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Roman curiosities?

The Vatican Press has now published a booklet by the head of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts—not writing in his official capacity—which argues that Amoris Laetitia is perfectly clear and then proposes yet another interpretation. It is no wonder that Phil Lawler has had...

From Vatican vexation to Tolkien's talent

I was disturbed yesterday to see the news that Pope Francis' Council of Cardinals had felt the need to give him a vote of confidence. When that sort of thing happens, you know that trouble is brewing in a turbulent papacy. Today Phil Lawler explains: Unrest at the Vatican; reassurances...

Women priests: Really? Again?

As we reported earlier this week, the Vatican-controlled journal La Civilta Cattolica has published an article which attempts to raise once again the question of the ordination of women to the priesthood. I respond in Reopening the question of women priests: A theological travesty and a...

Posters in Rome show discontent with Pope Francis

Perhaps the most interesting news story so far this week concerns the posters critical of Pope Francis that were posted on the streets of Rome on Saturday. These posters clearly represent the views of faithful (and frustrated) Catholics, even if their charity and prudence might well be...

Churchmen: Avoid hasty judgments!

By far the most important Catholic news story this week broke on Wednesday: Cardinal Müller, German bishops clash on interpretation of Amoris Laetitia. Cardinal Müller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has now stated that Pope St. John Paul II's...

Francis and Trump: Controversial!

The furor is continuing to grow over the way Pope Francis treats those who do not share his pastoral emphasis. Phil Lawler brought us up to date with his latest Quick Hits: New perspectives on the abortion debate and on Amoris Laetitia. Phil is forced to conclude, sadly, that Pope Francis has...

On the affairs of popes and presidents

I do not write on politics very often, but at the beginning of Donald Trump's presidency, I considered whether we would see him rise—or fall: In Potentia: Donald Trump’s Upside, and Donald Trump’s Downfall. Meanwhile, anticipating the March for Life in Washington, DC...

It's time to make...connections

It is a sad fact of our busy lives that we often fail to maintain close connections with others whose lives might be changed significantly if we did. And we often fail to see the logical connections in the many patterns of good and evil with which we are confronted. In today's...

Controlling the narrative

Donald Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States today, with at least the possibility that political correctness will fall on hard times. As we have learned also from Pope Francis, so much of both politics and religion depends on who controls the narrative. It is appropriate,...

Spiritual growth under pressure

Sometimes spiritual growth occurs under pressure from others to become holy, and sometimes it occurs under the pressure to abandon holiness. Once we grow to love God, of course, absolutely everything can spur us to greater holiness. The fallout over Communion for the divorced and remarried will...

The tone of life, and of evangelization

I found myself thinking today about the various ways we speak to people about our faith, and I realized that we don't use any sort of a prophetic voice any longer. That is a style of speech that we have to be careful with, but surely it cannot always be wrong. See Denunciation, condemnation...

Questioning Mary?

We Catholics are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. Pope Francis has offered special indulgences throughout the entire anniversary year, from November 27, 2016 through November 26, 2017. If you are interested in taking advantage of this spiritual...

Gearing up for the New Year

The Catholic year begins in Advent, but there is something about the rhythm of the Christmas holidays that causes us to feel the need to gear up for the new year in early January. I tried to gear up for 2017 fundraising by improving our pledge-tracking system. That was supposed to take about...

Shifting gears for Christmas

A great Catholic truth is how hard it is to set spiritual priorities in Advent when so many practical matters must be resolved before Christmas. I'm sure Our Lord understands, but Jennifer Gregory Miller is here to help with The Jesse Tree, Part 2: Finding the Essential for the...

Advent: Christ, Hope, Truth

Quite a few people have told me their celebration of Advent has been enhanced by the O Antiphons, which they learned about from Jennifer Gregory Miller. So I consider it a good thing that, as Jennifer wrote today, she is “interrupting her Jesse Tree posts because the O Antiphons begin...

Mary, Advent, Christmas, Marriage, and Hope!

In this season of hope andf joyful expectation, I am delighted that so many readers enjoyed the first installment of my review of Mary of Nazareth. The title has gotten out of hand, but here is Part 2: Sing of Mary, 4b: Everything there is to know about the Mother of God, Part 2. In a...

Thinking about ordination and marriage

As you may know, the Congregation for the Clergy has issued new guidelines for priestly formation. It's a good basic survey of the field, but I did notice a few things of particular interest. See The Gift of the Priestly Vocation: The importance of countercultural formation. In thinking...

Advent opportunities

This is a good time to regain our spiritual focus, especially in such a divisive period of Church history. One way to put stress on hold is to recognize Three things the Pope can't say. Phil Lawler makes it simple and concrete. (Some other writers here can get a little abstract at...

Putting things in (Catholic) perspective

When the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said he cannot answer the cardinals' questions about Amoris Laetitia without the Pope's approval, I took notice. In fact, Cardinal Müller managed to communicate quite a lot, and he did so in a way that is really quite...

Entering Advent, yearning but at peace

Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter closing the Jubilee of Mercy makes excellent reading for Advent, in which we should be yearning for the mercy that only Christ brings. I introduce the letter here: Misericordia et Misera: To extend mercy beyond the close of the Jubilee. An interesting...

Jubilee ends, but mercy must continue.

The Jubilee Year of Mercy was brought to a close on Sunday, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Pope Francis issued an apostolic letter on mercy, and extended faculties for absolution by SSPX priests, and absolution of the sin of abortion. Here is the new apostolic...

The Francis wars escalate

Before we delve into the trials of the Church, let me remind everyone that this Sunday is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. It is important to remember that we have an invincible king. What has been most interesting throughout this week is the escalation of the...

The morality of money, and more

I think you will be interested in the unusual series of articles on the morality of money authored by our young resident polymath, Thomas Van. Highly relevant to Catholic social teaching, the first two of six installments are already available: 1. The Problem of Money Production 2. Natural...

Just 9 days to go, and $16,236 left to match!

We are now in the final countdown phase of our Fall Challenge. We have nine days left and $16,236 left to match. This means that we can get any gift you make matched, up to $16,236. Your gift will count twice! But if we do not receive such gifts, we get nothing. And we must match the entire...

Back to the basics of being Christian

The quadrennial silly season in the United States is officially over, and Donald Trump has somewhat improbably emerged as the next US President. It goes without saying that Phil Lawler and I both have something to say about this: Phil particularly notices the similarity between the defeat...

A time to tear down and a time to build

The third chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes opens with this famous line: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” My title is taken from verse 3 of this chapter. Most obviously, the title applies to the Benedictine monks at Norcia, whose work...

The importance of words (and the Word)

It seems that the most noteworthy materials added to CatholicCulture.org this week can be linked to a common theme—the importance of words and how we use them. For example, I have been warned recently by several people not to succumb to the temptation to defend Pope Francis. That is a...

Is Al Smith turning in his grave?

In the wake of this year's Al Smith Dinner in New York City, Phil Lawler suspects that Al Smith himself is turning in his grave. This the dinner at which New York's Cardinal hosts the presidential candidates in an upbeat public celebration to raise money for charity. The problem is...

Inspiration from Pope Francis

I was very happy to comment yesterday on two important talks in which Pope Francis stressed the courage required for evangelization, and highlighted a decidedly more spiritual mission for the Society of Jesus: Pope Francis: Two moments of much-needed inspiration. More good news: By...