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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


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

Little Sisters of the Poor will appeal to the Supreme Court

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Washington D.C., Jul 23, 2015 / 10:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).-After a federal appeals court ruled that the Little Sisters of the Poormust obey the federal contraception mandate, the sisters have announcedthat they are appealing to the Supreme Court.Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire, mother provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor, emphasized that the religious women “dedicate our lives to servin

A Fuller Reading of “The Fellowship”

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

J.R.R.Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams: two of these men are, if not exactly household names, nearly so—who has not heard of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings?. But what about the group called the Inklings; who were they? Why did they matter in wartime Oxford? Do they matter now, in the 21st century? The Fellowship, Philip and Carol Zales

Un Laico y la Propuesta de Kasper, III

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

[Editor’s note: This is the third and finalinstallment in a series examining Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposals regardingthe reception of Communion by the civilly divorced and remarried. The first canbe read in Spanish&

A Layman Responds to Cardinal Kasper’s Proposal, Part III

Monday, July 20, 2015

[Editor’snote: This is the third and final installment in a series examining CardinalWalter Kasper’s proposals regarding the reception of Communion by the civillydivorced and remarried. The first can be read here, thesecond

Russia's Campaign Against Ukraine: Deception, Economic Extortion, and Violence

Monday, July 20, 2015

Violencecan only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle. — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 1970

Using Technology to Educate and Catechize

Sunday, July 19, 2015

National educational surveys indicate that Americans are making a transition from learning in a traditional classroom setting to learning online, with increasing numbers of students stating their preference fortaking courses online. In response to this trend, a Catholic couple in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas founded My Catholic Faith Delivered (www.mycatholicfaithdelivered.com).As a division of a software

Is Less Really More? Reflections on Scarcity in “Laudato Si’”

Thursday, July 16, 2015

During his recent three-nation trip to Paraguay, Bolivia and Ecuador, Pope Francis spokeat Quito's Catholic University, urging students and professors to champion responsible care for the environment: "It is no longer a mere recommendation, but rather a requirement because of the harm we have inflicted on [the Earth] by our irresponsible use and abuse

"Human Rights Fanatic": A New Criminal Offense in Europe?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

In his general audience on May 20th,Pope Francis reminded listeners that “an essential characteristic of the family” is its “natural vocation to educate children so they may grow up to be responsible for themselves and for others”. But today, he noted, an increasing number of so-called experts are assuming “the role of parents in even the most intimate aspects of education… And this is very grave! Today there are case

Progressive Catholic Authoritarianism: An Enduring Problem

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Backin the day (the late 1960s or thereabouts), Father Andrew Greeley – themodel of an old-fashioned liberal Catholic – accused Father Daniel Berrigan (the beau ideal of post-conciliar Catholic radicalism)of harboring an authoritarian streak in his politics. By which Greeley meant that, were Berrigan and his radical friends to achieve power, their aggressive sense of moral superiority would lead them to put Greeley and his liberal friends in jail. I

Would Alasdair MacIntyre Live in a “Benedict Option” Community?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Dr. Anne Hendershott recently sorted through some of Pew data,helpfully noting what it does and does not reveal about the changing fortunes of Christian churches in America, and how those “revelations” differ in some places from the media spin placed on the data. In response to that data, and in particular respo

Pope Francis remarks on South America, Latin American Church, U.S.—and selfies

Monday, July 13, 2015

Aboard the papal plane, Jul 13, 2015 / 11:43 am (CNA).-In the course of his 64 minute in-flight press conference while en route to Rome, Pope Francis answered questions ranging from politics, his upcoming trip to the Unites States, and his feelings about taking selfies.The Pope responded in Italian to 14 questions posed by journalists during his July 12 overnight flight from Asuncion to Rome.

Monument, Idols, and Tolerance

Saturday, July 11, 2015

“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again” (Jn 2:19).I.Oneof the accusations made against Christ was that he threatened to destroy the Temple of Jerusalem. When King David planned to build the original Temple, Yahweh’s initial reaction was: “Who told you that I wanted a house of cedar?” (1 Chron 17; 2 Sam 7). But the final Temple was destroyed by the Romans under

The Fiction of Robert Hugh Benson

Friday, July 10, 2015

Both Pope Francis and Pope BenedictXVI (when he was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger) have encouraged Catholics to read Lord of the World, Msgr. Robert HughBenson’s 1907 novel that eerily predicted the state of the world at thebeginning of the 21st century.Catholics have listened. Back inprint and apparently selling well, Benson’s dystopian tale that, as PopeFrancis said, depicts “the spirit of the wo

Health Care Rights of Conscience: An Endangered Species

Thursday, July 09, 2015

There are emerging conflicts inwhat I call the second round of health care conscientious objection. The first round, following Roe v. Wade, continues to engagereligious health care providers in conscientious objection to abortion,contraception, sterilization, and IVF and is directed toward the protection ofthe basic human goods of life and procreation.Round two—defending conscience-basedmedicine in the midst of

Divinization, Liturgy, and Evangelization

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Thegoal of the Christian life is to become gods. This claim probably will strike many readers as exaggerated at best and downright heretical at worst. But this is what a Catholic priest or deacon says at every singleMass as he prepares the wine for consecration. “By the mystery of this water and wine,” he prays silently, “may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” This prayer suggests that

Catholics and the Administered Society

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

ShouldCatholics today work, as a matter of conscience, toward ever broader bureaucratic responsibility for human well-being in general?That result seems to follow from current ways of thinking. “Love thy neighbor” implies an ethic of mutual assistance. The democratic view that we act through government, together with the industrial approach togetting things done reliably, which is now thought simply rational, seem to imply the social service

Mother Miriam's Heart for the Family and Church

Monday, July 06, 2015

Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B. is founder of Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope (www.motherofisraelshope.org),a new religious congregation currently headquartered in the Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma, under the leadership of Bishop Edward Slattery. The former Rosalind Moss was born into a Jewish home in Brooklyn, New York, but converted to evangelical Christianity and then to Catholicism. She worked o

Justice Thomas, Marriage, and the Question of Dignity

Sunday, July 05, 2015

JusticeClarence Thomas has rattled a few cages with his dissent in the Obergefell same-sex marriage case. Addressing the claim that for government not to revise the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples undercuts their dignity, Justice Thomas argued that dignity is not something government can take away. He included in his argument the example of slavery. Slaves did not l

10 Things You Should Know About the American Founding

Friday, July 03, 2015

In 1776, numerous individuals, families,committees, congregations, localities, and states had already proclaimed theirindependence, and almost no remaining imperial structure could continue tooperate with any legitimacy in what would very soon become 13 states

Lessons From the Christian East

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Twenty years ago, in his apostolic letter Orientale Lumen (May2, 1995), the late St. Pope John Paul II called on Roman Catholics to deepen their knowledge of and love for the Christian East. I was thinking of his exhortation as I recently returned from a colloquium in Canada on the future of the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church (UGCC) in North America. Many, perhaps most, Catholics in North America are unaware of the UGCC and the other nearly two-dozen Eastern C

Playing Along With the Lie

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Assoon as Bruce Jenner decided he was a woman, the media immediately fellin line. News reports obligingly referred to him as “her,” and commentators agreed that henceforth Mr. Jenner’s name will be “Caitlyn.”Whetherit will become a hate crime to say otherwise remains to be seen. But ithas already become problematic to joke about the transition. For example, Spike TV

The Incoherent, Dangerous Formulations of Justice Kennedy

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Anthony Kennedy’s opinion for a five-justice Supreme Court majority announcing the hitherto undiscovered existence of a constitutional rightto same-sex marriage rests on one fundamental thought. Although it takes Kennedy 28 pages, plus six pages of notes, to express it, a singleline from a Bob Dylan song says it best: “The times they are a-changin’.”Dylan sang that a half-century ago, but, like a man stuck in a time machine, Just

On Court-Imposed “Liberty”

Monday, June 29, 2015

“Marriageis sacred to those who live by their religions and offers unique fulfillment tothose who find meaning in the secular realm. Its dynamic allows two people tofind a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater thanjust the two persons. Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage isessential to our most profound hopes and aspirations.” – Justice Kennedy, Obergefell,et al. v. Hodges, II, A

After Obergefell: The Effects on Law, Culture, and Religion

Monday, June 29, 2015

“You mustnot abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds…. What youcannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can.” – St.Thomas More, UtopiaInObergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court didn’t just confect anew right to same-sex civil marriage. In some ways, it inaugurated a new phasein American law, culture, and religion.

