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

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The sins of the Church?

Grappling with the alleged “sins of the Church” is very difficult. Too often no distinction is made between the Church as body and bride of Christ and the Church as represented by her individual members, all of whom are sinners. Keep this in mind as you read Phil...

Questions affecting Catholic renewal

Announcement: I'll be visiting family between June 13th and June 26th, so I'll be on a seriously reduced work schedule. I will probably send only one Insights message each of the next two weeks. Today, however, I took up a vexing question in the Church's efforts to address...

Called and gifted for glory

Over the weekend I found myself surprised by a message I found very close to the beginning of the Old Testament. See: Called and gifted for glory: An unlikely lesson from Exodus? Interestingly, Pope Francis has been sounding a similar theme, especially in his addresses to participants...

The closing of the Catholic mind

In How conservative ideas are censored, and how to break that barrier, Phil Lawler explains the need to escape mere politics and put more energy into education and culture. Catholic ideas cover a broader range, but most often they are rejected as well. Worse, they are too often drowned out from...

Back at my desk, in a terrible rush...

It is 6:30 pm, I'm being called for dinner, and I've barely had time to catch up on the things that piled up while I was away for the Memorial Day weekend. Who hasn't been in this situation? So, with apologies for brevity, I will have to take the easy way out, and simply list the...

Renewal pros and cons

Please note: I will be out of town on Friday, so there will be no Friday Insights message. Also, last week I highlighted Cardinal Sarah's address at our National Prayer Breakfast. Oops! That address was given last year. Apologies. Today I'd like to take a page from Pope Francis'...

Successful Easter Campaign (says R2-D2)

I am extraordinarily pleased with the results of our Easter Campaign to win a challenge grant of $14,000. We actually received donations of over $16,000. I have posted the list of qualifying donations: 2017 Spring Matching Gifts. Thanks to all who participated! Less optimistically, both...

Original sin at work

We never have to look far to see the results of Original Sin in our world, but over the weekend I found that some people have odd ideas about it. So let's start with my latest In Depth Analysis: Original Sin: What is it really and why does it matter? Now, perhaps, we can better...

Fascinating Catholic Issues

This week we have a very diverse set of issues grabbing headlines and commentary. The Catholic way of life never ceases to fascinate! Before I give the highlights, though, I want to ask you to take a moment—if you have not already done so—to help us collect the matching funds...

Europe on the rocks

Over the past few days, Phil Lawler has brought us all up to date on the continued decline of Europe, including the Church in Europe. See especially these two notable commentaries: Apres moi le deluge Why is a Catholic bishops’ conference cheerleading for the European...

Shhh! Media at work!

It is amazing how important modern means of communication are to the formation of culture around the world. It is no wonder, then, that Pope Francis would like to reform how the Curia communicates with the world. See Phil Lawler's analysis: The obstacles to reform of the...

Back to True Catholic Renewal

Phil Lawler has raised important questions about Catholic renewal in cities that keep closing churches without a decline in the nominal Catholic population. See A pastoral crisis the Church cannot (yet does) ignore. This reminded me that I had not yet proposed an answer to a question I raised a...

Our political bishops

Yesterday CatholicCulture.org published a special report on a matter which has been undermining confidence in the Church for some months now: Internal documents show split within Knights of Malta. It seems like our bishops are becoming increasingly political. Do they ever ask themselves how...

God's Love and our Response

I'm very happy to announce that we have a Challenge Grant for the Easter Season. Any new gifts given starting today will be matched up to $14,000. Please be generous! Less happily, Phil Lawler has looked into the operations of the St. Luke Institute, which has played a key role in...

Celebrating the the Easter Octave

Let's keep things positive today, as we continue through the Easter Octave, in which each day is a solemnity. Ignatius Press has published two lengthy interviews with cardinals who are doing great work in high positions in the Curia, even in the midst of considerable confusion. See my...

Reflecting on our Easter Faith

We all know that the Church in her members often appears as Christ in a very distressing disguise. We see something of this problem in the very distressing confusion within the Church herself. That's why I've collected over forty of my essays into a new (and free) ebook. See Thinking...

