Skip to Content

Catholic Commentary

Syndicate content
Insightful and in depth analysis of issues important to Catholics.
Updated: 13 min 18 sec ago

The priorities of Catholic leadership today, and how they must influence praise and blame

01/09/2018 - 7:44am

A reader raised a thorny problem the other day: Since there is good reason to criticize many things that Pope Francis says in order to dispel confusion and avoid spiritual discouragement, is it also right and proper to praise Pope Francis when he says or does something very good? The reader had in mind the Pope’s urgent concern for migrants and refugees, and his frequent exhortations to both the Church and the world to avoid prejudice and help those seeking a better life in a new country.

Vatican enforcement: Why does the Church lack teeth?

12/20/2017 - 7:03am

It’s just not the thing. It just isn’t done. The Catholic Church does not enforce its own laws.

Renewal in secular cultures: The need to distinguish between sheep and goats

11/28/2017 - 9:56am

Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to effect a widely effective renewal within the Church in our time? After all, individual Catholics too numerous to count have made this their top priority since the mid-1960s. The Church herself, in the whole process of calling, holding and implementing the Second Vatican Council, has committed herself again and again to the same largely thankless effort for roughly the same period of time. Yet over this span of 50 to 60 years, relatively little has been accomplished.

Looking for Justice? Try the Second Book of Chronicles.

11/21/2017 - 8:58am

Justice is a slippery concept. So often we are punished for things we do inadvertently (consider a traffic accident), and even more often we receive no punishment for evil words or deeds in which we willingly engage. The same is true for all, which makes justice in this world very slippery indeed. There are interesting lessons about this slipperiness in several books of Scripture, including the Second Book of Chronicles.

Key perceptions of—and at—the Second Vatican Council

11/14/2017 - 10:46am

Most of us have our own convictions about the nature and significance of the Second Vatican Council. Surprisingly, we often hold these convictions without having read the documents. At this point, over fifty years after the close of the Council, it is hard to insist that people go back and read them—unless, of course, they wish to make informed comments on what the Council said or did.

Theories that Francis is not the Pope destroy the credibility of the Church’s Divine Constitution.

11/07/2017 - 7:35am

I am sorry to have to return to this topic (see On the lunatic fringe, Francis is not the Pope), but it is clear that some Catholics are missing a piece of the confusing puzzle that is the contemporary Church. There is a critical Catholic piece missing in current claims that, owing to heresy, Francis is not really the Pope. Such claims effectively deny the Divine Constitution of the Church.

Human respect: Not only a sin in our time, but a theology

10/17/2017 - 9:55am

Not long ago I described the Book of Jonah as a cautionary tale against “human respect”. I did not consider at the time how confusing this term can be today. I intended “human respect” to be recognized as a grave sin, yet many assume it to be a fundamental good. I need to sort this out.

Victimhood and responsibility: Fargo’s critique of feminism

10/12/2017 - 5:03am

Fargo, Noah Hawley’s anthology series inspired by the classic 1996 Coen brothers film, has been one of television’s most acclaimed dramas since it began its run on FX in 2014. It has rightly been praised for its innovative cinematography, surprising music choices, sharp writing and superb acting, and noted for sometimes taking its stories in a riskily avant-garde and surrealistic direction.