Action Alert!
Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

Search or Browse Commentary

All Catholic commentary from April 2013

SNAP praises bishop, defends Church

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has issued a statement praising diocesan bishops who have responded energetically to the sex-abuse crisis, and voicing loyalty to the teachings of the Catholic Church. The SNAP statement said: April Fool! (No such statement has ever been...

Vision Book Cover Prints

Red shoes, the papal apartments, and Petrine authority

Let's see if I understand this correctly: You say you can't respect the authority of Pope Francis because, by not moving quickly into the apostolic palace, he's denigrating the authority of the papacy? So it's the apartments that make the difference?  St. Peter didn't live in the papal...

Wondering where I've been?

You may have noticed that during the last 10 days before Easter, I posted virtually no editorial commentary on this site. A few friends wrote to ask whether I was ill, or on vacation. Far from it. I was working, hammer and tongs, on a special project:  A Call to Serve: Pope Francis and...

The Mandatum Issue: Beware of Superficial Judgment

Pope Francis’ decision to wash the feet of women in the prison in which he celebrated the Mass of the Last Supper has created a bit of a stir, especially among liturgically-conservative Catholics. Critical responses have ranged from a mild concern about the larger impact on rubrical...

Just so you know...

Since I'm on a relaxed schedule this week, and not writing as much as I usually do, I'm taking advantage of this space to link you to what I have written. It’s an In Depth Analysis on the Pope’s Mandatum controversy: The Mandatum Issue: Beware of Superficial ...

Rebuilding Catholic Culture: a new gem of apologetics

“A vibrant Catholic culture makes intelligible a mode of life and the habits of being that fit us for Heaven,” writes Ryan N. S. Topping in Rebuilding Catholic Culture. The reverse, unfortunately, is also true. In the absence of a distinctive Catholic culture, the path toward...

Are the End Times Near?

Reading Heralds of the Second Coming by Stephen Walford is a salutary reminder of the eschatological and even apocalyptic character of Christianity. But reading the book also requires constant vigilance. The reader must distinguish the intrinsic link between the present and the end times (which...

A proposal for curial reform: break up the Vatican Secretariat of State

“Reform of the Roman Curia” was the cry of the day—among journalists, at least—in the days before the conclave that elected Pope Francis. So now with the new Pope settling into his work, commentators are speculating on the sort of changes that the Holy Father might...

The 'Pope Francis effect'-- longer lines for Confession?

Vatican Insider says that Italian priests are reporting more people coming to Confession since the election of Pope Francis—including many people who have been away from the sacrament for a long time. American priests have told me the same thing, and it seems to me the lines have been a bit...

The Difference between Love and Hate Is Truth

A few days ago I received this email message: I for one am a Roman Catholic who favors gay marriage. I know my Theology, I know my conscience, and I’m comfortably sure Jesus would embrace gay couples. I've met many gay people who are far holier than many of our supposed clergy, religious...

Was St. Stanislaus comfortable?

On this feast of St. Stanislaus I can’t help wondering whether the great Polish bishop and martyr was “comfortable” confronting King Boleslaus. The foes of St. Stanislaus said that the bishop was playing politics when he excommunicated the king. That argument has a very contemporary flavor,...

Lent before Easter: Small Decisions, Major Consequences

It isn’t light reading, but some of us glance through each issue of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly. In the latest, E. Christian Brugger has an intriguing article entitled “Free Choice, Self-Determination and Contraceptive Acts”. Brugger holds the J. Francis...

Conflicted about Fasting and Abstinence

Have you noticed that fasting and abstinence are making a modest comeback in the Church—at least the English-speaking Church—which all but abandoned these practices during the course of the 20th century? The English bishops brought back abstinence formally in 2011. The American bishops...

The key lesson of the Gosnell trial

What can we learn from the success of the Twitter campaign that finally shamed some mainstream media outlets into taking notice of the trial of Kermit Gosnell? First, we see the power of Twitter, and of a radically decentralized system of conveying news. Kudos to the people who organized...

Two columnists show how the Gosnell case threatens the 'pro-choice' stand

Yesterday while I was trying to draw the key lesson from the Gosnell trial, two other columnists were demonstrating that if this horrible story makes people stop and think, the facile public acceptance of unrestricted-abortion-on-demand will end. James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal...

Adopt a Supreme Court Justice

We get lots of mail here at CatholicCulture.org. For example, today I received an email from somebody named Nathaniel Wenger, the purpose of which was to advocate a new form of government, far superior to democracy, which Nate modestly calls Wengerocracy. Um...OK. But I also received this...

