Search or Browse Commentary

All Catholic commentary from January 2018

Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jan 1, 2018

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will. On the first Christmas night, the angels announced these glad tidings to the poor shepherds in the fields surrounding Bethlehem. Since then, Christmastime is cited as the time of peace. It is said because the Son of God came...

Expecting Perfection by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Jan 2, 2018

It’s a charming to consider that Jesus, like any son, carried the physical characteristics of his mother as well as some of her —and Joseph’s—mannerisms. The Incarnation is so wonderfully human, encouraging us to approach Him without fear. As we consider the beauty of the...

What I learned from the Bible on Christmas (or “Why was Zechariah struck dumb?”) by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jan 3, 2018

This year I decided to reread the infancy narratives each day during the Octave of Christmas. I included for this purpose Mt 1:1–2:18; Lk 1:5–2:40; and (abnormally) Jn 1:1-18. (Mark, incidentally, says nothing about Our Lord’s birth.) Surprisingly, by doing this I learned...

Epiphany Home Blessing by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jan 5, 2018

In the Book of Blessings or Roman Ritual, there is a traditional home blessing, usually done on Epiphany or during the Christmas season. I have written a few times about the traditions of Epiphany, including the Diversity of Epiphany, and how our family celebrates Epiphany. This is a...

Christmas to Candlemas: When is the Real End of the Christmas Season? by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Jan 7, 2018

This post was originally published in January 2014. It is revised and now includes the 1962 Extraordinary Form dates for Christmas. This post contains tables which may not be easily displayed on mobile devices. The Christmas season ended on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Or did it? It...

Liturgical Year Volume 2 Released: Ordinary Time before Lent by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jan 8, 2018

The second volume of our ebook series for the 2017-2018 liturgical year has been released in our ebooks download area. This volume covers the initial period of Ordinary Time between Christmas and Lent, from January 9th through February 13th. It may be downloaded free of charge in the following...

Quick Hits: the Pope’s mysterious ties with the Jesuits; inching toward ad orientem by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jan 8, 2018

Naturally it caught my attention that Sandro Magister of L’Espresso began his latest column with a reference to my book, Lost Shepherd, which will be on the bookstore shelves late in February. Magister notes that the book is “making a stir” even before its appearance. But the...

Economics, religion and culture: how Luther failed, again by Thomas V. Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jan 9, 2018

Though I am no longer a libertarian philosophically (having followed a similar path to Edward Feser), most of my past political reading has been from that camp. I am still in some respects a sympathizer, particularly in the realm of economic theory. Just for that reason, I found it helpful to get...

The best books we read in 2017 by Thomas V. Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jan 9, 2018

Dr. Jeff Mirus, Phil Lawler and I thought it would be fun to do a review of our favorite reading of 2017. This doesn’t only include the specifically Catholic material we would ordinarily cover for this site, but also reflects our broader range of interests that our readers might not be aware...

The priorities of Catholic leadership today, and how they must influence praise and blame by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jan 9, 2018

A reader raised a thorny problem the other day: Since there is good reason to criticize many things that Pope Francis says in order to dispel confusion and avoid spiritual discouragement, is it also right and proper to praise Pope Francis when he says or does something very good? The reader had in...

Making movies and houses: Apostolic work you should know about by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jan 10, 2018

There are many great things that lie beyond the usual scope of CatholicCulture.org. Let me stretch a little to call attention to two of them here. Making Movies with St. Michael A request to make the work of St. Michael Movies better known has been in my In Box for far longer than I care to...

Slip-sliding along on contraception (or a poetic homage to Fr. Maurizio Chiodi) by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jan 11, 2018

Contraception sometimes morally required, argues member of Pontifical Academy for Life —news from January 10, 2018   Reflections on Genesis 3:5 I went to confession in ‘52; the priest asked, “What’s the matter with you? Catholics know that God...

The Amoris debate: Is it really a matter of confusion? (Part I) by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jan 11, 2018

Critics of Amoris Laetitia say that it is confusing. Defenders of the papal document say that there is no cause for confusion. This state of affairs is, I’m sorry to say, confusing. Stepping back from the substance of this particular controversy, let’s take a few minutes to examine...

