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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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Celebrates positive work by Catholic individuals and organizations.

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On China and Genesis, in Lent

Here are the two most important commentaries on CatholicCulture.org since my last message: Phil Lawler provides a very informative pieceon the negotiations between the Church and China: What’s happening in Vatican-China talks? The necessary background. Must reading! I take a serious...

Quick Hits: ‘Don’t Miss’ reading for the weekend

Don Briel, who founded the Catholic Studies program at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, died yesterday. When he had learned, only a month ago, that he had an untreatable form of leukemia and only a few weeks to live, he treated that news as a blessing: an opportunity to prepare. In a...

What’s happening in Vatican-China talks? The necessary background

By all accounts, the Vatican is moving quickly toward a diplomatic agreement with China. But the situation is complicated, and the reports from China often contradictory. What should interested Catholics know about the developing drama? Let me do my best to answer some basic questions. The...

The Genesis Wars: Forgetfulness of Christ?

I’ve had several interesting discussions lately probing the account of Creation in Genesis, on the one hand, and the scientific theory of evolution, on the other. Discussions of human origins are endlessly fascinating! Too often, however, they carry a high emotional cost. They may even...

The blessing and the curse

Today at Mass we heard the famous challenge that God set before the people of Israel, from the Book of Deuteronomy (30: 19-20) I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your...

The Synod office and the social media: a wrongheaded approach

Plunging headlong into the world of social media, in a bid to generate interest among the world’s young Catholics (who thus far have been slow to respond), the office of the Synod of Bishops offers a monthly question for discussion. This month’s offering: What could...

Healing the Leprosy of Sin

Fr. Jerry Pokorsky leads off on this Shrove Tuesday by teaching us what the Gospel accounts of Christ's cure of leprosy really means. See Leper Colonies. For my part, I thought that we might use Lent to strengthen ourselves spiritually not only through fasting and devotion, but through...

Practicing apologetics upon ourselves: Five models

When I first wrote on this topic in the last months of the pontificate of Benedict XVI, I did not realize how much more important it would become under Pope Francis. But the following assertion has become increasingly obvious over the past five years, namely, that apologetics is often more...

Leper Colonies

In the Gospel that we read on Sunday, leprosy is clearly a metaphor for sin. When a leper approaches Jesus for healing, the approach is a metaphor for seeking Jesus for his forgiveness in Confession. When we go off the rails one way or the other, we all want to be restored to our normal humanity....

Bermuda rules!

I know we would all love to live in Bermuda. But now we have a good reason, as the island decides to keep it real: Bermuda repeals same-sex marriage. In other news which suggests a return to sanity: English bishop: saving marriage more important than Brexit State Department...

Benedict XVI’s gift to priests: The ministry people really need

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the remarkable embodiment of the priesthood by Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) was a great gift to priests. Thanks to a collection of his homilies for chrism masses, ordinations and other occasions, this is a gift that keeps on giving. While I...

My book on Pope Francis—available for pre-order now!

Although I can’t claim to have predicted that criticism that has suddenly arisen around Pope Francis, I think it’s fair to say that anyone who had read my new book, The Lost Shepherd, would have been prepared. Did Pope Francis overlook charges that a Chilean bishop had ignored...

Do we see things whole?

One of the biggest problems with modern culture is that it is rooted in the fallacy that the physical sciences tell us everything we need to know. This leads to loss of meaning and personal despair, but several Catholic authors are hard at work teaching us to see things whole. See my...

Four ways to grasp natural meaning from the God Who Is

I have set myself a bit of a task here, and it is all the fault of four excellent authors who have tackled the modern dismissal of God in four significantly different ways, all during the past fifteen months. I say “tackled the modern dismissal of God”, but they might not all conceive...

The ideological temptations at the Vatican

If Rome will be preparing for the canonization of Pope Paul VI later this year, only the most hardened ideologues could suggest that this year is the right time to scuttle his heroic encyclical, Humanae Vitae. Come to think of it, maybe the blessed Pontiff—who has already shown his...

Quick Hits: Jordan Peterson, Museum of the Bible, Way of the Cross for children and adults

If you haven’t yet seen the famous Channel 4 interview of Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson from last month, it’s well worth spending 30 minutes to watch what I imagine will be considered one of the most significant media moments of 2018. The interviewer, Cathy Newman, who espouses...

Shhh! Scholars at work...

Over the past fifty to sixty years, ordinary Catholics have been (let’s face it) too often preyed upon by the scholars who serve as professors at Catholic universities. Secular ideals are rampant in higher education, and Catholic practitioners often maintain their positions by...

Liturgical Year Volume 3 Released: LENT

Lent (the only liturgical season with a name that is also a four-letter word!) begins on February 14th, and so the Lenten volume of our ebook series for the 2017-2018 liturgical year has been released in our ebooks download area. This third volume in the annual series covers the entire season of...

Have good and evil changed? The Pontifical Academy for Life wants to know.

