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All Catholic commentary from February 2018

‘If only the Pope knew’—a familiar argument that falls short today

For the first time in this pontificate, Vatican spokesmen are backpedaling in the face of criticism from the mainstream media. This week the Vatican press office has been fighting defensive PR battles on two fronts: over the reports of efforts to oust ‘underground’ bishops in China,...

Vision Book Cover Prints

Have good and evil changed? The Pontifical Academy for Life wants to know.

In recent weeks we have seen two presentations by members of the Pontifical Academy for Life which suggest that the very nature of good and evil has changed. Surely others could be cited, but I refer to a newly appointed member of the Academy, Maurizio Chiodi, who argued that contraception is...

Quick Hits: Jordan Peterson, Museum of the Bible, Way of the Cross for children and adults

If you haven’t yet seen the famous Channel 4 interview of Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson from last month, it’s well worth spending 30 minutes to watch what I imagine will be considered one of the most significant media moments of 2018. The interviewer, Cathy Newman, who espouses...

The ideological temptations at the Vatican

If Rome will be preparing for the canonization of Pope Paul VI later this year, only the most hardened ideologues could suggest that this year is the right time to scuttle his heroic encyclical, Humanae Vitae. Come to think of it, maybe the blessed Pontiff—who has already shown his...

Four ways to grasp natural meaning from the God Who Is

I have set myself a bit of a task here, and it is all the fault of four excellent authors who have tackled the modern dismissal of God in four significantly different ways, all during the past fifteen months. I say “tackled the modern dismissal of God”, but they might not all conceive...

My book on Pope Francis—available for pre-order now!

Although I can’t claim to have predicted that criticism that has suddenly arisen around Pope Francis, I think it’s fair to say that anyone who had read my new book, The Lost Shepherd, would have been prepared. Did Pope Francis overlook charges that a Chilean bishop had ignored...

Benedict XVI’s gift to priests: The ministry people really need

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the remarkable embodiment of the priesthood by Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) was a great gift to priests. Thanks to a collection of his homilies for chrism masses, ordinations and other occasions, this is a gift that keeps on giving. While I...

Leper Colonies

In the Gospel that we read on Sunday, leprosy is clearly a metaphor for sin. When a leper approaches Jesus for healing, the approach is a metaphor for seeking Jesus for his forgiveness in Confession. When we go off the rails one way or the other, we all want to be restored to our normal humanity....

Practicing apologetics upon ourselves: Five models

When I first wrote on this topic in the last months of the pontificate of Benedict XVI, I did not realize how much more important it would become under Pope Francis. But the following assertion has become increasingly obvious over the past five years, namely, that apologetics is often more...

The Synod office and the social media: a wrongheaded approach

Plunging headlong into the world of social media, in a bid to generate interest among the world’s young Catholics (who thus far have been slow to respond), the office of the Synod of Bishops offers a monthly question for discussion. This month’s offering: What could...

The blessing and the curse

Today at Mass we heard the famous challenge that God set before the people of Israel, from the Book of Deuteronomy (30: 19-20) I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your...

The Genesis Wars: Forgetfulness of Christ?

I’ve had several interesting discussions lately probing the account of Creation in Genesis, on the one hand, and the scientific theory of evolution, on the other. Discussions of human origins are endlessly fascinating! Too often, however, they carry a high emotional cost. They may even...

What’s happening in Vatican-China talks? The necessary background

By all accounts, the Vatican is moving quickly toward a diplomatic agreement with China. But the situation is complicated, and the reports from China often contradictory. What should interested Catholics know about the developing drama? Let me do my best to answer some basic questions. The...

Quick Hits: ‘Don’t Miss’ reading for the weekend

Don Briel, who founded the Catholic Studies program at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, died yesterday. When he had learned, only a month ago, that he had an untreatable form of leukemia and only a few weeks to live, he treated that news as a blessing: an opportunity to prepare. In a...

Two strong women of the Old Testament: First, Judith

Heroines are not lacking in Scripture. In addition to others whom we meet in the various texts, whole books of the Old Testament are devoted to Ruth, Judith and Esther. Eve too is a heroine in her own way, as of course is Mary. In this series on the books of the Bible, it is time for a look at the...

Will we sacrifice Marines to advance feminist standards?

Americans today—in sharp contrast with their behavior during the years of the Vietnam war—show great respect, bordering on reverence, for members of the armed forces. President Trump has good reason for proposing a grand military parade; he knows that we love to applaud our...

That unforgettable Ash Wednesday photo

A week later, the image is still clearly etched in my mind. In the aftermath of the Florida school shootings, dozens of media outlets carried a powerful AP photo that portrayed a blonde woman hugging another woman. The woman’s face is contorted with grief; her arm, around her...

A rough week for the Holy See

Today is an unusually good day to pray for Pope Francis and for the Holy See. Not only because it’s the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, but also because it’s been an unusually rough week at the Vatican. Consider: It’s very unusual—well, you might say that usually...

Two strong women of the Old Testament: Second, Esther

The Book of Esther is set in Susa, the capital of Persia, which is ruled by one King Ahasuerus, who has power of life and death over all the communities of Jews who had settled in his territory during the exile. But unlike many in the kingdom, Ahasuerus has good reasons to think well of the Jews....

The basic principle of the gun-control argument: 10 years ago and today

With arguments about gun control proliferating in the wake of the Florida school shooting, an old friend of the CatholicCulture site called our attention to this short but perceptive essay, written nearly 10 years ago by our sometime contributor, Diogenes. The circumstances have changed, but the...

Random reflections on public shootings and ultimate safety in our time

We can all agree that it is a Very Bad Thing when crazed or terrorist gunmen unleash volleys of lethal bullets against school children, churchgoers, and the general public. But after that, in America at least, the agreement ends. Some argue that it should be harder for people to get their hands on...

The Pope and the Vatican’s top power broker

For the first time in my life, I find myself in substantial agreement with Robert Mickens, who now covers Vatican affairs for La Croix. In his most recent column there, Mickens examines the enormous and enduring influence of Cardinal Angelo Sodano. It’s an eye-opener. Cardinal Sodano...

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