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On making the world safe for Jesuits

Saturday, July 23, 2016

“When your venerable rector pressed me into service andinformed me in his masterful way that I was to speak this morning on the 400th anniversaryof the Jesuits, I got down the dictionary to see just what they were. I hadknown a few in my time, but it is difficult merely by knowing thousands ofJesuits to discover their mysterious individuating notes. It is even true thatI have been one myself for twenty-seven years, come Michaelmas, not a mere blue

With new ordinations, the Jesuits see hope for the future

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Defying predictions of what some anticipated as an “implosion”of the Society of Jesus in America just a few years ago, the Jesuits recently announced theordination of 20 new Jesuit priests in the US, Canada, and Haiti i

Why the Death Penalty is Still Necessary

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of a two-part article on Catholicism and the death penalty. Part 1 was titled "Why the Church Cannot Reverse Past Teaching on Capital Punishment" and was posted on July 17th.As we showed in 

Reason, Authority, and the Roman Rite

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Catholicismesteems reason without rationalism, authority without authoritarianism.Catholicism works when the Church’s authorities act in a rational manner, using their reason to interpret the Church’s teaching rightly and in turn to teach it with fidelity. As the Magisterium is servant to the Word of God, as a pope is bound to the Magisterium, ecclesial authority at every level is constrained by the truth of the Church’s teaching.

Evangelical Exodus: The Protestant seminary that produced dozens of Catholic converts

Monday, July 18, 2016

A peculiar thing has been happening at SouthernEvangelical Seminary in North Carolina. This is an institution that values thewritings of St. Thomas Aquinas and many other thinkers one would not expect tofind on the shelves of an evangelical seminary. While p

Race and Policing in an Era of Moral Equivalence

Monday, July 18, 2016

None of the  Hunger Games movies are likely to make any 100 best all-time films lists, but the series does have some important things to say about our increasingly Orwellian society. Even though they are set in the future, the films do a particularly good job of capturing the therapeutic-emotional nature of contemporary society. The society of Panem is a police state which uses gladiatorial-

Why the Church Cannot Reverse Past Teaching on Capital Punishment

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Editor’s note: This isPart 1 of atwo-part article on Catholicism and the death penalty.Part 2 will be posted later this week.PopeSt. John Paul II was well-known for his vigorous opposition tocapital punishment. Yet in 2004, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger --the pope’s own chief doctrinal officer, later to become PopeBenedict XVI -- statedunambi

Political Pragmatism and Catholic Public Action

Friday, July 15, 2016

What does a Catholic do when he finds his outlook radically at odds with the direction of politics and public life?In America, at any rate, the answer has almost always been to stay in the game, and support the causes and candidates that have a chance of winning and seem in conscience most supportable or most nearly so. Anything less immediately pragmatic is considered a self-indulgent attempt to maintain personal purity at the expense of civic respon

The adventurous life of radical dependence on God

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Four FranciscanSisters of the Renewal professed final vows at Our Lady of Good Counsel Churchin Manhattan on June 6, bringing the total number of fully professed sisters to22, with 35 in the community overall. The Franciscan Sisters were founded in1988 with the aim, according to the community’s mission statement, “to livethe Gospel values i

Cardinal Sarah has challenged "the prejudices" behind "certain modern liturgical practices"

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sacra Liturgia (sacraliturgia.org) held its third international conference in London, England, from July 5-8. Its keynote speaker was Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. His Address, “Towards an Authentic Implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium&#x201

Catholicism and Global Institutions: It’s Time for a Rethink

Sunday, July 10, 2016

One of the less-noticed statistics to emerge from one of the most thorough post-Brexit surveys is that nearly sixty percent of self-identified British Christians voted for Brexit. The survey doesn’t distinguish between different Christian confessions. Nor does it ask if such people’s faith played any particular role in their decision or even their lives more generally.

The Panorthodox Council: A Fragile Hope for Aggiornamento?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church recently concluded its sessions in Crete. I am not aware of any other international or ecclesial forum that was ever in preparation for as long as the Panorthodox Council—over fifty years. Such a long preparatory period promised both a very solid agenda and predictable results. The Panorthodox Council, however, turned out to be the opposite of what it had been envisioned

A Flawed Search for Japan's Hidden Christianity

Saturday, July 09, 2016

John Dougill’s In Search of Japan's Hidden Christians: A Story of Secrecy, Suppression, and Survival is an impressive synthesis of existing histories of Japan’s fabled kakure-kirishitan community, crafted with the personal intimacy one would give to a contemplative travel journal. This engagingly-written and proficiently researched work tells the story of the ill-fated Catholic missions in late medieval Japan, and shares a fascinating upda

Mich. diocese opts for liberal arts over Common Core

Friday, July 08, 2016

A remarkable thing is happening in the Diocese ofMarquette.

Finding the Way of Beauty

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Art and the beautiful have had aspecial place in the Catholic Church for centuries, but how many of us reallyunderstand what makes something beautiful? This was a problem artist and authorDavid Clayton had, so he went looking for answers. He is now sharing the fruitof that research with the rest of us.I spoke with Clayton, author of The Way of Beautyand

In vibrantly Catholic Poland, growing secularism produces new challenges

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

When Pope Francis travels to Poland to celebrate World YouthDay and visit the shrine at Jasna Góra, he will encounter one of the world’smost intact and vibrant Catholic cultures, up there with Mexico, thePhilippines, Croatia, and Malta. Like all these countries, however, the Churchin Poland is dealing with the growing challenge of secularism. The country alsofaces some socioeconomic challenges, often addressed by the Pontiff, and hisvisit c

The Joys and Challenges of Filming the Story of Salvation History

Monday, July 04, 2016

Author and apologist Stephen Ray (CatholicConvert.com) along with his wife Janet, entered the Catholic Church in 1994, a journey from the Baptist tradition to Catholicism described in Ray's first book, Crossing the Tiber: Evangelical Protestants Discover the Historical Church. Since then he has kept busy with giving numerous talks,

Martyrs on the Fourth of July

Monday, July 04, 2016

A pall hangs over this Fourth of July celebration, as progressive developments in the realm of law and politics threaten historic liberties: our fundamental freedoms of speech, of assembly, of self-defense, of due process, of religion, of freedoms enumerated in the Constitution because they are (as the Declaration of Independence puts it) the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” knowable by reason quite apart from any religious revelation. State governments in th

10 Things You Should Know about Catholics and the American Founding

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Inmy essay “10 Things You Should Know About the American Founding” Ifocused on some little-known facts about the American Founding in general. Thefinal three of those “10 things” mentioned Catholics and Catholicism, includinghow “every colony had some form of anti-Catholic law, except for Pe

"The Innocents" and the Secret It Reveals

Saturday, July 02, 2016

The Innocents, a new Franco-Polish–Belgian production, comes to the screens this weekend. It is a film about a Polish Benedictine monastery at the end of the Second World War. It is fiction but is based upon real events that for years formed part of a conspiracy of silence. (Please note the following review contains some spoilers in regard to the plot of the film.)At this monastery some of the nuns are pr

Benedict XVI discusses resignation, "gay mafia," Pope Francis in new book-length interview

Friday, July 01, 2016

Vatican City, Jul 1, 2016 — Though he has rarely spoken since resigning from the papacy, Benedict XVI granted several lengthy interviews to German journalist Peter Seewald shortly after stepping down - conversations that touched on themes such as the reform of the Curia, his resignation and his thoughts on Pope Francis.The interviews, conducted a few months aft

10 things Michael Cook gets wrong in his criticism of papal critics

Thursday, June 30, 2016

I've read Mercatornet.com for many years and read it every week to great benefit. The folks over there do wonderful work. But Michael Cook, editor of Mercatornet.com has done himself and readers no favors with his recently posted piece "7 reasons why the Pope’s gaffes are OK". While I'm surely not going to defend all criticisms of Pope Francis—quite the contrary!

Poland’s history is a story of resilient Catholic faith

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

This year is doubly important for the Catholic Church inPoland. In addition to hosting this year’s World Youth Day, Poland alsocelebrates the 1,050th anniversary of its Christian heritage in 2016. Since 966,Poland has often been Antemurale Christianitatis,the bulwark of Christianity against invasion, and has time and again defendedour civilization. Now is the perfect opportunity to revisit the alwaysdramatic, constantly inspiring, and often trag

Revisiting the The Catholic Enlightenment

Monday, June 27, 2016

It’s not just an era of change, but a change of eras. The world is moving fast, and the Church struggles to keep up, with many churchmen questioning whether she ought to try to keep up at all while others readily put their foot on the Barque of Peter’s throttle. Meanwhile, mighty tensions exist between the Pope in Rome and bishops and clergy in their dioceses, and estrangement exists between Catholics in Europe (especially Italy) and Catholics in Asia, Afri

"Brexit" and the Failure of Europe

Sunday, June 26, 2016

It’s difficult for most non-Europeans to grasp the scale of the devastation that overtook Europe twice in the twentieth century. Having descended into the abyss between 1914 and 1918, European nations were at it again twenty years later. They consequently endured an apocalypse of death and destruction from Normandy in the West to Stalingrad in the East. “Never again!” became the lodestone of numerous European politicians, most notably Catholic statesmen such as W

"No summer progress": Eliot and the defense of Christian civilization

Saturday, June 25, 2016

It has been more than 50 years since T.S. Eliot died in 1965, and lookingback over that period we can see that the decadence he predicted would overtakethe West if it chose to abandon its Christian culture has duly arrived. The onlything about our decadence that might have surprised Eliot is the celerity withwhich it has come—and its thoroughgoingness. If we look at our social,political, cultural, and religious order, we can see how a kind ofmetastas

Orlando in Hindsight

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I.As it turns out, the killings in Orlando were not what they seemed to be or what too many wanted them to be—that is, simply a random act of “hatred” caused by a deranged young man with no real relation to any religion. Or, perhaps, if we insist in relating it to religion, then, as some prelates argued or suggested, all religions are equally guilty. Even if the killings were by a “loner”, he was a

Catholics in America: A Tale of Two Flags

Thursday, June 23, 2016

In a certain parish church that I know well, as also, I suppose, in many other Catholic churches in the United States, two flags are prominently displayed. One is the Stars and Stripes. The other, unfamiliar to most Americans, including many Catholics, is the gold and white flag of  Vatican City, with the papal coat of arms—the keys of Peter and the papal tiara—imposed upon its vertical white band. In many churches the two flags flank the sanctuary as if t

Confessions of an “elitist”

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The term “elitist”has been bandied about so promiscuously in this election cycle that it’s becomevirtually content-free. Yet “elitist” is also being weaponized as a scare-wordto prevent legitimate criticism of ideas, attitudes, and behaviors once thoughtbeyond the pale, even in the rough-and-tumble of politics (which, as Mr. Dooleyreminds us, “ain’t beanbag”). That kind of bullying is bad news for an

Europe as a ‘Soft Utopia’

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Editor’s note: The following article is based on excerpts from the new book, The New Totalitarian Temptation: Global Governance and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe,published by Encounter Books. It contends that the European Union’s radically secularist commitment to supranational governance is thr

Warning Signs in Orlando

Monday, June 20, 2016

After a two-year-old boy was attacked and killed by an alligator, Disney World in Orlando finally put up alligator warning signs on its resort properties. When, one wonders, will our society put aside political correctness and talk frankly about the warning signs that might have prevented the jihad massacre in Orlando that took place two days before the alligator attack?What were

When Should We Ignore Tradition?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Last month I noted that tradition is not self-contained or absolute. It's complex, so that superior, subordinate, and parallel traditions often come into conflict. Local tradition may say one thing, Church or national tradition quite another. Also, tradition is not about itself but about goods toward which it's oriented, so it's relative to something higher, a

Pope Francis, Marriage, and the Missing Middle Term

Friday, June 17, 2016

For some twenty years I have responded to chargesthat American tribunals are lax in upholding marriage by, among other things, correlating the jump in American annulment numbers to several changes put into canon law by Rome itself and, more importantly, by arguing that, if pervasive social and catechetical decay really is the danger that intelligent people think it is, then annulment numbers shouldbe risin

How Saint John Paul II Conquered Communism

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Next month, the Catholic world’s eyes will for one week focus on Poland, as millions of pilgrims will celebrate World Youth Day with Pope Francis. This is the perfect time to get to know the country’s Catholic heritage. The many contributions of Poland and its native son Pope St. John Paul II include unleashing a revolution of the spirit that showed that the Soviet empire was based on an anthropological lie. This story is excellently told in David Naglieri&

The "Benedict Option" or the "Gregorian Option"?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Over the past yearfew years, Alasdair MacIntyre’s 1981 book After Virtue hasmade a resurgent comeback, especially with a series of articlesthat Rod Dreher launched in The American Conservative. Inthose articles Dreher recalled MacIntyre’s critique of modernity,and returned to the provocative suggestion MacIntyre makes that thepreservation of civilization in the

Kimberly Hahn: Wife, Mother, Author—and Local Politician

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Kimberly Hahn, a respected Catholic author and wife of theologian and well-known speaker and author Scott Hahn,has entered the world of local politics.  Running as a Republican reformer in an old mill town long dominated by Democrats, she won a seaton the Steubenville, Ohio, City Council in 2015 by a margin of 2,711 to2,166.  Motivated by her Catholic

Stop Being "Shocked" and Start Being Honest

Monday, June 13, 2016

"No Logos, no ratio." That is how Robert R. Reilly, author of The Closing of the Muslim Mind(ISI, 2010), summed up matters during a brief e-mail conversation yesterday about the shooting in Orlando that killed 49 people and wounded 53. My own thoughts were not nearly as pithy:ManyMuslims, following a schizophrenic and often irrational religion, recognize that homosexuality is wrong, but they don&#x

Back to the Land, Back to the Lord

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Marcus Grodi is familiar to many as the host of The Journey Home television series on EWTN and as founder of the Coming Home Network International.A native of Ohio, he studied polymer science at Case Western Reserve University and worked as an engineer before receiving his Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. After more than

Fox's Book of Augustine

Friday, June 10, 2016

Garry Wills, author of such book-length screeds as Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit and Why Priests? A Failed Tradition, begins his deliciously wicked, and almost completely unfair, review of Robin Lane Fox’s Augustine: Conversions to Confessions with this striking vignette: “Robin Lane Fox, a British classical scholar, was the historical adviser for

The Metaphysics of the Bathroom

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Tempers are running high over the transgender bathroom debate. Who could have imagined a few years ago that we would need to discuss the appropriate destination for the body’s evacuative functions according to gender, or that the controversy would be addressed in terms of justice and human rights instead of common sense?How, exactly, could this have come about? The Encyclopedia of Surgery claims that "the number of gender reass

As Pan-Orthodox Council Approaches, Conflicts and Uncertainty Intensify

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Althoughonly a few days remain until the Eastern Pentecost, when the Pan-Orthodox council has been scheduled, uncertainty remains whether thegathering in Crete will take place. It is the same uncertainty which Idescribed more than two years ago in my CWR article “The Fragile Promise of the Pan-Orthodox Council”.In recent days, the promise of the Cou

Maronite Monks Work to Establish Monastery in Washington State

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

The Maronite Monks of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, a new monastic order of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles, have purchased 65 acres of land in Castle Rock in the Southwestern region of the State of Washington.  The Eastern rite eparchy (diocese) serves 50,000 registered Maronite Catholics (and many more unregistered) in 42 churches and missions the western United States, i

