Vatican public policy

EWTN Prevails Against the HHS Contraception Mandate

On October 5, 2018, the government admitted they were wrong to persecute the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). The admission came in a settlement in EWTN’s long-drawn-out lawsuit regarding the Contraception Mandate attached to Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA). As a result of the settlement, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated (i.e., withdrew) [...]

A Nursery Rhyme Pope Francis Would Do Well to Read

“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly, “'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy; The way into my parlour is up a winding stair, And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.” Mary Howitt wrote 180 books with her husband, and was a [...]

Clerical Machiavellians with Magical Beliefs

“Cometh the hour, cometh the man.” The saying means that a time of crisis invariably brings forth the man to meet the challenge. Well, the hour is here, but where’s the man? That’s what many Catholics must be wondering. The Church is in the midst of what may be the worst crisis of its existence, [...]

How Many Migrants Can a Nation Absorb?

The migrant caravan is like something out of a future, apocalyptic dystopia—or, to go back in time, perhaps an image from Exodus—where thousands of men, women, and children trudge a thousand miles under the hot tropical sun across hot tarmac and dirt roads, hoping to land on America’s doorstep, in search of opportunities not to [...]

The “Francis Effect” Five Years Out

In his recent book on Pope Francis, Lost Shepherd, Philip Lawler reminds us that the papacy should be a source of Church unity. However, as Lawler points out, under the current pontiff this is not so. He lays out two reasons why: the first is Francis’s autocratic style and the second is the divisive program [...]

A Primer on Communism for Fellow Traveler Bishop Sorondo

On July 17, 1918, an event occurred that clarified the meaning of the subsequent century of Communist revolutions. Czar Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, their five comely children, and a few steadfast friends were shot, stabbed, and bludgeoned to death in a basement in the Ural Mountains. The purge was executed by a vanguard of the [...]

The Church and Islam: Dangerous Illusions

When I first began writing about the Church and Islam, I devoted a lot of space to describing ways that Church leaders could resist the spread of Islam. It seemed only a matter of time until they would wake up to the need to resist. As it turned out, however, that assessment was overly optimistic. [...]

Do Catholics Have Legitimate Fears about Immigration?

In a number of talks and statements over the years, Pope Francis has scolded Europeans for their fear of immigrants. He came back to that theme early in March following electoral gains by “anti-immigrant” parties in Italy. According to a Reuters report, “Pope Francis on Sunday expressed concern over national policies dictated by fear.” On [...]

Put Not Your Trust in Trusting Souls

Considering how much emphasis modern churchmen put on trust, it’s worth noting that the Bible does not have much to say about trusting others. Of course, the Bible tells us to trust in God, but there is no corresponding command to trust our fellow men. Of the six references to “trust” in the RSV Reader’s [...]

Pope Francis and the Cardinal Mindszenty Treatment in China

Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty was a hero of the Cold War, persecuted by communists and ultimately abandoned by his Church. Beginning in 1956, after Red Army tanks rolled into Hungary, Mindszenty spent 15 years in voluntary confinement at the U.S. embassy in Budapest. He spurned repeated requests to leave Hungary and his flock. In 1971, he [...]

Why Doesn’t Liberation Theology Apply to the People of Iran?

Liberation theology, which was out of favor under John Paul II and Benedict XVI, seems to have made a comeback under Pope Francis. Francis has rehabilitated several liberation theologians and even appointed some to advisory positions. Meanwhile, high ranking prelates in the Middle East support Palestinian efforts to liberate themselves from the supposedly oppressive rule [...]

Can the Church Recover Its Fighting Spirit?

The Islamic world is waging—and winning—a war on Judeo-Christian civilization. With 1.3 billion Catholics worldwide, the Catholic Church is potentially one of the most powerful centers of resistance to Islam. It certainly has been in the past. Unfortunately, that’s not the case today. What are those 1.3 billion Catholics doing in regard to the struggle [...]

Chaplains to the Zeitgeist

Recently, La Civilta Cattolica ran an article by that journal’s editor-in-chief, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, and by Marcelo Figueroa, the Argentinian Presbyterian minister chosen by Pope Francis to be the editor of the Argentinean edition of L’Osservatore Romano, which subsequently republished the article. Since articles in La Civilta Cattolica are vetted by the Vatican secretary of [...]

When President Trump Met Pope Francis

It was 35 years ago this coming week that a pope and a president met together at the Vatican—and went on to change the world. It was Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan. They met one-on-one at the Vatican Library. To this day, no formal transcript of their conversation has been released. The Reagan [...]

Population Control Advocates Hobnob at the Vatican

In 1873, a saint who professed herself “madly fond of children,” who “desire[d] to give many elect souls to Heaven,” gave birth to her ninth child—St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Today, the bishop presiding over the Vatican’s “Biological Extinction” workshop explains that with “education” we “don’t have children. We don’t have seven children. Maybe we have [...]

A Catholic Populism?

Populist movements are making striking gains throughout the Western world. Causes are not hard to find. Recent decades have seen widening social, economic, and cultural differences between ordinary people, who prefer what they are used to, and elites, who favor the global order now emerging, which is run in accordance with their outlook and interests. [...]

Rome Could Have Stopped the New UN LGBT Czar

This week the brave African delegations to the UN fought a rear-guard action to stop a new UN office that will seek out and punish any country or institution that does not bend to the will of the dominant LGBT ethos. This months-long fight began at the Human Rights Council in Geneva and it was [...]

Sacrificing for the Faith vs. Sacrificing the Faith

The Church rightly honors martyrs for their sacrifice. Nowadays, however, there seems to be some confusion about the subject. It’s one thing to lay down your life for your faith. It’s another thing to lay down your faith for the sake of some secondary good such as interreligious harmony. I don’t know of any Church [...]

Vatican Ostpolitik and the Death of Fidel Castro 

Upon the passing of Fidel Castro, the mainstream media are presenting the Cuban tyrant, the longest-reigning dictator in human history, in a much more benevolent way than they would the passing of any other strongman. For example, the headline in The New York Times reads: “Fidel Castro, Cuban Leader Who Defied U.S., Dies at 90.” [...]

The Church Cannot Reverse Past Teaching on Capital Punishment

Pope St. John Paul II was well-known for his vigorous opposition to capital punishment. Yet in 2004, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—the pope’s own chief doctrinal officer, later to become Pope Benedict XVI—stated unambiguously that: [I]f a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment … he would not for that reason [...]

Why Christians and Muslims Worship Different Gods

On August 30, Cardinal Raymond Burke sparked a debate about the relationship of Islam and Christianity with regard to their worship of God. It is a debate that has been addressed before, and in an interview he stated: “I don’t believe it’s true that we’re all worshipping the same God, because the God of Islam [...]

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