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All Catholic commentary from November 2018

All Souls Octave and November’s Dedication to the Holy Souls by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Nov 1, 2018

I’m late for my annual reminder to pray for the souls in Purgatory in November. Today begins the unofficial “All Souls Octave” that begins November 1 and ends on November 8. Each day of the “octave” one can earn a plenary indulgence for the souls in Purgatory. Since...

The all-purpose press release by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 5, 2018

Introducing the “All-Purpose USCCB Press Release.” Based on actual release that was sent out by the USCCB recently, this statement illustrates how the American hierarchy could respond promptly to any problem. It’s so easy to be contrite! By filling in the blanks, this release...

The crisis in Church governance by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 5, 2018

Priests and especially bishops are called to teach, to sanctify, and to govern. “So, how are we in Holy Orders doing?” Asks Msgr. Charles Pope in this must-read column for the National Catholic Register. He answers his own question: “By any reasonable measure,...

When politics is not local, the antidote is natural law. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 6, 2018

Many experienced political campaigners stress that all politics is local. This is a useful axiom when both the freedom and the ability to engage politically are relatively widespread. In these situations, the building blocks of political victory are local building blocks, so much so that a...

Episode 22: Newman’s Idea of a University—Paul Shrimpton by Thomas V. Mirus in "The Catholic Culture Podcast" - Nov 7, 2018

Bl. John Henry Newman was, among many other things, a lifelong teacher. Not only did he found the Catholic University of Ireland and England’s first Catholic public school, he was a highly...

Send The Smoke of Satan to your bishop. Really. Do it. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 8, 2018

Phil Lawler’s new book, The Smoke of Satan, is more than a superb analysis of what has gone wrong in the Church that has led to our current crisis. It also gives you something simple you can do all by yourself to help right the barque of Peter. And you really should take advantage of that....

Quick Hits: Exhortations to bishops—and by bishops by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 9, 2018

Jayd Henricks, who once served as a senior staffer for the US bishops’ conference, hits a number of nails on the head in a blunt but respectful open letter to the American bishops as they head into their November meeting. He fully recognizes, and names, the powerful forces that might...

Beware a false diagnosis of the crisis in the Catholic hierarchy by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 9, 2018

Ask a dozen Americans to explain the decline in the public influence of the Catholic Church, and at least ten will say that the sex-abuse scandal is the root cause. That standard narrative is handy but it’s wrong. The sex-abuse scandal has done catastrophic damage to the standing of the...

A modern lamentation, or jeremiad, on Church governance by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 13, 2018

When I am not lamenting how tough it is to raise funds for CatholicCulture.org (which is all too frequent this time of year), I’m lamenting the governance of the Catholic Church. As Hilaire Belloc told the Anglican bishop William Temple, it is a sign of the Church’s divine character...

Episode 23: How the Laity Must Respond to the Abuse Crisis—Fr. Roger Landry by Thomas V. Mirus in "The Catholic Culture Podcast" - Nov 13, 2018

Fr. Roger Landry returns to the show to talk about what the laity can do to address the abuse crisis. Along the way we discuss the concerns that might make even good bishops hesitant to remove bad...

Did you notice? Review Board chairman urged bishops to resign by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 14, 2018

Chances are, you’ve only seen quick summaries of the address by Francesco Cesareo, the chairman of the National Review Board, to the US bishops’ meeting this week. I strongly recommend reading the whole text. It’s remarkable. Notice first the tone of the address. Cesareo...

Urgent: With a $60,000 Challenge Grant in the balance, I need your help. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 14, 2018

This Fall, eighty-five of our Boosters joined forces with seven other generous donors to offer a Challenge Grant of $60,000 to make it easier for CatholicCulture.org to raise the funds it needs to continue its mission in 2019. As of this writing, we have matched only $31,000, which means we still...

Cardinal Tobin still doesn’t get it. Nighty-night, baby. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 14, 2018

If the scorching address by Francesco Cesareo, calling for negligent bishops to resign voluntarily, produced the most encouraging moment in the USCCB meeting, the low point might have come when Cardinal Joseph Tobin spoke, and made it abundantly clear that some prelates still don’t...

Just wait. The bishops are going to take action. Pretty soon. Probably. Trust them. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 15, 2018

The American bishops told us that they had dealt decisively with the sex-abuse scandal at Dallas in 2002. This year it became painfully apparent—to everyone who didn’t know already—that they hadn’t. Then the bishops told us that they would deal decisively with the...