A Bright Star in Ireland’s Sad Religious Prognosis

Monday, June 06, 2016

The dire straits confronting religion in Ireland was recently noted (and possibly privately celebrated) by the editorial writer of The Irish Times.Membership in the Presbyterian Church had dropped 40 percent since the 1970’s. Average attendance at the Church of Ireland, the largest Protestant denomination in the island, had shrunk to 15 percent of its me

Pope Francis: Newly canonized saints were "deeply united to the passion of Jesus"

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Vatican City, Jun 5, 2016 / 04:30 am (CNA/EWTN News).-St. Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary and St. Maria Elizabeth Hes

"Love & Friendship" and the Holy Folly of the Twelve Commandments

Friday, June 03, 2016

Kate Beckinsale’s masterful performance as the charming but amoral Lady Susan Vernon in Whit Stillman’s hilarious Jane Austen adaptation Love & Friendship is a rare cinematic experience. Its memory stays with you long after viewing the film. While Stillman’s screenplay takes its inspiration, and plunders all the best lines, from Austen’s Lady Susan, her epistolary account of Susan, he has suggestively given his own versio

Vatican II and Eastern Orthodoxy’s Approaching Council

Thursday, June 02, 2016

After much anticipation, the Great and Holy Council (GHC) of Orthodoxy is finally set to begin in mid-June on the island of Crete. After decades of discussion and preparation, including much recent commentary on the draft documents that were published—commentary to which I have myself contributed in official Orthodox venues—the leaders of the Eastern Orthodox churches from around the world will gather to deliberate on some issues unique to them, and on other issues that a

Catholicism and Citizenship

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Perhaps no election is recent memory has left faithful Catholics so perplexed as to how exercise faithful citizenship. Stephen White (no relation to this article’s author), a Fellow in the Catholic Studies Program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, has penned a helpful new book, Red, White, Blue, and Catholic, which serves as a helpful guide to understanding what it means to be both a faithfu

The Chartres Pentecost Pilgrimage of Christendom

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Chartres Pilgrimage is famous among Catholics who habitually attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. For 34 years, tradition-loving pilgrims have followed a 70 mile route between the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris and the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Chartres. After Archbishop Lefebvre of the SSPX caused a rift among traditionalists by illicitly ordaining bishops in 1988, the annual pilgrimage was split in two. The “Pilgrimage of Christendom” walks from Paris t

Out of the Ashes: The Passion of Joan of Arc

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431. She was canonized in 1920.Eight years later, and almost 600 years after her death, she was immortalizedon screen in Carl Dreyer’s The Passion ofJoan of Arc. Soon after its completion, however, the original film “disappeared”on account of fire. Painstakingly, the director recreated it again fromouttakes, but shortly afterwards, that negative too was obliterated in yetanother fire.

The "La Croix" Interview: On Clericalism and the Tango

Friday, May 27, 2016

“The opposite danger for the Church is clericalism. This is the sin committed by two parties, like the tango!”— Pope Francis, La Croix, Paris, May 17, 2016.“Bishop Fellay is a man with whom one can dialogue. This is not the case for other elements (of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X) who are a little strange, such as Bishop Williamson and others who have been radicalized.”— Pope Francis, 

Walker Percy at 100

Friday, May 27, 2016

Did you ever wake up in the morning andwonder just what has gone wrong?Yes, I know. The water runs clearly,friendly faces chat about good news, pills slaughter your germs, back seatsbulge with mall loot, and chocolate-chip bagels are but a few steps away.Isn’t it the best of all possibleworlds? You’d rather be a sixth-century Visigoth or an Aztec virgin preparingfor her sacr

"Amoris Laetitia" and Vatican II’s Project of Inculturation

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Pope St. John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council amid great optimism. Pope John called for aggiornamento and an opening of the windows of the Church, but we know that the 1960s were not a time of fresh air. In fact, I would argue it was the breaking forth into daily life of a long trajectory of radical individualism. The Council sought a renewed encounter with the modern world after 450 years of conflict, but wading into the muddied waters of modern culture

Intolerance and evangelization: Thoughts on Cardinal Sarah at the National Prayer Breakfast

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cardinal Robert Sarahis one of the adornments of the Catholic Church, although it’s very unlikelythat this man of faith, humor, intelligence, and profound humility wouldappreciate my putting it that way. His 2015 book, God orNothing, is selling all over the world, currently available in twelvelanguages with more to come. The book tells his story, that of a contempora

“Christ is risen!”: The Big Bang within Time and Space

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Afew months ago, while writing DidJesus Really Rise From the Dead?, I was able to watch themovie Risen,which releases today on DVD.It was fortuitous as the film captures, in cinematic and artisticform, some key points that I emphasize in my book.

Pope Francis, Populism, and the Agony of Latin America

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Venezuelais now in an advanced state of political and economic collapse. Suchis the fruit of seventeen years of the “21stcentury socialism” pioneered by Hugo Chávez and pursued by hissuccessor Nicolás Maduro. On a daily basis, the realityof Venezuelans is one of empty shops, massive corruption,triple-digit inflation, an absence of necessities

Reading Flannery O’Connor for the first time

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Reading Flannery O’Connor requires a stout heart and a strong stomach. In her short life before she died of terminal lupus, she wrote two novels and roughly two dozen short stories that continue to shock and unsettle us. With a wicked pen, she gleefully maims and kills off her characters in a million disturbing ways: they get drowned, hanged, run over by cars (twice in a row), wrapped in barbed wire and beaten to death. Her characters are prostitutes, pedoph

The man behind Catholic U’s largest donation ever

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Catholic University of America recently announcedthat it received a donation of $15 million—the largest single donation in schoolhistory—to assist with the operational needs of the School of Business andEconomics and related academic programs. The gift comes from the Busch FamilyFoundation, and the CUA business school will be renamed the Tim and Steph BuschSchool of Business and Economics in the donor couple’s hon

Fr. Alexis Toth, Bishop John Ireland, and the Grace of Reconciliation

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Christ, before his Passion, said to his apostles, “My soul is sorrowful even to death.”1He was about to enter the garden to pray, and his disciples would soon fall asleep, flee him, and become divided. Christ’s agony in the garden envisage

Lord, Not Legend: A Review of Brant Pitre’s The Case for Jesus

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Tale of Two ParadigmsThe dominant paradigm reigning in academic biblical studies today is marked by radical discontinuity.That’s why people who know the basics of the Christian story—whether they believe it or not—are often nonplussed when they encounter radical reconstructions of Jesus and earliest Christianity. Others, of course, applaud them, finding that such radical reconstructions get them off thehook with th

Supreme Court sends Little Sisters' case back to lower court

Monday, May 16, 2016

Washington D.C., May 16, 2016 / 08:53 am (CNA).- In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court sent the Little Sisters of the Poor HHS mandate case back to the lower courts on Monday, in light of new developments in the case.“We are very encouraged by the Court’s decision, which is an important win for the Little Sisters. The Court has recognized that the government changed its position,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religio

On Pentecost and "Matters Not Dictated By the Holy Spirit"

Saturday, May 14, 2016

"Objection: The Scripture is plainly full of matters not dictated by the Holy Spirit. –Answer: Then they do not harm faith. Objection: But the Church has decided that all is of the Holy Spirit. Answer: I answer two things; first, the Church has not so decided; secondly, if she should so decide, it could be maintained.”— Pascal, Pensées, #567."TheApostles, prompted by the Spirit, i

Joe Biden and the Laetare Muddle

Friday, May 13, 2016

With its decision to give VicePresident Joe Biden the Laetare Medal this weekend, the University of Notre Dameendorses him as a Catholic politician “who put the good of the nation ahead ofpartisan victory, seeking through respectful dialogue honorable compromise andprogress.” True loyalty to Notre Dame compels usto reflect carefully on whether Biden advanced a distinctively Catholic approachto public service.

The day they tried to kill the Message and the Messenger

Thursday, May 12, 2016

On May 13, 1981, an assassin’s gunshots were fired insideSt. Peter’s Square. It was the day Pope St. John Paul II was set to deliver aninspiring message in support of human dignity, work, and freedom and make twosurprise announcements regarding the Church’s efforts to vigorously promote theinstitution of the family.Exactly 35 years ago at 5:17 pm, the Turkishultra-nationalist, convicted killer, and mercenary M

Pope Francis and the Matter of Female Deacons [Updated]

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Does Pope Francis have any idea of the needless can of worms he opened up with his statement earlier today, made to a gathering of superiors general of women religious communities, that the issue of female deacons should be revisited and possibly studied by a "commission"? Apparently Francis, as reported by CWR's Catherine Harmon,once had a co

The non-profit law firm on the front lines of the religious liberty fight

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Thomas More Society is a non-profit, public-interestlaw firm with a particular focus on life and religious liberty issues. It wasfounded in 1997 by attorney Thomas Brejcha, who was forced to leave hisfor-profit firm to continue what would become a nearly 30-year defense ofChicago pro-life activist Joe Scheidler, founder of the Pro-Life Action League.In the battle with the National Organization for Women, which resulted in mul

The History, Enemies, and Importance of Natural Law

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dr. John Lawrence Hill is a law professor at Indiana University, Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, where he teaches constitutional law, torts, civil procedure and legal philosophy courses.He is the author of several books, including The Political Centrist (Vanderbilt, 2009) and, most recently, After the Natural Law: How the Classical Worldview Supports Our Modern Mora

Daniel Berrigan, S.J. 1921-2016: Underground in America

Monday, May 09, 2016

It is a nice coincidence that as I sit down to write about Daniel Berrigan, S.J., who died April 30 at age 94, I am gazing out over the house on Block Island where he hid out as a fugitive from justice in 1970. He waseventually apprehended by a posse of FBI agents posing as bird watchersand sent to jail for two years. It was his dearest wish. “One had to goto jail,” he wrote in 1968. “It was an irreplaceable need, a gift not to be refused.”

Bruised, Yet Resurrected: On Motherhood and the Virgin Mary

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Thenight I first saw the film Fullof Grace isone I won't soon forget. It was a night of extreme paradox. We wereinvited to the premiere by my parents, who had purchased tickets forme and my 14-year-old daughter. It being a school night, I wrestledwith the decision to bring her, but the promise of good media aboutthe faith outweighed the practical concern of homeworkcompletion. She

Farewell, Social Media

Friday, May 06, 2016

Mediaare not neutral. Marshall McLuhan reminded us all that the medium is itself the message, that while we think we’re getting content mediated to us somehow untouched by the media mediating it, the medium at issue is surreptitiously, silently selling itself. (I’m reminded too about Umberto Eco’s remark that all Broadway musicals are in the end about Broadway musicals.)Even if we think McLuhan’s point puttoo strongly—say,

Politics, Religion, and the Ruling Class

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Angelo M. Codevilla is a professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University (where he taught from 1995 to 2008), a former U.S. naval officer and Foreign Service officer, a former senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, and the author of over a dozen books on politics, international affairs, statescraft, intellectual history, and current events. Those books include Modern France, Informing Statecraft: Intelligence for a New Century, While

The Suffering and Faith of Saint Damien of Molokai

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Formore than a century, Catholics and non-Catholics alike have been sharing the heroic story of St. Damien of Molokai (1840-89), a member ofthe Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary who left his native Belgium for the community’s mission in Hawaii. He spent the last 16 years of his life ministering to the lepers confined to the Kalaupapaand Kalawao regions of the island of Molokai, ultimately contracting and dying of the disease himself. 

The Suicide Gender Gap Narrows

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

While males have long demonstratedmuch higher suicide rates than females, longitudinal research released last weekby the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported a narrowing of that gap. Althoughthe suicide rate across nearly all age groups has surged more than 24 percent from1999 through 2014, the age-adjusted increase was much greater for females (a 45percent increase) than for males

Tradition: Its Necessity and Its Discontents

Monday, May 02, 2016

I noted last monththat living well is difficult apart from a definite and well-developed tradition of life. Otherwise we simply won't know what we're doing, and we'll have to make up everything as we go along without any idea of ultimate results or significance, or of what we might be missing.Such claims for the necessity of tradition make no sense to many

Three Counterfeits of Mercy

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Mercy—it’s a word that’s dominated Catholic discourse over the past three years, primarily because Pope Francis rarely makes a public comment without invoking it. Of course, it’s hardly a new idea for Christians. Francis’s immediate two predecessors, Benedict XVI and SaintJohn Paul II, wrote at length on this theme. The latter even penned an entire encyclical on the topic. In

The Consequences of Campus 'Victimhood' Culture

Friday, April 29, 2016

Denver, Colo., Apr 29, 2016 / (CNA/EWTN News).- "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."Thisquote from British author Evelyn Beatrice Hall (often misattributed to Voltaire) might sound rather foreign on many college campuses throughoutthe country today, who in many ways seem to prefer to be defended from the First Amendment rather than to defend it.Last

Once deeply Catholic, modern Scotland needs a theological revival

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On a recent trip to Scotland Bishop Gilbert ofAberdeen asked me whether I was familiar with the Scottish writer George MackayBrown. I had to confess that I had never heard of him. A few days later I wasrummaging through second-hand book stores searching for everything and anythingby Mackay Brown.Bishop Gilbert had got me hooked by suggestingI read Mackay Brown’s essay “The Treading of Grapes,” which tak

On the Spiritual Battlefront with Ukraine’s Military Chaplains

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Inmid-February 2016, Fr. Lubomyr Yavorskyy, Deputy Head of Chaplaincy Services of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, visited numerous parishes and venues in Toronto and parts of southern Ontario at the invitation of Bishop Stephen Chmilar, Eparch of Toronto, and of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC). Bishop Chmilar and the UCC had jointly organized a fundraising campaign called “Save Lives” in order to assist Ukrainian

In Christ-Haunted California: Dana Gioia’s 99 Poems

Monday, April 25, 2016

Atthe heart of Dana Gioia’s 2012 collection, Pitythe Beautiful, lies a ghost story. “Haunted” tells the tale of a young manwho has gone for a secluded and intimate weekend in an ancestral New Englandmansion with a woman of great beauty and even greater vanity. Mara, thenarrator tells us, “loved having me for an audience,” as she described “her formerlovers—imitating them, / cataloguing their signatu

Are Pope Leo XIII and Pope Saint John Paul II "feeling the Bern"?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

One week ago, the morning after the Vatican’s one-day conference Centesimus Annus 25 Years Later, PopeFrancis and U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders happened to meetin the lobby of the Vatican hotel, Casa Santa Martha. Sanders had spoken at the conference but the pope had not attended.The impromptu meeting was surprising

Five Serious Problems with Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia

Friday, April 22, 2016

ForCatholics who feel weary about the abuse that the Christian family has lately suffered at the hands of militant secularism, Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL) has many encouraging things to say: e.g., its forthright assertion that “no genital act of husband and wife can refuse” the truth that “the conjugalunion is ordered to procreation ‘by its very nature’” (AL, 80; cf. 222)

The Church in Crisis: Roots and Realities

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fr.Martin R. Tripole, S.J., is professor emeritus of theology, SaintJoseph's University, Philadelphia who earned an S.T.D. from theInstitut Catholique in Paris, France. He is the author of Churchin Crisis: The Enlightenment and Its Impact upon Today's Church(CUA, 2012), and has published numerous essays and book reviews ontheology, spirituality, and education. He recently corresponded withCarl

Building bridges through filmmaking

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dustin Kahia is an aspiring young film directorfrom San Diego who, along with Catholic Answers Live host Patrick Coffin,founded ImmaculataPictures, a productioncompany that

The Difficult Way of Mercy

Monday, April 18, 2016

Allowme to suggest the case of an apostolic exhortation never written that may neverbe written. Let’s say it deals with the pastoral concerns that arise due to theincreasing presence in our society of “transgender” persons—persons who havesurgically transformed their bodies in attempt to change their “sex.”Perhapsthis apostolic exhortation would begin with a profound discussion of the

Realism and Islam

Sunday, April 17, 2016

I.Political realism, longassociated with Augustine, constrains us to consider what Machiavelli later recommended to us—namely, to look at what men “do” do and not at what they “ought” to do. This advice would be more persuasive if, in fact, some men did not do what they ought to do or others do what they ought not to do. Both sides usually persuade themselves that they ought to follow their convictions. Mach

"The Red Shoes" and the Artistic Vocation: A Cautionary, Cinematic Tale

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Just the other day I saw a news item about a proposed new ballet production based on the classic film, The Red Shoes.(The fact that another ballet version was tried on Broadway in 1983 andproved a financial disaster seems not to have deterred the producers.) Given the movie’s subject matter these attempts to turn the movie into aballet does not su

My Unforgettable Hour with Mother Angelica

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I met Mother Angelica only once. It wassixteen years ago. We spent an unforgettable hour together, just thetwo of us. What made it unusual was that several million people werewatching and listening to our conversation. I was her guest on“Mother Angelica Live.”How did I get there?A year earlier, I had been invited byMarcus Grodi to be on his EWTN show, “The Journey Home,” where heinterviews notable Catholic converts.

