The 21 most popular Catholic World Report stories and articles of 2021

Two topics dominate this year’s top articles: vaccines and liturgy.

(Background image: Mauricio Artieda/

While the most read CWR pieces of 2020 were fairly wide-ranging in nature, two topics dominate this year’s top articles: vaccines and liturgy. Some other topics include cremation (#1!), President Biden and Holy Communion, the heavy hand of Twitter, Gnosticism, Catholic comedians, Critical Race Theory, and Benedict XVI.

Here are the 21 most viewed Catholic World Report articles of 2021:

1). “Wisconsin Senate approves ‘water cremation’ for human use” (May 11, 2021). Joseph M. Hanneman on a controversial bill that allows dead bodies to be dissolved with lye, poured into the sewer.

2). “Doctors blow the whistle on vaccine deaths and injuries” (Nov 1, 2021). A report by Joseph M. Hanneman on eleven physicians who say they have suffered severe side effects also report post-vaccine neurological effects among their patients.

3). “Abp. Naumann: Pres. Biden ‘should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic'” (Feb 13, 2021). The Archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas and current chairman USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities is interviewed by Jim Graves about the March for Life and other pro-life work, controversy over vaccines, and why he thinks Joe Biden is “usurping the role of the bishops and confusing people.”

4). “Twitter freezes CWR’s account over news story on transgender Dr. Rachel Levine” (Jan 28, 2021). I explain how Twitter claimed CWR violated their “rules against hateful conduct,” but refused to give an explanation.

5). “Opinion: It’s time to get beyond vaccines” (Mar 3, 2021): “I am very concerned,” wrote Stacy A. Trasancos, “that Catholics have now surrendered the ability to guide ethical decisions at the national or global level, not just for the single vaccine issue, but beyond it to any ethical stand.”

6). “Why Catholics should oppose vaccine mandates (both private and public)” (May 9, 2021).  Rachel M. Coleman offered “some assorted observations on serious (and often-ignored) legal, medical, ethical, cultural, social, and theological concerns surrounding COVID vaccinations and mandates.”

7). “Exploring the dark world of vaccines and fetal tissue research: Part 1” (May 17, 2021): The vaccine industry, wrote Monica Seeley, has a longstanding and troubling connection to the abortion industry, and that connection continues strong today.

8). “The Discalced Carmelite Sisters of Fairfield and Vatican document Cor Orans (Nov 20, 2021): “Every monastery has its own idea about how to respond to Cor Orans,” said Catherine Bauer, designated spokesman for the community, in an interview with Jim Graves.

9). “The Gnostic heresy’s political successors” (Jan 31, 2021). What Eric Voegelin saw in various gnostic ideologies, wrote Edward Feser, is manifestly present in Critical Race Theory and the rest of the “woke” insanity now spreading like a cancer through the body politic.

10). “An unnecessary and divisive motu proprio” (July 17, 2021). Pope Francis’ letter to the bishops, said Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas, comes off as judgmental and mean-spirited, reeking with a hermeneutic of suspicion.

11). “Three Catholic comedians worth a listen and several laughs” (May 10, 2021). While serious topics are important to discuss and pray about, wrote Rachel Hoover, everyone can use some good comedy and healthy laughter during difficult times.

12). Traditionis custodes: Best, worst, and middle case scenarios in the short term” (July 16, 2021). Pope Francis has shown himself capable of wielding the great power of his office, observed Christopher R. Altieri, but little evident interest in wielding it safely or with care for who gets hurt.

13). “The remarkable story of how a 9/11 fireman became a priest” (Sept 9, 2021). Fr. Seán Connolly wrote about how Fr. Tom Colucci’s vocation is a light emanating from the darkness of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

14). Traditionis Custodes at 30 Days: A Retrospective and a Prospective” (Aug 15, 2021). This is a salutary moment, said Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas, for people on both sides of the aisle to engage in a sincere examination of conscience: Have I weaponized the Sacred Liturgy, using it for ideological purposes, rather than for the glory of the Triune God?

