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.