Retrograde, Intransigent Catholics are in Good Company

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Herein is the strength of the Catholic Church," observed Blessed John Henry Newman, making a comparison to Protestantism, "She professes to be built upon facts, not opinions; on objective truths, not on variable sentiments; on immemorial testimony, not on private judgement; on convictions or perceptions, not on conclusions. None else but she can make this profession." How retrograde! The Church, stated St. Thomas Aquinas, &#34

Dreams, Ideals, and Living Better Naturally

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Last month I suggestedthat the most effective argument for taking human nature, natural law, and natural human goods seriously is that doing so leads to a better wayof life.It's not hard to see why it should. People do not in fact invent their own ways of life. They're too social, and the world's too complicated. So the disintegration of inherited cul

In Amoris Laetitia, the family is an opportunity, not a problem

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

OnApril 4, 2016 Cardinal Timothy Dolan gave aninterview to Crux in which he ventured a guess at what Pope Francis’ apostolicexhortation Amoris Laetitia was goingto be about. He predicted that it was going to be about marriage and not aboutdivorce. Now that the document is public, one can easily see that he was right.

Amoris Laetitia: Another Nail in the “Overpopulation” Coffin

Monday, April 11, 2016

Backin 1960s, numerous commentators were convinced beyond doubt that the world faced an overpopulation crisis. With infant mortality-rates shrinking as sanitation and nutrition-levels improved, many wondered if the planet had sufficient resources to sustain the subsequent populationgrowth.This concern wasn’t just expressed by people like Paul Ehrlich, whose apocalyptic predictions in books like

The Shape of Repentance: Reflections on Amoris Laetitia

Monday, April 11, 2016

In the current ecclesial climate it is difficult to avoid a political reading of Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.Almost any ‘party’ within and beyond the Church can no doubt find in ita grab-bag of quotes to further whatever agenda it wishes to pursue. Tobe sure, in certain passages there are rhetorical registers that especially lend themselves to this kind of manipulation. I think particularly of the wa

The Two Synods and the Exhortation that Followed Them

Monday, April 11, 2016

There has been great frenzy the last several days followingthe presentation of AmorisLaetitia (“The Joy of Love”), PopeFrancis’ post-synodal exhortation on the family. The quick take is this: it’s adraw. That collective exhale heard around the world last Friday was the soundof a pause before the next round—maybe in the next pontificate. The orthodoxand progressive camps are looking at a glass half-full but also

"Amoris Laetitia': The Good, the Disturbing, and the Torturous

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Before it was released, the Papal Exhortation Amoris Laetitiareceived many online giggles for its title alone, which could be translated variously as “The Joy of Love”, “The Joy of Sex” or even “TheExuberance of Sex.” Had the document been signed by Benedict XVI, this choice of title would almost certainly have been deemed a “gaffe” by thepopular press. However, it is clear from the first paragraph that the

Accompanying, Discerning, and Integrating—in the Way of the Master

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Chapters one through seven and chapter nine of Amoris Laetitia arelargely a joy to read. Filled with poignant observations from the participants at the two previous Synods on the Family, they contain largely accurate and strong statements on behalf of the Church’s teaching on issues of marriage, same-sex relationships, gender ideology,contraception, and other hot-button issues. Occasionally there is a lack of clarity such as when Francis mentions the Chu

Amoris Laetitia: A CWR Symposium

Friday, April 08, 2016

Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, “On love in the family,” has been one of the most widely anticipated papal documents in recent years, following the closely watched and sometimes controversial Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in 2014 and the Ordinary Syn

Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia and St. John Paul II

Friday, April 08, 2016

I think that Chapter 8, "Accompanying, Discerning and Integrating Weakness", is the most problematic section of Amoris Laetitia (AL) for three reasons: 1) Pope Francis seems almost (not quite, but almost) incapable of acknowledging that an individual is sinfully responsible for consciously and willfully rejecting the truth of marriage and family as false. Yes, he upholds the objectivity of God’s “primordial

The Mystery of Matrimony and Amoris Laetitia

Friday, April 08, 2016

The good news about the post-synodalexhortation Amoris Laetitia, “On Lovein the Family,” is that none of the outrageous statements and proposals thatmarred the prefabricated 2014 “Synod Report” made it into the final cut. Thedocument offers keen insights into the family in the modern world, valuablespiritual advice for spouses and parents, and a flurry of recommendations formore effective pastoral ministry to families

No doctrine change from Pope Francis – but a call for better pastoral care

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Catholics who have divorced and remarried need the fullness of Churchteaching. They also need a wise pastoral and community response to theirdifficulties that can help them grow in the Christian life, Pope Francis saidon Friday in his new document on love in the family.“TheChurch’s pastors, in proposing to the faithful the full ideal of the Gospel andthe Church’s teaching, must also help them to treat the weak with co

The Joy of Love in the Hands of the Clergy

Thursday, April 07, 2016

My initial judgment: The Joy of Love (AmorisLaetitia) is the best of Francis’ official documents yet—probably becausehe defers a great measure to bishops’ interventions at the synods on thefamily—even while it remains classic Francis in its tenor and length. Thatsaid, all will depend on how certain episcopal conferences and clericsinterpret it, and whether they engage in willing misreading.

Francis' sprawling Exhortation a marriage of profound and muddled

Thursday, April 07, 2016

In recently musing about what Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis' much anticipated post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, might (or might not) contain, I wrote: Idon't think Francis is going to try to change doctrine. Even if he wanted to—and I know there is evidence he has been open to a range of possible changes in some

In Amoris Laetitia, who is admonishing whom?

Thursday, April 07, 2016

In anticipating the publication of the Holy Father’sreflections on the synods, I was prepared for the worst, something that mightwell have touched the infallibility issues. As I finished a first, not overly carefulreading, I thought that the papal presentation was in fact generally quite good,even profound in many places. I was, of course, amused by the title—Amoris Laetitia—as it seemed like atitle more likely to have come from O

Evelyn Waugh Fifty Years On

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

In the late 1990s, I discovered Evelyn Waugh, who during his life and after his death was often acclaimed the greatest Catholic novelist of the 20th century. Now, a half-century since his death on Easter Sunday—April 10th—1966, what are we to make of him? What gifts does he still have to offer Catholic and other readers today?The NovelsInthe first and most obvious instance, there are his works. Waugh&#x2019

Bishop Slattery: “I think something good is happening in the new generation”

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Bishop Edward Slattery, 75, has served as bishopof Tulsa, Oklahoma, since 1994. He is originally from Chicago, having beenordained a priest by Cardinal John Cody in 1966. He served in a pastoral rolein Chicago’s parishes, and was active with the Catholic Church ExtensionSociety, which funds the American home missions.He is known for his orthodoxy and his interestin th

The Great Defense of Tradition

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

MarkDooley is a Catholic philosopher, writer, journalist, and academic who has been a regular contributor to a variety of radio programs, TV shows,newspapers, and journals. His specialties are continental philosophy, philosophy of religion, and theology, and he is the author of articles and books on the thought of Søren Kierkegaard, Jacques Derrida, and Roger Scruton, among others. His books include Why Be a Catholic? (2011), Moral Matters: A Philosophy

Regensburg Revisited: Ten Years Later, A West Still in Denial

Monday, April 04, 2016

Adecade ago, a 79 year-old soft-spoken, white-haired German theologian returned to visit a university at which he had spent much of his academic career. On such occasions, it’s not unusual for a distinguishedprofessor-emeritus to offer some formal remarks. Such reflections rarely receive much attention, and are often seen as exercises in reminiscing by scholars whose most substantial achievements are behind them.In this instance, however, the

The Protestant who wrote the greatest book about American Catholicism

Saturday, April 02, 2016

“I amamused that so many of the reviews of this book begin with the statement: ‘Thisbook is hard to classify.’ Then why bother?”—Willa Cather, 1927Willa Cather’s novel—or “narrative”in the style of legend as she preferred—DeathComes for the Archbishop is not only the greatest book ever written aboutAmerican Catholicism, it also might very well be the

Bringing the image of Divine Mercy to the world

Friday, April 01, 2016

Director Daniel DiSilva has wanted to tell thestory of the Divine Mercy devotion for a long time. His new documentary film, TheOriginal Image of Divine Mercy, follows DiSilva and his film crew asthey travel throughout Europe and the United States interviewing a variety ofprominent people about the Divine Mercy devotion and the story of the originalimag

Obamacare and the Travail of the Little Sisters

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in theLittle Sisters of the Poor’s legal challenge to the Obama administration’smandate on contraception and sterilization coverage in health insurance plans.The Little Sisters’ attorneys argued that the so-called “accommodation” forreligious organizations—put in place by the Department of Health and HumanServices ostensibly to shield those organizations from providing

"A story He himself created": Reflections on Benedict XVI's recent remarks

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Faithis not a product of reflection nor is it even an attempt to penetrate the depths of my own being. Both of these things may be present, but they remain insufficient without the ‘listening’ through which God, fromwithout, from a story he himself created, challenges me.” — Benedict XVI, Interview, October 2015

In Hollywood, God’s still not dead

Monday, March 28, 2016

The 2014 movie God’s Not Dead is one of the mostsuccessful faith-based productions of all time, grossing more than $60 millionworldwide. The movie, produced by Pure Flix Entertainment, tells the story of aChristian college student’s confrontation with an atheist philosophy professor.A sequel, God’s Not Dead 2, opens in theaters thisweek. The movie stars TV actress M

The Spiritual Legacy of Mother Angelica

Monday, March 28, 2016

MotherAngelica, one of the most significant figures in the post-conciliar Catholic Church in America, has died after a fourteen-year struggle withthe after effects of a stroke. I can attest that, in "fashionable" Catholic circles during the eighties and nineties of the last century, it was almost de rigueur to make fun of Mother Angelica. She was a crude popularizer, an opponent of Vatican II, an arch-conservative, a culture-

In His Rising is Our Hope

Saturday, March 26, 2016

In him, who rose from the dead,our hope of resurrection dawned.The sadness of death gives wayto the bright promise of immortality.— Preface for Christian Death ISacred images do not instantly spring fromthe pages of Scripture to gauzy forms on gilt-edged holy cards. TraditionalChristian art, like Christian the

Good Friday, Death, and Christian Life

Friday, March 25, 2016

O, DeathWon't you spare me over til another yearWell what is this that I can't seeWith ice cold hands takin' hold of meWell I am death, none can excel….These are lyrics from the widely-known song “O, Death” a haunting melody that became famous after it was featured in the movie, O Brother, Where Art Th

Breaking the Code

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Two years after the Islamicjihadist attack on the World Trade Center, a book appeared which purported toreveal a conspiracy to cover up the truth about a major world religion.According to the book, powerful people, both inside and outside thismale-dominated, woman-hating religion, had conspired to falsely represent it asa religion of piety and peace.At the time, the book and itsauthor were widely hailed for finally breaki

Catholic Questions from the Man Who Brought You “Catholic Answers”

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Karl Keating is founder and senior fellow at CatholicAnswers, one of the nation’s largest lay-run apostolates of Catholicapologetics and evangelization. Keating, a lawyer, founded Catholics Answers in1979 in response to fundamentalist literature left on cars at a parish in SanDiego. The apostolate became his full-time focus in 1988, and today has aseveral s

On sex abuse, has the pendulum swung too far?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Last month Peter Saunders, the British man whofounded and leads the National Association for People Abused in Childhood(NAPAC), was removed from the Vatican’sPontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, “apparently following a15-0 vote of no confidence.”The chorus of so

Sacred Music and the Vocation of the Composer

Monday, March 21, 2016

The composer Frank La Rocca was born in New Jersey but has spent his adult life on the West Coast, having taught at California State University, East Bay from 1981 until his retirement in 2014. The biographyon his personal website notes that although he was trained "as an academic modernist during his degree studies at Yale and University of California, Berkeley, La Rocca came to see this approach as a ba

Catholicism in Somalia: The Brave Few

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Whenbuilt in 1928, the Catholic cathedral in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital city, was the largest on the African continent. But more recent decades have not been kind to Somali Catholicism. In fact, the nation’s last Catholic bishop, Salvatore Colombo, was assassinated in 1989 while holding Mass inside the Mogadishu Cathedral, which since has been destroyed.Though the country’s President at the time, Siad Barre, offered a reward for the cap

The Magisterium and the Human Knowledge of Christ

Friday, March 18, 2016

The recent film The Young Messiah has raisedthe question of what Jesus understood in his human knowledge.I have not seen thefilm and have no interest in defending it. However, the controversy it has occasionedneeds to be addressed, for the question of Christ’s human knowledge has a morecomplicated history

Abp. Cordileone on how lay people can strengthen their local Church

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, 59, has servedas archbishop of San Francisco since 2012. The archdiocese is home to 90parishes, 248 diocesan priests, and 450,000 Catholics. It has a rich traditiondating back to California’s Gold Rush days, and is notable for its coolclimate, windy bay, progressive politics, and diverse immigrant groups.Archbishop Cordileone is original

The Left’s War on Free Speech

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Whatever your views on DonaldTrump, it is wrong to put the burden of responsibility on him for the violenceat his Chicago rally on Friday.According to the mainstream media’sexplanation, the clashes inside and outside the rally venue were entirely dueto Trump’s abrasive manner and provocative comments. But leftists don’t needexcuses to intimidate and riot. They do it all the time. If Cruz or Rubio orKa

Bill Cosby for the Laetare Medal?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Considerthe following proposal: Bill Cosby for the Laetare Medal. Forthose who don’t know, the Laetare Medal, called this because the recipient orrecipients are announced each year on Laetare Sunday, is the University ofNotre Dame’s highest award. It’s their Catholic “medal of honor.” The universityhas other distinctions it awards—like most colleges and universities, they passo

The Present American Regime: Tyranny, Oligarchy, or Democracy?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

"The Obama years have brought America to the brink of transformation from constitutional republic into an empire ruled by secret deals promulgated by edicts.”— Angelo Codevilla, The Federalist, February 29, 2016."Thecommon bond among the various elements of failed Obama foreign policy—from reset with Putin to concessions to the Iran

For filmmakers, The Young Messiah was a labor of love

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Focus Features’ movie The Young Messiah, which opens in theaters this weekend, tells astory of a year in the life of the 7-year-old Jesus as he, in his human consciousness,begins to discover who he is. Stars include Adam Greaves-Neal as Jesus and SaraLazzaro as Mary; the film is directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh, whose credits includethe 2008 film The Stoning of Soraya M.,with Jim Caviezel.