The problem with “human dignity” as a moral argument by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 15, 2018

Pope Francis’ revision to the Catechism on the death penalty says, among other things, that “there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the human person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes” and that “the death penalty is inadmissible...

Church in crisis: The scourge of a sycophantic society by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 20, 2018

If I do say so myself, what a title! A nice, round sixteen syllables. Pleasingly alliterative. Hissingly sibilant. You could call it both sinister and sassy at the same time. Of course it helps if the reader actually knows what it means. A “sycophant” is a “servile...

Episode 24: Talking A Capella with VOCES8’s Barnaby Smith by Thomas V. Mirus in "The Catholic Culture Podcast" - Nov 20, 2018

VOCES8 is a critically acclaimed a capella octet from the UK, focusing on medieval and Renaissance works as well as their own arrangements of modern pop tunes. This episode is an interview with the...

Explaining the angry tone of today’s Catholic news coverage by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 21, 2018

Another American diocese is headed for bankruptcy court. Did you even notice our story on Monday? When I founded Catholic World News, back in 1996, it was inconceivable that a Catholic diocese would seek bankruptcy protection. I can vividly recall the first tentative discussions of the...

Prayers of Thanksgiving for Thanksgiving Day by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Nov 22, 2018

Originally published in November 2015. It’s been a long three days of cooking and cleaning preparing for our Thanksgiving meal. Twenty-five family members will be gathering around our table today. Only minor injuries were sustained during preparation. Thanksgiving in the United States...

The Catholic Tradition of Harvest Feasts of Thanksgiving by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Nov 24, 2018

While many Americans are pondering what to do with the leftovers of their Thanksgiving feast, I am taking some time pondering the custom of thanksgiving to God and our Thanksgiving holiday. I’m not ready to get into Christmas preparations! I have heard some Catholics express reservations in...

Clericalism and the Summer of Shame by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Nov 26, 2018

Clericalism is said to be the main sin that has given rise to the sex-abuse crisis in the Church today. The official statements blaming clericalism rather than the “dirty little secret” of a gay network have often been met with cynicism. A recent joke making the internet rounds goes:...

Advent-Christmas Ebook released for new liturgical year by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 27, 2018

The Advent and Christmas ebook volume for the 2018-2019 liturgical year has been released in our ebooks download area. This is the first volume for the coming new liturgical year, which begins on December 2nd, the First Sunday in Advent. It may be downloaded free of charge in the following...

Hardened sinners? Perhaps more than you think. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 27, 2018

In last week’s commentary (Church in crisis: The scourge of a sycophantic society), I called a significant portion of the nominally Catholic laity “hardened sinners”. As I explained it: A “sycophant” is a “servile flatterer”. So a sycophantic community...

Cupich appointment shows: February conference in Rome will be damage control by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 27, 2018

If you held out any hope that the Vatican might finally respond effectively to the sex-abuse scandal—that the February meeting could possibly prompt some real action—those hopes should have been shattered by the stunning announcement that Pope Francis had appointed Cardinal Blase...

Missing: a sense of urgency by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 28, 2018

In Rome, a friendly reader reports, they’re saying that the house is burning down, and the firemen are coming—in February. And that’s the good news. The bad news is that the firemen won’t bring pumps or hoses or ladders or axes. Or water. Kerosene, maybe....

This time, we’re told, the Vatican is serious about abuse. Really. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 29, 2018

Archbishop Scicluna says that the February conference on sexual abuse will be “the start of a global process“ to plan a worldwide response to the scandal. The start? You mean the process didn’t start when Pope Francis formed the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of...

Closing churches, losing faithful? Don’t be anxious, the Pope says by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 30, 2018

The observation that many churches, which until a few years ago were necessary, are now no longer thus, due to a lack of faithful and clergy, or a different distribution of the population between cities and rural areas, should be welcomed in the Church not with anxiety, but as a sign of the...

If the Catholic Church were run like a business... by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Nov 30, 2018

Imagine that you have invested all your savings in a chain of restaurants, and the chain is not doing well. Customers don’t like the food. Diners are staying away in droves. Franchises are closing. Now you receive the annual statement from the chief executive, who says that he is not...

Advent: Ever Ancient, Ever New by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Nov 30, 2018

A new Liturgical Year begins on Sunday and begins with the season of Advent. The Liturgical Year repeats, again and again and again. The season of Advent holds before us the threefold focus of Jesus: contemplating Him in history at Bethlehem, receiving Him in mystery in the Eucharist and our...