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Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

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All Catholic commentary from July 2018

On clerical abuse, the mainstream may finally recognize the obvious

Charles Collins writes for Crux: If the Church hierarchy continues to turn a blind eye to sexual misconduct involving adults, it will never be able to put an end to the sexual abuse of minors. Good point. Wonder why nobody thought of it earlier. Oh, wait. From my book

Vision Book Cover Prints

Writing a headline to create a story

An egregious example of a misleading headline, from AP:  Pope replaces Australian prelate who opposes sex abuse norm The focus of the story is on Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, who (AP tells us) “said he’d prefer jail to telling civil authorities about any sex abuse of...

Six books to tell you what you need to know

The sad truth is that I do not have time to keep up with all the sound Catholic books being published today. How different this is from the 1970’s when I got my start, a time in which nearly every Catholic publisher deliberately undermined the teachings of the Church! Moreover, the books I...

Episode 9: How to Start an Institutional Apostolate, Part 1—Jeff Mirus

This episode is for anyone who believes he is called to found a Catholic apostolate, or anyone who is overseeing one already. You may know Jeff Mirus as the founder of CatholicCulture.org, but he...

The McCarrick scandal & the gay lobby: a problem the bishops won’t address

The news that Cardinal McCarrick has been credibly accused of molesting a young man—and the subsequent revelations that “everybody knew” about the cardinal’s homosexual activities—have raised new and important questions about the silence of other American bishops....

Vatican Reform, take two: behind two new papal appointments

“Personnel is policy,” the political analysts tell us. With that maxim in mind, let’s examine the importance of two appointments made by Pope Francis in recent days: the appointments of Bishop Nunzio Galantino as president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic...

The mounting Italian influence in the Roman Curia

Last week, in commenting on two important appointments, I failed to make an obvious point: Both Bishop Nunzio Galantino (the new head of APSA) and Paolo Ruffini (the new head of the dicastery for Communications) are Italians. Vatican-watcher Andrea Gagliarducci sharpens the point: This is...

Priests shouldn’t engage in partisan politics—except?

Bishop Michael Warfel of Great Falls-Billings has reprimanded four priests who appeared in clerical collars, as VIP guests, at a rally for President Trump in Montana. And rightly so, because priests should not take part in partisan political activities. At the same time, Cardinal Blase Cupich...

A question for Cardinal Farrell

If Catholic priests have “no credibility” for the task of preparing couples for marriage, how are they qualified (per Amoris Laetitia) to guide divorced-and-remarried Catholics through the “process of discernment” that would lead them back to...

Discouragement is not an option: Weigel on the fragility of order

In the midst of the disturbing now of a crazy Summer (see, for example, Phil Lawler’s two latest posts on political priests and Italian influence in the Curia)—in the midst of this disturbing now, I say, perhaps it is time to refresh ourselves with calm and studied reflections on the...

Episode 10: How to Start an Institutional Apostolate, Part 2—Jeff Mirus

This episode is for anyone who believes he is called to found a Catholic apostolate, or anyone who is overseeing one already. In this second part of a two-part interview, CatholicCulture.org...

A challenge to the Vatican from America’s consecrated virgins

The recent Vatican Instruction “Ecclesiae Sponsae Imago” on the “Ordo virginum” has caused considerable distress among consecrated virgins in America, and presumably elsewhere. This is evident in a preliminary statement issued today by the United States Association of...

Suggestion for the German bishops: wider access to sacramental Confession

The Code of Canon Law (#844—4) allows Catholics priests, when there is a “grave and pressing need,” to administer Holy Communion to Protestants who “demonstrate the catholic faith in respect of these sacraments and are properly disposed.” The German bishops, in their...

An answer to Cardinal Farrell, from Pope John Paul II

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the prefect of the Vatican dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, fears that priests “have no credibility” when they attempt to prepare Catholic couples for marriage. St. John Paul II disagrees. From the introduction to his book, Love and...

What’s wrong with this picture?

Do others share my discomfort with this story? Catholic Charities office sues diocese in Minnesota (CWN, July 12) “We believe the complaint will be properly resolved through the judicial process,” says the spokesman for the St. Cloud diocese. And maybe it will. But then...

Does Humanae Vitae cause suffering, or does the National Catholic Reporter?

The National Catholic Reporter headline informs us: Humanae Vitae’s ban on contraception causes suffering The argument of the article is lame and familiar: based on the assumption that—what your parents told you about bird and bees to the contrary notwithstanding—Catholic...

Vanity of vanities, all is vanity: Ecclesiastes

The Book of Ecclesiastes offers fascinating insights into what the Jewish intellect had grasped of the purpose of life two or three hundred years before Christ. The voice of the book is that of Ecclesiastes, or “the Preacher”, who was King over Jerusalem, and who may be construed in...