“The Fleshly Tables of the Heart”: Newman in His Letters

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

In Antony and Cleopatra,Shakespeare has his great heroine tell her attendant Iras how she foreseesposterity treating her and her entourage after death,Nay, ‘tis most certain, Iras: saucylictors Will catch at us, like strumpets; and scald rhymers Ballad us out o’ tune: the quick comedians Extemporally will stage us, and present 

The Modern World and the Election of 2016

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

“The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives," wrote G.K. Chesterton in an April 19, 1924 column in The Illustrated London News.The essay was titled "The Blunders of Our Parties", with the parties inquestion being the Tories (conservatives) and the Whigs (progressives).  Despite being nearly a century old and being written about another country's political conflicts, the essay provides plenty of food for

Myth, Transcendence, and the “Conspiracy of Divine Providence”

Sunday, March 06, 2016

The third volume of Father Robert J. Spitzer’s Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendenceseries, GodSo Loved the World: Clues to Our Transcendent Destiny from the Revelation of Jesus,continues the exploration of man’s relationship with the divine which theauthor began in his two previous books,

The Benedictine Option

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Rod Dreher has suggested something he calls “The Benedict Option”as a response to the decline in religious faith and practice — and in the face of the increasing hostility toward them — in contemporary culture. The question he believes Christians must ask themselves in our current setting is, “What must the church do in order to live and witness faithfully as a

Immigration, Reason, and Responsibility

Thursday, March 03, 2016

DonaldTrump recently raised the specter of an ISIS attack on the Vatican. Mr.Trump likes to claim that he is always the first to know what the future portends, but in this case others have beaten him to it. Last January I wrote an article titled“Will a Future Pope be Forced to Flee Rome?” A year later it might be more pertinent to ask if the present po

Euthanasia Nation: The Perilous Situation in Canada

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Just over a year ago,the Supreme Court of Canada opened wide the door to euthanasia by ruling thatCanadians have the right to physician-assisted death. Like other legalexpansions of rights in recent years, this new development will not onlytransform medical practices in Canada, but will also dramatically contribute toa global “climate change” in everyone’s attitudes toward death and the dying.Becausep

Natural Law, Reality, and Ideological Fantasies

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Last month I noted that Catholics, along with presenting the Faith, should try vigorously to make natural law more visible in public discussion.Buthow? The very idea of natural law provokes incomprehension today. It favors principles that aren't engineered or controlled, so they don't fit into a technological understanding of rationality. Even worse

Catholics in Bangladesh: An Embattled but Expanding Minority

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

In Bangladesh, Catholics—who account for just 0.2 percentof the population—have suffered from incidences of violence and persecution.However, the Catholic population continues to grow in the Southern Asiancountry, where Pope Francis hasjust established a new diocese.Catholicism came to the region in the 16th

The four things keeping millennials from finding God, according to Fr. Spitzer

Sunday, February 28, 2016

When he’s not lecturing around the world, giving interviews,producing documentaries, appearing on his EWTN show, developing curricula,chairing boards, and deepening his own spiritual life as a Jesuit priest, FatherRobert Spitzer can be found writing his latest book out of his Magis Centeroffice on the Christ Cathedral campus in the Diocese of Orange.The former president of Gonzaga University (1998-2009),Father Spitzer la

Between Cuba and Crete: A Storm Ahead for the Russian Orthodox?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

It seems that Cuba and Crete, two islands asremote from each other as can be, both geographically and culturally, haverecently become connected by an invisible thread. One hosted a surprise meetingbetween Pope Francis with Patriarch of Moscow Kirill. The other is to host the Pan-OrthodoxCouncil in June, an event that has been in preparation since the 1960s. Apartfrom the common pioneering character of these two events, there are otherconnections betwee

Catholic ethics and the global War on Terror

Thursday, February 25, 2016

This week the Obama administration finallydelivered a long-promised plan to close Guantanamo Bay using the properlegal authorities. At first glance, this seemed to be an ethical advance thatCongress and American Catholics ought to support. But first impressions aren’talways accurate.It was difficult fo

The Jesuit, the Monk, and the Malaise of the West

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Twenty-fiveyears ago, one of the 20th century’s greatest Catholic theologians passed awayin the Avenue de Breteuil in Paris in the care of the Little Sisters of thePoor. Born in 1896 as the Dreyfus Affair was tearing France apart, and dyingwhile the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, Cardinal Henri de Lubac, SJ, participated in some of the most momentous events that shaped the CatholicChurch between the pontificates of Leo XIII and Saint John Paul II.

Harper Lee: A Tribute

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

For all the praiseand accolades directed at Harper Lee, “serious” literary types have alreadyweighed in, calling To Kill A Mockingbirda nice little story that doesn’t belong in the great literature category; simplistic,formulaic, and too accommodating of the oppressive structures that held sway in20th-century America, a story for high-schoolers, when students are providedwith appropriate cautions.

The Scalia Funeral: A Reminder of What Life is Really About

Monday, February 22, 2016

Justice AntoninScalia’s life and works have received much and deserved attention sincehis death in Texas on February 13th. I will not call it an “untimely” death, for every death takes place at that point of time when that same man reaches eternity. We can talk of a man who does good in his life, but we can also speak of men who do even more good in their death. The two are not contradictory, just as, I suppose, a man who does evil in his life can

Contraception, Congo Nuns, Choosing the Lesser Evil, and Conflict of Commandments

Saturday, February 20, 2016

It is time to review some basic principles that bear upon the questionof the morality of contraception. Meaning of contraception: Thing and actFirst, let us note that the word “contraception” is used to describeboth a thing and an act. Only the act permits of moral analysis. There are many“things” called contraception, such as the many forms of the pill, t

Pope Francis’ Mexico Trip Ends on a Controversial Note

Friday, February 19, 2016

The final days of his trip to Mexico included remarks fromPope Francis about drug-related violence, mass immigration, and Zika virus,among other subjects.On Tuesday, Pope Francis continued his tour of some ofMexico’s most troubled spots with a trip to the state of Michoacán, whereoppressive drug cartels and citizen militias have battled for years overcontrol of the state’s “hot lands” to the

Pope Francis calls Havana Joint Declaration debatable, understands Ukrainians might feel betrayed

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Asexpected, the Department of External Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate has started the process of spinning the February 12, 2016 Havana Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill. In a February 17 interview with Aleksei Sosiedov, on the website Interfax-religion.ru

Abp. Sample on the liturgy, vocations, and Synod disappointments

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Archbishop Alexander Sample, 55, recentlycelebrated the 10th anniversary of his ordination as bishop and will sooncelebrate his third anniversary as archbishop of Portland, Oregon.He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Marquette,Michigan, in 1990, and became Marquette’s bishop in 2006. At the time of hisepiscopal ordination, he was the youngest Catholic bishop in t

Pope Francis invokes themes of liberation theology during Mexican visit

Monday, February 15, 2016

PopeFrancis’ visit to Mexico, which began on February 12, has been receivedwith all of the fanfare expected for a papal visit from one of the mostCatholic nations in the world. Just as Mexicans warmly welcomed John Paul II and Benedict XVI, so they are also giving a very enthusiastic reception to the current pontiff, who is making a point of focusing on the country’s suffering lower classes. However, in his rhetorical enthusiasm for the poor and downtrod

Antonin Scalia and G.K. Chesterton

Monday, February 15, 2016

Even in his veryfirst years on the US Supreme Court, Justice Antonin Scalia already was makinga profound impression on the Court, on Washington, and on American life. Imatriculated at Georgetown Law shortly after Scalia joined the Court, andthroughout the course of my legal studies, he often was the talk of both thetown and the law school. He quickly becamesomething of a judicial folk hero to students who favored judicial

In homily at Guadalupe Mass, Pope Francis highlights Mary's "yes"

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Pope Francis’ historic first pilgrimage to the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City brought reflections of obedience, surrender, and hope as the Holy Father celebrated Mass on Feb. 13. “We have just heard how Mary went to meet her cousin Elizabeth. She sets out without delay, without doubts, without lessening her pace, to be with her relative,” Pope Francis stated during his homily on Feb. 13, pointing to the Gospel of Luke.&#16

The Donald Trump of Catholic Higher Education

Saturday, February 13, 2016

“You’refired!” That was the tagline of the bombastic Donald Trump on CelebrityApprentice. More recently, it was the short-lived leadership policy of the deservedly embattled president of Mount St. Mary’s University,the nation’s second-oldest Catholic university. Simon Newman was appointed last year and, in a remarkably short time, his leadership style, offensive language, and ap

Francis and Kirill: Who Played Whom?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

PopeBenedict XVI was, and is, known for playing the piano. RussianOrthodox Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, the chief architect ofFriday’s Cuban summit between his boss Patriarch Kirill and PopeFrancis, is a published composer of sacred music. But what aboutFrancis himself? What are his musical talents? After his visit toCuba today, I cannot help but wonder: does Pope Francis secretly playthe fiddle?Morethan one of my Orthodox friends (and not a fe

Seven Thoughts on the "Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill"

Friday, February 12, 2016

Seven quick thoughts about the "Joint Declaration of Pope Francis andPatriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia" (full text below).(1)I see that some commentators and other folks are making reference to "one thousand years", as if this is the first time in ten centuries thatthe Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow have met. This is indeed the firstmeeting of the two, but the Moscow Patriarchate was not established until the 16th century, as Rev.

Songs In the Key of Eternal Life

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Inheritance, the new album by singer, songwriter, and pianist Audrey Assad [www.audreyassad.com],releases today. A collection of hymns and original songs, the beautiful, contemplative album features Audrey's crystalline vocals and tasteful piano in lush, cinematic-li

Four reasons why Pope Francis will meet with Patriarch Kirill

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The first, historicmeeting between a Pope and a Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church does notcome from nowhere. Both the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate and the Holy See havebeen working on such an event for decades.In atle

Silence in the Liturgy

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

In an essay published in Italian in L’Osservatore Romanoon January 30, 2016, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation forDivine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, discusses the meaning ofsilence in the Roman liturgy. The following English translation was preparedfrom the original, unabridged French text.Many Catholics rightly complainabout the absence of silence in some forms of th

Why We Need Lent

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Editor's note: This essay appears in He Spoke to Us: Discerning God’s Will in People and Events, by Father George William Rutler. It was originally published in Crisis Magazine, March 1, 2001.Lenten days bring two images immediately to mind, at leastto my own idle mind. The first is of the bishops’ gat

The Islamization of America? Contemplating the Unthinkable

Monday, February 08, 2016

Some places in Europe—Parisian suburbs, areas of Brussels, all of Sweden—are well on their way to Islamization. But the possibility that this could happen in America may seem remote. Our Muslim population is small, the Middle East is oceans away, our military is powerful, and our police are well-trained. Terrorist groups and lone wolves might make life very uncomfortable for us, but the thought of America turning into an Islamic society is difficult to entertain.

O Christ, Where Are Thou?

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Hail, Caesar! is the much-anticipated addition to the canon of the famed Coen brothers’ films—a list which includes both dramas like True Grit and quirky cult classics like O Brother, Where Art Thou? Their latest movie certainly bears that clever Coen touch: set in the Golden Days of Hollywood, it recounts a day in the life of studio producer/fixer Eddie Mannix (winningly gruff and honest Josh Brolin). The latest proje

Bridges of San Luis Rey: Early sacred music from Latin America

Friday, February 05, 2016

Is TheBridge of San Luis Rey, with which in 1927 Thornton Wilder obtained hisfirst—almost his only—huge success as novelist, still read widely? It deservesto be. If a book can survive having its concluding chapter unctuously quoted byTony Blair in 9/11’s aftermath, it can survive almost anything the crookedtimber of humanity can inflict on it. (This concluding chapter also inspiredthe English-language title of Alma Mahler&#x20

What Should We Do About Natural Law?

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Catholics talk about natural law, but what’s it all about?Basically,it’s a system of principles that guides human life in accordance with our nature and our good, insofar as those can be known by natural reason. It thereby promotes life the way it evidently ought to be, basedon what we are and how the world is, from the standpoint of an intelligent, thoughtful, and well-intentioned person.It’s much the same, at least in bas

Behind the Scenes at Vatican II

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

OnJanuary 29, 1959, Pope John XXIII shocked the Church and the world withhis announcement at the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls in Rome that he was convoking the first ecumenical council in nearly a century. In fifth grade, Sister Regina Rose began to inform us of the impending council, noting that we would be living through a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  With that in mind, she also assigned us the task of compiling a scrapbook of newspaper clippi

Have we blurred the boundaries between the ordained and the laity?

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Celebrating Mass on January 17 and commissioning seven newpastoral associates for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Archbishop José Gomez thankedthe three women and four men for their “generous response to the spirit.” Thenewly installed pastoral associates join others in the archdiocese in servingalongside orda

Who are the Real Anti-Semites?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in France with reported hate crimes against Jews having doubled over the last year.Ifyou follow the news from the Continent, you might think that increased Anti-Semitism has something to do with the increased presence of Muslimsin France. After all, as polling datashows, anti-Semitic attitudes are most prono

Fatima at 100: The message of Our Lady for today

Friday, January 29, 2016

This year marks the 100thanniversary of the beginning of the Fatima apparitions. In spring 1916,the Angel of Peace appeared to three small children—Lucia Dos Santos, nine, and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, ages eight and six—for first of three times that year in preparation for six apparitions of the Blessed Mother in 1917, beginning on May 13 of that year. Francisco and Jacinta died shortly after and have since been declared Blessed;

The Story of Kullervo and the origins of Tolkien’s legendarium

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Looking back on his time inWorld War I—something he hated to discuss—J.R.R. Tolkien revealed that he hadwritten some of the first parts of his massive legendarium under less-than-idealcircumstances. He had conceived TheSilmarillion in grimy canteens,at lectures in cold fogs, in huts full of blasphemy and smut, or by candlelightin bell-tents, even some down in dugouts under shell fire” (Letters ofJ.R.R. Tolkien, 78).