"Laudato Si'" and the Supreme Court's Ruling on Marriage

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Inthe wake of the Supreme Court’s historic decision legalizing “gay marriage,” I spoke with a friend who was, as she put it, “numb.” About all she could voice was a frustration: “I wish the Holy Father had been speaking more about this and less about climate change.” In the moment it was hard not to sympathize with her complaint, which many others have already expressed on internet forums. It could seem

America's Golden Calf Moment

Friday, June 26, 2015

“There is no true liberty except the liberty of the happy who cleave to the eternal law.” — St. Augustine, On Freewill“Conservativecommentator, and Blaze contributor, S.E. Cupp broke down on-air Friday after the Supreme Court decided in favor of same-sex marriage. Cupp was overjoyed, and said Republicans h

The Church and the “New Normal”

Friday, June 26, 2015

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s marriage decision, these sober thoughts occur:(1)The Supreme Court of the United States [SCOTUS] has rendered a decisionthat puts the Court at odds with the Constitution, with reason, and with biblical religion.(2) SCOTUS has gotten it wrong before. It got it wrong on race in Dred Scott and it repeated the mistake in Plessy vs. Ferguson (which upheld segregated public facilities). It got it

Supreme Court redefines marriage throughout US

Friday, June 26, 2015

In a wide-reaching decision, the U.S.Supreme Court has declared that same-sex “marriage” is a constitutional rightand that states must recognize same-sex unions contracted as marriages in otherstates.   By a vote of 5-4, the court ruled June 26that states must recognize same-sex “marriages” under the 14th Amendment, andrecognize such unions contracted in other states.  

What’s the Best Way to Love Those with Same-Sex Attraction?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

While most people arefamiliar with Janet E. Smith becauseof her work to clarify the Church’s teaching on contraception, she has recentlyexpanded her focus to include those with same-sex attraction and those whominister to them.Smith, who holds the FatherMichael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary inDetroit, has teamed up with

"Laudato Si'" and Romano Guardini

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In1986, after serving in a variety of capacities in the Jesuit province of Argentina, Jorge Mario Bergoglio commenced doctoral studies in Germany. The focus of his research was the great twentieth century theologian and cultural critic Romano Guardini, who had been a key influence on, among many others, Karl Rahner, Henri de Lubac, and JosephRatzinger. As things turned out, Bergoglio never finished his doctoral degree (he probably started too late in life), but his im

Cosmos, Crisis, and Thanksgiving: A Reflection on Laudato Si’

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Reflecting onPope Francis’ new encyclical Laudato Si’, AlanJacobs notes that the encyclical’s third chapter, “The Human Roots of theEcological Crisis,” calls to mind an influential essay by Lynn White, entitled “TheHistorical Roots of Our Eco

Black Bench, DC

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Black Bench is a polis within a metropolis. Its population—nineindividuals robed in black—is constant. When one of its inhabitants retires ordies, an outsider—vetted, appointed, and affirmed—fills the vacancy. Its raison d’être is to mete out fair andimpartial justice à la the US Constitution and its amendments. As the court oflast resort, it promises hope and succor to the burdened, besieged, and bullied.

Concerning the "Ecological" Path to Salvation

Saturday, June 20, 2015

“ForChristians, all creatures of the material universe find their true meaning in the incarnate Word, for the Son of God has incorporated in his person part of the material world, planting in it a seed of definitive transformation.” — Pope Francis, Laudato Si', June 17, 2015.“ButChristian utopia is a spiritual concept,

This Father’s Day: Vow to be a Committed Catholic Father

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Itis mid-June, so it is time for the annual national “head nod” to fathers on Father’s Day. For many, Father’s Day will pass unrecognized; for others, Father’s Day will be celebrated with “man-gifts” (e.g. tools, sports gear, etc.) and perhaps with a pleasant BBQ with family. But how many will ponder the dismal state of fatherhood and what each father could do better?For Catholic men, rather than just a day

Matteo Ricci's “Maxims” and Friends

Friday, June 19, 2015

“Itseems that the best of Ricci’s efforts to write something unique blended of Chinese and European ideas were either rejected or misread byChinese contemporaries. And this, perhaps, is the inevitable fate of such an intercultural text—to be misrecognized as familiar when the ideas are truly strange, and to be rejected as strange when the ideas are meant to be familiar—where communication, when it does happen, is asac

"Laudato Si" focuses on the heart of man and the disorders of our age

Thursday, June 18, 2015

With the long wait over, the release of Laudato Si' will shift conversations from what Pope Francis mightsay in his encyclical on the environment to more important ones of whathe has said. It is likely that many in Rome hope that now that the document has been released, its words will ease much of the anxiety thathas saturated these past months.That said, there are statements in the encyclical that will successively upset, delight, and chall

Environment encyclical takes bold stance on controversial issues

Thursday, June 18, 2015

In his newly released encyclical on the environment, Pope Francis didnot hesitate to wade into controversial topics, making statements on globalwarming, pollution, species extinction and global inequality’s impact onnatural resources.

The Real Costs of the Infertility Industry

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

While Wall Street is celebratingthe latest global deal between fertility group Genea and pharmaceutical giantMerck—a deal that promises to “take its fertilitytreatment to the world and double its revenue over the next five years”—faithfulCatholics are increasingly vilified for failing to embrace fully the burgeoningbusiness of assiste

Silent Action of the Heart

Monday, June 15, 2015

Editor's note: This article appeared in the Italian edition of L’Osservatore Romano on June 12, 2015. (English translation by Michael J. Miller for CWR.) Fiftyyears after its promulgation by Pope Paul VI, will the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy finally be read? Sacrosanctum Concilium is actually not just a catalogue of “recipes” for reform, but a verit

"Benedicta": Chant to Make the Heart Glad

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Inthe midst of the day’s work, a little break is always welcome. Sometimes this takes the form of a clever YouTube diversion recommended by a friend. For example, a recent favorite of mine was a highly intelligent Latin rendition of “Let It Go” from Disney’s hit movie Frozen: “Libere.”Itgot me thinking. What if a hit musical was first composed in Latin, andthen onl

The Actor, the Author, and the Real ‘Father Brown’

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Crimefiction fans are well aware of G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown and his place in the Pantheon of great detectives. Nevertheless, in contrast with the seemingly endless speculation as to the ‘real Sherlock Holmes’,there has been little such debate about the origin of the priest sleuth. However, a recent book, The Elusive Father Brown (Gracewing,2010), by Laura Smith, goes some way to rectifying this, detailing as it does the life of the

Failing to Make the Moral Case for Marriage

Friday, June 12, 2015

Why have the pro-natural family forces been losing in court? Intentionally or not, Judge Richard Posner explained the reason in a 7thCircuit Court ruling (Sept. 4, 2014), in which he decided against the Indiana and Wisconsin laws restricting marriage to a man and a woman: "The state [Wisconsin] does not mention Justice Alito’s invocation [in the Windsor case] of a moral case against same-sex marriage, when he states in his

