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All Catholic commentary from August 2018

Pope Francis and the death penalty: another dose of confusion by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 2, 2018

Once again Pope Francis has given the world reason to believe that the teachings of the Catholic Church can and will change. Was the Pope’s decision to revise the Catechism’s teaching on the death penalty a change in Church teaching, or a development of existing doctrine?...

Pope Francis on capital punishment: doctrine built on shifting sands? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 3, 2018

How can a fixed moral principle be dependent on a contingent practical judgment? How can a doctrine be based on shifting circumstances? The Pope can say—indeed Pope John Paul II did say—that it is always wrong, in every case, deliberately to take the life of an innocent human being....

Remembrance of Popes past by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 6, 2018

Today—August 6, the feast of the Transfiguration—is the anniversary of the publication (in 1993) of Veritatis Splendor, in which St. John Paul II reaffirmed a basic principle of moral reasoning: that “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by...

Episode 12: A Career in Poetry & Prose—Mike Aquilina by Thomas V. Mirus in "The Catholic Culture Podcast" - Aug 7, 2018

Mike Aquilina has been a highly successful freelance writer for over three decades. He is best known for his popular books on the Fathers of the Church, but he is also a poet and has co-written songs with the...

An ‘independent commission’ to investigate the bishops? Here are the problems. by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 7, 2018

This week I have seen three separate proposals for the creation of a commission that would investigate the American bishops’ responses to the sex-abuse scandal. Unfortunately all three have serious flaws. Cardinal Donald Wuerl has suggested that the US bishops’ conference could...

The bishops and ‘best practices’—does that sound familiar? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 8, 2018

If you liked Cardinal Wuerl’s proposal—that the US bishops, having lost their credibility, should set up a committee to restore credibility—then you’ll probably love the follow-up suggestion from Cardinal Blase Cupich—who thinks that the bishops can find the...

Quick Hits: The year’s best articles so far by Thomas V. Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 8, 2018

I’ve spent most of my time this year working on The Catholic Culture Podcast, but I haven’t neglected to collect some great articles from around the Catholic web to share with you. This is a long list covering the entire year up until now, so I’ve divided it into...

Welcoming the Catechism’s changes on the death penalty by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 9, 2018

A number of bishops around the world, including the episcopal conferences of Latin America and the United States, have welcomed Pope Francis’ recent revision to the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the use of the death penalty. But as Phil Lawler pointed out in commentaries posted on...

“If bloodless means are sufficient”: The devil of capital punishment is in the details by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Aug 10, 2018

In yesterday’s commentary on the recent change to the Catechism on the use of the death penalty, I passed over fairly quickly the tricky question of when the death penalty may be necessary to protect the community. This is an interesting question because it is not clear exactly what the...

Final Liturgical Year volume for 2017-2018 now available by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 10, 2018

The final ebook for the 2017-2018 liturgical year has been released in our ebooks download area. The sixth volume overall in the annual series, Ordinary Time Completed rounds out the current liturgical year, taking you right up to Advent. This volume covers all the days from August 26th through...

Just how independent would this committee be? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 10, 2018

Bishop Robert Barron has added his own proposal to the mounting pile. He proposes that the US bishops “petition the Holy Father to form a team, made up mostly of faithful lay Catholics skilled in forensic investigation, and to empower them to have access to all of the relevant documentation...

Time to hold prelates accountable at the Vatican, too by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 13, 2018

John Allen of Crux remarks that if the universal Church seeks to make prelates accountable, it’s unfortunate that Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who has a deserved reputation for trying to protect abusers and conceal evidence remains the Dean of the College of Cardinals. To be fair, Allen was...

Marshalling our forces: Politics in America today by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 14, 2018

I am sure Robert G. “Delegate Bob” Marshall is sick of bad puns on his last name, but full disclosure forces me to reveal that I’m a friend…so he’ll have to live with it. Happily, Marshall has just had a new book published by TAN entitled Reclaiming the Republic....

Episode 13: Progressives Are Trying to Take Over Medieval Studies—Rachel Fulton Brown by Thomas V. Mirus in "The Catholic Culture Podcast" - Aug 14, 2018

The critical theorists and social justice warriors are trying to do to medieval studies what they’ve done to other disciplines, and if you don’t get on board, you’re a white supremacist. Over the past...

President Duterte: When is a Catholic not a Catholic? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 16, 2018

The President of the Philippines, in a profanity-laden message, has declared he is no longer a Catholic. He claims to have been abused by a Jesuit as a teenager, and while that allegation can no longer be met with outraged disbelief, only God knows whether it is true. One wonders, of course, how...

The managerial class: Top companies are usually our enemies by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 21, 2018

Most people who fully accept the teachings of the Catholic Church tend to be conservative politically. Insofar as there is a strong strain of conservative thought in favor of the natural law, this is generally a good thing. Insofar as there is also a strong strain of conservative thought which...

Why do Catholics speak so often of “the Church” instead of “Christ”? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Aug 21, 2018

In a recent discussion of the mission of CatholicCulture.org, an interesting question came up: Why do we have the word “Catholic” in our name, and not the word “Christ”? Similarly, one of the mission slogans I use frequently is to “enrich faith, strengthen the Church,...