"Partakers in the Suffering”: Recent events in China’s hopeful Church

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Beloved,do not be startled at the trial by fire now taking place among you to prove you, as if something strange were happening to you; but rejoice, in so far you are partakers of the Suffering of Christ.” (1 Peter 4:12)“Citizensof the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief,” asserts Article thirty-

A Bishop Speaks to the Men of His Flock

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Last fall Bishop ThomasOlmsted of Phoenix released Into the Breach: AnApostolic Exhortation to Catholic Men, inviting Catholic mento return to an active practice of their faith and re-assume their roles asfathers in society. Citing statistics from the Center for Applied Research intothe Apostolate, Bishop Olmsted laments a steep decline in the practice of theCatholic faith—since

The "True" Islam

Saturday, January 23, 2016

I.Lumen Gentium,the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Vatican II, states that the Mohammedans “profess their faith as the faith of Abraham, and with us they worship the one, merciful God who will judge men on the last day” (par 16). At first sight, that statement appears friendly and matter-of-fact; the “faith” of Muslims is evidently thought to be the same “with us”. We “agree&

Francis affirms indissolubility of marriage, objectivity of annulment conditions

Saturday, January 23, 2016

In his annual speech to the Holy See's main court on Friday, Pope Francis affirmed the indissolubility of marriage and clarified that poorly developed “personal faith” is not itself a grounds for finding that a marriage is null.“It should be clearly affirmed that the quality of faith is not an essential condition for matrimonial consent,” the Pope said in his Jan. 22 address to the judges of the Roman Rota at the Vatican's Clementine

The hijacking of the women’s movement, and the resurgence of pro-life feminism

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sue Ellen Browder has worked as ajournalist for more than 40 years, writing for several decades for Cosmopolitan and other women’s magazines.Her articles from that period were calculated to “soft sell” the Cosmo lifestyle and all that it entailed—includingcasual sex, contraception, and abortion. Her new book Subverted(Ignatius Press) tel

The First Grace of Mercy is the Grace of Conversion

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Justwhat is a jubilee year? Its roots are found in Jewish law and practice,with Leviticus 25:10 as the signal text calling for a remission of debts – spiritual and temporal – every fifty years. Boniface VIII introduced that tradition into the Church in 1300, with subsequent popesproclaiming such “ordinary” jubilees every fifty years; “extraordinary”jubilees have been declared for particular anniversaries (e.g., Pius XII did so to

When the U.S. Abandoned a Catholic President

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

OnNovember 2, 1963, shortly after they attended Mass in the city of Cholon, Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu were taken from a nearby Marian grotto and executed. They had fled Saigon in the face of a military coup, a revolution encouraged by the United States government, which had repeatedly pledged its support for Diem. In retrospect, Diem’s fall was a pivotal moment in the Vietnam conflict, a significant cause of the “qua

Is Loyola Marymount University Losing its Catholic Identity?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Like many institutions of highereducation in the United States, Loyola Marymount University wrestles withquestions of religious identity. These discussions—at least as they relate to facultycomposition—can now be better informed thanks to a recent “Faculty Climate Survey.”Of the 392 professors who took the Faculty Climate Survey, 94 (24 percent)indicated that they are Catholic. The percentage of Catholic professors at LMUis well

The Almost-Secret Polka Life of Randy Koslosky

Saturday, January 16, 2016

I met the newest member of the International PolkaAssociation (IPA) Hall of Fame, Randy Koslosky, at a large bagel establishmenteast of Pittsburgh for lunch.If you think of Gus Polinski, the “Polka King of the Midwest”—John Candy’s character in the movie Home Alone—when you hear the word“polka,” Koslosky will make you think again. If you know h

"RISEN" Depicts the Resurrection as Historical and Theological Mystery

Thursday, January 14, 2016

TheBiblical epic, once a mainstay in the film industry of a bygone era, may be poised for a comeback. 2014 saw the release of Darren Aronofsky’sNoah as well as Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings. While these large scale films

Theory, Practice, and the Church

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Therehas been a great deal of talk in the Church lately about a supposed opposition between rules and reality, theology and life, doctrine and pastoral considerations. Some of the talk has gone to extremes, suggesting that rules, doctrine, and organized thought matter little in comparison with the pastoral needs of the immediate situation.Suchtalk, like other extreme positions, can sometimes be useful to make a point, but made habitual the approach would

Pope Francis and Catholic Traditionalists: 20 Questions for Kenneth Wolfe

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Kenneth J. Wolfe isan American Catholic writer who contributes to Rorate Caeli, the most-read Catholic traditionalist blog in the world. Hiswriting has appeared in the New YorkTimes, the Washington Post, the New York Daily News, and The Remnant, among other publications. Mr.Wolfe, who lives in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia with his wife, ho

Traditional religious life: The real “Benedict Option”

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

At first blush, with today’scrises in the world and the Church, one might not think that this would be atime for a flowering of religious vocations. In the world, we are watching the MiddleEastern situation escalating daily, and in the Church we struggle to keep ourcool as bishops and cardinals line up against each other on either side ofcrucial doctrines.In both crises, noone has any idea what will happen next. So

Increase in Ordinations the Result of Faithfulness and Orthodoxy

Monday, January 11, 2016

Whilethe Church faces serious demographic and geographic challenges thathave required parish closings in urban cores of cities in theNortheast and Upper Midwest, there is reason for optimism amongCatholics in the U.S. As bishops have had to consolidate parishesand close churches in New York City, Cleveland, Hartford, and otherurban areas, there have been major expansions and new parishesemerging in Catholic-rich suburban sunbelt areas in the South and theWest.

God, the Professors, and the Islamization of Europe

Friday, January 08, 2016

On December 7, 1990, less than a year after dismantling of thenotorious Berlin Wall started, I gave a talk entitled “A New Political WorldDisorder?” at a prestigious international colloquium whose chief topic was“Transition in Eastern Europe.” The conference was held at a beautiful villa inTrevio, Italy, just north of Venice. Because participants included representativesof different governmental parliaments, university dons, l

What does 2016 hold for US women religious?

Thursday, January 07, 2016

On the surface, newsin 2015 about United States women religious appeared to be far more positivethan in previous years:•The Vatican’s unprecedented apostolic visitation of women’s religiousorders had concluded amicably in late 2014, and in 2015 none of the di

Catholics and November 8th

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

To redeploy a phrase from President Ford, our “long national nightmare” – in this case, the semi-permanent presidential campaign – will be over in eleven months, or at least suspended for a year or so. It’s not been an altogether edifying show to date; one may hope that, as the fields get winnowed down, a measure of the serious debate that befits a great republic might emerge. With a view to encouraging that, here are two suggestions for what Catholic

Mary, Mother of Us All in the New Year

Monday, January 04, 2016

TheChurch recently celebrated the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God — a wonderful way to begin the New Year. Some might be inclined to fault theChurch for placing this solemnity on New Year’s Day when the holy day of obligation is likely to be viewed with some displeasure by those who have been up late enjoying the festivities of the previous night. I disagree—this is the perfect day for such a feast.Althoughthe origins of the cel

The Kiss of Jesus and the Beauty of the Cross

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle is known to many Catholics as the host of EWTN's “Everyday Blessings for Catholic Moms” and “Catholic Mom’s Café" and the author of several award-winning and best-selling books. Her new book, The Kiss of Jesus: How Mother Teresa and the Saints Helped Me to Discover the Beauty of the Cross,published by Ignatius Press,

“The Best Books I Read in 2015”

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

“That is a good book,” wrote Amos Bronson Alcott(1799-1888), the father of novelist Louisa May Alcott, “which is opened withexpectation, and closed with delight and profit.”It’s also true, as the author of Ecclesiastes wrote, ofmaking many books there is no end. But, of course, I read that in abook—The Good Book. A world without books is hard to imagine, and amongthe gr

Porn is the new tobacco, says Catholic therapist

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishopsapproved Createin Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography by a vote of230-4 (and one abstention) at their November 2015 meeting in Baltimore. The documentdiscusses Church teaching on human sexuality and chastity, s

Novel Reflections on "Submission"

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

“’It’ssubmission,’ Rediger murmured. ‘The shocking and simple idea, which hadnever been so forcefully expressed, that the summit of human happiness resides in the most absolute submission. I hesitate to discuss the idea with my fellow Muslims, who might consider it sacrilegious, but for me there’s a connection between woman’s submission to man, as its describedin the Story of O, and the Islamic idea of man&#x2019

Europe, Evangelization, and Civilizational Suicide

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Lastmonth, the See of Lisbon reached the halfway point of its two-year-longSynod on a theme taken from Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium. Centuries ago, ships departed from that port city in order to carry the Gospel to all the points of the globe. In recognition of the evangelizing efforts of the Portuguese people, Pope Clement XI elevated the Diocese of Lisbon to the rank of Patriarchate in 1716. The Synod that concl

Christmas, Apocalypse, and the World Today

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmasis a reminder that we live in a certain sort of war zone. And the suffering of those who live in war zones with bombings, physical violence, and killing is a reminder that the deepest roots of all conflicts are spiritual, not simply political. "God", wrote C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity,"has landed on this enemy-occupied world in human form.” What was the purpose of this divine invasion b

Why, you ask, is celebrating Christmas an act of defiance?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

“Actually,” you say, afterreading the above title, “I never thought of celebrating Christmas as an act ofdefiance.”But I suggest that perhaps youshould.“Why?” you ask.Why what?“Why is celebrating Christmas anact of defiance?”So you have asked the qu

Christmas and a World Upside-down

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Biblical scholars generally agree that Luke’s Gospel was written at least a generation later than Paul’s first letter to the Christians at Corinth. Yet whatever the dating, and irrespective of scholarly disputes about whether “Luke,” theauthor of the eponymous Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, and “Luke,” the companion of Paul mentioned in Acts and several Pauline letters, are the same person, First Corinthians and Luke-Acts

Finding God in “Absurd” Places: A Pilgrimage East

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Like many ofthe faithful who live in the Western hemisphere, my imagination has often beendrawn far to the east, where our Lord lived, died, and rose again. This isespecially true around Christmas, when we celebrate what Kierkegaard called the“absurd” proposition of the Incarnation. In this season, we are called toliterally “re-orient” ourselves by turning our attention east to where Jesusbegan his earthly life in the first

Europe no longer knows its roots, says Vatican’s top ecumenical officer

Monday, December 21, 2015

Rome(kath.net, December 19, 2015). Synodality, ecumenism, intercommunion, and “the newminority in the Church and the world” are just a few of the topics in anextensive conversation that Armin Schwibach of Kath.net was able to have withthe President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, CardinalKurt Koch, on the occasion of the forthcoming celebration of Christma

The Reality of Myth and the Force of Star Wars

Friday, December 18, 2015

Editor's note: Spoiler alert!If I told you that Star Wars: The Force Awakensis the best Star Wars movie ever made, you wouldn’t want to believe me.The original trilogy of films, the first two especially, have become sosacrosanct in the memory of many, nothing could ever rival their definitive status.But the new Star Wars film from J.J. Abrams is abeautiful achievement, and not just because it returns t

Italy records sharp abortion decline

Friday, December 18, 2015

“The phenomenon of decline continues.” With those words Italy’s Ministerof Health Beatrice Lorenzin began her recent presentation before Parliamenton the Annual Report for 2014 on abortion in Italy, as mandated by enabling Law194/78. Ms. Lorenzin was referring to preliminary data for 2014 on the numberof abortions in Italy, which have fallen consistently for 10 consecutive years.Last year abortions

Catholicism, Terrorism, and Responsibility

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A new book reveals that Pope Pius XII was intimately involved in a plot to kill Hitler. His contacts with German Catholics from the days when he was Apostolic Nuncio put him in a unique position to orchestrate the overthrow of the tyrant. Today, it’s difficult to imagine a pope strategizing the downfall of a dictator. But it’s also difficult for us to imagine the terror th

Violence in Burundi, and Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Burundiis bleeding. Yet it seems no one is paying attention, while those with thecapacity to help restore peace are occupied with other priorities; especiallyBurundi’s neighbors, Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.Last weekend, the country experienced one of the worst episodes of violencesince the current political crisis broke out in April after the president,Pierre Nkurunziza, announced his intention to seek a third term in

A Deeper Vision: Catholicism and the Past Century

Monday, December 14, 2015

In the summer of 1901, Jacques Maritain (who would go on to become the most influential Catholic philosopher of the twentieth century) and his future wife Raïssa Oumançoff (a Jewish refugee from Russia, later a notable mystic and poet) were walking together in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. They were both studying science at the Sorbonne, and the scientific vision of materialism then dominant seemed so cold and superficial to them that they decided, if the

What is Family?

Monday, December 14, 2015

A few houses down the block from mine there’s a house with two women in their late 30s or early 40s and two boys ages 12 or 13 living in it. Just about the only man I’ve ever seen there is the pizza delivery guy, and he doesn’t get beyond the front door.I suppose each of the women is mother of one of the boys. Now and then I think about those kids and ask myself a question: No doubt they’re members of a family—but what fam

Reflections on Pope Francis' interview returning from Africa

Saturday, December 12, 2015

This other shore is, of course, eternal life, heaven, which awaits us. Looking towards the world to come has always been a source of strength for Christians, of the poor, of the least, on their earthly pilgrimage. Eternal life is not an illusion; it is not a flight from t

St. Patrick’s Cathedral: America’s Parish Church

Friday, December 11, 2015

New York’s St. Patrick’sCathedral—arguably the most storied church in United States—recently received a$177 million restoration that was completed just in time for Pope Francis’svisit to the United States in September. Today, St. Patrick’s is known as aplace of sacred rest and solace in the heart of one of the busiest cities inthe world. St. Patrick’s

Cardinal Müller: Year of Mercy an invitation to know, follow Jesus Christ

Thursday, December 10, 2015

At the opening of the Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has granted to CNA an exclusive interview touching on mercy in several of its aspects.Please find below the full text of the conversation:CNA: What is mercy for a theologian?

A peritus remembers Vatican II

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Father Don Dietz, OMI was a peritus (consulting theologian) at theSecond Vatican Council, assisting Bishop of Stockholm John Taylor, OMI. Hespoke recently with Dawn Eden abouthis experiences at the council.Dawn Eden: How did you come to be chosen to be a peritus at the Second Vatican Council?

Pope Francis’s Holistic Understanding of “the Environment”

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Somethingnot mentioned often enough is that when Pope Francis uses the term “theenvironment,” he means something very different from what your usualrun-of-the-mill “environmentalist” means by the term. “Environmentalists” tendto think of the “environment” as something that excludes humans; Pope Francisdoes not. There is more evidence that when Pope Francis talks about “theenvironment,&#x201

The Unsoundness of Synod 2015’s “New Way”

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Sections 84-86 of Synod2015’s final report are ambiguous. While the starting point for thedrafting committee’s work on this section was a unanimous report of the bishopsin the German-speaking small discussion group, amendments tightened up thattext. Commenting on the Synod’s final report, Cardinal Kasper said that “thedoo

The Shootings in San Bernardino: Another View

Saturday, December 05, 2015

After almost every shooting involving a Muslim perpetrator, from 9/11 to Fort Hood to San Bernardino, we hear, from the President on down, some version of the following on-going narrative: “We are horrified by this inexplicable, horrendous act. Our hearts go out to the victims. This atrocity again proves the need for more gun laws.” We then have a statement from some Muslim group; its spokesmen, often women, are also horrified. They had nothing to do with it; they kne

The Unbearable Oppression of Yoga

Friday, December 04, 2015

Traditionallogic is famous for classifying human beings as “rational animals.” What would traditional logicians make of the current craze of student activists who seek explicit institutional enforcement of “safe spaces” on campus?Student protests have erupted in recent weeks, most notably at Yale University and the University of Missouri. As fascinating demands are made, much tumult has ensued. The president of the University of Mi

A Gentile Development? A Second Response to John Martens

Friday, December 04, 2015

Here, after some delay resultingfrom the vicissitudes of life anddeath this vale of tears and the unforeseen quotidian professional and personal demands ofeach new day, I offer a second response (my first can be read here) to John Martens’

In California, 27 Iraqi Christian Refugees Refused Asylum

Thursday, December 03, 2015

While the US government has approved theentry of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees fleeing war in their country, 27Iraqi Chaldean Catholics, seeking to escape violence and anti-Christian persecutionin their homeland, weredenied entry into the United States last month. Th

Why the Unreality?

