editor-at-large of the Jesuit...

The abuse crisis: Sacrificing ourselves for the Church?

In the second of his interviews with Thomas V. Mirus on the abuse crisis, Fr. Roger Landry explains how we can all contribute to a solution, even those who are not guilty. Perhaps especially those of us who are not guilty: The guilty, after all, are far less likely to contribute to the...

Abu Dhabi, but not Argentina?

Today’s announcement that Pope Francis will soon visit the United Arab Emirates rekindles my interest in another question about papal travel. Pope John Paul II visited his native Poland less than a year after his election. Pope Benedict XVI traveled to his native Germany just a few months...

Hopeful interventions

I offer my heartfelt thanks to all who supported our Fall Challenge Campaign through donations and prayer. We won our $60,000 Challenge Grant yesterday, when the final checks came in that had been postmarked before the end of the campaign. More broadly in the Church, there is also some other...

Baruch: Jeremiah’s scribe, against hopelessness and idolatry

The Old Testament Book of Baruch is very brief, just six chapters, but it is still divided into three sections, each one fascinating in its own right. The book was nominally composed by Jeremiah’s scribe, Baruch, who had to write all of Jeremiah’s visions and prophecies in a scroll,...

Always looking to improve

It’s not the most important issue in the world, but I am putting it first, because I would like your feedback. Please read: Greater use of audio? Feedback requested. I hope everyone knows that the Liturgical Season of Advent begins on Sunday. Jennifer Gregory Miller introduces it:...

If the Catholic Church were run like a business...

Imagine that you have invested all your savings in a chain of restaurants, and the chain is not doing well. Customers don’t like the food. Diners are staying away in droves. Franchises are closing. Now you receive the annual statement from the chief executive, who says that he is not...

Closing churches, losing faithful? Don’t be anxious, the Pope says

The observation that many churches, which until a few years ago were necessary, are now no longer thus, due to a lack of faithful and clergy, or a different distribution of the population between cities and rural areas, should be welcomed in the Church not with anxiety, but as a sign of the...

This time, we’re told, the Vatican is serious about abuse. Really.

Archbishop Scicluna says that the February conference on sexual abuse will be “the start of a global process“ to plan a worldwide response to the scandal. The start? You mean the process didn’t start when Pope Francis formed the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of...

Missing: a sense of urgency

In Rome, a friendly reader reports, they’re saying that the house is burning down, and the firemen are coming—in February. And that’s the good news. The bad news is that the firemen won’t bring pumps or hoses or ladders or axes. Or water. Kerosene, maybe....

How hardened are we sinners?

Fr Jerry Pokorsky leads off this week with a journey into unpleasant memories, exposing Clericalism and the Summer of Shame. It is wise that we avoided gloom over the American Thanksgiving holiday, but now I offer a tough analysis as well. In response to some who thought a few remarks...

Cupich appointment shows: February conference in Rome will be damage control

If you held out any hope that the Vatican might finally respond effectively to the sex-abuse scandal—that the February meeting could possibly prompt some real action—those hopes should have been shattered by the stunning announcement that Pope Francis had appointed Cardinal Blase...

Hardened sinners? Perhaps more than you think.

In last week’s commentary (Church in crisis: The scourge of a sycophantic society), I called a significant portion of the nominally Catholic laity “hardened sinners”. As I explained it: A “sycophant” is a “servile flatterer”. So a sycophantic community...

Advent-Christmas Ebook released for new liturgical year

The Advent and Christmas ebook volume for the 2018-2019 liturgical year has been released in our ebooks download area. This is the first volume for the coming new liturgical year, which begins on December 2nd, the First Sunday in Advent. It may be downloaded free of charge in the following...

Clericalism and the Summer of Shame

Clericalism is said to be the main sin that has given rise to the sex-abuse crisis in the Church today. The official statements blaming clericalism rather than the “dirty little secret” of a gay network have often been met with cynicism. A recent joke making the internet rounds goes:...

Explaining the angry tone of today’s Catholic news coverage

Another American diocese is headed for bankruptcy court. Did you even notice our story on Monday? When I founded Catholic World News, back in 1996, it was inconceivable that a Catholic diocese would seek bankruptcy protection. I can vividly recall the first tentative discussions of the...

Absurd business as usual

My theme today, sadly, is the growing frustration with Catholic business as usual. And my contribution to the ongoing discussion is simply this: Church in crisis: The scourge of a sycophantic society. I like the title...but I also explain it! Among the frustrating indications of business...

Church in crisis: The scourge of a sycophantic society

If I do say so myself, what a title! A nice, round sixteen syllables. Pleasingly alliterative. Hissingly sibilant. You could call it both sinister and sassy at the same time. Of course it helps if the reader actually knows what it means. A “sycophant” is a “servile...

Another opportunity come and gone

The Pope’s instructions to ignore clerical abuse until he meets with the world’s episcopal conferences in February destroyed any possibility of progress at this week’s meeting of the US Bishops. Amid the resulting deference, the bishops could not even pass a resolution to...

The problem with “human dignity” as a moral argument

Pope Francis’ revision to the Catechism on the death penalty says, among other things, that “there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the human person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes” and that “the death penalty is inadmissible...

Just wait. The bishops are going to take action. Pretty soon. Probably. Trust them.

The American bishops told us that they had dealt decisively with the sex-abuse scandal at Dallas in 2002. This year it became painfully apparent—to everyone who didn’t know already—that they hadn’t. Then the bishops told us that they would deal decisively with the...

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