What Prospects for Thought?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Lastmonth Isuggested that a one-sided emphasis on will and power over transcendentrealities has meant less and worse thought. That problem applies especially topublic life, but man is social, so it spills over to private life as well. Torespond to the situation, I proposed a renewed emphas

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter: Traditional Liturgy, Booming Vocations

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Father Gregory Pendergraft, FSSP is directorof development for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and the assistantdirector of vocations. His work consists of raising the necessary funds tooperate the Fraternity’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska andthe North American District House, as well as assisting communities that desireFSSP parishes to realize that goal. He also helps young men discern if theyhave a vocation to the

German Idealism and Cardinal Kasper’s Theological Project

Monday, June 08, 2015

This lecture was given on November 4, 2014in Vienna at an event organized by Una Voce Austria. It has been translated fromthe original German.TheChurch is a stumbling block. This has always been the case—especially at thetime of her establishment and her subsequent firstdevelopment in the early Christianity of antiquity. Thisscandalous character of the early Church led to her persecution by the pagan worldtha

Gnosticism vs. The Incarnation: The Ancient Battle Renewed

Monday, June 08, 2015

There is a tale, whose threads are too long to unravel here, of the meanderings of an idea through history—the idea that, as Nicolas Gómez-Davila parsed it, man is “a god imprisoned in the dull inertia of his flesh, or a god who elevates matter as his cry of victory.” This is the “knowledge” of both the old and the new Gnostics: We are not who we think we are, but gods imprisoned in matter. And knowing that we are gods is the condit

Pope discusses Medjugorje, coming encyclical on flight from Bosnia

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Vatican City, Jun 6, 2015 / 03:42 pm (CNA/EWTN News).-On his return flight from Sarajevo to Rome Pope Francis told journalists a final decision on the highly debated Mejugorje apparitionscould be close, and disclosed the “cancer” of consumerism as a theme inhis coming encyclical on human ecology.Read CNA’s full English translation of the Pope’s inflight news conference

John Henry Newman and Catholic Higher Education

Friday, June 05, 2015

Recently, I had the pleasure of sittingdown with Paul Shrimpton, who teaches mathematics at Magdalen College School,Oxford, to talk to him about his wonderful new book The “Making of Men”: The Idea and Reality of Newman’s University inOxford and Dublin (Gracewing, 2014). In sharing with me what motivated himto write the book, Dr. Shrimpton offered a number of fascinating insights intowhy Newman’s educational achievements

Turning Youth Ministry into Apprenticeship in the Christian Life

Thursday, June 04, 2015

“Our children need sure guidance in theprocess of growing in responsibility for themselves and others.  Christian communities are called to supportthe educational mission of families. They do this above all by living infidelity to God’s world, cultivating faith, love and patience. Jesus himselfwas raised in a family; when he tells us that all who hear the word of God andobey are his brothers and sisters, he reminds us that for all their

The Myth of Washington Gridlock

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

“Gridlock” along the Potomac—the difficultiesthe Congress has in getting things done, the difficulties the Congress and the WhiteHouse have in cooperating to get things done, or both—is regularly deplored bypols, pundits, and citizens alike. My contrarian view is that this kind of “gridlock”can serve useful public purposes, acting as a brake on passions and a gauge ofthe nation’s moral health.

The Importance of the Magna Carta, 800 Years On

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

InBenedict XVI’s encyclical Deus CaritasEst, we read the following, referring to 1 Corinthians 13:3 on thecentrality of charity: “This hymn must be the Magna Carta of all ecclesialservice….” Benedict could use this reference to the famous English Charter in amodern encyclical from Rome on Christmas, 2005 because the Magna Carta hasitself become a world-wide synonym of a basic rule, a foundation on whichorderly life

Journeying with Abraham, the Father of Faith

Monday, June 01, 2015

Stephen K. Ray was raised in a devout Baptist family and was very involved in the Baptist denomination as a teacher of Biblical studies. Steve and his wife Janet entered the Catholic Church in 1994. Since that time, Steve has been active as an author, speaker, blogger, apologist, and film producer. He is the author of Crossing the Tiber: Evangelical Protestants Discover the Historical Church

Jihad in Sheep’s Clothing

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Suppose you are the pastor of a large suburban parish and suppose further that several members of your parish want to invite a well-known speaker to talk about the threat from militant Islam. You check the Internet and find that the speaker is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as the head of a hate group. Upon further checking, you find that this speaker has had speaking invitations rescinded by four different bishops.You doubt that the man is rea

Galileo was Right—But So Were His Critics

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Eversince the seventeenth century, the celebrated “Galileo affair” has beenone of the featured items on the list of dark moments in the history ofCatholicism. That the Church mistreated the Italian astronomer—or at least misjudged his claims concerning the structure of the solar system—seems clear. Pope John Paul II, for example, apologized for the Church’s condemnation of Galileo in 1992. No one now disputes the fact that the earth revo

A Layman Responds to Cardinal Kasper’s Proposal, Part II

Thursday, May 28, 2015

[Editor’snote: This is the second installment in a series examining Cardinal WalterKasper’s proposals regarding the reception of Communion by the civilly divorcedand remarried. The first can be read here. The third and final installment can be read 

Un Laico y la Propuesta de Kasper, II

Thursday, May 28, 2015

[Editor’s note: This is the second installmentin a series examining Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposals regarding thereception of Communion by the civilly divorced and remarried (it can be read inEnglish here.) The first can be read in Spanish 

Europe’s War on Christian Ethics

Thursday, May 28, 2015

There is a place inSlovakia called Bardejovska Nova Ves where pro-lifershave erected a poignant monument to the Unborn Child. It portrays aweeping mother, on her knees before a translucent child figure, depictedextending its hand towards the mother’s head in a gesture of forgiveness.   The heartbreaking scene,placed at the geographical center of the European continent, brings home toobservers the common cult

'Shadow council' led by European prelates plots acceptance of gay unions

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rome, Italy (CNA/EWTN News).- While the Synod of Bishops' ordinary council gathered to discuss the upcoming Synod on the Family this week, aprivate group of bishops and experts convened separately behind closed doors in Rome to consider the most controversial issues at the synod, particularly support of gay unions and Communion for the divorced and remarried.Pope Francis chaired the May 25-26 meeting of the Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops, which

How Same-Sex Marriage Won Out in Ireland

Monday, May 25, 2015

Ireland, once dubbed “the most Catholic country in the world” by thefuture Pope Paul VI, has become the first country in the world to adoptsame-sex marriage by means of a popular vote.For months, opinion polls had been consistent is showing huge levels ofsupport for the constitutional amendment to re-define marriage.On the day, 62 percent of people voted “yes” for

Humanizing War and the Dangers of Drone Warfare

Sunday, May 24, 2015

“War is hell.”(William Tecumseh Sherman)“NO TO WAR! War is not alwaysinevitable. It is always a defeat for humanity.” (St. John Paul II, January13, 2003)Though war is

In Ireland, the old is out and the out are in

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Reuters' headline declares that the old is out and the out are in: "Gay Ireland hails 'a new Republic' as same-sex marriage approved". This quote, a few paragraphs into the piece, says even more:"Theamount of people who came out to vote is just such a

From Lambeth to the Land of Nod

Friday, May 22, 2015

Inhis preface to AMan for All Seasons,playwright Robert Bolt describes protagonist Thomas More asaman with an adamantine sense of his own self. He knew where he beganand left off… but at length he was asked to retreat from that finalarea where he located his self. And there this supple, humorous,unassuming and sophisticated person… was overtaken by an absolutelyprimitive rigor, and could no mo

On “Reimaging” Northern Ireland

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I.Auniversity professor rarely knows what happens to former students who pass on out of the university to their own lives. Once in a while, a former student will write. He will tell you what he is now doing, whether married with children, often recalling some incident from one’s

