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Mercy exemplified

This week the American bishops responded to a request from the office of the Synod of Bishops to report on the reception of Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. It's a remarkable and revealing response. See my commentary: Amoris Laetitia in America: The...

Toward a new politics?

It is probably self-evident that if politics is ever to become helpful again, we need a politics which recognizes the family as the first, most basic, and must important unit of society. But in our world, even this basic concept requires a kind of interior conversion to grasp. Here's a...

Conflicts coming to a head

As politicians continue to deny Church teaching without censure, and as pastors become even more confused about what they must insist upon and why, the divisions within the Catholic community are becoming even more problematic than they were in the late 20th century. Phil Lawler covers an...

The many sides of Pope Francis

The need for Catholics to get a firm handle on how to respond to the unusual personality of Pope Francis remains great. That's why I've continued my reflections on this question: Should we criticize Pope Francis, or not? If so, how? Part 2. In this same vein, today I jotted A quick note...

Difficult problems to resolve

What a week! The piece I mentioned last Tuesday, defending Pope Francis against the charge of heresy, has drawn considerable fire. Against my personal wishes, I have felt compelled to write more on the issues involved in the Pope's pastoral approach to those who are divorced and remarried...

Uh, no, Pope Francis is not a heretic.

There has been something of a furor in Catholic circles since Pope Francis affirmed that the bishops of Argentina were correct in their interpretation of his apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. See our news story: Pope confirms: Amoris Laetitia allows divorced/remarried to receive Communion...

On problems money cannot solve

There are several interesting news stories this week which highlight elements of the battle between the forces of Christ and forces of Satan in the world. Money is not the solution to any of these conflicts: Federal court backs Catholic hospital that did not refer for abortion: A rare...

SAINT Mother Teresa

I suspect we all knew this, but it is now official. On Sunday, Pope Francis raised Mother Teresa of Calcutta to the altars, declaring her to be a saint. Here are some resources: News: Pope canonizes Mother Teresa, recalls her commitment to the poor, unborn News: Vatican Secretary of State...

On Catholicism and environmentalism

Pope Francis made news this week in two ways. First, he created a new dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. He named Cardinal Peter Turkson as president, but—in a rare move—reserved oversight of migrants and refugees to himself. Second, and far more controversially, on...

On fire with the love of Christ

Today I raise a question that could well become the first in a series on the need to put the Church ahead of the State, but I'm not that far along yet. Here's what I have so far: More “programs” or Divine fire? The Catholic choice. Yesterday I called attention to an...

Catholicism, so much to think about!

We have a lot to think about this week, and it is reflected on CatholicCulture.org. For example, the Cardinal Newman Society has released a study which shows serious flaws in the sex education program proposed by the Pontifical Council for the Family. As for our own commentary, Phil Lawler...

Building the Kingdom of God

Last night I dreamed that I had to type “the Kingdom of God” into a computer, as a kind of password, to solve a major configuration problem. Apparently I tried to do this for hours, and I could not type it correctly. I woke up somewhat unsettled. Perhaps that's why I decided to...

The Peasant Life, Close to Living Water

After last week's writing on obstacles to renewal, Jennifer Gregory Miller leads us back into more positive territory with her reflections: I Would Rather Be a Peasant: Contemplating the Rural Life. Also, after rounding out his recent essays on the shortcomings of contemporary bishops (Is...

The Catholic Furor over Islam

Last Friday we reported that the President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences challenged Islamic scholars to give a peaceful interpretation of the Qu'ran. He noted that there are passages which make this very difficult. It was surprising, then, that in a debate with Robert Spencer...

Reflections on Authentic Renewal

We have been having a great discussion of the possibilities for ongoing Catholic renewal this week on CatholicCulture.org. It began with the piece I mentioned in Tuesday's message, and I've added two subsequent essays in response to questions from readers. Meanwhile, Phil Lawler has...

Whither Catholic Renewal?

Facing a concern that Pope Francis will not give clear signals for the continuation of Catholic renewal, quite a few people took the Pope's recent comments on terrorism as another missed opportunity (or worse). See: Phil Lawler: Is Catholic-Muslim dialogue possible? Yes, but... Jeff...

