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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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Book and media reviews.

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

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Cardinal Tobin still doesn’t get it. Nighty-night, baby.

If the scorching address by Francesco Cesareo, calling for negligent bishops to resign voluntarily, produced the most encouraging moment in the USCCB meeting, the low point might have come when Cardinal Joseph Tobin spoke, and made it abundantly clear that some prelates still don’t...

Urgent: With a $60,000 Challenge Grant in the balance, I need your help.

This Fall, eighty-five of our Boosters joined forces with seven other generous donors to offer a Challenge Grant of $60,000 to make it easier for CatholicCulture.org to raise the funds it needs to continue its mission in 2019. As of this writing, we have matched only $31,000, which means we still...

Did you notice? Review Board chairman urged bishops to resign

Chances are, you’ve only seen quick summaries of the address by Francesco Cesareo, the chairman of the National Review Board, to the US bishops’ meeting this week. I strongly recommend reading the whole text. It’s remarkable. Notice first the tone of the address. Cesareo...

Now eying the US Bishops

Astonishingly, the Vatican has told the American bishops to back away from their plans to tackle the abuse problem at the episcopal level. Predictably, secular newspapers smell a rat: Boston Globe: ‘After delaying bishop vote, can Vatican be trusted to right its own...

A modern lamentation, or jeremiad, on Church governance

When I am not lamenting how tough it is to raise funds for CatholicCulture.org (which is all too frequent this time of year), I’m lamenting the governance of the Catholic Church. As Hilaire Belloc told the Anglican bishop William Temple, it is a sign of the Church’s divine character...

Eyes on the episcopal ball

If you are in despair over the state of Catholic education in the West, you could turn to Blessed John Henry Newman for renewal. That's the subject of the Catholic Culture Podcast this week: Episode 22: Newman’s Idea of a University. Thomas V. Mirus reaches across the Atlantic to...

Beware a false diagnosis of the crisis in the Catholic hierarchy

Ask a dozen Americans to explain the decline in the public influence of the Catholic Church, and at least ten will say that the sex-abuse scandal is the root cause. That standard narrative is handy but it’s wrong. The sex-abuse scandal has done catastrophic damage to the standing of the...

Quick Hits: Exhortations to bishops—and by bishops

Jayd Henricks, who once served as a senior staffer for the US bishops’ conference, hits a number of nails on the head in a blunt but respectful open letter to the American bishops as they head into their November meeting. He fully recognizes, and names, the powerful forces that might...

Send The Smoke of Satan to your bishop. Really. Do it.

Phil Lawler’s new book, The Smoke of Satan, is more than a superb analysis of what has gone wrong in the Church that has led to our current crisis. It also gives you something simple you can do all by yourself to help right the barque of Peter. And you really should take advantage of that....

Church Governance?

The most important recent Catholic news is the study which demonstrates the correlation between homosexual priests and sexual abuse. While widely known, this has been something of an official academic and ecclesiastical secret over the past twenty years. About the same time, Cardinal...

When politics is not local, the antidote is natural law.

Many experienced political campaigners stress that all politics is local. This is a useful axiom when both the freedom and the ability to engage politically are relatively widespread. In these situations, the building blocks of political victory are local building blocks, so much so that a...

The crisis in Church governance

Priests and especially bishops are called to teach, to sanctify, and to govern. “So, how are we in Holy Orders doing?” Asks Msgr. Charles Pope in this must-read column for the National Catholic Register. He answers his own question: “By any reasonable measure,...

The all-purpose press release

Introducing the “All-Purpose USCCB Press Release.” Based on actual release that was sent out by the USCCB recently, this statement illustrates how the American hierarchy could respond promptly to any problem. It’s so easy to be contrite! By filling in the blanks, this release...

Interview with "Gosnell" writer

I mentioned it was coming yesterday, but our interview about the brilliant new movie on the trial of the notorious Kermit Gosnell has now been posted. Podcast Episode 21: Gosnell, the Abortion Story No One Wanted Told—Ann McElhinney Thomas V. Mirus interviews Ann McElhinney, one...

On not listening to Jeremiah

Phil Lawler has written a new book in time for the November meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Here is the an excerpt from the Introduction to The Smoke of Satan. Phil has also posted his preliminary assessment of the now-closed Synod on Youth: Despite...

Jeremiah had nothing on us.