Episode 11: Music and Morals—Fr. Basil Cole, O.P.

Are music and morals connected? If so, what is the nature of that connection? Are certain musical sounds morally bad or good in themselves, or are they neutral? Could the influence of music on...

The logic of Amoris Laetitia now infects Vatican diplomacy

The latest of a series of articles on Vatican-China talks* posted on the Vatican News site tackles the question of how the Holy See could recognize bishops who were ordained without Vatican approval, and thus subject to excommunication: The path to the legitimisation of the Chinese Bishops...

Get priests out of sacristies—and into confessionals

Bishop Robert Barron, who is widely regarded as one of the leading Catholic experts on evangelization, sees a problem with a parish-based approach. It’s not that he doesn’t appreciate parishes. “I love the parish and believe in its importance passionately,” he assures us....

A book about the McCarrick scandal? It’s already written

“Why don’t you write a book about the McCarrick scandal?” my friend asked me. I answered: “Because I already did!” True, The Faithful Departed doesn’t focus specifically on Cardinal McCarrick. But what this latest scandal has shown—the failure of the...

Discernment is important, so let’s not make a mockery of it.

It is easy to make jokes about the contemporary Vatican effort to eliminate problems through “discernment”, as if discernment by itself can eliminate objective patterns of evil. Part of this is simply the tendency of Church officials to reflect instantly the favorite ideas and...

Coping with scandal: what everyone can do

Perhaps the most prescient article that I ever published in my years as an editor, and certainly the most controversial, is The Gay Priest Problem, by Father Paul Shaughnessy, SJ, which appeared in the November 2000 issue of Catholic World Report. The concluding section of that piece, offering...

The Song of Songs: Yearning for fulfillment

St. Augustine’s great insight into the spiritual life is perhaps most aptly captured by this famous statement which he addressed to God: “You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You” (Confessions, Book 1). If we were asked to identify a...

Orthodox leaders headed for a showdown over Ukraine

If you care about ecumenism—if you care about the restoration of Christian unity—you should be aware of a current dispute about the status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Most Catholic Americans, I realize, rarely pay attention to the debates among the world’s Orthodox...

A few weak men

To a large extent, the men of the inner circle of Jesus were weak. During His Passion, Jesus is betrayed, abandoned, and denied by his apostles. Only one of them returns to the foot of the Cross. In selecting the apostles, Jesus did not choose those whom the world considers the best and brightest....

Successful societies are (always) rooted in the family

Creating the ideal society through individualistic emancipation is a fool’s project. It cannot be done. That is why the more our politics emphasizes the freedom of each individual to pursue his own vision of reality, the more government control is necessary to keep the social order from...

Ministers, not masters, of life

As we ponder the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, we come to realize it is one of the most practical revelations in the Catholic arsenal because it provides the underpinnings of our relationship to God and the life God gives us. We come to realize why and how we are ministers of life, not the...

Prioritizing the Liturgical Calendar: Part 1.5, Keeping Track of the Feasts

“How do you keep track and celebrate all those feasts and saint days?” is the most common question I receive from families who are trying to live the Liturgical Year in their domestic church. The Church Calendar has a myriad of feasts. The idea of remembering and celebrating all those...

The McCarrick scandal: a roundup of different perspectives

This week I have been swamped with messages from loyal Catholics who have been shaken and disgusted by the latest eruption of the continuing sex-abuse scandal in the Church. I wish I saw some sign that our bishops recognized the rising tide of anger—righteous anger—among the most...

It can’t happen. It can’t happen. It happened.

In November 2003, Kim Lawton of PBS interviewed then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan about the American bishops’ response to the abuse scandal. Lawton: Some groups fear the bishops’ energy and commitment may fade. Archbishop Dolan: Can’t happen. Can’t happen. We never,...

Catholic parents taken unawares? Not any longer.

My visit to my oldest son’s family in the Dallas area this week leads me to reflect on family life as it is lived daily, not as it is lived in the head of a grandfather posting cultural commentaries online. In this case we are talking about Mom and Dad and two boys, ages six and three (and...

Why ‘policies and procedures’ won’t resolve the bishops’ problems

The push has already begun for a new set of “policies and procedures” from the US bishops’ conference, to prevent a repetition of the McCarrick scandal. You might call this the damage-control approach: an anodyne alternative to the painful necessities that would come with genuine...

None so blind...

Let’s dip once again into the archives, take note of what ‘Diogenes’ was saying years ago, and see how well it applies to the current mess. This week reporters are busily asking whether Bishop X knew that McCarrick was molesting minors. That’s the wrong question. The...

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