Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

Quick Hits: Catholic growth, exceptions on contraception, the BenedictINE option, NCR hits a new low

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Mar 07, 2016 | In Quick Hits


  • Today’s Catholic World News headlines include two encouraging stories about the growth of the Church, across the world, and in Singapore . I’ve already commented on the worldwide statistics, and how they show astonishing growth in Africa. Let’s spend just a moment on Singapore as well. For that comparatively small Catholic community to produce 1,227 new Catholics is remarkable. To match that performance—in terms of the number of new Catholics in proportion to the existing Catholic population—the Archdiocese of Boston would need to bring about 15,000 people into the Catholic Church this year. For Chicago the figure would be 19,000; for New York, 21,000. The Church in Singapore must be doing something right!

  • The fallout from the Pope’s latest airplane interview, and especially his hint that the Zika virus might be a reason for avoiding pregnancy, continues. Janet Smith provides a new insight on an old argument, in a comment for Our Sunday Visitor. She notes that the English-language version of Humanae Vitae speaks of “sexual intercourse,” when the phrase in the original would be better translated as “marital intercourse.” There’s a distinction there; she adds: “The Church has never taught on the morality of the use of contraception by fornicators or adulterers, one way or the other.” For married couples, on the other hand, the use of contraceptives to avoid pregnancy is always wrong; no exceptions are possible.
  • In a thought-provoking piece for Catholic World Report, Randall Smith argues that the “Benedict option” favored by Rod Dreher could better be advanced as a “Benedictine” option: a campaign to reproduce the way the order founded by St. Benedict established Catholic institutions in Europe, leading eventually to the growth of a Catholic culture. Smith suggests two possible sorts of institutions: rescue missions to the inner cities, where government programs have failed; and hospitals, to provide human care for the whole person rather than “managed” care supervised by corporate accountants.

  • My friends have often heard me complain about “clericalism,” so they won’t be surprised that when I saw a link to an article entitled “Free the Eucharist from the curse of clericalism,” I clicked. Big mistake. (Don’t make it yourself; stay away.) The article begins with a shocking sentence: “The Eucharist is strangling the Catholic Church.” Reeling, and wondering how any Catholic could possibly write those words, I was shocked further to see that the author, Greg Reynolds, had been “a diocesan priest for more than 30 years.” It’s bad enough to think that the Eucharist is a problem, rather than the solution to all problems. It’s far worse that the author of those words had been confecting the Eucharist. But then I reached the end of this wretched column, and the author ID revealed that Reynolds “resigned as a parish priest in 2011 to found the ministry Inclusive Catholics. He was involuntarily laicized and excommunicated in 2013.” So the National Catholic Reporter, which continues to advertise itself as a Catholic publication (despite objections from the local bishop) is printing the opinions of an excommunicated priest who thinks that the Eucharist does violence to the Church. By the way, if you read the Reporter (which you shouldn’t), you’ll still see classified ads for leadership positions in Catholic dioceses.

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 See full bio.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

  • Posted by: ForOthers8614 - Mar. 08, 2016 11:09 PM ET USA

    And the freak show of the liberal affliction of the dignity of man continues.

  • Posted by: pba4155 - Mar. 08, 2016 6:13 PM ET USA

    Yikes!! The NC Distorter does a pretty good job of being the mouth piece for Satan, and provides a strong reminder of the brokenness of our world. With God's grace, I am convinced more and more each day that the only answer to the current crisis in our world is to strive for holiness as a disciple of Jesus Christ and the Church He established, and to pray, fast, and give alms for the lost soles who Lucifer has ensnared.