Leila and Phil Lawler will speak both on campus and at the local Catholic parish, St. Anthony Catholic Church Oct. 5 – 7. Phil Lawler | Courtesy


Through numerous books and online news media, Phil and Leila Lawler bring Catholic evan­ge­lization to the modern era.

In her blog, “Like Mother, Like Daughter,” Leila Lawler dis­cusses every­thing from raising children and home­schooling, to keeping house and sharing recipes. Phil Lawler says Leila Lawler is “much more inter­esting” than he is, but Phil Lawler’s own com­mitment to sharing news through a Catholic lens is extensive. After holding numerous edi­torial posi­tions at Catholic pub­li­ca­tions, he founded the first online Catholic news service, Catholic World News, in 1995, which pro­vides daily news cov­erage of national and inter­na­tional events from a Catholic per­spective.

It began years ago, when Phil Lawler was working at the Her­itage Foun­dation as director of studies, where he defended the free market through writing about eco­nomics, in addition to writing about Catholic affairs on the side.

“I noticed what I wrote about the Church sold well,” Phil Lawler said. “People wanted to hear it. And so I said, ‘well okay, that’s the free market telling me some­thing,’ and I became more involved in Catholic things at that point.”

Much of Phil Lawler’s work sur­rounds the state of Catholics living in today’s secular society. His latest book is titled “Lost Shepherd: How Pope Francis is Mis­leading His Flock,” in which he crit­i­cizes papal emphasis within teaching and offers direction for how faithful Catholics can respond.

“I think that Pope Francis has caused a great deal of con­fusion among the faithful and that con­fusion is going to have to be resolved one way or another,” Phil Lawler said. “I think the only way to have it resolved in a pos­itive way is to have the faithful defend what the Church has always taught.”

“Lost Shepherd” will be released in Feb­ruary.

According to Phil Lawler, it’s the “pre­vailing sec­u­larism” that chal­lenges Catholics the most, because people don’t rec­ognize faith in the terms that faith rec­og­nizes itself.

“It’s not uncommon for me to get people asking about this problem that I call hos­tility toward the Catholic faith, because growing up in Boston, as I did, everyone is pre­sumed to be Catholic even if they never go to Church,” Phil Lawler said. “And as long as they’re free to go to Church, a lot of people don’t see that it’s going to be any problem.”

Leila Lawler rec­og­nizes a similar problem in the home with broken fam­ilies.

“I’ve come to see anxiety within the home because many of the people who are most com­mitted to the home have them­selves suf­fered trauma from divorce, etc., which makes them unsure how to make a home,” she said.

Leila Lawler is the author of “The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home,” which she says, “encap­su­lates a lot of the thoughts of living the litur­gical year at home.”  

Maria Servold, assistant director of the Dow Jour­nalism Program, said in an email the couple has “influ­enced countless Catholics and offered a resting place from the cul­tural storm.”

“Leila’s blog in par­ticular has been a won­derful comfort for me when I feel over­whelmed by the neg­a­tivity of secular culture,” Servold said. “Her focus on the Catholic faith and the beauty of a simple family life is inspiring.”

The com­mitment of the Lawler family to bring the news in the context of truth remains steadfast, according to Leila Lawler.

“Phil’s the one whom people really trust with the wisdom to sort out fake news,” she said. “He’s not afraid to do so, and presents the truth, which helps people who might not have the tools for dis­cernment. For us that’s his job and that’s great. It pro­vides for our family, but it’s a vocation too, you have to be fearless.”

Phil Lawler will speak on Thursday in Dow A & B at 8 p.m. on “Catholics Living in a Hostile Culture.” Leila Lawler will speak at a women’s retreat at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church on Sat­urday, Oct. 7, which will end with a public talk titled “Four Secrets to ‘Destruction-proofing’ your Family,” at 1:30 p.m.