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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.

On the News
Analysis of news events and trends.

In Depth Analysis
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.

Featured Authors

On music, vanity, and suffering

The latest Catholic Culture Podcast, Episode 11, takes up the problem of music. People have always wondered about Music and Morals, which is precisely what Thomas V. Mirus discusses this week with Dominican theologian Fr. Basil Cole. Fr. Cole did his doctoral dissertation on this topic,...

The logic of Amoris Laetitia now infects Vatican diplomacy

The latest of a series of articles on Vatican-China talks* posted on the Vatican News site tackles the question of how the Holy See could recognize bishops who were ordained without Vatican approval, and thus subject to excommunication: The path to the legitimisation of the Chinese Bishops...

Vanity of vanities, all is vanity: Ecclesiastes

The Book of Ecclesiastes offers fascinating insights into what the Jewish intellect had grasped of the purpose of life two or three hundred years before Christ. The voice of the book is that of Ecclesiastes, or “the Preacher”, who was King over Jerusalem, and who may be construed in...

Does Humanae Vitae cause suffering, or does the National Catholic Reporter?

The National Catholic Reporter headline informs us: Humanae Vitae’s ban on contraception causes suffering The argument of the article is lame and familiar: based on the assumption that—what your parents told you about bird and bees to the contrary notwithstanding—Catholic...

What’s wrong with this picture?

Do others share my discomfort with this story? Catholic Charities office sues diocese in Minnesota (CWN, July 12) “We believe the complaint will be properly resolved through the judicial process,” says the spokesman for the St. Cloud diocese. And maybe it will. But then...

Virginity is newsworthy again

My wife and I have been enjoying a Summer visit from one of my daughters, her husband, and their six young children. That doesn't mean nothing has been added to CatholicCutlure.org. But in the name of family, let me quickly highlight just four items. First, yesterday the United...

An answer to Cardinal Farrell, from Pope John Paul II

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the prefect of the Vatican dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, fears that priests “have no credibility” when they attempt to prepare Catholic couples for marriage. St. John Paul II disagrees. From the introduction to his book, Love and...

Suggestion for the German bishops: wider access to sacramental Confession

The Code of Canon Law (#844—4) allows Catholics priests, when there is a “grave and pressing need,” to administer Holy Communion to Protestants who “demonstrate the catholic faith in respect of these sacraments and are properly disposed.” The German bishops, in their...

A challenge to the Vatican from America’s consecrated virgins

The recent Vatican Instruction “Ecclesiae Sponsae Imago” on the “Ordo virginum” has caused considerable distress among consecrated virgins in America, and presumably elsewhere. This is evident in a preliminary statement issued today by the United States Association of...

The long view of today's absurdity

For those who enjoyed Part 1 of my podcast interview, Part 2 is now ready. Listen to: Episode 10: How to Start an Institutional Apostolate, Part 2—Jeff Mirus. This final part is the one that covers Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. Since I disappeared from view last...

Discouragement is not an option: Weigel on the fragility of order

In the midst of the disturbing now of a crazy Summer (see, for example, Phil Lawler’s two latest posts on political priests and Italian influence in the Curia)—in the midst of this disturbing now, I say, perhaps it is time to refresh ourselves with calm and studied reflections on the...

A question for Cardinal Farrell

If Catholic priests have “no credibility” for the task of preparing couples for marriage, how are they qualified (per Amoris Laetitia) to guide divorced-and-remarried Catholics through the “process of discernment” that would lead them back to...

Priests shouldn’t engage in partisan politics—except?

Bishop Michael Warfel of Great Falls-Billings has reprimanded four priests who appeared in clerical collars, as VIP guests, at a rally for President Trump in Montana. And rightly so, because priests should not take part in partisan political activities. At the same time, Cardinal Blase Cupich...

The mounting Italian influence in the Roman Curia

Last week, in commenting on two important appointments, I failed to make an obvious point: Both Bishop Nunzio Galantino (the new head of APSA) and Paolo Ruffini (the new head of the dicastery for Communications) are Italians. Vatican-watcher Andrea Gagliarducci sharpens the point: This is...

Vatican Reform, take two: behind two new papal appointments

“Personnel is policy,” the political analysts tell us. With that maxim in mind, let’s examine the importance of two appointments made by Pope Francis in recent days: the appointments of Bishop Nunzio Galantino as president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic...

The McCarrick scandal & the gay lobby: a problem the bishops won’t address

The news that Cardinal McCarrick has been credibly accused of molesting a young man—and the subsequent revelations that “everybody knew” about the cardinal’s homosexual activities—have raised new and important questions about the silence of other American bishops....

Wow, it's me!

Yes, that's right. Yours truly is the subject of this week’s Catholic Culture Podcast. Finally made it in the ninth episode.... So for the (ninth) most splendiferous podcast yet, listen to the Jeff Mirus interview: How to Start an Institutional Apostolate. But remember, I'll be...

Six books to tell you what you need to know

The sad truth is that I do not have time to keep up with all the sound Catholic books being published today. How different this is from the 1970’s when I got my start, a time in which nearly every Catholic publisher deliberately undermined the teachings of the Church! Moreover, the books I...

Writing a headline to create a story

An egregious example of a misleading headline, from AP:  Pope replaces Australian prelate who opposes sex abuse norm The focus of the story is on Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, who (AP tells us) “said he’d prefer jail to telling civil authorities about any sex abuse of...