15). “Exploring the dark world of vaccines and fetal tissue research: Part 2” (May 26, 2021). If, stated Monica Seeley, we were to pause and actively confront and acknowledge the reality of the grave evil that has so often purchased our vaccines, it might change everything.

16). “Why Critical Race Theory is contrary to Catholic Education” (May 25, 2021). In times of heightened concern and emotion, wrote Denise Donohue, Ed.D., it is necessary that Catholic education inform and guide students’ understanding with great caution against divisive ideological and political influences.

17). “Cruel and (Very) Unusual: On the banning of Masses in the Vatican Basilica” (Mar 19, 2021). The recent and bizarre diktat, said George Weigel, violates both universality and hospitality while ensuring a more jumbled, less reverent atmosphere at the altars.

18). “Benedict XVI: An Apology” (Nov 13, 2021). “I wish,” wrote Joseph Pearce, “my book on Pope Benedict XVI to be a popular and accessible sketch of a great historical figure, in my judgment one of the greatest popes in the Church’s history, who ought to be more popular.”

19). “The ‘first world problem’ of evil” (Oct 6, 2021). The pervasiveness of suffering, if anything, argued Edward Feser, actually confirms rather than falsifies Christianity. And bafflement at suffering is more a consequence of modern unbelief than a cause of it.

20). “A powerful account of Hitler’s effort to destroy the Polish Catholic Church” (July 7, 2021). Filip Mazurczak writes that Jonathan Huener’s The Polish Catholic Church Under German Occupation convincingly demonstrates that claims that the Third Reich was cozy with the Catholic Church are simply ideologically driven fantasies.

21). “Pope Francis’s Africa problem” (Dec 26, 2021). Maybe Peter Cardinal Turkson really did need to go, noted Christopher R. Altieri, but it isn’t clear why.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Carl E. Olson 1227 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.

1 Comment

  1. ring for the most ridiculous article:


    Vatican City December 21, 2021

    Pope cancels all seven Sacraments.

    On the prestigious feast of the Doctor of the Church, St. Peter Canisius, the formerly prestigious Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments made the prestigious announcement that Pope Francis has canceled all seven Sacraments in an effort to unify the Catholic Church with all Christian denominations throughout the World.

    Archbishop Arthur Roche, the head of the dicastery, informed a small, but prestigious, array of reporters that Pope Francis had indicated that since 70% of Catholics do not believe in the Sacraments anyway, it would be better to replace them with a series of plenary indulgences that guarantee everyone will go to Heaven when they die.

    The new plenary indulgences will be identified as they are approved by the United Nations IPCC in charge of curing climate change in the world. All plenary indulgences will henceforth be gained by anyone, Catholic or non-Catholic, in unity with the world community, So far five new plenary indulgences have been approved by the pope:

    A Plenary Indulgence can be gained by anyone for every share of a fossil fuel energy company which is gifted to the Roman Catholic Church.
    A Plenary Indulgence may be gained by anyone for the housing of an illegal immigrant family within one’s own domicile. The Indulgence is multiplied by the number of illegal aliens.
    A Plenary Indulgence may be gained by harvesting kale from a window planter. The indulgence is ONLY gained by the individuals who eat the kale.
    A Plenary Indulgence may be gained by planting 100 longleaf pine trees along the street in front of one’s domicile.
    A plenary Indulgence may be gained by buying a Tesla electric (self-driving) car.

    Three hundred sixty (360) additional plenary indulgences will be formally introduced over the next year, to total one per day in a prestigious effort to save our planet, Archbishop Roche advises.

    All present copies of Sacramental Liturgy are to be burned on the prestigious occasion of Guy Fawkes Day. November 5, 2022.

    End of release.


2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. The 21 most popular Catholic World Report stories and articles of 2021 – Via Nova Media
  2. The 21 most popular Catholic World Report stories and articles of 2021 – Catholic World Report – The Old Roman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.