Happiness amid controversy

Controversies in the Church continue to arise. Some are mere differences in opinion or emphasis; others are serious conflicts over the need for authentic renewal. Phil Lawler highlighted two such disagreements recently. In Cardinal Burke's 'unhelpful' suggestion, Phil notices again...

Ahead of the game: Friday's Insights today!

I like to think I am sending out Friday's Insights message today, though it raises a question of logic. In any case, I'll be on the road tomorrow. I've been running a mini-campaign to raise the remaining funds we absolutely must have this month, and we have just $797 to go. So if...

Terrorism of Islamic State and Planned Parenthood

The latest bad news is the murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel at Mass in France by members of the Islamic State: French church attacked during Mass, priest murdered. Pope Francis expressed his horror, and Phil Lawler has one request of all of us: Please don't call it 'senseless'...

Repentance and Reform

Let me try to weave our new materials around the very serious theme identified in the title. One can hardly fail to meditate on repentance today. As Jennifer Gregory Miller points out, it is our First Celebration of the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene. In fact, we have been called to repentance...

Preparing again for Catholic renewal

In a somewhat startling interview, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, announced that his papal service would likely make it impossible to ever serve in a German diocese. Our news story: Archbishop Gänswein says loyalty to Pope Benedict makes him unwelcome in Germany. I believe this teaches us...

Should we all face East at Mass?

While I was away, one topic dominated the news. I'm back now, so here we go: The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship recommended in a major address to a liturgical conference that priests begin to celebrate Mass using the ad orientem posture this Advent. Ad orientem means facing...

CatholicCulture.org in my absence...

As I mentioned a week ago, I am in Italy. A few days ago, I passed through the Holy Door at St. Peter's Basilica, miraculously unscathed. Today I am writing from the Catholic Cultural Center in Venice, pretending to have grown in wisdom and virtue without growing in girth. Phil Lawler...

Renewal in Ordinary Time

I'll be away from my desk from now until July 13th. Part of that time will be spent in Rome visiting my oldest son's family, and—God willing—passing through the Holy Door. During this time, these Insights messages will be irregular. It is also inescapable that I will be...

Episcopal conflict, in public

As Phil Lawler points out today, it is both good and remarkable that Archbishop Wenski of Miami has publicly taken Bishop Lynch of St. Petersburg to task for blaming the Catholic Faith for the Orlando massacre in a gay bar: Archbishop Wenski delivers a deserved rebuke to a fellow bishop. Phil...

Is criticism mere griping?

Some users have taken strong exception to our slightly increased criticism of Pope Francis over the last week or two. I understand that concern, believe me. But I also believe we are holding a stable and productive course. I explain in: On criticizing bishops—or even the Pope. We...

Pope Francis amends himself

The last few days have witnessed a new high in ill-considered impromptu remarks by Pope Francis; fortunately, he has himself amended some of them in the official Vatican reports. The fact that he has done so suggests it is not wrong to express a continuing concern about this problem. For a...

Is another Catholic scandal brewing?

We all hope that the Curia can get its financial house in order without fresh scandals, but Phil Lawler has his doubts. Late Friday, Phil examined the latest changes to the Vatican's audit procedures. He warns that any secrecy is going to carry a huge price: The next Vatican scandal. A...

Is confusion the greatest Francis effect of all?

We have had too many papal homilies which appear to denigrate those concerned about the difference between truth and error. Even if we give the benefit of the doubt to each of them, it is beginning to wear very thin. Everyone knows how important I believe it is to avoid insisting that we know...

The Holy Spirit still guides the Church

Not long ago I saw a bizarre story on Archbishop Georg Gänswein’s description of the new communal nature of the Papacy since Pope Benedict’s resignation. Sorry, I'm not buying. See Thinking incorrectly about Pope Emeritus Benedict. Even so, we are witnessing slow developments...

Closely linked: Marriage, Mercy, Mary, Meaning

I am very happy to see the appearance of fresh resources for engaged couples. This is one vital step toward creating a rich and vibrant culture of life. See A better marriage preparation (and preparation for a better marriage). Unfortunately, there is a growing confusion about gender, to the...