On clerical abuse, the mainstream may finally recognize the obvious

Charles Collins writes for Crux: If the Church hierarchy continues to turn a blind eye to sexual misconduct involving adults, it will never be able to put an end to the sexual abuse of minors. Good point. Wonder why nobody thought of it earlier. Oh, wait. From my book

When is a joke not funny?

The news that the German bishops have done just what the Pope told them not to do invites speculation. I oblige in: The Germans on intercommunication: Joke, or just absurdity? That commentary is the inspiration for my message title, but Phil Lawler revisits two other familiar...

The Germans on intercommunion: Joke, or mere absurdity?

The story we picked up from OnePeterFive on the new German “guidelines” for intercommunion reads like a parody. Frankly, I’m wondering if it is. If you click through our summary to the story on which it is based, you’ll see what seems to be a very dodgy effort by the...

The neglected root of the Church sex-abuse scandal

Two new episodes in the festering sex-abuse scandal have called attention to a facet of the problem that has long been understood (at least by some analysts), but routinely neglected if not actively suppressed: the connection between sexual abuse of young people and a widespread homosexual culture...

Podcast: Stopping public pornography

This just missed Tuesday’s Insights message: On the Catholic Culture Podcast this week, Thomas V. Mirus interviews Abriana Chilelli, who has learned something about how to fight back against public pornography. Episode 8: How to Stop Public Porn—Abriana Chilelli Abriana...

APSA appointment is another false step on Vatican financial accountability

John Allen of Crux writes that the appointment of Bishop Nunzio Galantino as new head of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) is “the most reassuring and also the riskiest move we’ve seen from the pontiff in some time.” I agree with 50% of that assessment. The move is...

Daily Mass attendance: is there an upward trend?

It’s happening again. At the little chapel in the abbey where we go every day, it’s become difficult for late arrivals to find an empty pew at the early-morning Mass. You understand, I’m not saying that the chapel is completely full. The pews fit four adults comfortably,...

When the bad is really bad

The growing willingness of politicians to mock, condemn or even try to change the teachings of the Church is a logical consequence of our culture’s militant secularism. Often enough the leaders in question are Catholics or ex-Catholics. That, sadly, is also predictable. Here are some...

Proverbs, read spiritually

It is time, in this series on the books of the Bible, to take a quick look at Proverbs. I also did this back in early 2016, but the purpose then was simply to pluck some of the proverbs that had particularly struck me during my reading in January of that year (see A few pointed remarks (from...

Yes, it’s ‘child pornography,’ but the victims were teenagers

What word would you use to describe boys between the ages of 14 and 17? Ordinarily I’d call them teenagers. Wouldn’t you? When the Vatican announced the conviction of Msgr. Carlo Capella, the term used was “children.” The former Vatican diplomat was found guilty of...

The futile quest for Vatican transparency

In a wide-ranging interview, Reuters reports, Pope Francis “was concerned that ‘there is no transparency’ in the Vatican’s real-estate holdings...” The Vatican’s real-estate holdings are managed by APSA: the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic...

Sad Church, holy Church

In the Church in the United States, we are a little sadder today because the sins of Theodore Cardinal McCarrick have come back to haunt us. Phil Lawler comments in a series of pieces: How did Cardinal McCarrick’s secret last so long? Cardinal McCarrick’s faulty memory

If ‘everybody knew’ about Cardinal McCarrick, the corruption runs deep

Now at last the truth about Cardinal McCarrick’s misconduct has become public knowledge. If my email traffic is any indication, many more stories will soon emerge. But Rod Dreher drives right to the central point in his follow-up column, entitled “Cardinal McCarrick: Everybody...

One year later, still no auditor

One year ago today, the Vatican’s auditor general abruptly resigned. The Vatican gave no explanation for his departure, but said that a replacement would be found “as soon as possible.” He still hasn’t been replaced. His departure still hasn’t been...

Cardinal McCarrick’s faulty memory

As he revealed that he had been accused of sexual abuse, Cardinal McCarrick made an interesting protestation of innocence: “While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse…” The accusation, which a review board found credible, occurred almost fifty years ago,...

The immigration debate: a plague on both houses

Now that President Trump has signed an executive order ending the separation of families by immigration agents, I hope that one of the most appalling political arguments in recent American history will come to an end. But I doubt it. I suspect the argument will continue, because both sides are...

Abortion vs. Immigration: Don’t take the bait.

It is already happening, and it gives us a bad name. Hearing of the widespread denunciation among our bishops of President Trump’s (now discarded) policy to separate children from their migrant parents at the Mexican border, a certain number of Catholics who read CatholicCulture.org are...

Does Pope Francis read his mail?

Speaking about the dubia in his latest interview, Pope Francis told the Reuters news service that he learned about the four cardinals’ questions “from the newspapers.” When they released the dubia to the public, in November 2016, the four cardinals reported that they had

How did Cardinal McCarrick’s secret last so long?

At least fifteen years ago, I wrote a confidential email message to a few trusted friends, telling them to brace themselves. Within a few days, I said, a major secular newspaper would break a sensational story about Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. To my surprise, the newspaper never ran the...

Policy based on the Good

It would be a nice change if governments (and everybody else) would frame their policies in accordance with the Good. The number of applications for this novel theory are legion. For example, Thomas V. Mirus’ latest Catholic Culture Podcast teaches us that Policy-Driven Inflation Is a...

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