Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

Quick Hits: the prophetic encyclical that inspired Humanae Vitae, Esolen on the ‘pronoun wars’

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Oct 13, 2016

1. What’s Cardinal Pell been doing recently? Well, among other things, he’s been writing an introduction to my wife’s new book. It’s possible that I’m not perfectly objective, but I think the book is terrific.

For nearly 50 years now, loyal Catholics have been stressing the need to appreciate Humanae Vitae, and rightly so. But Pope Paul VI built that encyclical on the strong foundation that had already been laid by Pope Pius XI in his own beautiful treatment of marriage and family life, Casti Connubi. Here’s a readable guide to a truly prophetic encyclical, with a message that could not be more relevant to our time.

And for a preview, you can check out Leila’s “Family-Friendly Guide to Sex Education,” available now on the Crisis site.

2. At his best, Anthony Esolen is very, very good. And he’s at the very top of his form in this brilliant treatment of the “pronoun wars.” The argument (against people who want to confuse sex roles) is devastating; the prose is delightful. A few sample excerpts should be enough to entice readers to peruse the whole essay.

Speech delivers the bribes and threats of people who want what they want and do not care overmuch how they get it….
Microaggressions warrant microattention: the elephant need not go on a stampede on account of the flea….
Elwood P. Dowd not only has his invisible friend, the six-foot-tall rabbit named Harvey but will take you to court unless you shake Harvey’s hand and register Harvey in at the hotel….
If a man’s home was his castle, then the walls round that castle were his people’s understanding of the moral law and the customs that gave the law vigor and force. Who then would benefit by riddling the walls with holes?

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.

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