Rising on Easter

Our staff will be on a reduced schedule from Holy Thursday through much of Easter week, in keeping with the most important spiritual and familial priorities. Note also that there will be no Insights message on Good Friday. During Holy Week, I believe Fr. Jerry Pokorsky would like us to...

Up next: Holy Week

Please do not lose sight of the fact that this Sunday is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. For this current week, however, we still have some important topics to cover. For example, Phil Lawler has been probing behind the news, and on some points he is not satisfied. See Reading the news...

The SSPX: Almost reconciled?

Considering how often Pope Francis denounces “rigidity”, it is odd that he is moving so rapidly to regularize the Society of St. Pius X. You will remember that Pope Francis gave faculties to SSPX priests to hear confessions during the Jubilee of Mercy. Then, yesterday, he...

A tale of two cardinals

Please note: This is the last day to meet our budget for March. We are about $1,000 short. If you can help, please do! Onward. Phil Lawler offers us a tale of two cardinals in his two most recent brief commentaries: Do. Not. Miss. This speech by Cardinal Sarah Cardinal Turkson sees...

Life presents the oddest contrasts

So far this week, our theme seems to be strange contrasts. For example, considering all the talk about mercy in the Church these days, what are the odds that I would argue that if we understood the first requirements of mercy, we might actually be able to get on with the renewal of the...

$7,236 by the 31st: Lenten Sacrifice?

Thankfully, we knocked $2,100 off our potential March deficit over the weekend. But we must raise $7,236 more in new donations to make ends meet this month. We strive daily to provide the information and formation Catholics need to live their faith fully and confidently in very distressing...

Accentuating the Positive

I guess Bing Crosby had it right in his hit song “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive”. Or perhaps Johnny Mercer had it right, as he wrote the lyrics to this Harold Arlen tune and was the first to record it in October of 1944. But Bing and the Andrews Sisters recorded it again on the...

Hope continues to bloom in Africa

You may have noticed that an African theologian has said that the issue of Communion for the divorced and remarried was settled in the negative there a long time ago: African Catholics reject Communion for divorced/remarried, theologian reports. This reminded me again of how different the...

Struggling with the saints

I was sad to see that L'Osservatore Romano has published another attack on the integrity of those who are confused by the way Pope Francis is handling marriage, divorce, annulment and Communion. Now we are being accused of dissent! I believe it is time to remind everyone of what lies at the...

Catholic news that speaks volumes

Before we get to several highly interesting news stories, let me highlight the intriguing connections Phil Lawler draws in his latest Quick Hits: The EU in crisis, the genocide in the Vendée, the opioid epidemic. Let me also introduce a note of literary criticism. It can be far more...

Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving

Arguably a good Lent involves a personal plan for the three old standbys. We need to spend more time in prayer, discipline our appetites, and increase our generosity to those in need. CatholicCulture.org cannot take food off your table, but this week we do have some advice from Fr. Jerry...

Dissent, Prayer, Hope

Lent is a time for us to reflect on our own resistance to grace, whether a reluctance to commit to greater virtue or, worse, an unwillingness to accept the teachings of the Church Christ founded for our salvation. It is in this spirit that I offer a very serious reflection on Pope Francis...

Food for thought in Lent

OK, maybe the word food shouldn't be stressed during this season! This Lent is likely to be penitential in two ways: Somehow we must turn increasingly bad news about the leadership of the Church into an opportunity for self-sacrifice leading to greater union with God. This is not easy....

Lent is upon us!

I like to joke that Lent is the only liturgical season that is also a four-letter word, but it remains a great spiritual opportunity. Tomorrow, of course is Ash Wednesday. The message I've been hearing from the pulpit is that we need to have a plan. That's Jennifer Gregory Miller's...

A resurgence of infidelity?

Today I took a close look at a serious problem in the Church which some of us are tempted to ignore. That's because the root of the problem is so unsettling. See Why is there a resurgence of infidelity among Catholic leaders? Please note that the importance of our Catholic mission is...