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

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Feb 16, 2018

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 wonderful interview in the Catholic Spirit, Briel said that he did not think he had any special insights about death and dying. He was wrong about that.


When Cardinal Blase Cupich made a series of factual and logical errors, in a speech lauding Amoris Laetitia, his presentation was an easy target for a marksman like Father George William Rutler. Still, in his Crisis magazine critique, Father Rutler provides both education and entertainment (less of the latter, perhaps for Cardinal Cupich). He is particularly scornful of the cardinal’s effort to claim Cardinal John Henry Newman as an ally. Father Rutler notes: “Cardinal Cupich has cited Newman on conscience to represent the very opposite of what Newman lived and exhausted himself to declare: that conscience must be informed by the Holy Ghost and not let to wander about like a ghost of the subjective human ego, validating uninformed impulses.”


The London Daily Mail, of all places, took note last week of the 73rd anniversary of the firebombing of Dresden in World War II. The few available photos tell a frightening tale. Some 650,000 incendiary bombs were dropped, 25,000 civilians killed, and 90% of the beautiful German city demolished in the raid, which can only be described as an Allied atrocity. The military objective, allegedly, was to prevent the transportation of Nazi arms and ammunition to the Eastern front. But that aim did not justify the deliberate destruction of an entire city.

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 CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Bveritas2322 - Feb. 22, 2018 5:34 AM ET USA

    A great article by Father Rutler, but his subtle humor is a great release from reading about the normal depressing realities of the state of the Church.

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Feb. 21, 2018 12:05 AM ET USA

    The quote from George Orwell: “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.” applies to a lot of Pope Francis' utterances.