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

People who reject secular progressivism, especially in its more highly developed forms, are often puzzled by its proponents. Do they really believe what they say they believe, for example that diversity is alwaysstrength, or traditional religion and morality are dangerous and irrational bigotries, or there are no significant differences between men and women?Some say they don’t really believe such things, at least the informed and intelligent ones

The Off-the-Cuff and Out-of-Focus Papacy

Monday, November 30, 2015

Acouple of weeks ago I gave a talk at the local Knights of Columbus about the Synod of 2015. To be honest, I didn't want to give the talk; Ihad been asked to do it back in September and I figured it would be easy enough to discuss for 30 or 40 minutes. Certainly there was no lackof material. In fact, a key reason for my reluctance was the overwhelming amount of information: how to present it and analyze

Pope to Central African Christians: Be artisans of renewal in your country

Monday, November 30, 2015

Bangui, Central AfricanRepublic, Nov 30, 2015 / 03:19 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During the final Mass of his first visit toAfrica, Pope Francis cal

Christ’s love will overcome devastation, Pope Francis tells Central African Republic

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bangui, Central AfricanRepublic, Nov 29, 2015 / 10:35 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In the Central African Republic on Sunday,Pope Francis delivered a

Francis concludes time in Uganda with three points for priests, religious

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Kampala, Uganda, Nov 28, 2015 - Pope Francis wrapped up his public appearances in Uganda with an address to the priests, religious and seminarians of the country at the Cathedral in Kampala.In an off-the-cuff homily in the Jesuit tradition – brief, with three main points – Pope Francis reflected on three words: memory, fidelity and prayer.The greatest treasure of the memory of the Ugandan people is the witness of their martyrs, the Holy Father sai

Fr. Spitzer's Brilliant Examination of the Whole of Reality

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Webegan…by noting that our view of consciousness is the new field upon which the academic and cultural battle between materialism, panpsychism,and transcendentalism is being waged. We now see that the outcome of this battle will not only affect our personal view of life’s purpose, the world, human dignity, and human value, but also the culture’s outlook on these important ideas and ideals. Jesus’ proclamation that

The Catholic Origins of Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Did you know that Thanksgiving isa Catholic holiday? True, it’s not on the Church calendar. And it is celebratedonly in America, whereas Church holidays are universal.Our national holiday is certainlyan event that has taken on a life of its own, with an established traditioninvolving turkey and mashed potatoes, football, shopping, and a four-dayweekend—which is fascinating since none of those things have anythin

Africa prepares to welcome Pope Francis

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

WhenPope Francis met the Kenyan bishops during their ad limina visit at the Vaticanin April 2015, one of them, Bishop Anthony Muheria of the Diocese of Kitui,joked in Italian, “Thank you, Your Holiness, for saying you will come toKenya!”—to which Pope Francis replied, “No, no, I only said I was thinkingabout it!” Four months later, on August 27, the chairman of the KenyaConference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Philip Anyolo

France’s Catholic Revolution

Monday, November 23, 2015

When manythink about France and religion today, the images that usually come to mind arethose of a highly secular society with a growing Islamic presence: acombination of widespread indifferentism, epicurean Voltairans, persistentanti-Semitism, increasingly radicalized Muslims, and now jihadist-inspired andorganized terrorism. But now even some secular French journalists have startedwriting about a phenomenon that’s become difficult to ignore: an i

Cardinal Sarah: "God is disappearing from society...no one is interested in God"

Friday, November 20, 2015

At the presentation of his new book Cardinal Robert Sarah said that Western society is rapidly forgetting God, and expressed his desire to help people rediscover him through both prayer and witness.“I would like to help people discover God in their lives, because many of us have lost God,” Cardinal Sarah told CNA at the Nov. 20 presentation of his new book, God or Nothing

Revised Voting Guide Spurs Scrutiny, Debate at Bishops’ Meeting

Friday, November 20, 2015

Attheir annual fall meeting in Baltimore, the U.S. bishops voted to issue a newintroductory note and make limited revisions to their quadrennial statement onpolitical responsibility.But whilethe vote was overwhelmingly in favor, it was not without controversy.The 2007voting guide, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” was among thesubjects discussed by the U.S. Conference of Catholi

Who Will Reform Islam?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Those who are relying on the moderate Muslims of the world to correct their errant brethren might profit from a news story out of Pakistan. The All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF) has launched a book titled I am Not Malala, I am Muslim, I am Pakistani. It’s meant to “counter [the] anti-Islamic propaganda” in Nobel Pri

Apostolic Nuncio: Direction of Catholic schools "must always be set by Christ and his Church"

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Catholic schools can embrace their identity through familiarity with Christ, devotion to the Virgin Mary and a commitment to Christian life and teaching, the apostolic nuncio to the United States told the nation’s bishops.“Educational leaders should regain firm command of the helm of their institutions through the storms of the present times,” said Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.“The coursemust always be set by Christ

The Lesson of Paris

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Of allthe commentaries on the Paris massacres I’ve read, the one that seems mostperceptive is a piece by Judith Bergman for the Gatestone Institute titled “How Can Anyone Be Shocked?”Indeed. The attacks had all the inevitability of a Greek tragedy: they wereentirely predictable. Nevertheless many reacted with “shock,” including AngelaMer

ISIS at the Doors: Erasing the Memory of a Christian Europe

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Inthe wake of last weekend’s terror attacks in Paris, Europe continues tofall deeper into her spiritual and cultural torpor. As I write these words, the continent is still absorbing the shocking news that some 129 people will never see the sun rise again. For the second time this year,terrorism has struck at the heart of France. However, this time President François Hollande has declared a state of emergency and ordered all borders closed. 

Making the Case for Catholic Education

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Dr. Ryan N.S. Topping has written for numerouspublications on a variety of Catholic themes and figures, includingSt. Augustine, Dante, and G.K. Chesterton, and is the author of six books,including most recently Renewingthe Mind: A Reader in the Philosophy of Catholic Education (CatholicUniversity o

Pope Francis: Paris terrorist attacks are part of "piecemeal WWIII"

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The acts of terrorism which took place in Paris Friday night are the latest part in what Pope Francis has called a “piecemeal World War III,” describing the attacks as “inhuman.”“There is no justification for these things,” the pontiff said in a 

Pope Francis and the Changing Times

Friday, November 13, 2015

"Althoughthe universal Church of God is constituted of distinct orders of members, still, in spite of the many parts of its holy body, the Church subsists in an integral whole….” — Pope Saint Leo the Great, Sermon #4."Times change and we must change with them.” — Pope Francis, Homily, Santa Marta, October 23, 2015I.When Pope Fran

Modern Politics and the Death of Moral Consensus

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The inability of parties to America’s culture war to communicate meaningfully with one another on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and assisted suicide is a disturbing fact of national life today. One observer remarks that the two sides seem to be living in “different moral universes.”But that isn’t new. The problem is the same one analyzed in depth by, for example, Notre Dame philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre in his acclaimed bo

Vatican II and Religious Freedom: Rupture or Authentic Development?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

One of the most contentious and heavily debated topics in the Church during and following the Second Vatican Council is that of religious freedom. In recent years, questionsabout the nature, parameters, and recognition of religious liberty havebecome even more timely and pressing in the United States and other Western nations. In Freedom, Truth, and Human Dignity (E

Why is Amnesty International Defending the Executioners?

Monday, November 09, 2015

With the recent legalization of “same-sex marriage” in Ireland earlier this year, the sexual revolutionaries feel they have the momentum to decriminalize abortion on the Emerald Isle. Abortion is prohibited under the Constitution’s eighth amendment, which acknowledges “the right to life of the unborn, with due regard to the equ

The "Spectre" of Stereotypes

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Spectre, the latest installment in Daniel Craig's incarnation of the James Bond character, opens with an eerie sentence spread across the screen: "The dead are alive." The camera then plunges into an elongated opening shot of Mexico City's Day of the Dead festival, with Bond appearing in a skeleton costume. The message is clear: Bond, himself practically a walking dead man, will have to confront the ghosts of his past, the manymen and women whose deat

Marriage and the Matthean Jesus: A First Response to John Martens

Saturday, November 07, 2015

John Martens, a biblical scholar, published a piece online at the Jesuit-run America last Friday on “Jesus’ Teachings on Marriage and Divorce.”The entry is intended as a response to Ross Douthat’s invitation to those who disagree with his understanding of Catholic faith and Catholicsynods

Catholicism, Evolution, and Divine Revelation: A Second Look

Saturday, November 07, 2015

"Can he who made the ear, not hear? Can he who made the eye, not see?” — Psalm 94."Unfortunately,a significant number of the most influential theologians treat the issue as if evolution were already an established ‘dogma’. Meanwhile, the evidence of Tradition, as well as

René Girard's Genius and Generosity

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Editor's note: RenéGirard, the influential literary critic and Catholic philosopher, died on November 4 at the age of 91 after a long illness. Born on Christmas Day, 1923 in Avignon, Girard studied medieval history at the École des Chartes, Paris, and then came to the United States in 1947. After earning his doctorate at Indiana University, he held acadmic posts at Duke University, Bryn Mawr College, Johns Hopkins University, and the State U

Bishop Andari on plight of persecuted Christian families in the Middle East

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

"Foryears now, due to bloody conflicts, they have been victims of unspeakable atrocities. Their conditions of life have been further aggravated in recent months and weeks.” —

Bouyer's journey from Lutheran pastor to Ressourcement theologian

Monday, November 02, 2015

The ressourcement movementis arguably the most significant Catholic theological tradition of the twentieth century. Its thinkers figured prominently in shaping many of the documents of the Second Vatican Council; one of its brightest lightsbecame Pope Benedict XVI. For all of this, it remains largely unknown among Catholics outside of the small circle gathered around the journal Communio. In the stormy decades

More Thoughts About Immigration—and Some Suggestions

Sunday, November 01, 2015

As I noted last month,the basic function of government, like the basic function of authority in the family, is to look after the common good of the community being governed. For that reason, policymakers should take very seriously the effect of immigration on their own countries, and commentators should discuss those effects fully and honestly.This column

Saint Peter Damian, “Gomorrah”, and Today's Moral Crisis

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pope Benedict XVI, in his September 9, 2009 general audience,noted that the Benedictine monk, cardinal, and Doctor of the Church, St. Peter Damian (1007-72), was “one of the most significant figures of the 11th century … a monk, a lover of solitude and at the same time a fearless man of the Church, committed personally to the task of reform, init

Two Years Among the Liberal Theologians

Friday, October 30, 2015

Once, I was a theologian.But,to tell you the truth, as a believing Catholic who seeks to understand what it is she believes, I am still a theologian. I was taught this on the first day of my "Method in Theology" class in Toronto, and it wrote itself permanently on my heart. All believing Catholics who seek to understand what it is they believe are Catholic theologians, which meansthat Ross Douthat is a Catholic theologian. His academic critics

“Thanks to Your Noble Shadow”: The Life of the Last Irish Nun in Japan

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

In 2010, SisterPaschal (Jennie) O’Sullivan returned home to Ireland at the age of 98 after 75years of missionary work in Japan, which including teaching English at one ofthe Japan’s most prestigious girls’ schools, Denenchofu Futaba in Tokyo. Amongher past pupils is Japan’s Crown Princess Masako.Following SisterPaschal’s 100th birthday, her young cousin, James Creedon—who works in Paris

Ross Douthat and the Catholic Academy

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Many years ago, a local Chicago sportscaster named Howard Sudberry recounted a curious controversy surrounding a major league baseball game. Late in the contest, the team that would eventually win was up by ten runs. A player for that squad hit a single and then stole second base. The catcher of the trailing team whined after the game that this base-stealer was rubbing it in, essentially being unsportsmanlike. Well, Sudberry was having none of it. He loo

Apocalyptic Fiction

Monday, October 26, 2015

Michael D. O’Brien is a best-selling novelist, an insightful social critic, and an acclaimed painter. In 1996 Ignatius Press published his debut novel, Father Elijah: An Apocalypse, a powerful story of aCarmelite priest’s confrontation with the Antichrist. Since then, Ignatius has published ten more of his novels. His writing has been compared to Dostoyevsky by Peter Kreeft, and has been praised by the late Sheldon Vanauken, who said of Father

A Black Legend Refuted

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Of the eight Popes who shepherded the Church from 1903 to century’s end, none is so hotly disputed as Pius XII, who reigned from March 2nd, 1939 until his death on October 9th, 1958. At issue is the Pope’s alleged “silence” in the face of the Holocaust. His defenders point out that in reality he was not silent. At the start of World War II Pius authorized Vatican radio to broadcast reports of Nazi atrocities in Poland. These ceased only at the urgent ple

Calling Men to a Catholic Vision of Male Spirituality

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, known worldwide as the Dynamic Deacon,is a powerful speaker who has presented talks on marriage, family, and men's spirituality all over the world. He is a passionate evangelist andpreacher with a no-nonsense approach to living and proclaiming the Catholic faith. Deacon Burke-Sivers holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a master of theological studies from the University

Final synod document strongly backs Church teaching, beauty of family life

Saturday, October 24, 2015

With a two-thirds majority vote, the more than 200bishops gathered for the Vatican’s synod on the family upheld Church teachingon hot-button issues such as homosexuality and Communion for divorced andremarried persons.

Trampling on Christ: The Communion Crisis Not Addressed by the Synod

Friday, October 23, 2015

Howhis foot aches! And then the Christ in bronze speaks to the priest: ‘Trample! Trample! I more than anyone know of the pain in your foot. Trample! It was to be trampled on by men that I was born into thisworld. It was to share men’s pain that I carried my cross!’The priest placed his fo

The Pro-Life Coalition Lobbying the Synod of Bishops

Thursday, October 22, 2015

One of the mostactive lay organizations at the Synod on the Family is the international pro-familycoalition Voice of the Family. The organization arrived in Rome prior to the openingof the synod, set up operations just a block from the St. Peter’s, andimmediately set about informing bishops and the press about their concerns. Theirsis an association of organizations, each of which brings its own expertise totheir shared goal.