The Catholic Church’s German Crisis

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The 21st-century Church owes a lot to 20th-century German Catholicism: for its generosity to Catholics in the Third World; for the witness of martyrs like Alfred Delp, Bernhard Lichtenberg, and Edith Stein; for its contributions to Biblical studies, systematic and moral theology, liturgical renewal, and Catholic social doctrine, through which German Catholicism played a leading role in Vatican II’s efforts to renew Catholic witness for the third millennium. At the Council, m

A Layman Responds to Cardinal Kasper’s Proposal

Monday, May 18, 2015

[Editor’snote: This is the first installment in a series examining Cardinal WalterKasper’s proposals regarding the reception of Communion by the civilly divorcedand remarried. Part II can be read here. Part III can be read 

The Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops - October 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

During last year’s Extraordinary General Assembly of theSynod of Bishops on the Family, held October 5-19 at the Vatican, CatholicWorld Report posted some four dozen articles, columns, and interviews aboutthe closely scrutinized, often surprising, and sometimes controversialgathering. &#

Un Laico y la Propuesta de Kasper

Monday, May 18, 2015

[Editor’s note: This is the first installment ina series examining Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposals regarding the receptionof Communion by the civilly divorced and remarried. Part II can be read in Spanish here; Part III

On Graduations, Universities, and What Is “Practically Useless”

Sunday, May 17, 2015

“I think almost all serious people understand that about 90% of what goes on in schools is ‘practically useless.’” — Neil Postman, “My Graduation Speech”“Thescanty conceptions to which we can attain of celestial things give us, from their excellence, more pleasure than all our knowledge of the worldin which we live; just as a half g

The Culture of Grievance and the Necessity of Gratitude

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The problem posed by the Baltimore riots is not racial but endemic, for it is theproblem of a society that is too often aggrieved. The background for this culture of grievance is egalitarianism, the belief that because in some supra-lapsarian world, in the days before Adam disobeyed and beforeCain murdered, all men were created equal, therefore the perfect world of Eden should still exist. This illusion of equality was an Enlightenment theory which the Founding Fathers

US House overcomes initial setback to pass 20-week abortion ban

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News).- Two years after abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted of committing three first-degree murders at his abortion clinic, the House passed a bill Wednesday that effectively bansabortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.“This bill is about protecting pain-capable babies and their mothers from the tragedy … of late-term abortion-on-demand," Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), the bill's sponsor, stated May 13 to rep

A Cromwell in Our Image and Likeness

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

In one ofthe early episodes of the BBC mini-series Wolf Hall, based on HilaryMantel’s award-winning novel of the same name, there is a conversation betweenKing Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell about the monasteries. Henry sees theirconfiscation as a fiscal resource for the crown. Cromwell responds: If you ask me about the monks, I speak from experience, not prejudice,

The New Gnosticism of the Homosexual Movement

Monday, May 11, 2015

Ideas that are not true are dangerous to our souls and to our polities, whether we like it or not.” — Rev. James V. Schall, SJIfEric Voegelin (1901-85) were alive today, I think that he would see thehomosexual movement as a form of Gnosticism—a spiritually pathological,magical reconstruction of reality, or of a “second reality.” Voegelin wrote that,

1968: The Year of Revolution in American Catholic Education

Monday, May 11, 2015

Fr. Peter Mitchell's book The Coup at Catholic University: The 1968 Revolution in American Catholic Education,recently published by Ignatius Press, is a detailed studied of revolutionary events that took place in the late Sixties at Catholic University of America. The revolution was led by Fr. Charles Curran, professor of Theology at CUA, who with more than

Six Ways the Catholic Church Is Like an Italian Mamma

Friday, May 08, 2015

The face of the Catholic Church is often a masculine one, whether it be the pope, bishops, or local priests, and in recent decades this has been viewed by many as a bad thing. The widespread and wholesale effort to feminize the Church, through music, liturgical flourish, and more females on the altar has failed to produce the ecclesial popularity (particularly among men) promised by its promoters. Perhaps a better model than pastel streamers, saccharine hymns, and squishy homilies

The Destruction of Thought

Friday, May 08, 2015

Thought is the attempt to understand the good, beautiful, and true inan orderly way. Man is naturally reasonable and oriented toward those things, so it’s a normal part of life. Even so, it depends on conditionsthat may not be present. It requires calmness and steadiness of attention, a world that is understood as stable and meaningful, and a willingness to let truth rather than desire or power be the guide.Thoseconditions may disappear, so thought c

“Created for Greatness”: The Emerging Catholic Men’s Movement

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Flanked by candle-bearing acolytes,the priest held the monstrance aloft and processed through the aisles of themassive Milwaukee Theatre. More than 2,500 men were on their knees in adorationas the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ passed before them, bedeckedin gold. The solemn Eucharistic procession was the culmination of the ninthannual Men of Christ conference: a day of prayer, speakers, reflection, andMass. In the halls outside the theater, the

Do I Have to Draw You a Picture? The Cartoon Wars Come to America

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The predominant media response to thejihad attack in Garland, Texas was predictable. To wit: it’s not nice to attackpeople with AK-47s, but, then, it’s not nice to draw offensive cartoons ofMuhammad either. Or as Alisyn Camerota of CNN put it, “there&#x

"Sacra Liturgia” Is Coming to New York City in June

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

From June 1-4 New York City will be host to Sacra Liturgia USA 2015, the first Sacra Liturgia initiativein the United States. It follows on from its international conference in Rome in 2013 on liturgical formation, celebration, and the role of the liturgy in the mission of the Church, convened by Bishop Dominique Rey of Fréjus-Toulon, France. The proceedings of

Equal Treatment and the State’s Interest in Marriage

Monday, May 04, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court has now heard oral arguments on a case to determine whether it will strike down state laws that grant marriage licenses to opposite-sex couples but not same-sex couples. The main issue is whether denying marriage licenses to same-sex partnerships violates the obligation to provide all groups equal protection of the law. According to the Constitution, no person “shall be denied equal protection of the law.” Is it unjust discrimination, are the la

Between the Synods: Testing the Catholicity of our Faith

Thursday, April 30, 2015

When askedabout the Synod’s hot-button issues in a TV interview conducted on March 6 lastand broadcast on the Mexican Televistaon the 12th of March, Pope Francis responded with the statement: “I believethat there are disproportionate expectations” (desmesuradas). He went on to intimate that Communion forremarried divorcees was not on the cards. In other public statements, he highlighted “the ideological colo

Attacks on San Francisco Priest Aim to Test Abp. Cordileone

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The embattled pastor of a SanFrancisco parish has been the target of an unrelenting campaign aimed atpressuring Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to oust him. At the same time, thecharges against Father Joseph Illo are being used as part of a larger effort tolobby Pope Francis to remove the archbishop, according to local observers. Thisweek, the Archdiocese of San Francisco quietly announced that a priest has beenassigned as chaplain at the parish’

Two Approaches To Culture: Evangelistic & Diagnostic

Monday, April 27, 2015

“The best is the betting of one's very life on behalf of Christ, the good, the self-denying and the dangerous.” — Dr. James A. Patrick"The authentically Christian spiritual itinerary never ends w

Beauty and Tradition in the “Church of the Poor”

Monday, April 27, 2015

“Andwhereas such is the nature of man, that, without external helps, he cannot easily be raised to the meditation of divine things; therefore has holy Mother Church … employed ceremonies, such as mystic benedictions, lights, incense, vestments, and many other things of this kind, derived from an apostolical discipline and tradition, whereby boththe majesty of so great a sacrifice might be recommended, and the mindsof the faithful be excited, by those vis

Can Islam be Reformed?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

CanIslam be reformed? It’s a tricky question because, according to a greatmany Muslim leaders and Western leaders, it doesn’t need reforming. As they keep insisting, the beheadings, slave trafficking, and general violence committed in the name of Islam have nothing to do with Islam.Despitethe many attempts to prop it up, some cracks are now appearing in that narrative. In a New Year’s Day speech to Islamic scholars and clerics, Egypti

