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All Catholic commentary from September 2019

The new cardinals: Pope Francis bids for ‘irreversible change’ by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 3, 2019

Having named 13 new members of the College of Cardinals, Pope Francis will—as of October 5—have named a majority of the cardinals who will elect the next Roman Pontiff. At least on paper, then, he has had a chance to ensure that the next conclave will elect a prelate who shares his...

Cardinal control: Is the Church’s future at stake? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 3, 2019

Not being God, my interpretation of what God Himself is accomplishing through the current pontificate may at the very best illuminate a tiny portion of the Divine plan, and could well be utterly worthless. Nonetheless, I am moved to this exercise by a desire to offer consolation in the wake of...

Episode 49—A Catholic Composer in Queen Elizabeth’s Court, Pt. I—Kerry McCarthy by Thomas V. Mirus in "The Catholic Culture Podcast" - Sep 4, 2019

One of England’s greatest composers, William Byrd is a fascinating and complicated figure of Catholic musical history. A musician in the Royal Chapel of Queen Elizabeth, he associated with the highest ranks of the Anglican establishment...

No ‘slow news day’ today: hints of paranoia, real causes for alarm, and two cardinals’ deaths by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 4, 2019

August is traditionally a slow month for news, and then things heat up quickly in September. That’s certainly been the case this year. In today’s Catholic World News headlines you’ll find: Hints of paranoia: Former cardinal McCarrick denies wrongdoing, says his...

Pope Francis: ‘honored’ by criticism? by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 5, 2019

In the latest effort to explain away an unguarded utterance by Pope Francis, Matteo Bruni, the director of the Vatican press office, told reporters how they should interpret the papal remark that “it’s an honor that Americans attack me.” In an informal context, the Pope...

Quick Hits: The Pope, the US, and Ukraine; background on Cardinal Pell’s case by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 6, 2019

Foreign Affairs carries an interesting analysis of Vatican foreign policy under Pope Francis, with a focus on the conflict in Ukraine. Victor Gaetan notes that the Ukrainian Catholic Church, led by Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevcuk, has been extremely critical of Russian intervention, while the...

Hearts and minds: Next generation changes to CatholicCulture.org by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Sep 9, 2019

I have done a good deal of soul searching about the future of CatholicCulture.org, as is only appropriate for a 71-year-old founder. Some of this involves adding appropriate expertise to our staff as my own ability to wear multiple hats diminishes. For example, we need to add a social media...

Episode 50—A Catholic Composer in Queen Elizabeth’s Court, Pt. II—Kerry McCarthy by Thomas V. Mirus in "The Catholic Culture Podcast" - Sep 9, 2019

One of England’s greatest composers, William Byrd is a fascinating and complicated figure of Catholic musical history. A musician in the Royal Chapel of Queen Elizabeth, he associated with the highest ranks of the Anglican establishment...

Quick Hits: On Annulment tribunals, the Ahmari-French debate, and [censored] by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Sep 10, 2019

• Leila Miller, who has made some important contributions to understanding the disastrous effects of divorce, has now turned her attention to diocesan marriage tribunals, and the unmistakable problems associated with routine declarations of annulment. She has posted a revealing interview with...

Knights of the Holy Eucharist by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Sep 10, 2019

Our readers frequently seek to identify good religious communities, especially if their children are considering a vocation to religious life. This puts me in mind of the Franciscan community of men founded by Mother Angelica in 1998, The Knights of the Holy Eucharist. The Franciscans as a...

Quick Hits: New podcast targets the Equal Rights Amendment by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "The City Gates" - Sep 10, 2019

Readers may recall that last year we reviewed Robert G. Marshall’s extraordinarily useful book, Reclaiming the Republic: How Christians and other conservatives can win back America. Now Marshall returns with the Reclaiming the Republic Podcast—an incisive nine-episode presentation...

A Pope who doesn’t fear schism may cause one by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Sep 11, 2019

“I am not afraid of schisms,” Pope Francis told reporters during his latest airplane press conference. Well, I am. And I’m afraid of any Roman Pontiff who isn’t afraid of splitting the universal Church. Which means that, yes, I’m afraid of Pope Francis. As we...

Pope Francis answers: Part inspiration, part frustration, so how can we grow spiritually? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Sep 12, 2019

On the whole, I recommend to pope-watchers a close reading of Francis’ responses to questions raised by journalists on his flight from the capital of Madagascar back to Rome. These informal exchanges often present challenges, because Pope Francis has great difficulty speaking precisely. But...

Don’t blame ‘others’ or ‘cycles of violence’ for the 9/11 attacks by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Friday

On September 11, while Americans remembered the victims of an Islamic terrorist attack, Pope Francis met with a members of a joint Catholic-Islamic committee dedicated to peaceful dialogue. (This is the group whose formal statement, endorsed by the Pope, proclaimed: “The pluralism and diversity...

Lay activism: a modest proposal by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Friday

Although I was appalled by the Pope’s statement on the prospect of an American schism, one passage from that statement merits a bit more thought: The schismatics always have one thing in common: they separate themselves from the people, from the faith of the people of God. And when there was...

Guardians of the natural law by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky in "On the News" - Monday

As the classic Christmas hymn has it, with the birth of Jesus, God and sinners are reconciled. Jesus Christ is true God and true man: one Person, two natures. The mystery of the Incarnation provides us with the metaphysics of our reconciliation with God; the words and deeds of Jesus give the...

Discipleship: The worldly don’t get it. But are we all worldly? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Monday

The Sunday before last, the Gospel reading (Luke 14:25-33) was that strange passage about the king who should sue for peace before throwing his ten thousand troops against an opposing force of twenty thousand; and about the builder who should not risk mockery by failing to make sure he has...

Quick Hits: Provocative questions—on suicide and schism, the USCCB and a diocesan tribunal by Phil Lawler in "The City Gates" - Tuesday

Writing for First Things about the Seattle suicide scandal, Father Paul Mankowski, SJ, puts his finger on the problem: the fact that the Eucharistic liturgy was used as a stage for a cause, with innocent children as bit actors. The priest involved says that he was not acquainted with the...

Who benefits from all this talk of schism? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Tuesday

Why are we even talking about schism? Who began this extraordinary conversation, and whose interests are served by it? Ross Douthat of the New York Times admits that he used the term “schism” long ago, as a theoretical possibility—which he now (rightly) regards as remote. But...

September Ember Days by Jennifer Gregory Miller in "Liturgical Year Blog" - Tuesday

The 2019 September Ember Days begin on Wednesday, September 18. From the Archives of September 2015: Football games and pumpkin spice beverages and foods return; Autumn is upon us. Sadly, that is what the fall season means to so many people. We have lost contact the actual natural signs of...