Jeremiah is the classic prophet of doom in the Old Testament. He also promised relief in return for repentance and an ultimate restoration of Israel, but since almost nobody paid attention to his prophecies of the destruction of Israel for its sins, Jeremiah had very little opportunity to talk...

Quick Hits: Halloween, Hildegard, and Hugo Chavez

A few of the most interesting articles I’ve read online in recent weeks: Every year we get a spate of articles debating the Christian or pagan origins of Halloween, and this year Catholic World Report offers one of the most detailed I’ve read. Also at CWR: The musical legacy of...

Despite stage-managing, Synod highlighted confusion in Rome

Remember back in 2014 and again 2015, when angry bishops protested that the Vatican staff was manipulating the Synod of Bishops? This year, when the Synod met to discuss youth and vocation, the complaints were different in tone. The participating bishops could no longer claim to be surprised by...

The Smoke of Satan: an excerpt from the introduction

The following, an excerpt from the opening chapter of my new book, The Smoke of Satan, will give readers an idea of what the book holds in store. In Jerusalem, just outside the walled Old City, stands the church of St. Peter in Gallicantu: St. Peter as the Cock Crows. Catholic churches are...

Taking the Catholic gamble

I have been thinking about the reasons too many Catholic leaders find for ignoring the concept of caring for souls. See my latest In Depth Analysis: Gambling with souls: The choice for or against God. Actually, what brought this most to mind was Phil Lawler’s commentary on Archbishop...

Gambling with souls: The choice for or against God

Reading Phil Lawler’s commentary about Archbishop Viganòs concern for souls, I cannot help reflecting on the misunderstandings which rob so many pastors of the same concern. Much of this can be traced to that spiritual cowardice which passes for a prudent refusal to give offense, but...

Why was Bishop Holley removed? Another failed transparency test.

Pope Francis has removed an American bishop from office. There’s just one problem: We don’t know what the story is. The Vatican announcement, released on October 24, reads thus: The Holy Father Francis has removed from the pastoral care of the diocese of Memphis, United States...

The third Vigano testimony: for a change, a pastor who talks about saving souls

“This is about souls,” Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano states solemnly in the third installment of his remarkable public testimony. This third letter, far more than the two that preceded it, is a pastoral message. Archbishop Vigano explains that he has spoken out because he is concerned about the...

Bits of Good News

Phil Lawler is wondering why Cardinal Maradiaga of Honduras remains one of Pope Francis’ key advisers, considering his inability to improve things in his home country. See: Why are they leaving Honduras, Cardinal Maradiaga? And Cardinal Burke is wondering how the cardinals throughout...

Avoid discouragement, feed your soul: New books that can help

Given the problems facing the Church today, from both within and without, it is easy to become discouraged. It is easy to wonder whether it is any longer worthwhile trying to draw people into a Church which seems to do its best to betray them. And it is easy to wonder whether it is even possible...

Why are they leaving Honduras, Cardinal Maradiaga?

Just for a moment, let’s set aside the debate about American immigration policy, and ask a different question: Why are thousands of people willing to leave their homes in Honduras and walk 1,500 miles to reach the US border, knowing full well that they can’t enter Texas legally?...

The stakes of authentic renewal

Are more and more Catholics referring to the moral law as an ideal again? See my latest In Depth Analysis: The road to Hell is paved with Catholic ideals. We will never foster renewal by promoting those who think that way. See Phil Lawler’s latest: How NOT to restore trust in the Catholic...

The road to Hell is paved with Catholic ideals.

It is becoming increasingly common (again!) for bishops and theologians to refer to the moral law as an “ideal”. This is simply more evidence of the secularization of what passes for Christian thought. For example, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago has used this language in commenting...

How NOT to restore trust in the Catholic hierarchy

The Roman rumor mill is notoriously unreliable, so readers should not panic—yet—about the reports that Cardinal Joseph Tobin is a front-runner among the candidates for appointment as the next Archbishop of Washington, DC. But if the reports are accurate (and they are widespread, for...

Quick Hits: Catching up on comments about the Synod, the scandal

Most Catholic journalists have been busy recently, reflecting on the new spate of scandals. And since I’ve been writing a book on the subject (more on that soon; its publication is imminent), I’ve had trouble keeping abreast on the latest commentary. But several recent articles are in...

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