The City Gates

Brief, off-the-cuff observations and announcements.

An American lawyer’s peculiar theory on the Pell trial

Jeffrey Anderson, a lawyer who has built up an extremely lucrative business by bringing sex-abuse suits against the Catholic Church, has a unique perspective on the trial of Cardinal George Pell. Australian prosecutors—who still have not offered any details about their case agains the...

Another papal bombshell: the confusion is intentional

Another day, another papal bombshell. Another statement attributed to the Holy Father that is clearly at variance with established Church teaching. Another set of sensational headlines. Here we go again. Did Pope Francis really tell Juan Carlos Cruz that he should embrace his homosexuality?...

Fallout from the Chilean bishops’ resignations: some unanswered questions

The mass resignation of Chilean bishops has provided us with more questions than answers. Among the questions that must be answered before this dramatic move can be assessed: Did the Chilean bishops resign on their own intiative? All of them? Or did the Pope suggest the move? If the latter,...

When a libel is ‘nothing personal’

Last December, reflecting on the death of Cardinal Bernard Law in First Things, I wrote: “Law became notorious for his handling of abuse complaints, and rightly so.” Does that sound to you like a sympathetic treatment of the late cardinal? In an article that that appeared in...

Now Available: Liturgical Year Ebook for Ordinary Time after Easter

We have just released the fifth volume in the 2017-2018 Liturgical Year series of ebooks. Volume five covers the first half of the long stretch of Ordinary Time between the close of the Easter Season on Pentecost and the beginning of Advent. Like all CatholicCulture.org ebooks, this volume is...

Another gross Vatican gaffe in handling sex-abuse complaints

One step forward, two steps back. One excellent statement about a no-nonsense commitment to fighting sexual abuse, then a public act that suggests the issue is still not a top priority. Chilean abuse victims were moved and encouraged by their private meetings with Pope Francis last week. Then on...

On German bishops’ proposal, the Pope’s non-decision is revealing

A few weeks ago we were told—by usually reliable sources—that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had rejected the German bishops’ proposal for administering Communion to the non-Catholic spouses of Catholics. We were further informed that Pope Francis had approved the...

St. Athanasius is the man we need

On today's feast of St. Athanasius—the bishop who corrected a serious error prevalent among his fellow bishops—the first reading at Mass recounts the preparation for the Council of Jerusalem—at which the disciples persuaded St. Peter (and others) to change a policy that was...

Are German Catholic bishops trying to export their model for failure?

As Vatican officials prepare for a "summit meeting" with a delegation from the German hierarchy, to discuss the German bishops' proposal for allowing intercommunion, John Allen of Crux provides a glimpse of reality: Those who know the reality of German Catholicism generally say things break down...

The compleat respectable Catholic journalist

So you want to be a respected Catholic journalist? You want to be invited to all the right conferences and symposia? Beginning tomorrow, try these simple steps. Wake up, shower, have a good cup of coffee, and jump on Twitter. Begin the day by denouncing any criticism of Pope Francis....

Quick Hits: From Crux, two detailed looks at current Vatican woes

Credit the Crux news site with two detailed and informative looks inside the current operations of the Vatican: By all accounts, the investigation into the Chilean mess, prepared by the Pontiff by Archbishop Charles Scicluna, was thorough, accurate, and damaging. Pope Francis has admitted as...

Now suddenly the hospital discovers the rights of Alfie’s family?

Alder Hey hospital won't be providing updates on the slow death of Alfie Evans. That's no surprise. What is remarkable is the hospital's Twitter announcement that this silence is "out of respect for the privacy of Alfie and his family." The family's wishes have not played a major role in the...

Quick Hits: 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...

Catholic sexual liberation: A rerun way too late

First Things editor R. R. Reno gets things right almost as often as I do (and with a consistently richer mix of public awareness and erudition). In this month’s issue, he editorialized about the new Catholic rush to accompany those who are committed to lifestyles which give the lie to...

The central problem of the century—and of our lives

This weekend I saw Witness, the powerful work by Whittaker Chambers, sitting on the shelf, and decided that it was high time to re-read it. I hadn’t finished the foreword when this passage triggered a series of thoughts: Economics is not the central problem of this century. It is a...

What liturgists might learn from the Masters golf tournament

Although I am neither a golfer nor a golf fan, I enjoy watching the Masters on television each year, for several reasons. The Augusta National course is an unusually beautiful one. The azaleas and rhododendrons, in full bloom in Georgia, provide pleasant reassurance that spring will eventually...

From confusion to heresy: how papal statements are exploited

“Pope News” tweets: Why are some people so keen on being certain about the existence of Hell? Do they need the fear factor to be good? Massimo Faggioli responds: This euphoria about hell (for others, of course): the theological version of winning is the only thing...

Notice how the male contraceptive pill would work

A scientist working to develop a male contraceptive pill is optimistic about a new drug, known as DMAU: “DMAU works by interrupting the signal between the brain and the testicles, Page said.” There may be a better metaphor to express, in a nutshell, 21st-century manhood. But...

When bishops don’t fulfill their duties

Year after year the Religious Education Conference (REC) in Los Angeles produces a new raft of horror stories: accounts about speakers who gleefully dismiss the established teachings of the Church, cheered on by an audience composed largely of people who are paid, by one American diocese or...

