The Insights eNewsletter

Insights provides critical perspective on the issues that affect your life as a Catholic today. Delivered twice weekly.

» Subscribe

A difficult Lent?

There are growing signs that this will be another difficult Lent for the Catholic Church. So it is not a bad time to reflect on a lesson I learned from the Book of Esther. As Phil Lawler points out, it has already been A rough week for the Holy See, which is taking hits around the world. But...

Is fighting among cardinals bad?

One of the interesting features of our current pontificate is that various cardinals and bishops sometimes take advantage by floating questionable ideas. This leaves it to other cardinals and bishops to reassure the faithful. For example: Cardinal Müller rejects idea of...

On China and Genesis, in Lent

Here are the two most important commentaries on CatholicCulture.org since my last message: Phil Lawler provides a very informative pieceon the negotiations between the Church and China: What’s happening in Vatican-China talks? The necessary background. Must reading! I take a serious...

Healing the Leprosy of Sin

Fr. Jerry Pokorsky leads off on this Shrove Tuesday by teaching us what the Gospel accounts of Christ's cure of leprosy really means. See Leper Colonies. For my part, I thought that we might use Lent to strengthen ourselves spiritually not only through fasting and devotion, but through...

Bermuda rules!

I know we would all love to live in Bermuda. But now we have a good reason, as the island decides to keep it real: Bermuda repeals same-sex marriage. In other news which suggests a return to sanity: English bishop: saving marriage more important than Brexit State Department finds...

Do we see things whole?

One of the biggest problems with modern culture is that it is rooted in the fallacy that the physical sciences tell us everything we need to know. This leads to loss of meaning and personal despair, but several Catholic authors are hard at work teaching us to see things whole. See my...

Shhh! Scholars at work...

Over the past fifty to sixty years, ordinary Catholics have been (let’s face it) too often preyed upon by the scholars who serve as professors at Catholic universities. Secular ideals are rampant in higher education, and Catholic practitioners often maintain their positions by...

Rich Catholic commentary

We have particularly rich commentary on CatholicCulture.org today, so let's get into it: You may be aware of the renewed controversy surrounding a “kidnapping” under Pope Pius IX in the late nineteenth century. Lots of heat on this, but little light, so I have taken it on....

Profiles in courage?

I am delighted at the opportunity to review a new book by Karl Keating, whom I would call the father of modern apologetics: See Karl Keating: In the vanguard of Catholic renewal. Keating is a kind of profile in Catholic courage. But Phil Lawler looks at another contemporary profile, that...

Today, Mary rules!

It was encouraging to see Pope Francis, during his Apostolic Visits to Chile and Peru last week, make a point of speaking frequently about our Blessed Mother: Mary Knows What Burdens Our Hearts: Homily at Mass in Iquique, Chile, January 18th Mary an Example and a Mother: Address at the...

More on good and bad news

Remember back in late 2016 when Thomas Mirus visited the Benedictine monks of Norcia just before an earthquake leveled their monastery? Well now the monks are giving thanks for seeing their monastery arise from the ruins! But there is bad news as well. Before we get do it, I'll give...

Demoting papal controversy?

I am considering reducing emphasis on controversial news and commentary about Pope Francis by placing it nearer to the end of these messages. Like Cicero, who often began a speech by saying “There is no need for anyone to tell you” about whomever he was about to skewer, I think...

Pontifical Academy for...Life?

Sadly, Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia is very much in the news again. A new appointee to the Pontifical Academy for Life has now asserted, based on arguments in that Exhortation, that not only is artificial contraception within marriage not immoral in all cases, but in...

Praise and Blame

Recent developments have once again raised the question of when to praise and when to blame Church leaders. A perfect case involves nearly 2,000 converts from Islam who took exception to Pope Francis’ constant positive portrayals of that religion. Pope Francis routinely insists that...

ALERT: Fix your PCs and phones

Epiphany is this Sunday, and you should bless your home. But instead of a normal Insights message today, I am writing to help protect you in a different way. There are newly-discovered design flaws in the computer chips you use every day. Everyone who uses CatholicCulture.org depends on...