The Relationship of Mercy and Justice According to St. Thomas Aquinas

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wehave heard a lot about (the new) mercy during the past months, and withrespect to the (sometimes strange and surprising) topics discussed at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. The remarks of some of the participants in the debates gave the impression that the insistence on truth—and on justice based on truth—is indicative of a merciless mentality. Does that mean that in order to be merciful we have to reduceour emphasis on truth and justice? And so the

Synod finds strong support for Church teaching in Communion debate

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Despite pastoralchallenges posed by divorced-and-civilly-remarried Catholics, many synodfathers are in favor of current Church teaching and practice, according to anew round of small group reports.“Themajority without full consensus affirmed the current teaching and practice ofthe Church regarding the participation in the Eucharist of those who aredivorced and civilly remarried,” reads a new report from group “A” of the fourEnglish

The Wisdom of Humanae vitae and the Pastoral Care of the Family

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Asthey are gathered in Rome to discuss the “Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World,” the Synod Fathers ask themselves how to find new impetus for the pastoral care of the family. For this purpose it is important precisely to individuate the challengesthat confront the family in today’s societies. At least according to some sociologists, the biggest challenge is the sexual revolution (cf. M. Eberstadt,

“Rebuild, restore, and repair our sacred spaces”

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Enzo Selvaggi, 36, is founder of Heritage Liturgical,a liturgical design firm in Southern California committed to revivingtraditional sacred art and church architecturefor the purpose of promoting theNew Evangelization. He lived in San Marco Argentano in the Calabria region ofsouthern Italy until age 11.  Afterliving in California for a time, Selvaggi returned to

Intrinsic Evils, Final Realities, and the Synod

Friday, October 16, 2015

Itwas inevitable. Any discussion about marriage and the family during a synod of Catholic bishops was always going to involve questions of morality. Just as the furor around Humanae Vitaewas always about much more than contraception, so too do various proposals presented to the 2015 Synod unavoidably touch on the Catholic understanding of the mora

Cardinal Marx openly promotes Communion for divorced-and-remarried

Friday, October 16, 2015

After years of both direct and indirect remarks on the subject, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx issued his most direct statement yet in favor of offering Communion to the divorced-and-remarried.In an Oct. 14 addressto his fellow bishops from around the world, gathered at the Synod in Rome, he said that “we should seriously c

“Spiritual Friendship” and Ministering to the Same-Sex Attracted

Thursday, October 15, 2015

With the Synod of Bishops meetingin Rome, the Church’s teaching on homosexuality is again a source ofcontentious debate. In essentials, this doctrine cannot change, but does theChurch need to alter her tone or message to respond more sensitively to theneeds of the same-sex attracted?That question has been answeredin the affirmative by a group of people whom I will refer to as the “SpiritualFriends” or &#x20

Thoughts and Questions about Immigration

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

International migration occurs in varied settings and raises a variety of issues, so much so that sorting them out would be difficult even if some of them weren’t so inflammatory.The issues are basic as well as numerous, and go to the nature of the common good, the nature and purpose of national societies, and the relation between the good of a particular people and that of their neighbors and of particular persons. Under such circumstances, an overall discussio

Polish archbishop: Unless we recognize sin, Christ’s incarnation is meaningless

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ina wide-ranging and hard-hitting interview with EWTN Germany, ArchbishopStanislaw Gadecki of Poznan, president of the Polish bishops' conference, saidthat were we to cease to recognize sinfulness, then Christ's Incarnation wouldbe rendered “void of

The 'shadow council' works to influence the Synod on the Family

Sunday, October 11, 2015

When the first week's reports of the 13 small groups at the Synod on the Family were released on Friday, the influence of those who participated in May's “Shadow Council” could be discerned in the report of the German speaking group.The secretive May meetingwas organized by the German, French, and Swiss bishops' c

The True Mercy of Christ is the Real Promise of Sainthood

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pope Francis has made “mercy” the leitmotif of his pontificate, going so far as to declare a holy year of mercy as an extraordinary jubilee,beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception this December 8and running to the feast of Christ the King on November 20, 2016.Andthis is a jubilee with real teeth. It is no accident t

The Quebecoise Alternative to the St. Gallen Mafia

Saturday, October 10, 2015

One of the sobering thoughts about our present times is that two of the top papabile candidates at the last conclave were scholars who had devoted their intellectual work to the development of the Church’s understanding of the sacrament of marriage: Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the former Primate of Canada who is now the Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops.  These two men were definitely not members of the “St. Galle

‘Flawed, inadequate’ – bishops skewer synod’s working doc in new report

Friday, October 09, 2015

A controversial working document for the Vatican’ssynod on the family took a hard hit from numerous bishops who’ve called thetext overly negative, unclear, and possibly inaccurate in its translations.“Whilevarious elements of the (document) are admirable, we found much of the text tobe flawed or inadequate,” says a new report from group “D” of 

Newman, The Oxford Movement, and the Hunger for Dogma

Thursday, October 08, 2015

In the preface that John Henry Newman wrote as an old man to a reissue of Tract 90,the pamphlet that preceded his conversion to the Church of Rome, he made some characteristically incisive points. First, he identified what he called the “all-important question” of the Tract as “whether the 39 Articles… one by one… were (as was said at the time) &

African bishops reject Western push for 'ideological colonization'

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Heavy criticism of the West imposing secular values on Africa in exchange for aid emerged as a theme from the continent's bishops, as theVatican's synod on the family kicks off its first week.From press conferences to individual interviews, multiple prelates voiced concern over what Pope Francis has termed “ideological colonization,” inwhich Western nations have made the acceptance of legislature favoring gay rights and “marriage&#x2

Annulment Reform and Pastoral Challenges for Struggling Couples

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Could the annulment reformspromulgated by Pope Francis last month cause “crises of conscience” among someCatholic couples who are struggling in their marriages? It’s a possibility, says canon lawyerEdward Peters. Shortly after the publication of the motu proprio Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus, whichoutlined changes to the Catholic Church’s annulment process,

Full text of Cardinal Erdo's introductory report for the Synod on the Family

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

On Oct. 5, the opening day of the 2015 Synod on the Family, Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest -- who is the synod's relator general -- gave an introductory speech to the synod fathers. Drawing from the working document for the synod as well as recent magisterial documents, Cardinal Erdo surveyed the work the assembly is called to do. He examined current challenges to the family and marriage, the vocation of the family, and the family's mission today.

"The Church has no authority...”: On the Limits of the Pope

Monday, October 05, 2015

The avalanche of media coverage of the Synod on the Family cannot be escaped, so rather than try to run from it, perhaps now is the time to try to provide some necessary context to what will (and will not) take place in the next few weeks. To that end, there are two documents that make striking—if today virtually incomprehensible—claims about what popes cannot do. Keep these documents close to hand an

Walker Percy and the Atticus Finch Question

Saturday, October 03, 2015

In a 1956 article in Commonweal magazine, “Stoicism in the South”, author Walker Percy wr

The Church Must Be Prophetic in its Teachings on Marriage

Friday, October 02, 2015

This is the final part of an essay by Dr. Kampowski addressingtheological arguments on pastoral approaches to marriage and family, especiallythose raised during last year’s Synod of Bishops. This installment is a call toChurch leaders to clarify t

Thomas More: The Saint for the Synod

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

“To live together as brother and sister? Of course I have high respect for those who are doing this. But it’s a heroic act, and heroism is not for the average Christian.”Among the many statements madeby Cardinal Walter Kasper while making his case for changing Church teaching that prohibits divorced and civilly-remarried Catholics who choose not to live as

The Curious Case of the Intercepted Book

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

[Editor’s note: The following is an exclusiveexcerpt from Edward Pentin’s new book The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? AnInvestigation of Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family,available now from Ignatius Press as an

Abp. Kurtz on the Synod: Renewal of Culture Must Come Through Families

Monday, September 28, 2015

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, presidentof the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, will be one of the Americanbishops participating in the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishopson the Family October 4-25. The synod, the theme of which is “the vocation andmission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world,” follows onthe heels of the controversial 2014 Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synodof

Pope: Communion for divorced, remarried isn’t the only synod issue

Monday, September 28, 2015

Pope Francis told journalists on board hisflight to Rome that giving communion to divorced and remarried Catholics is a“simplistic” solution to the issue, and stressed that there are also otherproblems that need to be discussed. “(It)seems a bit simplistic to me to say that the synod, that the solution for thesepeople is that they can receive communion. That’s not the only solution (askedfor).” 

Francis reflects on U.S. trip, upcoming Synod, immigration, women's ordination

Monday, September 28, 2015

In a 47 minute Q&A with journalists on his way back to Rome Pope Francis touched on sensitive topics such as forgiving abusers and conscientious objection, as well as the upcoming synod of bishops and women’s ordination.The Pope answered 11 questions posed in English, Spanish and Italian Sept. 27 while on board his American Airlines overnight flight from Philadelphia to Rome.Among the themes addressed were the new, streamlined annulment process,

With Papal Visit Concluded, It's Full Synod Ahead

Sunday, September 27, 2015

As I watched coverage of the papal visit to the U.S. and waded through the steady—if wildly uneven—stream of articles about the same, Ibegan to wonder: "A month from now, after the Synod, how might perceptions of this visit and this pope be revisited and revised?" It isa question that goes beyond the level of a curious thought exercise. Bythe end of October we will, I think, have a far clearer understanding of exactly how radical this pontificate

Help youth be brave in opting for marriage and family, Pope tells bishops

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pope Francis told bishops Sunday that a widespread consumerismand desire to follow new fads has rendered youth fearful of commitments, andsaid that as pastors they must encourage youth to be brave in going against thetide.He beganhis speech, however, with an impromptu reflection on the clergy sex abusecrisis, mentioning that he had met earlier with victims and their families. Hesaid the victims “have become true heralds of hope a

Pope Francis challenges priests, religious to inspire vocations, love for Church

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Philadelphia, Pa., Sep 26, 2015 / 10:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).-The Church today is called to foster among young people a sense of responsibility and enthusiasm for the Gospel mission, Pope Francis said on Saturday to group of priests and religious gathered in Philadelphia’scathedral.Saying Mass in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul Sept. 26, the Roman Pontiff said creativity is

Pope Francis to NYC: Jesus still walks our streets. Tell everyone!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pope Francis on Friday had a brief, but urgent,reminder for the Catholics of New York City. They must proclaim the joy of Godand remember to care for all those who go unnoticed in their metropolis,because they have seen the “great light” of Jesus Christ.“Knowingthat Jesus still walks our streets, that he is part of the lives of his people,that he is involved with us in one vast history of salvation, fills us withhope,” the Pope said

Leave ideology behind and care for the human person, Pope tells UN

Friday, September 25, 2015

On Friday PopeFrancis told members of the United Nations that there is no room for“ideological colonization” in their agenda, and stressed the need to go beyondpolicies to concrete solutions in caring for the poor and vulnerable, as wellas the environment.In hisSept. 25 speech to a U.N. General Assembly Special Summit on SustainableDevelopment, Pope Francis pointed to the Preamble of the U.N. Charter, whichhighlights the need to promote “social

Catholic University students and faculty moved and challenged by Pope Francis

Thursday, September 24, 2015

On Wednesday, September 23, Pope Francis visited the National Shrine of theImmaculate Conception and the campus of The Catholic University of America to celebrate the canonization Mass of St. Junípero Serra. The visit to Catholic University makes Pope Francis the third pope,after Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2008, to visitthe university. It is the fifth time a pope has co

Pope promotes human dignity and the common good in address to Congress

Thursday, September 24, 2015

In his lengthy speechto the U.S. Congress on Thursday, Pope Francis said the family is beingthreatened today like never before, and praised American figures, includingAbraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., for their tireless efforts to defendfreedom and values.The Popealso boldly condemned the death penalty and the arms trade, calling for theirglobal abolition.“Howessential the family has been to the building of this country! And

Pope Francis: St. Junipero was “the embodiment of a Church which goes forth”

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pope Francis made history Wednesday by performing thefirst-ever canonization on U.S. soil, of St. Junipero Serra.St. Serra, a Franciscan missionary from Spain, founded nineCatholic missions in California, most of which would go on to become thecenters of major cities in the state.The trail-blazing life of this priest, Pope Francis said inhis homily at the Sept. 23 Mass of Canonization at the Bas

Pope to POTUS: Religious freedom “one of America’s most precious possessions”

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pope FrancisWednesday reminded U.S. president Barack Obama that religious freedom is one ofAmerica's most “precious possessions,” while lauding the nation's Catholicstheir work toward a society marked by tolerance and inclusivity.“Withcountless other people of good will, [American Catholics] are likewiseconcerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect theirdeepest concerns and their right to religious liberty,&#x201

A “Son of the Church,” Francis Confounds Both the Right and the Left

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Someon the political left claim that Pope Francis shares their economic views. CNN ranapiece claiming that the Pope is the “best friend” of the labor movement,and that his speeches sound like those of a “fiery union organizer.” The Washington Post likened

In speech to US Congress, Pope will likely clarify positions on economics, politics

Monday, September 21, 2015

Washington D.C., Sep21, 2015 (CNA/EWTN News).- OnThursday Pope Francis will become the first Bishop of Rome to address a jointsession of the US Senate and House of Representatives. During his speech hewill tackle the misinterpretation of his words on economics and politics.Thatexpectation is according to a source who saw the first drafts of the speech,and who spoke with CNA Sept. 18.

Pope in Cuba: Christians serve people, not ideology

Sunday, September 20, 2015

In his first Mass during apostolic trip to Cuba, Pope Francis centered his homily on the Christian call to service, which he said is never ideological, but involves putting our own interests aside for the sake of others.“Being a Christian entails promoting the dignity of our brothers and sisters, fighting for it, living for it,” the Pope said Sept. 20, addressing the tens of thousands of people gathered for Mass in Havana's Plaza de la Revolución – or Revolu

Restoration of ties with US a sign of hope, Pope says in Cuba

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Pope Francis landed in Havana on Saturday, the first of his 9-day visit to Cuba and the United States, telling officials that the recent normalization of relations between the two countries is a sign of hope and victory.“For some months now, we have witnessed an event which fills us with hope: the process of normalizing relations between two peoples following years of estrangement,” the Pope said Sept.  19, after landing in the Cuban capital of Havana.&#

WH invites dissenters, LGBT activists to welcoming ceremony for Pope Francis

Friday, September 18, 2015

Washington D.C., Sep 18, 2015 / 12:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).-The White House will host a welcoming ceremony for Pope Francis next week, but it has invited several LGBT activist allies who are working totarget Catholic beliefs and to influence the Synod on the Family.On Sept. 23, the White House will host hundreds of people on the South Lawn for a welcoming ceremony for Pope Francis’ first vis

Immigration or Invasion?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Europe’s embrace of mass immigration can be explained in part by guilt from the Nazi era. It’s no coincidence that Germany, which has the most guilt to deal with, has pledged to take in the most refugees.But other European nations are not free of guilt. Some of them collaborated with the Nazis, and even those who didn’t feel a need to expiate for the sin of European anti-Semitism.The irony is that Europe’s current welcoming poli

"Conservative" Catholics, Pope Francis, and CNN Spin

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

As longtime readers know, I tend to have a rather dour view of the mainstream media in the United States. However, I will give credit wheresuch credit is due: when they latch onto a particular hook or angle, they will latch onto it with a sort of zealous fervor and focus that is quite fascinating. And frustrating. For example: • 

Popes in these United States

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The history of popes in these United States is full of surprises.And one of them, to begin at the beginning, includes the little-known fact that Blessed Paul VI was not the first pontiff to set foot on American territory, when he landed at newly-renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport on October 4, 1965. No, the first pope to plant a papal slipper on the sovereign territory of the United States was Blessed Pius IX, way back in 1849.

Bl. Benedict Daswa: Husband, Father, Martyr

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Church in Southern Africa isrejoicing. On Sunday, September 13, at a colorful Mass in his home town ofTshitanini, Thohoyandou, in the Limpopo province of South Africa, TshimangadzoSamuel Benedict Daswa was officially declared “Blessed.” Murdered in 1990 atthe age of 43 for rejecting witchcraft, he is the first South African to beofficially recognized by the Church as a martyr for the Faith.Cardinal Angel

A “path” to sacramental marriage for those in non-marital unions?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

This is the fourth part of an essay by Dr. Kampowskiaddressing theological arguments on pastoral approaches to marriage and family,especially those raised during last year’s Synod of Bishops. This installment evaluatesthe ways in which specific “family models”—here, the divorced and civillyremarried and those in same-sex unions—may be considered “on the path” tosacramental marriage.