Quick Hits: Two crucial decisions in Ireland, and a plea for bishops to speak out

As Ireland prepares for a referendum vote on a bid to allow for unrestricted legal abortion, the indefatigable David Quinn writes in the Irish Catholic about the moral obligation of the faithful to support the right to life. He also provides an intelligent answer to the vexed question of how...

OTG: K of C installs ultrasound machines across North America

For almost ten years, the Knights of Columbus have been paying for ultrasound machines to be purchased and installed in pro-life centers throughout the United States and Canada. In America, the machines have now been installed in all 50 states. Since the Ultrasound Initiative began in 2009, it...

Easter volume released for this liturgical year

Easter falls on April 1st this year, and so the Easter volume of our ebook series for the 2017-2018 liturgical year has been released in our ebooks download area. This fourth volume in the annual series covers the entire Easter season, from the Easter Vigil (March 31st) through Pentecost (May...

What was that letter from Pope-emeritus Benedict really about?

So what’s the real story behind the letter from Pope-emeritus Benedict? First, Msgr. Dario Vigano sent the former Pope a set of new books on the theology of Pope Francis, asking for a favorable comment. That was in January. The former Pope declined to comment on the books. In fact he...

A painful but necessary book explores the pain felt by children of divorce

Since these days I’m impatiently waiting to see reviews of my new book, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m only now calling attention to an important book that was published last May. But—better late than never—I would strongly urge all readers, and especially Catholic...

Quick Hits: 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...

Vatican reforms are stalled. The question is: why?

“Unfortunately, more than four years into his pontificate, Francis has failed to advance the cause of reform.” That sentence, written several months ago, is from my chapter, “Stalled Reforms,” in Lost Shepherd. Now that we’re at the five-year mark, my analysis looks...

The accusations of Cardinal Cupich: name names, please

In his latest column for the Chicago archdiocesan newspaper, Cardinal Blase Cupich—who styles himself as a champion of civil dialogue within the Church—lashes out at people who disagree with Pope Francis: For this reason, it is not surprising that we occasionally hear voices,...

Is it wrong for women religious to serve priests and bishops?

I don’t know about you, but I’m both bemused and confused by the denunciation of women religious serving bishops in a recent edition of L’Osservatore Romano’s insert devoted to women. The magazine insert is a rather predictable creation of the current pontificate, edited by...

The basic principle of the gun-control argument: 10 years ago and today

With arguments about gun control proliferating in the wake of the Florida school shooting, an old friend of the CatholicCulture site called our attention to this short but perceptive essay, written nearly 10 years ago by our sometime contributor, Diogenes. The circumstances have changed, but the...

That unforgettable Ash Wednesday photo

A week later, the image is still clearly etched in my mind. In the aftermath of the Florida school shootings, dozens of media outlets carried a powerful AP photo that portrayed a blonde woman hugging another woman. The woman’s face is contorted with grief; her arm, around her...

Quick Hits: ‘Don’t Miss’ reading for the weekend

Don Briel, who founded the Catholic Studies program at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, died yesterday. When he had learned, only a month ago, that he had an untreatable form of leukemia and only a few weeks to live, he treated that news as a blessing: an opportunity to prepare. In a...

The blessing and the curse

Today at Mass we heard the famous challenge that God set before the people of Israel, from the Book of Deuteronomy (30: 19-20) I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your...

The Synod office and the social media: a wrongheaded approach

Plunging headlong into the world of social media, in a bid to generate interest among the world’s young Catholics (who thus far have been slow to respond), the office of the Synod of Bishops offers a monthly question for discussion. This month’s offering: What could...

The ideological temptations at the Vatican

If Rome will be preparing for the canonization of Pope Paul VI later this year, only the most hardened ideologues could suggest that this year is the right time to scuttle his heroic encyclical, Humanae Vitae. Come to think of it, maybe the blessed Pontiff—who has already shown his...

Quick Hits: 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...

Liturgical Year Volume 3 Released: LENT

Lent (the only liturgical season with a name that is also a four-letter word!) begins on February 14th, and so the Lenten volume of our ebook series for the 2017-2018 liturgical year has been released in our ebooks download area. This third volume in the annual series covers the entire season of...

‘If only the Pope knew’—a familiar argument that falls short today

For the first time in this pontificate, Vatican spokesmen are backpedaling in the face of criticism from the mainstream media. This week the Vatican press office has been fighting defensive PR battles on two fronts: over the reports of efforts to oust ‘underground’ bishops in China,...

The Vatican ‘clarification’ on China talks only makes things worse

In its statement on the controversy surrounding talks between the Holy See and Beijing, the Vatican has affirmed what was never in question, while leaving the key question unanswered—at best. The January 30 statement from the Vatican press office is brief enough to be quoted in...

Please: hold ‘Catholic’ Senators accountable for votes on late-term abortion

In the US Senate’s appalling vote, 14 Catholic lawmakers blocked a bid to make late-term abortions illegal. Father Dwight Longenecker asks the right question: “What kind of Catholic Church are we if their pastors and bishops do not stand up publicly and rebuke these fourteen...

OTG: Inspiring Bible study during Lent? Yes, and it is free.

The St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology in Steubenville, Ohio is mostly the brain child of the noted convert, Scripture scholar and popular speaker, Dr. Scott Hahn. It has grown over the years to encompass both new and pre-existing initiatives, such as Emmaus Road Publishing (and Emmaus...

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