Action Alert!

An extended weekend's worth of don't-miss commentary

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Dec 09, 2013 | In On the Good

Over the weekend (and stretching into today’s feast day), some unusually good commentary appeared online. I encourage Catholic readers to spend a few minutes with the following:

  • Mary Ann Glendon—Harvard Law professor and former US Ambassador to the Holy See—previewed the US Supreme Court debate on the Hobby Lobby case, in a Boston Globe op-ed. The key question, Glendon observes, is whether a corporation is a moral actor, whose freedom of conscience should be protected. That should be a “no-brainer,” she argues, especially in an age fond of “corporate responsibility” campaigns. She reasons: “The simple truth is that if we want businesses, incorporated or not, to be responsible for their actions, they must be treated as having some moral agency.”
  • Michael Novak, writing for National Review, admits that he is taken aback by some of the harsh criticisms of Pope Francis coming from American conservatives. Novak—who for decades has been the leading Catholic defender of the free-enterprise system—offers his own gentle suggestions that the current Pontiff should recall the teachings of Blessed John Paul II, especially in Centesimus Annus. At the same time, Novak expresses delight with the overall thrust of Evangelii Gaudium, acknowledging that Americans can learn a great deal from our new Pontiff.
  • The Financial Times provides some useful background on the struggle toward transparency at the Vatican bank-- a timely piece, in light of today’s news that European banking examiners have given a positive report on the Vatican’s financial reforms.
  • And finally, immodestly, I point to my friend Robert Royal’s kind and insightful review of When Faith Goes Viral, a collection of reports on successful initiatives in evangelization, which I had the pleasure of editing.

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 CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: bkmajer3729 - Oct. 16, 2017 7:50 AM ET USA

    I an still not there with you on Amoris Laetitia but your comment "repentance is typically impossible unless people are willing to risk their comfort to do just that" is correct. But isn't that the battle we all face? Comfort in the form of what "we think" our life 'should' be rather than what "God knows" our life needs to be. The only way to bring the two together is prayer and how much of that are we really doing? How do you spell love, Bishop Galleone asked, "T-I-M-E". Give time to God.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Oct. 11, 2017 3:59 PM ET USA

    As I read and re-read Pope Francis' invective against the "rigid," I let my imagination drift away from the orthodox Catholic to the preaching televangelist. Whereas Catholic priests in my life have consistently focused on what an individual should do to dispose himself to remain in a state of habitual grace, I am remembering televangelists and others outside the Catholic Church who prided themselves on discriminating between the just and the unjust in this world. Is Francis referring to these?

  • Posted by: Retired01 - Oct. 11, 2017 3:32 PM ET USA

    Those who always support Pope Francis, regardless of what he says or does, truly are the epitome of rigidity.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Oct. 11, 2017 3:25 PM ET USA

    "The error of Jonah is not that he fails to recognize the mercy of God, but that, in view of God’s mercy, he does not want to run the risk to his reputation entailed in making a big point of the perils of sin." This in concert with the essay's conclusion "knocked it outta the park" as they say. However, the miss is not simply a "miss' by Pope Francis. The "human respect" problem is nothing new. As the priest said today in his eulogy, the "Church takes care of us." But only if we so desire.