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All Catholic commentary from November 2017

Remembering the Poor Souls and the End by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Nov 1, 2017

I’m a day behind on my annual reminder for the Poor Souls. November is the month dedicated to the Poor Souls in Purgatory. Although we can and should pray throughout the year for the Poor Souls, the Church provides wonderful opportunities to earn indulgences for the Poor Souls in Purgatory...

Why denying death is not illogical by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 2, 2017

For several years now, I have been wrestling with the notion of “brain death,” which I believe to be a false category. My research into the subject has led to questions about what death actually means—which turns out to be a more complicated matter that it might seem. Today,...

Funerals and divine worship by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Nov 2, 2017

It is common nowadays to identify a leader as good and kind and humble simply because he is merely following the crowds. It is the same with priests and bishops. Clergy can be very adroit at keeping the customers satisfied, absorbing a good deal of praise and affection without being truly faithful...

Are the Russians controlling how you think? Does it matter? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 2, 2017

Both government investigators and pundits around America are seriously exercised just now about the Russian influence on the most recent American presidential campaign. A good part of the agitation concerns social media promotional efforts funded by Russia, ostensibly to discredit Hillary Clinton...

Theories that Francis is not the Pope destroy the credibility of the Church’s Divine Constitution. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 7, 2017

I am sorry to have to return to this topic (see On the lunatic fringe, Francis is not the Pope), but it is clear that some Catholics are missing a piece of the confusing puzzle that is the contemporary Church. There is a critical Catholic piece missing in current claims that, owing to heresy,...

Understanding Pope Francis: the focus is on process, not results by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 8, 2017

Two perceptive essays that appear on the First Things site, each offering a different sort of insight into the pastoral approach of Pope Francis, help the reader to understand this frequently puzzling papacy. In the “Public Square” section of the magazine’s December issue, editor R. R. Reno...

Tonight’s the anniversary; celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 9, 2017

On this date—November 9—in 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. If you are too young to remember that event, I probably cannot convey to you the intense joy, mingled with incredulity, that I felt as I watched it happen. To this day it remains the most astonishing historical event that I...

The bishops and tax policy: Missing not just the big picture but God’s picture? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 10, 2017

Tax reform has been a big issue in the United States for the past few decades, and the particulars of the current administration’s tax package are currently being hotly debated across the land. Adding to the debate on October 25th, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, chair of the US bishops’...

On nuclear weapons, Pope Francis goes beyond all previous papal teaching by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 13, 2017

Once again Pope Francis has ventured into new territory in Church teaching, with his November 10 November 10 condemnation of nuclear weapons. The Church has frequently lamented the existence of nuclear armaments, and Vatican II clearly condemned the use of any weapons that would destroy civilian...

Key perceptions of—and at—the Second Vatican Council by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 14, 2017

Most of us have our own convictions about the nature and significance of the Second Vatican Council. Surprisingly, we often hold these convictions without having read the documents. At this point, over fifty years after the close of the Council, it is hard to insist that people go back and read...

Death, where is thy sting? by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Nov 14, 2017

Fall is a time of great beauty and many folks travel to the mountains and through the valleys to see the magnificent changing colors of the foliage. But let’s not overlook the obvious. Nature is going dormant, even dying, and this cycle of nature itself is foreshadowing our own deaths. The...

Archbishop Naumann’s election: a relief, not a victory by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 15, 2017

Pro-life Catholics across America are celebrating today, over the selection of Archbishop Joseph Naumann to chair the pro-life committee of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). While I join in the celebration, I want to put things in perspective. Archbishop Naumann is an excellent...

Another encouraging sign from the US bishops’ conference by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 16, 2017

Take a look at the list of prelates selected by the US bishops to represent their conference at next year’s Synod meeting: DiNardo, Gomez, Chaput, Barron. It’s a very strong list. If you were watching the USCCB meeting carefully, looking for signs of how the American hierarchy...

Glimmerings from the First Book of Chronicles by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 16, 2017

First and Second Samuel, First and Second Kings, and First and Second Chronicles: These are the books which repeatedly survey the rise and fall of the monarchy in Israel, each with its different emphasis.* I have already discussed Samuel and Kings. The Chronicles were written after the Exile,...

Looking for Justice? Try the Second Book of Chronicles. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 21, 2017

Justice is a slippery concept. So often we are punished for things we do inadvertently (consider a traffic accident), and even more often we receive no punishment for evil words or deeds in which we willingly engage. The same is true for all, which makes justice in this world very slippery indeed....

Yet another bishop from Wichita. Coincidence? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 21, 2017

Father Shawn McKnight, a priest of the Wichita diocese, has been chosen as the next bishop of Jefferson City, Missouri. By my count that will make five priests of the little Wichita diocese (Catholic population: 100,000) to named bishops in the past 20 years. That’s an extraordinary...

Advent-Christmas Ebook released for new liturgical year by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 27, 2017

The Advent and Christmas ebook volume for the 2017-2018 liturgical year has been released in our ebooks download area. This is the first volume of the coming new liturgical year, which begins on December 3rd, the First Sunday in Advent. It may be downloaded free of charge in the following formats:...

When cardinals fail to defend marriage by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 27, 2017

The headline in Chicago Sun-Times said it all: “Archbishop not backing gay marriage—yet.” In a column published in May 2015, Neil Steinberg—who admitted at the outset that some readers thought he is obsessed with the issue of same-sex marriage—reported on an...

Draining the CCHD swamp by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 27, 2017

Every year, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, Catholics around the US are asked to contribute to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). The annual collection prompts an annual controversy, in which critics of the CCHD point to the grants that the program has made to organizations...

Could you help with my new venture? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 28, 2017

Several weeks ago I reported that I’ve taken on a new role, as a Fellow of the Center for the Restoration of Christian Culture at Thomas More College. (Don’t worry, loyal readers; I’ll still be active on the Catholic Culture site as well.) Like any worthwhile venture, the Center...

Renewal in secular cultures: The need to distinguish between sheep and goats by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 28, 2017

Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to effect a widely effective renewal within the Church in our time? After all, individual Catholics too numerous to count have made this their top priority since the mid-1960s. The Church herself, in the whole process of calling, holding and implementing...

“A never-failing present”: Boethius on God’s eternity by Thomas V. Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 28, 2017

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways.” Isaiah 55:8-11 This proclamation by the prophet Isaiah over two-and-a-half...

The Vatican’s most powerful office grows even more influential by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 29, 2017

By creating a new division within the Secretariat of State, Pope Francis has enhanced the power of an office that already holds sway over every other office at the Vatican. More specifically, he has augmented the power of the Vatican diplomatic corps. Is that a healthy development? Before...

The Pope’s silence on the Rohingya: prudent diplomacy or moral lapse? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 30, 2017

During his stay in Myanmar, Pope Francis did not mention the brutal treatment of the Rohingya minority. Was that a mistake? Was it a failure of moral leadership? It’s not easy to answer those questions. The persecution of the Rohingya is, by all reliable accounts, a gross violation of...

Learning from the past of the American pro-life movement by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 30, 2017

Some 25 years ago, Our Sunday Visitor published my book, Operation Rescue: A Challenge to the Nation’s Conscience. To be perfectly candid, it was not a great commercial success. By the time the book appeared in print, the wave of civil disobedience that began in the 1980s had crested, and...

The Silence question is apostasy. Too many get the answer wrong. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 30, 2017

Shusakū Endō’s 1966 novel Silence raised haunting questions about apostasy in the minds of many readers, troubling questions which have been called to our attention repeatedly by the various film adaptations of the work: Silence directed by Masahiro Shinoda (1971), The Eyes of Asia readapted...