Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

Catching up on outside reading

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Sep 21, 2015

Before we’re all inundated with news about and analysis of the Pope’s visit to the US, here are a few interesting posts of recent vintage: thoughts for the last moments of reflection before the tsunami:

  • Eric Banecker explains in First Things, how Planned Parenthood is like a protection racket. It’s a convincing argument. They help to create a problem, then promise to solve it, but demand heavy, regular payments. Also like the Mafia, Planned Parenthood makes money by bloodshed, and contributes heavily to politicians who are willing to look the other way. If you think Planned Parenthood works mostly in pap smears and mammograms, you’d probably believe that Don Corleone made his money importing olive oil.
  • Looking ahead a few weeks, to the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops, Thomas Ascik reflects in Catholic World Report on the Pope’s observation that the Church is a “field hospital,” always ready to help the wounded. Fair enough, Ascik writes; the Church should reach out to fractured families. However, he fears that the working document for the Synod does not address the deeper questions of how to prevent family breakdowns and how to resolve their wounds. Yes, Ascik concedes, the Church, as nurse, should comfort the patient. “But the Synod does not make it clear whether the patient needs to see the doctor and receive any medicine.”
  • It’s generally taken for granted, in conservative intellectual circles, that Enlightenment thought is hostile to Catholicism and vice versa. Samuel Gregg questions that assumption in an interesting essay: Is Catholicism Compatible with the American Experiment? It is undeniably true that some leading Enlightenment figures were implacable enemies of the Church. And their attitude toward Catholicism is particularly interesting to Catholics, since it is also undeniable that Enlightenment thought formed the attitudes of the men who wrote the Constitution. But Gregg observes that the Enlightenment was not monolithic, and some of the ideas that sprang from the Enlightenment—notably on questions of religious liberty, the economic development, and the rule of law—are congenial to Catholic social thought.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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