Changing of the Catholic Votes in Northern Ireland?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

When British voters go to the polls on May 6 to choose a new government, the 18 seatsdecided by citizens of Northern Ireland may prove crucial in helping either the Conservative or Labour parties to form a coalition. Electorally, the region usually splits down a predictable line: members of the Protestant community vote for parties that want to remain part of the United Kingdom, Catholics vote for parties that want the reunification of Ireland, with the region again b

The Faith to Move Mountains—And to Make Movies About Faith

Thursday, April 23, 2015

EduardoVerastegui is a man of many talents: singer, model, actor, producer, pro-life speaker. After a successful career in music as a young man, he began acting in Mexican telenovelas, earning the nickname “the Brad Pittof Mexico”. After moving to Hollywood to pursue a career in films he returned to the Catholic faith of his youth. Verastegui then co-founded Metanoia Filmswith Alejandro Gomez Monteverde and

The Legacy of Cardinal Francis George

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Inhis seventeen years as the Archdiocese of Chicago’s chief shepherd, Cardinal George, who retired last September, leaves behind a legacy as pastor, teacher, and defender of the Faith, including on the national stage during his presidency of the USCCB (2007-2010). He died April 17 after a long battle with cancer.“He was a man of tremendous intellectual power and clarity and strength,” said Dan Cheely, vice president of Catholic Citize

‘Wolf Hall’ and Upmarket Anti-Catholicism

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

“Wolf Hall,” the BBC adaptation of Hillary Mantel’s novel about earlyTudor England, began airing on PBS’s “Masterpiece Theater” Easter Sunday night. It’s brilliant television. It’s also a serious distortion of history. And it proves, yet again, that anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable bigotry in elite circles in the Anglosphere.Thedistortions and bias are not surprising, considering the

Bishop Daly prepares to take the helm in Spokane

Monday, April 20, 2015

Last month Pope Francis appointed BishopThomas Daly, 54, an auxiliary bishop with the Diocese of San Jose, California,as the seventh bishop of Spokane, Washington. Daly will be installed in his newposition at Spokane’s Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes on May 20. He succeedsArchbishop Blase Cupich, who was installed as archbishop of Chicago lastNovember.Daly grew up in

A Lion of the American Church: Thoughts on the Passing of Cardinal George

Monday, April 20, 2015

Cardinal Francis George, whodied last week at the age of 78, was obviously a man of enormous accomplishment and influence. He was a Cardinal of the Roman Church, a past president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Archbishop of one of the largest and most complicated archdioceses in the world, and the intellectual leader of the American Church. A number of American bishops have told me that when Cardinal George spoke at the Bishops’ meetin

The De-Christianization and Gradual Islamization of France

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Justbefore Christmas, as I was walking along the streets of Paris, I happened to see the disgraceful cover of the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo,a failing satirical magazine well known for its insults against religion and general vulgarity. It showed the Blessed Virgin Mary in an outrageous, almost pornographic position. Such crudeness was not a first for Charlie Hebdo. Althoughthe cover angered me, the spirit of Christmas overrode a

What’s Up With Wes?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ina cinematic world where there is much darkness and grotesqueness, Wes Anderson’s films are intriguingly bright and beautiful, replete with snappy dialogue and lighthearted visual touches, engaging the viewer in afun, often fairytale-like experience. Yet, despite the congenial face of Anderson’s film oeuvre, there is something unsettling about his films; something is not quite right.Although—visually, at least—Anderson has a

Cardinal Francis George, the Emeritus Archbishop of Chicago, dies at 78

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chicago, Ill., Apr 17, 2015 / 12:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Francis George, the Emeritus Archbishop of Chicago, passed away Friday morning after a long battle with cancer.Archbishop Blase Cupich, who currently heads the archdiocese, remembered Cardinal George as “a man of peace, tenacity and courage.”At an April 17 press conference, Archbishop Cupich lauded the cardi

From SF’s “Gay Mecca” to Healing in Christ

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Visita street fair in San Francisco’s Castro district and you’re likely to meet JosephSciambra, 45, wearing a “Jesus loves you” t-shirt and handing out copies of hisbook, Swallowed by Satan. It tellsthe story of how, as a boy growing up in a lax Catholic family in Napa,California, he became addicted to pornography. Sexually confused at age 18, Sciambramade his way to the Castro, a “gay mecca,” and imme

A Catholic Patriotism

Sunday, April 12, 2015

How should we be good Catholics and good Americans?Untilrecently that did not seem to be an issue to most of us. Separation of Church and State appeared to reconcile the Faith with a secular pluralist public order. The arrangement seemed to leave room for each tobe what it is, do what it does, and cooperate in building a world that would be increasingly adequate to man’s material, social, and spiritual needs.That view looks increasingly

The Reasonable Character of the Credibility of the Christian Faith

Sunday, April 12, 2015

“Somereduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation. Others finally belittle the reasonable character of the credibility of the Christian faith.”— Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis, 27 (August 12, 1950)I.Sometimein Holy Week, I chanced to watch a report on FOX News of some terrifiedAfrican children bein

The Battle Over the Sexes: Catholic Perspectives on the Gender Debate

Friday, April 10, 2015

Quia parvus error in principiomagnus est in fine.(“Asmall error at the outset can lead to great errors in the final conclusions.”)–St. Thomas Aquinas, DeEnte et EssentiaBynow, most people have heard the common saying, “Men are from Mars, women a

After Garissa Killings, Kenyan Catholics Seek Answers, Offer Solace

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Students of the Garissa University Collegein eastern Kenya should have been sitting this week for their end of semester examinations, at the end of which they would have joined their families for holidays. Instead, close to 150 of those families will havefunerals for sons and daughters who were murdered a week ago today, on Holy Thursday, by Al-Shabab gunmen who singled out Christian victims. About 80 other students are nursing gunsho

The Return of the Exorcists

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

“These are the signsthat will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils;they will have the gift of tongues, they will pick up snakes in their hands andbe unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on thesick, who will recover.” (Mark 16:17-20)                         

The Rise and Fall of Catholic Communities

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

“Grief, remorse, and a deep senseof crisis.” That’s how the archbishop of Nagasaki, Japan recently described the reaction of Japanese Catholics to agrim archdiocesan synod report. The Catholic population of the region hasfallen by 15 percent over the last 30 years, and the dearth of marriages andbaptisms por

The Measure of Mercy: Francis and the Extraordinary Jubilee Year

Monday, April 06, 2015

“See,now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be

Without Easter, We’re History

Saturday, April 04, 2015

• Readings for The Resurrection of the Lord, The Mass of Easter Day“Leteach of us consider how different the history of humanity would be”, wrote the French theologian Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. (1877-1964) in Our Savior and His Love For Us (Herder, 1951), “and how different our lives

"They Killed Him": Deicide and Holy Saturday

Friday, April 03, 2015

The Christ is dead; the corpse of the Son of God lies on a cold slab in a suffocating, lightless tomb. Holy Saturday is a difficult day to keep holy. My parish marks it with morning prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, but most churches don’t do anything, which is certainly appropriate; Jesus Christ is liturgically dead. And so I’ve taken to my own observances. Last year after the Good Friday communion liturgy, my wife and I wa

Indiana, Religious Freedom, and the Denial of Reality

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Scholar,former assistant to President Reagan, and author Robert R. Reilly has written widely on “war of ideas" issues, Islam, foreign policy, and classical music and is the author of several books. His most recent book Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything,was published last year by Ignatius Press and was described by Austin Rus