"Order": The Brief and Extraordinary Life of a Catholic Movement

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Almost no one remembers the short-lived journal, Order, asit appeared over eighty years ago and only lasted four issues. But the journal, which appeared the late 1920s, set off a chain of events that can, in hindsight, be described as the beginning of the “Catholic Literary Revival” of the twentieth century. Of course, it had a lot of help, but Order as a periodical served as a catalyst to connectEnglish-speaking Roman Catholics to their

The Complementarity of Men and Women, Across the Religious Spectrum

Friday, September 11, 2015

Thosewho are concerned about what Pope Francis might say at the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia will take heart when they readNot Just Good, but Beautiful: The Complementary Relationship between Man and Woman. Tobe released on September 21, this book is a compilation of speeches from the Humanum Conference, which was held in Rome in November 2014 to

Christianity, Kim Davis, and the "Law of the Land"

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Every Catholic, Christian, and man of good will should have recognized, as soon as the decision came down, that Obergefell,the so-called “Law of the Land” regarding same-sex marriage, is no law at all, but the enshrining of pure lawlessness and the will-to-power. And this not because the Supreme Court does not have the constitutional right to interpret law, but because it was a tendentious, ideological, and, it must be said, evil interpretation of c

The Story Behind the Synod’s Final Document

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

[Editor’s note: The following is an exclusiveexcerpt from Edward Pentin’s new book

Expedited annulment process focuses on speed, role of local bishops

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Vatican City, Sep 8, 2015 / 07:34 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a revamped marriageannulment process Pope Francis has made some significant changes, giving moreof a role to the local bishop, d

Conscience Clash and Double Standards in Kentucky

Monday, September 07, 2015

I’min no position to judge the case of Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis, soyou’ll have to look elsewhere for the latest hate-mongering or hero worship of her. Allow me to begin, rather, with this statement by the late Avery Cardinal Dulles from a 1998 article in the Jesuit magazine America:Anyeffort by a church to say what is morally permitted, required or prohibited by the law of God in the spheres of politi

Catholic Workers, Labor Unions, and Benedict XVI's "Caritas in Veritate"

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Whatis the responsibility of Catholic school teachers with regard to the spoken and lived representation of Catholic moral values? Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate isa helpful point of departure for some Labor Day observations about the recent contract negotiations between the San Francisco Archdiocese and its unionized Catholic high school tea

Finding the Good in Non-Marital Unions?

Friday, September 04, 2015

This is the third part of an essay by Dr. Kampowskiaddressing theological arguments on pastoral approaches to marriage and family,especially those raised during last year’s Synod of Bishops. This installmentfocuses on issues raised by the Synod’s interim and final reports.In the coming weeks, Catholic World Report will be publishingDr. Kampowski’s essay in five installments. The first can be

Public Order, Identity, and the Church

Friday, September 04, 2015

The age of Jenner, Obergefell,and #BlackLivesMatter puts issues of identity at the center of public life. As Catholics and citizens we need to understand what that means.Personalidentity orients us in the world. As such, it has both individual and social functions. It enables us to order our lives by telling us what weare and how we fit into the world. And it greatly eases social functioning by telling people how they connect to institutions and wh

The Rigging of a Vatican Synod?

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

[Editor’s note: The III Extraordinary General Assemblyof the Synod of Bishops on the Family that took place in October 2014 wascontroversial not only for the subject matter it discussed, but also for theway it was run. To find out what really went on before, during, and after thatheated fortnight, renowned reporter and analyst Edward Pentin spent monthsspeaking to many of those who were there and piecing together what happenedbehind the closed do

Pope Francis' visit to North America "one of the more sensitive...of the pontificate"

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Andrea Tornielli is a senior member of the Vatican press corps, the author of scores of books about the Pope, the Vatican, and the Catholic Church, including Francis: Pope of a New World (Ignatius Press, 2013) and Fioretti: The Little Flowers of Pope Francis – Heartwarming Stories of th

Marriage in Our Contemporary World: Pastoral Observations from an African Perspective

Sunday, August 30, 2015

[Editor’s note: The following isan exclusive excerpt from the book ElevenCardinals Speak on Marriage and the Family: Essays from a Pastoral Viewpoint, which will be published byIgnatius Press September 15. The book also includes contribu

The Lewis Society and the genuine enjoyment of rational disagreement

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Shouldthe opportunity ever arise to do a bit of time-traveling – say, if a police call-box materialized in front of me – I’d be inclined to ask forjust a short hop back, to Oxford in the 1940s, where (aided by a ring of invisibility) I could sit in on an Inklings meeting in C.S. Lewis’s Magdalen College rooms, or a Tuesday-morning gathering at the Eagle & Child pub.  Alas, no such travel is possible, but somethingjust as g

A Synod Is Not a Council—and Other Canonical Facts

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Since the 2014 Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops a growing theological divide has become apparent. This divide, evident among a small minority of cardinals and bishops present (and not present) at the Extraordinary Assembly, has been recognized through their views on how to “pastorally”apply Catholic teaching regarding marriage, family and sexual relations. It has also come to light that 

Why Spies? Uncovering the Appeal of Cinematic Secret Agents

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Spy films have routinely titillated American audiences at least since the Cold War, and this year is no exception, with Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., American Ultra, Agent 47, and Spectre all hitting the

Homosexuality, Suffering, and “Coming Out”

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A documentpreparing the groundwork for this fall’s synod asks some hard-hitting questionsabout homosexuality: How can the Christian community give pastoral attention to families withpersons with homosexual tendencies? What are the responses that, in lig

What Kind of Evil?

Monday, August 24, 2015

"Thegreatest evil is not now done in those sordid 'dens of crime' that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered… in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices.

Archdiocese of San Francisco and teachers reach contract agreement

Sunday, August 23, 2015

San Francisco, Calif., Aug 23, 2015 / 06:07 am (CNA/EWTN News).-Efforts to promote Catholic culture in the San Francisco archdiocese’s high schools and to agree on a contract acceptable for the schools’ teachers concluded on Wednesday with a new contract.  The months-long dispute months drew protests, interference from activist groups, and the attention of wealthy critics of

The Radical Assault on Marriage and Family, from Karl Marx to Justice Kennedy

Friday, August 21, 2015

Dr. Paul Kengor is a professor of political science at Grove City College (Pennsylvania) and the author of several best-selling books, including Dupes:How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century; God and Ronald Reagan; God and George W. Bush; God and

On Catholic Concerns About the Pope and the Integrity of the Church

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"TheChurch’s practice always results from what she receives and contemplates in revelation. Pastoral ministry cannot be detached from doctrine.” — Robert Cardinal Sarah, “Silent Action of the Heart” (July 2015)I.In the Path to Rome,Belloc remarked that as one gets older he he becomes more concerne

"Ex Corde Ecclesia" and "Donum Veritatis": Twenty-Five Years After

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

2015offers Catholic universities two silver anniversaries which are of particular importance. First, this year marks a quarter-century since Pope John Paul II issued his landmark apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesia, acharter describing a profoundly important and necessary vision for how Catholic universities are to be fully C

Catholic Men Need Priests Who Will Lead

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The New Evangelization has been amajor effort in the Catholic Church for more than 40 years. Unfortunately, ithas failed to stem several significant downward trends among faithful in the UnitedStates. Since2000, 14 million Catholics have left the faith, parish religious-educationparticipation of children has dropped by 24 percent, Catholic school attendancehas dropped by 19

Four Responses to the “What About Infertility?” Argument

Monday, August 17, 2015

Why is thegovernment in the marriage business? As I explain in TruthOverruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, it’s toencourage a man and a woman to unite as husband and wife to then be mother andfather to any children their union produces. It’s based on the anthropologicaltruth that men and women are distinct and complementary, the biological factthat reproduction

Why the German Bishops are Wrong about Abstinence for “Remarried” Catholics

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Thisis the second part of an essay by Dr. Kampowski addressing theologicalarguments on divorce and remarriage, especially as these questions were raisedduring last year’s Synod of Bishops. In the coming weeks, Catholic World Reportwill be publishing Dr. Kampowski’s essay in five installments. The first can beread

The Consistent—and Not So Seamless—Ethic of Life

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

In an August 3rd Chicago Tribune article, Archbishop Blaise Cupich of Chicago suggestedthat the widespread outrage ignited by the revelations that Planned Parenthood was selling body-parts extracted from aborted children represented an opportunity for Americanstoreaffirm o

Closed-Door Discussions are Published, and a Synod Storm Gathers

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

There is a storm warning ahead for the Ordinary Synod on theFamily, scheduled for October 2015 in Rome. Can there be “the possibility of anevolution of the ecclesiastical doctrine of marriage” in the Catholic Churchwithout the Synod fathers “betraying their own traditions”? That evolution isthe goal of some prominent theologians and canonists who met for three separateworkshops earlier this year, under the auspices of the P

Catholic Author on Pro-Life Feminism: It’s “the Ultimate Social Justice Campaign”

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

FiorellaNash is a novelist as well as an advocate for pro-life causes. Her novels,written under the name Fiorella De Maria, include PoorBanished Children, Do No Harm,and her latest, We’llNever Tell Them

Living the truth in love: The director of Courage on homosexuality and the synod

Monday, August 10, 2015

FatherPaul Check is the executive director of Courage,an international apostolate of the Catholic Church, which ministers to personswith same-sex attractions. This week, Courage is hosting a conference titled “‘Love One Another as IHave Loved You’: Welcoming and Accompanying Our Brothers and Sisters withSame-Sex Attraction.” Speake

Apostolate in the Civilization of the Image

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Inthe last few decades, the Church has been preoccupied with the condition of the world. It has sought to read the signs of the times andto interpret its precise ailments so that the Church might offer a custom cure. Following Vatican II, Pope Paul VI gave words to this impulse in Evangelii Nuntiandi (“Evangelization in the Modern World”, 1975), restating his remarks to the College of Cardinals, “‘The conditions of the society in w

August 9, 1945: Our Lady of Sorrows, Takashi Nagai and "A Song for Nagasaki"

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Itis often the case that global events are best understood when viewed through the prism of the individual lives caught up in them. With the coming of the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, the life of Takashi Nagai, as told in Fr. Paul Glynn’s A Song for Nagasaki(Ignatius Press, 2009), does just that, with the events of August 9, 1945—their reperc

A Kaleidoscope of "Beauteous Truth"

Friday, August 07, 2015

Onlyforeigners and politicians talk of ‘Britain.’” So wrote Englishman C. S. Lewis, deeming the British Empire a thing much too broad, big, and abstract to interest the true patriot. In Lewis’ reckoning “Great Britain” was not a country but an ideology, one which threatened to swallow the national identities of real homelands – the historic Englandno less than Wales and Scotland. The rich, diverse heritage of the islands

The Divinization of the Earth: A “Religion” Without a “God”

Thursday, August 06, 2015

"Withcries that pierce me to the heart, / my enemies revile me, / saying to me all the day long: / ‘Where is your God?’” — Psalm 42."Inpaganism, the Divine is that to which sacrifices must be offered. This is almost a definition. In this recent movement, Man is something that should be sacrificed on behalf of the Earth. The di

Taking the “long view” on Russia

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Queried about the Holy See’sless-than-vigorous response to Russian aggression in Ukraine, senior Vaticanofficials are given to saying (often with a dismissive tone, as if the questioncame from a dim-wit), “We take the long view.” On the diplomatic side, that“long view” seems to be a reprise of the Ostpolitikof Agostino Casaroli, who was Paul VI’s chief diplomatic agent behind

Empire and its Discontents

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Many people believe that ever more comprehensive global governance is needed for thewell-being and even survival of humanity. During the Soviet/American Cold War such concerns mostly had to do with the threat of nuclear warfare. Now they’re more likely to relate to ecological catastrophes resulting from economic and population growth. Either way, the system would apparently need all the attributes of centralized government to deal adequately with the threat, wh

Is Sex Meaningless? The Reply of Catholic Teaching

Monday, August 03, 2015

On June 26ththe Supreme Court ruled (by a slim 5 to 4 majority) that all states must now grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Writing for the majority Justice Anthony Kennedy contended that committed same-sex partnerships should be treated as fully equivalent in dignity and honor to traditional marriage, and that by not doing so traditional morality is demeaning and oppressive to same-sex persons. Other events too—such as the

Anton Bruckner and God

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Editor's note: This is an abridged and otherwise edited version of a lecture given at the CarolineChisholm (Catholic) Library, Melbourne, on July 7, 2015.+++At the very start, I want to explain that this is basically The Rough Guide to Bruckner.There are plenty of Bruckner scholars out there; and I would not for a moment pretend to be one of them. Whilst I have loved Bruckner’s music for decades, I cannot read Ger

A Plurality of Family Models: Imperfect Expressions of the Same Ideal?

Friday, July 31, 2015

The following is an essay by Dr. Kampowskiaddressing theological arguments on divorce and remarriage, especially as thesequestions were raised during last year’s Synod of Bishops. In the coming weeks,Catholic World Report will be publishing Dr. Kampowski’s essay in five installments.This is the first.Introduction: Idealizing marriage and family?&#x2

Extremists execute the unborn, Christians seek truth and justice

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Yesterday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest, when asked about PresidentObama's reaction to the series of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress in which Planned Parenthood officials discuss selling fetal organs for profit, "said the videos were released in a 'fraudulent way' with 'not a lot of evidenc

One year to go: Krakow prepares for World Youth Day 2016

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

While Pope Francis registered for the World Youth Day 2016—tobe held in Krakow, Poland, exactly a year from this week—Krakow came alive as the local organizing committee and young people launched the year-long countdown.This past Sunday, after Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, longtime aide to Pope Saint John Paul II and President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity whichi

'Shadow council' speakers push acceptance of contraception, homosexuality

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Rome, Italy, Jul 29, 2015 / 03:01 am (CNA).-Yes to contraception, homosexual acts, and Communion for the divorced and remarried – all considering the circumstances. No to understanding any acts as intrinsically evil.These are the positions advocated by speakers at the May 25 “

"Senseless" Violence and Ideological Warfare

Monday, July 27, 2015

Soon after the murder of five servicemen in Chatanooga, politicians and government officials began to refer to the massacre as “senseless”.Defense Secretary Ash Carter called it a “senseless act of violence,” Hillary Clinton pronounced it “an act of senseless violence,” and Tennessee Congressman Scott DesJarlais concurred that it was a “senseless act

Defending the Defender of the Jews

Monday, July 27, 2015

Thename Israel means “The one who wrestles with God.” It was given to Jacob, the Number Three Hebrew Patriarch, after an all-night bout with the Angel of the Lord. And the people of Israel have indeed been wrestling with God ever since. They have also been wrestling with everybody else. Being The Chosen People may have certain advantages, butit is also a tremendous burden, whether in carrying a sacred ark acrossa desert or maintaining an exclusive place

The Pro-Life Moment is Here

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Weekly Standard is reporting that US Congresswoman Diane Black (R-TN-06) has introduced the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015 (H.R. 3134)into the House of Representatives. Some

Iconospasm

Friday, July 24, 2015

The incarnation is the most radical claim of Christian faith, the mystery by which the mystery of the Trinity invadesthe wayward world. The conviction that the ineffable, invisible, almighty God might deign to take on human flesh—and not just any flesh but the flesh of a particular Jew of dubious parentage born in a Roman backwater—is shocking, scandalous, and also the “distinctive sign of Christian faith,” as the Catechism puts it (CCC, 463).

Apocalyptic and Utopian: On Pope Francis' Bolivian Manifesto

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ihave seen firsthand a variety of experiences where workers united in cooperatives and other forms of community organization were able to create work where there were only crumbs of an idolatrous economy. I have seen some of you here, recuperated businesses, local fairs and cooperatives of paper collectors

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