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Insightful and in depth analysis of issues important to Catholics.
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The road to Hell is paved with Catholic ideals.

10/19/2018 - 11:29am

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 Christian thought. For example, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago has used this language in commenting on those who enter into gay marriages:

Isaiah: The Poet of Salvation

10/16/2018 - 9:37am

The Book of Isaiah the prophet is the longest book in the Bible except for the entire collection of the Psalms. It is also arguably the most beautifully poetic book apart from the Psalms. In one inspiring passage after another, the prophet faithfully pronounces God’s judgment on Israel along with His great love and desire to redeem. Moreover, these themes sweep across all ages, past, present and future. Many of the most striking promises of a definitive redemption are in the book of Isaiah—most notably the famous suffering servant of chapters 50 through 53.

In denial about not ordaining homosexuals?

09/18/2018 - 11:31am

I won’t bore you with the details, but every time the Vatican issues an instruction stating that those with clear homosexual tendencies should not be admitted to the priesthood, there follows a plethora of articles—including some in L’Osservatore Romano itself—in which the writers fall all over themselves to make sure that we understand that there must be (undoubtedly frequent) exceptions to every rule.

Five things every Catholic can do to end the abuse crisis

09/14/2018 - 10:49am

When I wrote that faithful Catholics “need to spend more time in prayer and sacrifice than in advocacy for a papal resignation” (see Pope Francis: The resignation scenario), I received notes from only a very few people who disagreed. These few asserted that it was a very good thing to work toward ridding the Church of a bad pope.

“If bloodless means are sufficient”: The devil of capital punishment is in the details

08/10/2018 - 10:22am

In yesterday’s commentary on the recent change to the Catechism on the use of the death penalty, I passed over fairly quickly the tricky question of when the death penalty may be necessary to protect the community. This is an interesting question because it is not clear exactly what the official teaching of the Church intends to convey when it refers to improvements in our penal systems. But since the Magisterium is unlikely to clarify this any time soon, I raise it primarily as an academic question. It is hardly essential study material for all readers, and it is not for the faint of heart!

Welcoming the Catechism’s changes on the death penalty

08/09/2018 - 11:14am

A number of bishops around the world, including the episcopal conferences of Latin America and the United States, have welcomed Pope Francis’ recent revision to the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the use of the death penalty. But as Phil Lawler pointed out in commentaries posted on August 2nd and August 3rd, the revised text manages to be confusing without actually changing Catholic doctrine.

Discernment is important, so let’s not make a mockery of it.

07/20/2018 - 10:57am

It is easy to make jokes about the contemporary Vatican effort to eliminate problems through “discernment”, as if discernment by itself can eliminate objective patterns of evil. Part of this is simply the tendency of Church officials to reflect instantly the favorite ideas and expressions of the current pope, which is nothing new. But the attempt to discern problems away, instead of using discernment to see more clearly how best to address them, carries a risk of confusing processes with results. Unfortunately, a justified reaction to this confusion can lead to a counter-temptation, which is to dismiss the value of discernment altogether.