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All Catholic commentary from October 2018

Episode 18: Acedia, the Forgotten Capital Sin—RJ Snell by Thomas V. Mirus in "The Catholic Culture Podcast" - Oct 2, 2018

Once included among the capital sins, acedia has been identified with both sloth and sadness. St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, defined it both as “disgust with activity” and...

Father Spadaro’s latest conspiracy theory by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 3, 2018

When Philip Pullella translated a Twitter post by Father Antonio Spadaro, the veteran Reuters correspondent found it necessary to add an editorial comment: “Don’t shoot the translator! (me)” It’s easy to understand Pullella’s caution, because if you thought these...

Golden threads of Wisdom in the Book of Sirach by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 3, 2018

In late August, I examined one of the difficult passages in the Book of Sirach (see Did the Book of Sirach pinpoint the Church’s abuse crisis?). Now it is time to give Sirach its place in my series on the books of the Bible. Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus) is part of the Wisdom literature,...

No jousting for these knights... by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 4, 2018

This Sunday will be October 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and—not coincidentally—the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto. It will be a good day to re-read Chesterton’s magnificent Lepanto, and a good day to recall the role that the Knights of Malta played in that epic...

Bias in Artificial Intelligence? The irreplaceable riddle of man. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 5, 2018

Because I run a website and depend on computers, I keep up with basic technology news. That’s how I know, for example, that so-called “smart” watches have provided data to help convict killers (see Fitbit Data Ties 90-Year-Old Man to Murder). A man visited his daughter-in-law and...

On McCarrick scandal, Vatican responses are tardy, not reassuring by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 8, 2018

Finally there is some movement. This weekend the Vatican began responding to the dismay of the laity over the McCarrick scandal. The responses are certainly tardy, and still not terribly reassuring. But they are responses, at least; the “stonewall” approach is breaking down. The...

Measuring the Synod on Youth: Whose seismograph? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 9, 2018

The Synod on Youth is destined to become a microcosm of the battle between Catholics who are rich in faith and those who have become secularized. Some readers bridle when I say things like this, but while secular attitudes affect all of us to some degree, the crisis of the Church in our...

Episode 19: Understanding the Church’s Abuse Crisis—Fr. Roger Landry by Thomas V. Mirus in "The Catholic Culture Podcast" - Oct 10, 2018

The faithful have many questions about the ecclesiastical sexual abuse crisis: What did Church authorities do right in responding to the previous wave of scandals, and what did they fail to do? How...

How could you, Archbishop Vigano? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 11, 2018

“How can you celebrate Mass,” Cardinal Ouellet angrily demands of Archbishop Viganò, “and mention the pope’s name in the Eucharistic Prayer?” An excellent question. It forces us to ask whether we have ever imagined that in praying for our shepherds we were...

The secularization of Christ: A case study by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 11, 2018

Yesterday, in my seismographic essay on the Youth Synod, I argued that the crisis of the Church today was rooted in the secularization of Catholicism, that is, the secularization of the message of Christ in ways that please our dominant culture. “This is why,” I wrote, “so many...

A Synod slap at home schoolers by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 11, 2018

From Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society, via the National Catholic Register, comes this ominous warning: At the Youth Synod in Rome this week, one of the bishops’ discussion groups made some disappointing and ignorant comments about Catholic homeschoolers. In one of the...

Partying bishops? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 12, 2018

As a follow-up to yesterday’s commentary, The secularization of Christ: A case study, I should note that the same principles apply to discussions at the Synod on Youth. When bishops pile on to endorse positions which are already wildly popular in the larger secular culture, they are...

Unwritten rules and the Great Compromise by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Oct 15, 2018

The encounter of the rich young man with Jesus reveals the contrast and connection between written and unwritten rules. The rich young man had observed all of the Commandments since his youth. But Jesus calls him to a higher state of generosity by going beyond the Law of Moses. It is helpful for...

Isaiah: The Poet of Salvation by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 16, 2018

The Book of Isaiah the prophet is the longest book in the Bible except for the entire collection of the Psalms. It is also arguably the most beautifully poetic book apart from the Psalms. In one inspiring passage after another, the prophet faithfully pronounces God’s judgment on Israel along...

Episode 20: Carl Schmitt, Painter of Vision—Andrew de Sa by Thomas V. Mirus in "The Catholic Culture Podcast" - Oct 17, 2018

The American Catholic painter Carl Schmitt (1889-1989) made fascinating innovations in the use of color. He wrote extensively on the artist’s vocation, arguing for seeking holiness through...

Quick Hits: Catching up on comments about the Synod, the scandal by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 17, 2018

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...

How NOT to restore trust in the Catholic hierarchy by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 18, 2018

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...

The road to Hell is paved with Catholic ideals. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 19, 2018

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...

Why are they leaving Honduras, Cardinal Maradiaga? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 23, 2018

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?...

Avoid discouragement, feed your soul: New books that can help by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 23, 2018

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...

The third Vigano testimony: for a change, a pastor who talks about saving souls by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 24, 2018

“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...

Why was Bishop Holley removed? Another failed transparency test. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 25, 2018

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...

Gambling with souls: The choice for or against God by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 26, 2018

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...

The Smoke of Satan: an excerpt from the introduction by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 29, 2018

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...

Despite stage-managing, Synod highlighted confusion in Rome by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Oct 29, 2018

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...

Quick Hits: Halloween, Hildegard, and Hugo Chavez by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 29, 2018

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...

Jeremiah had nothing on us. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 30, 2018

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...

Episode 21: Gosnell, the Abortion Story No One Wanted Told—Ann McElhinney by Thomas V. Mirus in "The Catholic Culture Podcast" - Oct 30, 2018

The new feature film Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, about the investigation, trial and conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, has defied opposition from...