Commentary: Quick Hits

Quick takes and links from our authors.

Cupich on conscience, surrogacy, accountability, eroding parental rights

Catching up on some excellent commentary that has appeared recently, and would make for good weekend reading: Eduardo Echeverria is not the first writer to point out that Cardinal Blase Cupich, in his examination of the role of conscience, wanders far afield from the thoughts of Cardinal John...

Mary’s influence on culture, the need for digital independence, and more

At her blog, The Marian Option author Carrie Gress describes “Why Mary is the Best Promoter of Culture”. She quotes the Protestant Henry Adams: “The twelfth and thirteenth centuries were a period when men were at their strongest; never before or since have they shown equal energy...

Jordan Peterson, Museum of the Bible, Way of the Cross for children and adults

If you haven’t yet seen the famous Channel 4 interview of Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson from last month, it’s well worth spending 30 minutes to watch what I imagine will be considered one of the most significant media moments of 2018. The interviewer, Cathy Newman, who espouses...

Star Wars, criticizing the Pope, and more

Bishop Barron annoyed many with his claim that Star Wars: The Last Jedi pushes feminism hard: “Every male character in The Last Jedi is either bumbling, incompetent, arrogant, or morally compromised; and every female character is wise, good, prudent, and courageous.” I basically agree...

AP’s hidden assumptions, a canonical mismatch, Spinoza’s excommunication

Terry Mattingly, who writes perceptively on media coverage of religion, often notices that reporters are tone-deaf regarding matters of faith. Then, at other times, Mattingly notices how reporters slip their own prejudices into their coverage. So, for instances, he asks his readers to notice this...

Composer-Doctors of the Church and more

Most Catholics know St. Alphonsus Liguori primarily for his pious meditations such as those in his Way of the Cross. His contributions to moral theology also gained him the title of Doctor of the Church. Far fewer people know that he was also a composer and harpsichordist (among several other arts...

Hitchens on Martin, Spaemann on Seifert, Douthat on Hefner

Easing back into business after a relaxing weekend, here are a few columns that you shouldn’t miss: Writing in First Things, Dan Hitchens examines the clever rhetorical strategy of Father James Martin, who never quite denies Church teaching on homosexuality (or the ordination of...

The truth about Islam, how AL affects children, and is Francis really the Pope?

Three short essays—unrelated, but all well worth reading—that appeared online today: The unstoppable Father James Schall explains “Why I Believe in Islam” for Crisis magazine. No, he hasn’t left the faith. But he does serious Muslims the courtesy of assuming that...

Getting away from pathological activism and pathological art

At his Bad Catholic blog, Marc Barnes recently commented on the self-indulgence and counter-productivity of Antifa’s methods of confronting white nationalists: “If justice is ‘fun,’ you’re probably not practicing justice. If works of justice fulfill elemental...

Papal prayer intention for artists, cultural appropriation and more

Pope Francis’s prayer intention for August is for artists, so let’s pray for artists and give the arts our attention and support in a special way this month: The Catholic Creatives group has just announced 8beats, “an 8-part anthology film exploring the collision of the...

Collegiality or resistance; from ‘field hospital’ to long-term care

Over on The Catholic Thing, Father Mark Pilon has two interesting perspectives on the argument—put forward recently in L’Osservatore Romano—that the world’s bishops and priests are the “main obstacle” the reforms planned by Pope Francis. First, he notes...

Vatican trial’s intrigue; the archbishop as bystander

Having spent many years covering Vatican affairs, John Allen writes with authority when he reports that the Vatican press corps is not accustomed to handling criminal trials. However he remarks—and goes on to demonstrate—that a Vatican trial can have its own special sort of intrigue....

Catholicism in the movies

I’ve long appreciated the movies of Joel and Ethan Coen, and finally got around to viewing their most recent, Hail, Caesar! The film is already among my favorites by the brothers—it’s one of their most warmhearted, a humorous portrayal of a Hollywood studio in the 1950s. I...

Four fallacies that tempt Catholic leaders

The interchangeability fallacy: As an addendum to Wednesday’s commentary (The problem with doctrinal obscurity), allow me to notice that those who tend to favor a very loose approach to Catholic teaching on faith and morals typically place a great deal of weight on what they regard as...

Biochemistry of sex, native martyrs, music & film

There is so much we don’t know about our own bodies, and none of it gets taught in sex ed. For example: A man gets vasopressin, a bonding hormone, when he has sex with a woman. This is not up to him; whether he thinks it is no-strings sex or not, he is now hormonally bonded to that...

Reading the Pope’s intentions; censored PP video; packing College of Cardinals

At Crux, John Allen has a profile of Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, the new president of the Italian bishops’ conference. That’s interesting enough in itself, but Allen adds a good deal of spice by explaining how, on his visit to Genoa this weekend, Pope Francis “may accent the...

Accepting Anglican orders, predicting Macron’s future, distracting a priest/author

“When someone is ordained in the Anglican Church and becomes a parish priest in a community, we cannot say that nothing has happened, that everything is ‘invalid’,” writes Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio in a new book. But isn’t that pretty much what Pope Leo...

The disappearance of melody, an app for chant, and more

Does it ever seem like there just aren’t any good melodies in contemporary pop music—say, since the 1970s? Or that there often aren’t any melodies at all? Well, it’s not just your imagination and you aren’t just getting old. Kurt Poterack, organist, composer and...

Lenten viewing, Feser on libertarianism, the religious roots of jazz

Martin Scorsese’s Silence is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD. Based on the classic novel by Shusaku Endo, Silence tells the story of two Portuguese Jesuit missionaries whose faith is tested by persecutions in feudal Japan. I can’t vouch for whatever extras may be on the DVD, but as I...

Why the pro-life movement lags in Europe, how nationalism may guard freedoms

Literally millions of Americans have been involved in pro-life activism over the years, but the pro-life movement has never drawn the same sort of mass support in Europe. Does that show that social conservatism is weaker on the continent? Not at all; grassroots efforts to defend marriage were much...