In recent weeks we have seen two presentations by members of the Pontifical Academy for Life which suggest that the very nature of good and evil has changed. Surely others could be cited, but I refer to a newly appointed member of the Academy, Maurizio Chiodi, who argued that contraception is...

‘If only the Pope knew’—a familiar argument that falls short today

For the first time in this pontificate, Vatican spokesmen are backpedaling in the face of criticism from the mainstream media. This week the Vatican press office has been fighting defensive PR battles on two fronts: over the reports of efforts to oust ‘underground’ bishops in China,...

Rich Catholic commentary

We have particularly rich commentary on CatholicCulture.org today, so let's get into it: You may be aware of the renewed controversy surrounding a “kidnapping” under Pope Pius IX in the late nineteenth century. Lots of heat on this, but little light, so I have taken it on....

On the “kidnapping” of Edgardo Mortara by Pope Pius IX: Who is right?

Vittorio Messori’s recent book, Kidnapped by the Vatican?, has created quite a furor. Different wings of the Church are at odds over the issue raised by the late-nineteenth century case of Edgardo Mortara, who was taken from his Jewish parents to be raised a Catholic after he had been...

The Vatican ‘clarification’ on China talks only makes things worse

In its statement on the controversy surrounding talks between the Holy See and Beijing, the Vatican has affirmed what was never in question, while leaving the key question unanswered—at best. The January 30 statement from the Vatican press office is brief enough to be quoted in...

Please: hold ‘Catholic’ Senators accountable for votes on late-term abortion

In the US Senate’s appalling vote, 14 Catholic lawmakers blocked a bid to make late-term abortions illegal. Father Dwight Longenecker asks the right question: “What kind of Catholic Church are we if their pastors and bishops do not stand up publicly and rebuke these fourteen...

Inspiring Bible study during Lent? Yes, and it is free.

The St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology in Steubenville, Ohio is mostly the brain child of the noted convert, Scripture scholar and popular speaker, Dr. Scott Hahn. It has grown over the years to encompass both new and pre-existing initiatives, such as Emmaus Road Publishing (and Emmaus...

Authority and Jesus

“And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.” (Mk 1:22) The teaching authority of Jesus is unique. Authority is conferred in various ways. Authority comes with appointment and position, with learning and credentials,...

Profiles in courage?

I am delighted at the opportunity to review a new book by Karl Keating, whom I would call the father of modern apologetics: See Karl Keating: In the vanguard of Catholic renewal. Keating is a kind of profile in Catholic courage. But Phil Lawler looks at another contemporary profile, that...

Will the Amoris Laetitia ‘discernment process’ always produce the same result?

So now the Archdiocese of Braga, following the lead of bishops in Germany and in Malta, has said that Catholics who are divorced and remarried should receive the Eucharist after the "process of discernment" that is the essence of the "Kasper proposal." But wait. Exactly what is being "discerned"...

In talks with China, the Vatican seems too willing to sacrifice principles—and the faithful

In reporting on the Catholic Church in China, it is often difficult to establish the real facts. Some bishops of the “underground” Church practice their ministry openly, with the tacit consent of local government officials, while some bishops of the government-sponsored...

A challenge that Father Martin can no longer dodge

Father James Martin, SJ, a very talented writer and publicist, has spent the past year energetically pleading for a change in the Church’s approach to homosexuality, most notably in his book, Building Bridges. Martin is clearly dissatisfied with the current state of Catholic teaching on the...

Karl Keating: In the vanguard of Catholic renewal

In writing his new 239-page memoir, Booked for Life, Karl Keating has done a great many things well, but I would like to begin by praising a deceptively small feature. How could something as simple and effective as a page-marking ribbon have disappeared from nearly everything but prayer books?...

The Museum of the Bible is better in what it imagines than in what it preserves

When I was in the DC area celebrating Christmas with family, I visited the new Museum of the Bible with my parents. In the three hours we spent there we didn’t see everything it had to offer, but it made an overall good impression and we would certainly recommend it to Catholics. At Catholic...

Quick Hits: Star Wars, criticizing the Pope, and more

Bishop Barron annoyed many with his claim that Star Wars: The Last Jedi pushes feminism hard: “Every male character in The Last Jedi is either bumbling, incompetent, arrogant, or morally compromised; and every female character is wise, good, prudent, and courageous.” I basically agree...

Today, Mary rules!

It was encouraging to see Pope Francis, during his Apostolic Visits to Chile and Peru last week, make a point of speaking frequently about our Blessed Mother: Mary Knows What Burdens Our Hearts: Homily at Mass in Iquique, Chile, January 18th Mary an Example and a Mother: Address at the...

Not up-to-date on the origins of the gospels? Here’s your chance.

Innumerable controversies surround the origins and textual integrity of the four gospels, and especially of the three synoptic gospels. We can be forgiven if we do not keep up. But the 2017 Fall / Winter issue of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly caught my attention with an interesting...

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