The ‘hands-on’ Pontiff, and what that implies by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jan 15, 2018

In an interesting Crux column, John Allen argues that Pope Francis is a remarkably “hands-on” Pontiff, who keeps himself extremely well informed about what is happening in the universal Church and especially inside the Vatican walls. To illustrate his point, Allen cites a revealing story about a...

The Amoris debate: Is it really a matter of confusion? (Part II) by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jan 15, 2018

Last week in this space I argued that Amoris Laetitia definitely has caused confusion (claims to the contrary notwithstanding), and that actually to call the situation “confusing” should be recognized as a display of respect for the Pope’s authority. In closing that short...

Tobit and Tobias? Their lives are just like ours! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jan 15, 2018

At first glance, the Book of Tobit is one of the most charming and even fanciful in the Old Testament. Tobit, along with Judith and Esther, are known only through the Greek Bible. They were used and regarded as canonical by the earliest Christians and by the Church herself. Commentators often...

Born That Way by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Jan 16, 2018

We might imagine Ebenezer Scrooge settling down after the spooking he received over Christmas. He’s benign, no longer is indifferent to injustice. He continues to be frugal, but he’s no longer greedy. He has become a man of justice but does not go beyond the basic demands of justice....

On sex abuse, the Vatican still sends badly mixed signals by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jan 17, 2018

The New York Times notes that on the very day when he apologized to Chileans for the Church’s handling of the sex-abuse scandal, Pope Francis concelebrated Mass with Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, who was named by the Pope to head the Osorno diocese despite complaints about his long...

Pope defends accused bishop, denounces accusers. The pattern is familiar. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jan 19, 2018

In the bad old days, when Catholic parents reported that a priest had abused their child, and/or that the pastor was aware of the abuse, the bishop might scold them, saying that their complaints were nonsense, saying that they had no proof, accusing them of calumny. The bishop might make these...

The media’s annual bout of blindness by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jan 19, 2018

(This comment is posted annually.) Dozens of professional journalists, particularly in the vicinity of Washington, DC, are showing early signs of a strange illness that strikes, oddly enough, at exactly this time each year. The illness causes restricted vision, so that reporters fail to notice...

Another media outlet flunks a religious-literacy test by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jan 19, 2018

On an otherwise serious day, let’s have a little fun, at the expense of Maine Public Radio, at whose web site you will find this headline: Diocese Changes Traditional Mass To Avoid Spreading Flu The story explains that, in order avoid spreading disease: The diocese announced...

Positioning Pope Francis on CatholicCulture.org by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jan 19, 2018

In an Insights message recently, I asked for feedback on the question of whether I should place the increasingly bad news about Pope Francis toward the end of each message, striving to keep more positive material nearer the top. The responses were mixed, and no clear preference emerged. But an...

For conscientious priests, the Pope just made marriage prep much more difficult by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jan 19, 2018

If you’re a Catholic priest who tries to be conscientious about preparing couples for marriage, Pope Francis just made your life much more difficult. You’re doing your best. You tell couples that they should think seriously before taking vows. If they are cohabiting, you ask them...

Not up-to-date on the origins of the gospels? Here’s your chance. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jan 22, 2018

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...

Quick Hits: Star Wars, criticizing the Pope, and more by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jan 26, 2018

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...

The Museum of the Bible is better in what it imagines than in what it preserves by Thomas V. Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jan 26, 2018

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...

Karl Keating: In the vanguard of Catholic renewal by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jan 26, 2018

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?...

A challenge that Father Martin can no longer dodge by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jan 26, 2018

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...

In talks with China, the Vatican seems too willing to sacrifice principles—and the faithful by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Jan 26, 2018

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...

Will the Amoris Laetitia ‘discernment process’ always produce the same result? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jan 26, 2018

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"...

Authority and Jesus by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Jan 29, 2018

“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,...

Inspiring Bible study during Lent? Yes, and it is free. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Jan 29, 2018

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...

Please: hold ‘Catholic’ Senators accountable for votes on late-term abortion by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jan 30, 2018

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...

The Vatican ‘clarification’ on China talks only makes things worse by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Jan 30, 2018

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...

On the “kidnapping” of Edgardo Mortara by Pope Pius IX: Who is right? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jan 30, 2018

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...