The 20 most popular Catholic World Report stories and articles of 2020

The pandemic and civil unrest dominate, but also articles about movies, the latest papal encyclical, Archbishop Viganò, Cardinal George Pell, and the priesthood.

(Photo credit:Artur Dziuła/

As always, the most read articles at CWR cover a range of topics. Several of these have to do with either the pandemic or protests—fitting for a year dominated by the reality and news of both. But there are also articles about movies, the latest papal encyclical, Archbishop Viganò, Cardinal George Pell, the priesthood, and more.

Here are the 20 most viewed Catholic World Report articles of 2020:

1). “Joseph Ratzinger on fasting from the Eucharist” by CWR Staff (March 19, 2020): “A fasting of this kind—and of course it would have to be open to the Church’s guidance and not arbitrary—could lead to a deepening of personal relationship with the Lord in the sacrament,” Ratzinger wrote in Behold the Pierced One.

2). “A Response to Archbishop Viganò’s Letter about Vatican II” by Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM., Cap. (August 13, 2020): The archbishop consistently overstates the ambiguity contained within Vatican II, and equally consistently overlooks the clarity contained in Vatican II.

3). “’Crucify Him!’: The Will of the Mob and Fr. Daniel Moloney” by Joseph Pearce (June 20, 2020): It is said that all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. In this case the good men did much worse than merely nothing. They did the dirty work of the mob.

4).The Two Popes is full of serious errors—and several surprises” by Filip Mazurczak (December 18, 2019): “Despite The Two Popes’ numerous inaccuracies, a couple of which are downright harmful, I found it to be a very moving work of, yes, Catholic cinema.”

5).“Bishop Hying and Archbishop Listecki lead Eucharistic procession in Madison, WI” by Joseph M. Hanneman (August 15, 2020): Two bishops lead 2,000 Catholics behind the Blessed Sacrament to Wisconsin’s Capitol, declaring that Jesus Christ is the answer to society’s turmoil.

6). “What are the ‘Deep State’ and ‘Deep Church’?” by James Kalb (July 8, 2020): Those engaged in strengthening global institutions can only be joined together by what they agree on, and that is not a vision of the good life and society based on Christianity, natural law, or any developed moral or cultural tradition.

7). “Madison’s Days of Rage” by Joseph M. Hanneman (June 24, 2020): Arrest of black activist who allegedly accosted a Rosary-praying mother of four and restaurant patrons sparks riots, firebomb, and criminal damage to statues in the downtown of Wisconsin’s capital.

8). “Woman harassed by BLM activist in Madison returns to pray the Rosary” by Joseph M. Hanneman (JUne 25, 2020): On June 23, the woman and her four children, were walking up State Street to the Capitol Square in Downtown Madison when they were harassed by a man with a bullhorn who was carrying an aluminum baseball bat.

9). Fratelli Tutti is a familiar mixture of dubious claims, strawmen, genuine insights” by Samuel Gregg (October 5, 2020): Pope Francis’s new encyclical reflects the broader pattern of the commentary which has long characterized his pontificate.

10). “Why priestly morale is in the doldrums” by Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas (January 26, 2020): “It saddens me to say, but honesty compels it, that the vast majority of our priests are deeply demoralized.”

11). “Justice, finally.” by George Weigel (April 6, 2020): It is imperative for the future of the Australian criminal justice system, and indeed for the future of Australian democracy, that a serious examination of conscience followed by a serious public reckoning take place.

12). “The deeply flawed opportunism of Pope Francis” by Carl E. Olson (October 21, 2020): If Francis’s recent remarks were made without prudential concern for how they would be received, they are deeply troubling. If they were carefully made with specific attention to how they would be received, they are deeply troubling.

13). “The Last Words of Norma” by Monica Migliorino Miller (May 26, 2020): Rather than offering the last word about the life of Norma McCorvey, AKA Jane Roe raises more questions about her supposedly “faked” pro-life advocacy than the filmmaker is able to handle adequately.

14). “How to vote according to our Catholic faith” by Bishop Donald J. Hying (September 23, 2020: “We are Catholic Christians before we are Americans and certainly before we might be part of any political party. … The Church cannot and will not endorse a particular candidate or party.”

15). “Understanding the statement and decree on the Our Lady of America apparitions” by Fr. Matthew MacDonald (May 13, 2020): If Sister Neuzil was of sound mind, good faith, and did not lie about these occurrences, then what actually happened?

16). “Pope Emeritus Benedict, Cardinal Sarah author new book on priesthood, celibacy” by CWR Staff (January 12, 2020): “The priesthood is going through a dark time,” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah say in their new book. “Wounded by the revelation of so many scandals, disconcerted by the constant questioning of their consecrated celibacy, many priests are tempted by the thought of giving up and abandoning everything.”

17). “Coronavirus and the promise of Oberammergau” by Fr. Seán Connolly (March 9, 2020): As alarm and fear engulf the world over the coronavirus, let us look to the example of our ancestors in the faith of Oberammergau and not overlook the spiritual dimension of this crisis.

18). “Catholics march in protest in Madison, WI after 50-person limit imposed on Masses” by Joseph M. Hanneman (May 29, 2020): “It was made clear that government watchers would be present at parishes, in order to cite offending churches,” wrote Msgr. James Bartylla, vicar general of the Diocese of Madison, in an email to priests.

19). “An Open Letter to the Priests of the Catholic Church” by George Weigel (April 13, 2020): The Catholic Church has survived, endured, and even thrived through every imaginable vicissitude of history, and priests have been an integral part of that survival, that endurance, and that thriving.

20). “No shame? But some fame—and scandal!” by Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas (July 20, 2020): The shamelessness of Jonathan Morris and the resultant scandal cannot go unremarked.

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About Carl E. Olson 1220 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.

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