The Prophetic Challenge of St. John Paul II

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The first time I reallythought about Pope John Paul II was when I watched him being ripped to shreds. Not literally, thankfully, although there was actual ripping involved. I was an Evangelical at the time, a year removed from Bible college and living in Portland, Oregon. One evening, in October 1992, myhousemates and I tuned into “Saturday Night Live”, which was notable since I rarely watched television and I had little interest i

Praying and Fasting for Enemies of the Unborn

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

As Lent draws to aclose, time still remains to participate in a final Lenten devotion, one thatmight require a special act of charity for some: praying and fasting on behalfof a trio of criminal abortionists.The Pro-Life ActionLeague (PLAL) organized this campaign at the onset of Lent and has promoted itthrough print and socialmedia campaigns. As Lent enters its finalhour

On Pope Francis and Understanding Theology

Monday, March 30, 2015

“Without mercy, our theology, our law, our pastoralcare run the risk of collapsing into bureaucratic narrow-mindedness or ideology, which by their nature seeks to domesticate the mystery. Understanding theology is understanding God, who is love.” — Pope Bergoglio, Letter to the Theological Faculty at the Catholic University of Argentina, On the Occasion of Its 100th Anniversary,” March 3, 2015 (L’Osservatore Romano, Mar

History, Truth, and Politics

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Los Angeles, Calif., Mar 29, 2015 / 04:22 pm (CNA/EWTN News).-California missionary Father Junipero Serra’s canonization is “long overdue,” says a university professor concerned that the priest’s history has been politicized and misrepresented.“When he died,many native peoples came to the mission for his burial. They openly wept. Others of his colleagues and e

The Shroud: Not a Painting, Not a Scorch, Not a Photograph

Friday, March 27, 2015

ThisJune, Pope Francis will be making a pilgrimage to Turin, Italy, home of thefamous Shroud of Turin, which many believe is the 2,000-year-old burial clothof Jesus Christ. The pope’s June 21-22 visit will include time venerating theShroud at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. Francis will then visit thetomb of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, buried in a nearby altar. The trip will alsoinclude a commemoration of St. John Bosco, founder of the Sal

Back in Prison, Mary Wagner Inspires Pro-Lifers World-Wide

Thursday, March 26, 2015

CanadianCatholic pro-life activist Mary Wagner was arrested on December 23, 2014 forentering a Toronto abortion clinic and asking the women she found in thewaiting room not to go through with their scheduled procedures. Her arrest andsubsequent imprisonment made headlines—in Poland. The Polish newsitems appeared several times on my Facebook page. I was not as intrigued by thestory as I was by the language in which it w

The Indomitable, and Effective, Cardinal Pell

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Shortly after George Pell was named Archbishop of Melbourne, he instituted several reforms at the archdiocesan seminary, including daily Mass and the daily celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, both of which had fallen by the wayside in the preceding years. The seminary faculty, enthusiastic proponents of Catholic Lite, thought to call the archbishop’s bluff and informed him that, were he to persist in such draconian measures, they would resign en masse.

Freedom, Rights, and the Cruz Announcement

Monday, March 23, 2015

By chance, I caught Senator Ted Cruz’s March 23rd address at Liberty University announcing his candidacy for President in 2016. Obviously, the audience at Liberty University was a friendly one. No one, of course, would make such an announcement before unfriendly listeners. It was a rhetorical address; basically, it was a call for America to return to its roots. The audience was challenged to “imagine” a much different and better America, one that has evidently slipped

Ideals and Norms

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lately the idea has beengaining currency among some responsible conservative Catholics that unless the synod of bishops or the Pope specifically repudiates a settled Church doctrine—which is highly unlikely—there’s no immediate cause for alarm. I wish it were that simple, but it isn’t.Philip Lawler, paraphrasing Ross Douthat, gives this summary account of the viewpoint in question: “The tensions between the Pope and doctrinal

Confusion in Ireland as 'Marriage Equality' Referendum Approaches

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Just two months before a May 22nd'Marriage Equality' referendum, many commentators predict Ireland will become the first country in the world to insert a constitutional amendment permitting civil marriage between two people of the same gender.A distinctive feature of Irish democracy has been frequentrecourse to constitutional referendums. May’s referendum will be the 35th time voters have been asked to amend the constitution in less than

Film Takes Up the Challenge of the Cross

Friday, March 20, 2015

Pure Flix Entertainment released Do You Believe?in theaters on March 20th. It’s an inspirational evangelical Christian movie which tells the story of how the Cross of Christ positively impacts the lives of a dozen disparate people seeking healing and meaning. It reflects the evangelistic focus of Pure Flix (www.pureflix.com),which was founded by Christian actor David White nine years ago and hassince released nearly 100

Stephen King: Best-Selling Author, Horror Novelist—and Christian Moralist?

Friday, March 20, 2015

With the recent release of Revival, best-selling author Stephen King upholds his commitment toterrifying us by invoking the supernatural while telling stories of compellingcharacters and horrific events. Revival’sfallen clergyman joins a long list of lapsed Christians in King’s novels, andthis newest release may move many Christians to conclude that King hasescalated an attack on Christianity. But they would be wrong, we would

Archbishop Chaput Reflects on Roots, Nature, Future of Religious Freedom

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Philadelphia, Pa., Mar 18, 2015 / 04:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).-Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia warned Tuesday that the United States will face increasing pressure to abandon its traditionallybroad protections for religious liberty, though he encouraged Christians never to give up hope in God’s love.Religious liberty, he said, “means much more than the freedom to believe wha

To Be, Or Not To Be (Human)

Monday, March 16, 2015

"Theonly reason we are still alive is our inconsistency in not having actually silenced all tradition.” – Gerhard Kruger (1902-72)In Sir Arthur C. Clarke's classic science fiction novel Childhood's End(1953), a mysterious alien race known as the Overlords land on Earth. Swiftly establishing a benevolent dictatorship, the Overlords put an endto war

Catholicism and the Ideological Temptation

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Stubborndifferences on political and social issues usually come out of problemsregarding basic understandings. It’s not always obvious what the problems are. Most often they have to do with something that goes without saying for at least some of those involved. The result of that situation is that people see their opponents as willful, perverse, or irrational—as people who simply refuse to accept what’s obviously right.Examplesinclude &

Fulton Sheen's Intense Life of Holiness Worthy of Sainthood, Biographer Writes

Friday, March 13, 2015

Drivenand sustained by his daily holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen lived an intense life of holiness, zeal to save souls and Christian love that helped make him the most influential Catholic in 20th-century America, biographer Thomas C. Reeves says.Reeves has released a previously unpublished conclusion to his 2002 Sheen biography, America's Bishop: The Life and Times of Fulton J. Sheen (EncounterBooks). The concludin

Three-Parent Embryos: Gearing Up for the US Debate

Thursday, March 12, 2015

OnFebruary 24, 2015 the House of Lords approveda law permitting mitochondrial replacement with its production ofthree-parent embryos to prevent maternal transmission of mitochondrial disease.

A "Down Under" Perspective on the International Theological Commission

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Professor Tracey Rowland is the Dean and Permanent Fellow of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Melbourne, Australia. In 2003, she published Culture and the Thomist Tradition: After Vatican II,establishing herself as a bold, fresh voice in international Catholic theological circles. A member

Bishops in Brussels: A Rear-view Mirror Vision of the World

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

In TheGreat Divorce, C.S. Lewis describes a broad-minded Anglican bishop who,given the chance to go to Heaven, prefers to return to Hell, where he isscheduled to read a paper to the “Theological Society.”  Rather than adjust to the (initially) hardrealities of Heaven, the bishop prefers to hold on to the old and secure habitsof thought that, while serving to advance his earthly career, eventually landedhim in Hell.

