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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.

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.

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Celebrates positive work by Catholic individuals and organizations.

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Marriage at the heart of culture

If you have not followed up on Tuesday’s message, I need to tell you that Cardinal Pell’s initial appeal was denied 2 to 1 (see Cardinal Pell’s conviction upheld; Vatican, Australian bishops react). Interestingly, even more people now believe he is innocent. See, for...

Shredding the working text for the Pan-Amazon synod

The annual Synod of Bishops will meet from October 6 to October 27 this year to examine the problems of the Pan-Amazon region in South America. From the first, the Instrumentum Laboris (working document) for the Synod has been criticized as a destructive exercise in the religious and cultural...

Conversion: Intellectually satisfying, spiritually overwhelming

A short time ago, Ignatius Press published an extraordinary book—well done in every conceivable respect—entitled Faith and Reason: Philosophers Explain Their Turn to Catholicism. Edited by Brian Besong and Jonathan Fuqua, also both philosophers, the book naturally promised to be a...

Episode 48—Authority and Submission as Gift in Christian Marriage—Mary Stanford

“Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in...

The Future of George Cardinal Pell

The Victorian Court of Appeal in Australia is set to announce its decision on its review of George Cardinal Pell’s conviction for sexual abuse. That announcement will be made at 9:30 am Wednesday in Victoria—that is, 7:30 pm EST today. Three decisions are possible: (1)...

Catholic Quagmire: The Latest eBook from CatholicCulture.org

I have just generated and posted a new (and, as always, free) ebook: Catholic Quagmire: Essays on How the Church Bogs Down. This is a collection of my essays, written between early 2017 and early 2019, which focus on the many ways in which Catholics and their leaders tend to reflect the thought...

Seven things you should know about global population trends

Today our news team highlighted a report in Foreign Affairs which argues that the world is on the verge of a population bust. Here are seven things you need to know about current demographic trends: 1. Both population growth and the impact of population growth are hard to predict: Population...

Strong faith amid mixed news

It is Phil Lawler’s time to be away, so I have resumed writing just in time: I am still thinking about how we bring others to Christ more effectively. One aspect of the problem: Apologetics vs. evangelization? Argument and witness for the sake of others. Yesterday being a great...

Sing of Mary, 5: The Assumption is the Crown

Yesterday was the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, so it seemed fitting to spend part of the day adding to the reflections on the Mother of God which make up our Sing of Mary series. Since the Catholic dogma of the Assumption of Mary body and soul into heaven was not...

Apologetics vs. evangelization? Argument and witness for the sake of others

The purpose of evangelization is to make Christ and the Church known to others so that they might receive the gift of faith and choose to convert to Christianity. It is a work accomplished in close collaboration with the Holy Spirit. The purpose of apologetics, on the other hand, is to clear away...

Episode 47—Our Lady’s Habit: Wearing and Loving the Brown Scapular—Fr. Justin Cinnante, O.Carm.

Many Catholics have worn the Brown Scapular at some point in their lives. Some of those people stopped wearing it for one reason or another. Others have continued to wear it but perhaps don’t appreciate its true depth as a sign of...

Amazon Controversy Heats Up

While I was on vacation, Phil Lawler more than filled the gap in terms of commentary: On the JPII Institute: Understanding an ideological purge at the Vatican Distinction between preferences and Truth: Please, stop talking about ‘values’ On Samuel Gregg’s...

Equal Rights Amendment: Attempts to Resurrect it 37 Years Too Late

Proponents of a continued effort to ratify the legally defunct Equal Rights Amendment are targeting the State of Virginia, among others, to attempt ratification. The ERA would legally obliterate the real distinctions between male and female, which are essential to any healthy culture—in...

Sample a beautiful new musical setting for the Mass in English

When was the last time you heard new Catholic liturgical music that was beautiful, reverent, accessible, and easy to learn? Since the talented composer Paul Jernberg is a friend and neighbor, it happens to me often. Do yourself a favor, and watch at least the trailer for a video recording of a...

Reason, faith, and the pursuit of wisdom

“However secularized a civilization may become,” writes Samuel Gregg in his excellent new book, “it can never entirely escape from the burden of its spiritual inheritance.” The civilization of the Western world is the product of a singularly fruitful marriage between faith...

Please, stop talking about ‘values’

This week I have received a political flyer aimed at “values voters,” heard a fundraising pitch from an organization that upholds family “values,” and sat through a sermon about maintaining Christian “values” in a secular world. The constant references to...

Understanding an ideological purge at the Vatican

Pay careful attention to the statement by Msgr. Livio Melina regarding the radical change in orientation at the John Paul II Institute, where he, until recently, served as president: If the decisions taken by Archbishop Paglia are not revoked, then what they are saying is: ‘The interpretation...

Sticks and stones

In the wake of an episcopal lament over the loss of civil speech in American culture, Phil Lawler remembers the day when the ‘politics of personal destruction’ began. There are so many directions in which this discussion can be taken. For example, while Christians should always...

Our One and Only God

Being away this week, I decided to repost some thoughts I had while on vacation nearly ten years ago. I was on vacation last week, so I deliberately avoided controversy. But I did plenty of meditating on what it means to be a Christian. As it happened, I did much of this meditating while...

Remembering the day when the ‘politics of personal destruction’ began

“The growing plague of offense and disrespect in speech and actions must end,” says Archbishop Wilton Gregory in his highly publicized response to President Trump’s remarks about squalor in Baltimore. “I fear that recent public comments by our President and others and the...

Episode 46—Sing With Your Children—Roundabout

Emma and Cecilia Black grew up in a large family that sang together constantly. Now these two sisters from Grand Rapids, Michigan, have made an album of folk songs for children. They want people to know that any family can start singing...

Time for a break?

I’ve gotten away for two weeks, so I am doing the minimum, including just one Insights message each week. Surveying what is new, I think it likely that we all need a break—partly to learn how to rest in the Lord. An example of why this is needed is given by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky:...

That money-making ‘pro-choice’ scam

First let’s put together a coalition of groups involved in airline travel: the airlines themselves, aircraft manufacturers, airport executives, unions representing pilots and flight attendants, air-traffic controllers, TSA agents, etc. Now let’s write a manifesto for them, demanding...

Yearning to Escape Ourselves

I am on vacation, so I have cheated and re-posted a commentary I wrote a little more than five years ago about our desire to “get away”. The point, I think, is still valid. Pope John XXIII, whose example I cite below, has of course since been canonized. I can relate to Pope...

Healing an angry culture

News item: Less than 24 hours after yet another mass shooting in America…authorities said they were still seeking a motive. It seems the 19-year-old shooter gave us one. “Why are you doing this?” a witness heard someone shout. The response: “Because I’m really...

Episode 45 —Libertarianism vs. Natural Law on Private Property

Thomas discusses his libertarian past, explains why he abandoned that political philosophy, and summarizes an article on the topic by the Catholic philosopher Edward Feser. Feser, himself an ex-libertarian who has written books on Hayek, Nozick...

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