Commentary

Most Popular Within the Last 90 Days

Make a selection to view the top 5 items in each commentary section.

Top 5: In Depth Analysis

The road to Hell is paved with Catholic ideals. by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 19, 2018

It is becoming increasingly common (again!) for bishops and theologians to refer to the moral law as an “ideal”. This is simply more evidence of the secularization of what passes for...

Avoid discouragement, feed your soul: New books that can help by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 23, 2018

Given the problems facing the Church today, from both within and without, it is easy to become discouraged. It is easy to wonder whether it is any longer worthwhile trying to draw people into a...

Gambling with souls: The choice for or against God by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Oct 26, 2018

Reading Phil Lawler’s commentary about Archbishop Viganòs concern for souls, I cannot help reflecting on the misunderstandings which rob so many pastors of the same concern. Much of...

Prospects for renewal in a Church without discipline? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Dec 14, 2018

In reading Elio Guerriero’s new and definitive biography of Pope Benedict XVI, I noticed this assessment of Benedict’s leadership style: Rather than taking concrete measures, he...

Revelation: Minimal authority, lived in suffering by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Dec 12, 2018

It could have been done differently, of course. God could have presented a continuous interior Revelation to each and every one of us, so that we all could enjoy a perfect uninterrupted awareness of...

Top 5: On the Culture

Send The Smoke of Satan to your bishop. Really. Do it. Nov 8, 2018

Phil Lawler’s new book, The Smoke of Satan, is more than a superb analysis of what has gone wrong in the Church that has led to our current crisis. It also gives you something simple you can do all by yourself to help right the barque of Peter. And you really should take advantage of that....

Church in crisis: The scourge of a sycophantic society Nov 20, 2018

If I do say so myself, what a title! A nice, round sixteen syllables. Pleasingly alliterative. Hissingly sibilant. You could call it both sinister and sassy at the same time. Of course it helps if the reader actually knows what it means. A “sycophant” is a “servile...

The abuse crisis: Sacrificing ourselves for the Church? Dec 7, 2018

In the second of his interviews with Thomas V. Mirus on the abuse crisis, Fr. Roger Landry explains how we can all contribute to a solution, even those who are not guilty. Perhaps especially those of us who are not guilty: The guilty, after all, are far less likely to contribute to the...

The best books we read in 2018 Dec 15, 2018

Jeff, Phil and I thought it would be fun to do a review of our favorite reading of 2018—not only books published this year, but which we encountered for the first time or which made a new impression on us. This doesn’t only include the specifically Catholic material we would ordinarily...

Hardened sinners? Perhaps more than you think. Nov 27, 2018

In last week’s commentary (Church in crisis: The scourge of a sycophantic society), I called a significant portion of the nominally Catholic laity “hardened sinners”. As I explained it: A “sycophant” is a “servile flatterer”. So a sycophantic community...

Top 5: On the News

The inexplicable conviction of Cardinal Pell Dec 17, 2018

Through bitter experience over the years, I have learned never to proclaim that some trusted figure couldn’t possibly be guilty of sexual abuse. I have learned to wait, to weigh the evidence, and if a court finds the man guilty, to accept that finding. Since I don’t know the facts,...

Cupich appointment shows: February conference in Rome will be damage control Nov 27, 2018

If you held out any hope that the Vatican might finally respond effectively to the sex-abuse scandal—that the February meeting could possibly prompt some real action—those hopes should have been shattered by the stunning announcement that Pope Francis had appointed Cardinal Blase...

The Zanchetta case: a fatal blow to the Pope’s reputation as a reformer Friday

Last week the Vatican acknowledged that an Argentine bishop working at the Vatican faces sex-abuse charges. The story drew little attention from American media outlets, and understandably so: just one more in a long line of complaints against clerics, in this case involving a bishop whose name...

Did you notice? Review Board chairman urged bishops to resign Nov 14, 2018

Chances are, you’ve only seen quick summaries of the address by Francesco Cesareo, the chairman of the National Review Board, to the US bishops’ meeting this week. I strongly recommend reading the whole text. It’s remarkable. Notice first the tone of the address. Cesareo...

Beware a false diagnosis of the crisis in the Catholic hierarchy Nov 9, 2018

Ask a dozen Americans to explain the decline in the public influence of the Catholic Church, and at least ten will say that the sex-abuse scandal is the root cause. That standard narrative is handy but it’s wrong. The sex-abuse scandal has done catastrophic damage to the standing of the...

Top 5: The City Gates

Cardinal Tobin still doesn’t get it. Nighty-night, baby. Nov 14, 2018

If the scorching address by Francesco Cesareo, calling for negligent bishops to resign voluntarily, produced the most encouraging moment in the USCCB meeting, the low point might have come when Cardinal Joseph Tobin spoke, and made it abundantly clear that some prelates still don’t...

The Smoke of Satan: an excerpt from the introduction Oct 29, 2018

The following, an excerpt from the opening chapter of my new book, The Smoke of Satan, will give readers an idea of what the book holds in store. In Jerusalem, just outside the walled Old City, stands the church of St. Peter in Gallicantu: St. Peter as the Cock Crows. Catholic churches are...

A bad day’s lament Jan 9, 2019

Yesterday was “one of those days”—a day that found me hating my work, wishing I had some other sort of job. The first blow, and by far the worst, came with the news, released by the Washington Post Monday evening, that an old friend, Father C. J. McCloskey, had been...

Why are they leaving Honduras, Cardinal Maradiaga? Oct 23, 2018

Just for a moment, let’s set aside the debate about American immigration policy, and ask a different question: Why are thousands of people willing to leave their homes in Honduras and walk 1,500 miles to reach the US border, knowing full well that they can’t enter Texas legally?...

Advent-Christmas Ebook released for new liturgical year Nov 27, 2018

The Advent and Christmas ebook volume for the 2018-2019 liturgical year has been released in our ebooks download area. This is the first volume for the coming new liturgical year, which begins on December 2nd, the First Sunday in Advent. It may be downloaded free of charge in the following...