Christmas: Not Over Yet!

The Christmas Season lasts through the Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord (on January 8th). Since we shouldn't waste it, here's help: First, Fr. Jerry Pokorsky trims the hills and fills the valleys with his latest homiletic essay, Expecting Perfection. Second, Jennifer...

Mixed message? No, sin and redemption!

Today we will have to have enough joy in our hearts to weather a few Vatican storms—but then you will be rid of me. During Christmas week, our staff will be on a reduced schedule, and there will be no Insights messages. But let's start on a positive note. I'd like to...

Amazingly, Christmas around the corner...

There is still barely enough time to get the things you may need to celebrate Christmas more fully in your home this year: Consider our recommendations in the Christmas section of our Store. Figure out what to highlight throughout the season by visiting our Christmas...

Ups and downs in the news

Phil Lawler has noticed that the Australian Abuse Commission wants celibacy to be banned. See Oh sure, blame celibacy. Actually, I strongly suspect we could build much better relationships between civil and spiritual authority if we took a page from the Bible: Nehemiah’s rightly ordered...

In Praise of Discernment

Pope Francis speaks often of discernment, and the Lord knows too few of us habitually engage in active discernment. I recall St. Paul’s dictum: “Do not quench the Spirit...but test everything; hold fast what is good, abstain from every form of evil.” [1 Thes 5:19-22] St....

Fidelity is Change

My title is taken from Pope Francis' message for the 7th festival of Catholic social teaching. It is certainly true, for our fidelity is constantly being tested. And we can get in horrible ruts, too. But that was not the case with our Fall Campaign. We won our Challenge...

Apostasy and the Presence of God

I have grown tired of the continuing chorus of commentators who have attempted to justify apostasy in the wake of Scorsese’s film, Silence. I have also tried to do something about it. Please see: The Silence question is apostasy. Too many get the answer wrong. The sadness of all...

The ups and downs of renewal

Today I posted a new essay on renewal, a topic dear to all of our hearts: Renewal in secular cultures: The need to distinguish between sheep and goats. At the same time, Phil Lawler has commented on two areas in which the need for renewal is particularly urgent: When cardinals fail to...

Our Thanksgiving, and Yours

CatholicCulture.org staff will be on a reduced schedule on Thursday and Friday to encourage family celebration of our Thanksgiving holiday. There will be no Friday message, so let me focus in this one on all the new things we are thankful for: Potential New Podcast: We are considering...

Bishops taking up the slack?

There are encouraging signs that the American bishops do not wish to encourage the dubious changes some think the Pope is authorizing. Phil Lawler’s recent observations are on point: Archbishop Naumann’s election: a relief, not a victory Another encouraging sign from...

From the nuclear option to joyful expectation

An old song that became a World War I anthem says it is “a long, long way to Tipperary”, and so it must have seemed to Irish boys far from home. Today we must navigate the even longer way between the destructive power of nuclear weapons and our joyful expectation of the coming of...

Highlight on the Eucharist

Sorry, but I am getting a little nervous. We must still raise $23,000 more in donations to win the Challenge Grant by December 2nd. Please pray and, if you have not yet done so, offer a gift that will be matched. Still, enough said. Here are today's Insights: Pope Francis has ended...

Happy news is NOT boring.

Happy news really does exist, and it is a good thing to call attention to now and then. First, however... The increasingly common assertion that Pope Francis is not really the pope can only do great harm. The reason is in my latest title: Theories that Francis is not the Pope...

Suffering in the Church

It is the nature of the Church militant (that’s us) to be engaged in many conflicts, and so to suffer more than we would like. A case in point is the suffering over the state of the Church which has led to Fr. Thomas Weinandy’s resignation as a theological advisor to the American...

For all the saints

Jennifer Gregory Miller sets the tone today with a a new major entry in the Liturgical Year Blog, For All the Saints. Tomorrow, after all, is The Solemnity of All Saints, a Holy Day of Obligation. And Thursday is The Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed, that is, All Souls...