A Return to Infallibility, with Help from Newman

It’s a small matter I suppose. But for years I’ve been taking flak from those who object to my explanation of the clear meaning of the First Vatican Council’s definition of the infallibility of the pope. I’ve said again and again that the pope is infallible whenever four...

Three important perspectives on same-sex marriage

“Conservative Christians have lost the fight over gay marriage,” writes Rod Dreher in a provocative piece of the American Conservative. He adds that Christians lost the argument “decades before anyone even thought same-sex marriage was a possibility.” How did it happen? He...

Pope Francis: Tough Talk about Vatican II

Pope Francis had some strong words to say today about those who resist, twist, or ignore the impetus of the Second Vatican Council, which he described as “a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit”. What does this mean for us? The first thing to note is that the Pope’s remarks apply...

If you think a conclave is inefficient, what about the Italian parliament?

Remember back during the conclave, when secular commentators were scoffing at the “ridiculous,” antiquated, inefficient way the Catholic Church chooses a Pope? Well, we’ve had our new Pope for a month now, and things seem to be working out just fine, thank you. Meanwhile the thoroughly modern...

Benedict XVI in retirement: a total, prudent silence

Just six weeks ago, some “experts” on Vatican affairs were predicting that confusion was bound to arise in the Catholic world when we had two living Popes. Well, let me ask you: Do you feel confused? Today we mark the 8th anniversary of the election of Benedict XVI as Supreme Pontiff. Many...

OK, so what sort of renewal did Vatican II prescribe?

Pope Francis recently insisted once again on the importance of implementing the renewal called for by the Second Vatican Council. Unfortunately, every time I insist (with the last five popes) that the Second Vatican Council gave us the program of Catholic renewal that we are supposed to be...

A bishop's questionable expertise on gun-control legislation

While Bishop Blaire laments the failure of the US Senate to approve new gun-control regulations, could we inject a dash of political reality into the discussion? The Senate did not vote against gun-control legislation. On the contrary, a majority voted in favor. So why didn’t the measure pass?...

That inefficient administration in Rome, led by an old man...

It seems that I spoke too soon. After I poked fun at the Italian politicians who couldn’t put together a new government, they took the first step, selecting a new president. Well, not really. They called back the old president, persuading him to begin serving a new term at the age of...

Beware the Vagueness of Vatican II

Having spent considerable time and energy detailing the program of renewal outlined at the Second Vatican Council (OK, so what sort of renewal did Vatican II prescribe?), I am naturally a little taken aback by those who have responded essentialy as follows: “Whatever. The documents were...

Cardinal O'Malley's missed opportunity

“We must build a civilization of love, or there will be no civilization at all,” said Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, at a Mass for the repose of the souls of those killed in the Marathon bombing. So far, so good. But then the wheels came off. Pointing to sources of the...

Now in print!

A Call to Serve, which I co-authored with Stefan von Kempis of Vatican Radio, is now off the press, headed for the warehouses, and will be available to readers within a few days. In a short, richly illustrated book, you'll find personal background on Pope Francis, his early life, his vision for...

Marini on Same-Sex Unions: Currying Favor with Pope Francis?

Archbishop Piero Marini’s support for legal recognition of same-sex unions is interesting for several reasons. Marini is the president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, and he made his statements in an interview in connection with the current National...

Wrong then, wrong now: the bishops' top adviser on sexual abuse

"Just as the banishment of lepers was fueled by medieval myths, the hysteria surrounding child sexual abusers is exacerbated by myths about those who suffer from sexual deviancies. Child molesters incarnate our deepest childhood fears... Our myths about child molesters come more from the...

At Boston's bombing scene: Catholic priests need not apply

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Graham tells me something that I hadn’t heard about Boston Marathon bombing. As dozens of victims were sprawled across Boylston Street, many of them in danger of death, Catholic priests came running to the scene—and were turned...

At last a halfway accurate report on a Womenpriests charade

At last someone got it right. A Reuters report on the latest ceremony staged by “Roman Catholic Womenpriests” begins this way: "In an emotional ceremony filled with tears and applause, a 70-year-old Kentucky woman was ordained a priest on Saturday as part of a dissident group...

Was abortion always the motivating factor behind Obamacare?

For months the American bishops struggled mightily to convince President Obama that he should exclude abortion coverage from his health-care plan. Did they ever have a chance? The question may be moot now. Still let's pursue it, if only for the sake of the historical record. You already know...

Want more commentary? Visit the Archives.