Catholicism and Secular Media: 10 Questions for Bill Donohue

Sunday, March 08, 2015

William A. Donohueis a New York-based author, sociologist, and political activist who has been president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights since 1993. He holds a PhD in sociology from New York University and is an adjunct scholar at the Heritage Foundation. He is the author of several books, including the 2012 best-seller Why Catholicism Matters: How Catholic Virtues Can Reshape S

Ideas and Actions

Sunday, March 08, 2015

“Somany past controversies between Christians can be overcome when we put aside all polemical or apologetic approaches, and seek instead to grasp more firmly what unites us, namely, our call to share in the mystery of the Father’s love revealed to us by the Son through the Holy Spirit. Christian unity—we are convinced—will not be the fruit of subtle theoretical discussions in which each party tries to convince the other of the soundness of thei

Holy Mass in the Abortuary

Friday, March 06, 2015

Early oneSunday morning, having passed through London’s silent streets, I arrived at asun-filled, deserted square. The building I was searching for came into view. Itsimposing structure was empty now, abandoned, boarded up with a large “Do Not Enter”sign. There was nothing to suggest what it had once been; there was no evidenceof what had also occurred here. And yet, for three years this corner of London

Cardinal Francis Arinze on Radical Discipleship and the Consecrated Life

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

After growing up in Nigeria and being named the youngest bishop in the world at the age of 32, Cardinal Francis Arinzeattended the final session of the Second Vatican Council. Following hiselevation to cardinal by Pope John Paul II, he was appointed President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, a position he held until 2002, when he became the first African Cardinal to head a Vatican office, the Congregation for Divine

“Beloved”: The Mystery and Meaning of Marriage, Explained

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

This monthin Rome, the Augustine Institute released Beloved:The Mystery and Meaning of Marriage. Belovedis the latest edition of Symbolon, afaith-formation series currently being used in almost 4,000 parishes bothnationally and internationally.Dr. EdwardSri, content director of Beloved andprofessor of theology at the Augustine Institute, told Catholic World Reportthat the in

Chesterton the Poet

Monday, March 02, 2015

"A complete poem is one where an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found its words." — Robert FrostIn his otherwise disparaging review of Dr. Ian Ker&#x201

From Atheism to Catholicism, By Way of Truth and Beauty

Monday, March 02, 2015

Dr.Holly Ordway is Professor of English and Director of the MA in CulturalApologetics at Houston Baptist University. She holds a Ph.D. in Englishliterature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her academic work focuses on imagination in apologetics, with special attention to the writings of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams; she teaches courses on apologetics, medieval culture and philosophy, and modern and post-modern culture.Dr.

“The Drop Box”: Saving Unwanted Babies, Changing Hearts

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Drop Boxis a movie about mercy, heroism, and profound hope. It tells the true story of aSouth Korean father and pastor, Lee Jong-rak, whose love in action has savedthe lives of more than 500 babies and has impacted countless others. Pine CreekEntertainment, in association with Focus on the Family, Kindred Image, andFathom Events, will release The Drop Box in cinemas nationwide for justthree

Attacks on Abp. Cordileone Led by San Francisco PR Firm

Saturday, February 28, 2015

San Francisco, Calif., Feb 27, 2015 / 05:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).-Sam Singer’s public relations firm spun a Chevron oil refinery disasterin California and fought back a legal ruling in Ecuador that could haveawarded billions of dollars to indigenous people for the company’s alleged pollution damage to the Amazon.Now he’s been hired to attack San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore C

The Pope In the Air

Thursday, February 26, 2015

“It [security]is an enormous concern for me, a big concern. Am I afraid? You know, I have a shortcoming: a healthy dose of recklessness. I am not bothered bythese things. Every now and then I have asked myself: ‘Could it happen to me?’ And I’ve said to the Lord” ‘Lord, I ask only for the grace that Idon’t feel pain’. Because I am not brave in the face of pain.’” — Pope Francis, Interview, Fl

St. Gregory of Narek: Was the New Doctor of the Church a Catholic?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On February 21, Pope Francisannounced his decision to make St. Gregory of Narek (950-1003) a Doctor of theChurch. Once again, Pope Francis has caught us off guard and now many peopleare scrambling to figure out who St. Gregory was and what the implications ofthe new honor bestowed upon him are. One key question that is arising is: wasSt. Gregory a Catholic?The short answer to this questionseems to be no. He was a member of

“Gay” Catholics and an Adequate Anthropology

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

It is not without reluctance that Ioffer the following critique of Eve Tushnet’s Gay and Catholic: Accepting My Sexuality, Finding Community, Living MyFaith (Ave Maria Press). My reluctance stems mainly from the convictionthat her outreach to persons who experience same-sex attraction and to thosewho wish to better understand and love them is unquestionably motivated byChristian charity and a sincere intention to affirm and be faithful to

Making Sense of Pope Francis

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

“Whocan figure this pope out?” was the question raised by friends at a recent lunch. The nine of us spent a lot of time voicing fear, concern, confusion, and speculating about what he is up to. (And as mothers to a collective 62 children, we had to discuss the pope’s “rabbit” quote.) A quick look around the blogosphere makes it clear we are not the only ones having this discussion.Pope Francis is quite a mystery. After t

Where to Go with Social Teaching?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Toall appearances, everyday life is becoming ever more at odds with the Catholic vision of what it should be. It’s becoming less like life as traditionally conceived, a network of relationships, loyalties, and purposes, many of which are natural or transcendent and therefore enduring. Instead, it’s becoming more like eBay, Facebook, a government office, or an industrial process, a setting in which nothing concrete stays the same and nothing that matters

Will the Other Sleeping Giant Awake?

Friday, February 20, 2015

It isoften said that when Admiral Yamamoto ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor, he awakened a sleeping giant. Even though the Nazis had occupiedmuch of Europe, bombed London, and advanced to the outskirts of Moscow,the United States was still slumbering on the morning of December 7, 1941.Although we were aiding the anti-Nazi forces through Lend-Lease shipments and other forms of support, isolationist sentiment remained strong in America. The mood of compla

Reading Sacred Scripture and the Catechism Together

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Didache Bible (RSV, Second Catholic Edition): Ignatius Bible Edition,recently published by the Midwest Theological Forum with Ignatius Press, is a 1960-page study Bible featuring extensive commentaries, based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, for each of the books of the Bible. The Didache Bible

St. Augustine’s Wisdom: Adam, Eve, Christ, and the Church

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I’verecently been reading a superb article on the thought of St. Augustine by oneof my former professors: the magnificent—in the literal sense of “one who doesgreat things”—John Cavadini. The article is entitled “Spousal Vision: A Studyof Text and History in the Theology of Saint Augustine” and appears in a recentedition of Augustinian Studies(42:1/2, 2012).  Don&

Franciscans, Boxers, and Heavenly Battles

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dr. Anthony Clark’s latest book, Heaven in Conflict: Franciscans and the Boxer Uprising in Shanxi(University of Washington Press, 2015) is a significant and superb contribution to modern Chinese history as well as to Catholic Mission history, and should trends in the academic profession break in the rightway—always more of a hope than an expectation—it could become something

Benedict XVI, Cardinal Jean Danielou, and a Modern World in Crisis

Monday, February 16, 2015

Rome, Italy (CNA/EWTN News).-Theological giants Benedict XVI and one of his heroes – the controversial Cardinal Jean Danielou – have been hailed for illuminatingthrough their respective works the ever-relevant answer to a modern world in crisis: Jesus Christ.“If you want to be modern, you have to look at Jesus,” Rome-based theology professor Father Giulio Masparo told CNA

On the "Reform" of Islam

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I.The President of Egypt, at Al Azhar University in Cairo, recently did everyone a favor by putting on the table,from inside of the Islamic world itself, the question of its public conduct and inner soul as they relate to the Muslim religion. Does its conduct, as manifest in its deeds, flow from its religious beliefs? One

"Casablanca": Love, Truth, and That Cosmic “Hill of Beans”