Episode 14: Priest & Actor—George Drance, S.J. by Thomas V. Mirus in "The Catholic Culture Podcast" - Aug 21, 2018

What’s it like to be both a priest and a professional actor? George Drance, SJ is the artist in residence at Fordham University, where he teaches acting, a resident artist in La Mama’s...

McCarrick: story the secular media don’t want to pursue? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 22, 2018

Julia Duin, who worked for some years as the religion reporter for a secular newspaper, now wonders aloud why the mainstream media haven’t followed up obvious leads on the McCarrick scandal. The Catholic News Agency has found several priests to confirm that “everybody knew” about...

There are only 2 things an American bishop can say now... by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Aug 22, 2018

The Pennsylvania grand-jury report was released on the very day that I had chosen (long beforehand) to begin a week-long vacation. I had vowed that it would be a real vacation—that I wouldn’t hop back to post news items on this site—and I held to that vow. Still I could not...

A serious rapid-fire credit card attack in late July by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 23, 2018

To help us cover the costs of strengthening our defenses, please make a donation now. The last three weeks have been “interesting”. On July 27th and 28th, while I was innocently visiting the family of my oldest son in the Dallas area, CatholicCulture.org suffered a sustained...

In a time of crisis, unfortunate tag lines by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 28, 2018

1) Introducing an interview with Cardinal Blase Cupich, a Chicago TV anchor referred to the “explosive allegations” in the testimony of Archbishop Vigano. But the cardinal himself told the interviewer that the Pope was “not going to go down a rabbit hole on this.” He...

The Vigano bombshell: some perspectives by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 28, 2018

The testimony of Archbishop Vigano is, from my perspective as an editor, the most important Catholic news story since the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. (And by the way those stories now seem related.) The past few days have seen an unprecedented outburst of editorial commentary, and...

Did the Book of Sirach pinpoint the Church’s abuse crisis? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 28, 2018

“What is the difference between the scandals of the Church of the 16th and 17th centuries and the Church of today? The lust, narcissism, pride, and abuse of power are pretty much the same. The difference we see now lies in the nature of the lust. We are forced today to face the tragic...

So Pope Francis CAN act quickly on cover-up charges, when he wants to by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 28, 2018

Archbishop Vigano has responded quickly and effectively to the charge that he sought to squelch charges of sexual misconduct by Archbishop John Nienstedt. (I suspect that when he released his testimony, Archbishop Vigano knew this attack would be coming, and he was ready for it.) He notes that...

Episode 15: Online Education with The Tolkien Professor—Corey Olsen by Thomas V. Mirus in "The Catholic Culture Podcast" - Aug 29, 2018

Corey Olsen, aka The Tolkien Professor, started out putting his college lectures out in podcast form, and ended up founding an online master’s program devoted to the study of imaginative...

There’s a quick way to learn the truth about Vigano’s accusations by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 29, 2018

Kudos to Father Raymond de Souza, who noticed something that the rest of us had missed. In a Catholic Herald column, Father de Souza explains how the release of the Vigano testimony affects the US bishops’ plans: The American bishops have already asked Pope Francis to appoint an...

Alas, poor Cupich. I knew him, Horatio. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 29, 2018

I trust most readers will recognize my title as a modified line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the graveyard scene in which Hamlet and Horatio come across the late court jester’s skull. As a child, Hamlet had known and liked the jester, whose name was Yorick. Hence the line delivered while...

What I predicted, 25+ years ago by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 30, 2018

Yesterday I spoke at length with Al Kresta about the sex-abuse scandal in general and the Vigano testimony in particular. The whole interview is available here. Al is thoughtful, faithful, and literate; I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation, and I think you will, too. During the interview Al,...

Lady Dumbello’s discretion by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 31, 2018

For relaxation during these turbulent days, I’ve been reading Trollope’s Framley Parsonage. Toward the end, the novelist recounts the great success of Lord Dumbello, a peer of uncertain morals, who finds the perfect wife. She is beautiful, her bearing is stately, and best of all, while...

On the abolition of women…and men by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Aug 31, 2018

Fiorella Nash, a bioethicist in the United Kingdom, has a new book out entitled The Abolition of Woman. It’s a valid thesis. But I want to take it further, because even though more women than men are being physically destroyed, it is not just women who are being abolished, but men as...

Dear bishops: please spare us waffling statements by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Aug 31, 2018

Here’s a hot tip for any bishop considering a public statement on the current mess: Put some teeth in it. If you issue a mild, dispassionate statement—hoping to keep out of controversy—you won’t just sound wimpy. You’ll sound dishonest as well. Given the facts of...

The crisis: Déjà vu all over again by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Aug 31, 2018

[This is an abridged version of a letter I wrote to ecclesiastical authorities after the Boston Globe revelations in 2002. I received no response. I think the letter—after sixteen years—remains painfully relevant today after the McCarrick debacle.] The “priest crisis”...