Friday, February 13, 2015

ThisValentine’s Day, there are movie theaters both sides of the Atlantic, in London and Washington DC, showing a film that for many is deemed to be amongst the most romantic ever made. (No, I'm not talking about that movie.)This famous film may be, however, a deeper exploration of the meaning of love than audiences at first imagine. And, as

NLRB Makes Inroads at Catholic Colleges

Thursday, February 12, 2015

While manyCatholics have been concerned for decades about professors at Catholic collegesdenying core Church teachings on theological issues, as well as about disputesover women’s ordination, same-sex marriage, and abortion on Catholic campuses,few Catholic college leaders have been willing to enforce the requirements of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, which mandates thatCatholic college faculty teach incommunio with the Church. Likewise,

"Fifty Shades..." and the Sexual Objectification of Women

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Teresa Tomeo (www.TeresaTomeo.com) is a syndicated Catholic talk show host and a motivational speaker with thirty years of broadcasting experience in both the secular and Christian media. She is also the author of several books, including Noise: How Our Media-Saturated Culture Dominates Lives and Dismantles Families, Newsflash: My Surprising Journey from Secular Anchor to Media Evangelist, and

Pope Francis' Surprise Visit to a Rome Shantytown: Behind the Scenes

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Vatican City, Feb 10, 2015 / 05:47 pm (CNA/EWTN News).-Pope Francis made a surprise stop at a shantytown on his way to celebrate Mass at a Roman parish Feb. 8 – a “secret” plan that only the pontiff knew about and which prompted tears of joy from residents.“We forgot that we can cry also for joy. We cry for shame and for suffering. Today, we remembered t

A Tale of Two Bishops

Sunday, February 08, 2015

It was the best of times...” Onebishop was described, in a recent interview with a major network, as “America's Pope Francis”. A veteran Catholic journalist described him as“humble and open, precisely the sort of pastor who 'carries the smell of his sheep' that Francis has said he wants.”It was the worst of times...”One bishop was strongly criticized, in a just published op-ed in a large newspaper,

Reviving “Old Fashioned” Romance

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Old Fashioned is a new independentfilm slated to be released Valentine’s Day weekend—the same weekend as the filmadaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.It’s a romantic drama about two broken people coming out of the dark andfinding authentic love.The film’s writer, Rik Swartzwelder, tells a story he feltwas not yet being told—one of Christian singles searching for real love, men

The POTUS and The Inquisition

Saturday, February 07, 2015

This past week, in remarks made at the National Prayer Breakfast,President Obama condemned ISIL/ISIS, denouncing it as “a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism—terrorizing religious minorities like the Yezidis, subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantle of religio

Why Obama Was Wrong About The Crusades

Friday, February 06, 2015

It’snot hard for President Obama to stir outrage. Six years into his presidency, all he has to do is speak to make the opposition angry. Sometimes it’s justified, sometimes not.At the National Prayer Breakfast, following his condemnation of ISIS violence, the President had this to say: "Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place

Grey is the Devil’s Favorite Color

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Editor's Note: This feature originally appeared on the CWR site on August 2, 2012. It is reposted here in advance of the February 13th release of the film based on the novel, 50 Shades of Grey “Grey is the devil’s favorite color.” How I wish I could take credit for that powerful quote. However, it actually belongs to none other than philosopher, Catholic convert, author, and esteemed pr

Kevin Costner’s Big Gamble

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Actor-directorKevin Costner is an iconic fixture in American cinema. At 60, he still bears a neo-Gary Cooper, or, some would say, James Stewart, quality. With an understated “aw shucks, ma’am” quality you can’t get from a Stella Adler acting class, Costner has appeared in over 45 movies, often, in the 1990s, as the protagonist. His lanky, leathery screen presence, along with the closest thing to a drawl possible for a native Southern Califo

The San Francisco Mission

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

A simple altar boy policy at my parish, Star of the Sea Church,has unleashed a media firestorm. Hundreds of parishes in this country, and some entire dioceses, do not permit altar girls, so why the outrage?It is because I tried this in San Francisco, the city I love, the city that was founded in 1776 as a Catholic mission, the cit

Reality Matters

Monday, February 02, 2015

Basicissues have basic importance. Does God exist? If He does, what is He like? If He doesn’t, can an objective moral order survive His absence? It seems obvious that such questions are crucial to all aspects of life,including our life together in society.That conclusion has inconvenient implications. Christian societies, Muslim societies, and secularist societies are all different from each other. One excludes another, so we can’t favor the

Death with Dignity: Questions, Concerns, Dangers

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Regensburg (kath.net/Diocese of Regensburg). Internationallyrenowned philosopher Prof. Robert Spaemann speaks in this interview with Julia Wächter about the paradoxical shifts in the concept of dignity, about the dangers that would result from the legalization of assisted suicide, and about the duties of the Church and of every individual human being.Julia Wächter: The expression “death with dignity” is used

Bergoglio’s List: An Unexpected Discovery

Friday, January 30, 2015

There is so much being written and said about PopeFrancis that one is left trying to separate what is real from the hyperbole,the accurate from what is manipulated. It appears the more that is published,the more the man himself becomes an enigma. Nevertheless, a new book from St.Benedict Press, titled Bergoglio’s List:How a Young Francis Defied a Dictatorshipand Saved Dozens of Lives, by Italian journalist Nello Scavo, about the

Fr. Joseph Illo Explains Altar Boys-Only Policy at San Francisco Parish

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Star of the Sea Church in San Francisco made national news recently when its priests announced that female altar servers were being phased out and the parish was returning to the traditional practice of having only altar boys assisting the priest during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. A CBS television news report (

Engaging the Academy From the Heart of the Church

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Saint Benedict Forum (saintbenedictforum.org)was co-founded in 2014 by two Catholic professors and scholars, Dr. Jared Ortiz and Dr. Jack Mulder, at Hope College, a liberal arts collegerooted in the Reformed tradition, in Holland, Michigan. The Forum's site explains that it “seeks to promote and nurture intellectual work done from the heart of the Catholic Church, to foster an ecumenical community of Catholic Chris

Walk for Life West Coast: “Bigger, younger, and more energetic every year”

Monday, January 26, 2015

OnSaturday, January 24, downtown San Francisco echoed with pro-life chants, the rosary in English and Spanish, the Salve Regina, and joyful mariachi music at the 11th Annual Walk for Life West Coast. As always, the day began at 9:30 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral, where Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, joined by 11 brother bishops, celebrated the Walk for Life Mass. The Cathedral was over-packed, with ne

Brew Evangelization: The Ongoing Renaissance of Monastic Beer

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Whatis it about monks and beer? The two just go together. And as craft beercontinues to rise in popularity in the United States, the ones responsible for creating western brewing practices are reclaiming their own.This renewal is important for monastic life in providing another opportunity for monks to produce their own goods and to sustain their monasteries (in an age when many of their traditional farming practices are in decline; see an odd example in

"His primary identity was as a priest”

Friday, January 23, 2015

PopeFrancis recently announced his intention to canonize Spanish padre, Blessed Junípero Serra Ferrer, O.F.M. (1713-84) when he visits the United States this fall. Serra was from the Spanish island possession ofMajorca, off the east coast of Spain, and traveled to the New World with his fellow Franciscans to evangelize the native peoples of Mexico and California. Beginning in 1769, he established the first nine of 21 California missions.Serra has been c

Will a Future Pope Be Forced to Flee Rome?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Where will the Pope live when Rome falls to Islam?It’snot an idle question. For one thing, there is historical precedent. Popes have been forced from Rome in the past. For another thing, numerous Islamic authorities have explicitly targeted Rome for conquest.Romemay be the Eternal City, but it has seen rough times. In 846, for instance, Pope Leo IV had to briefly flee Rome when it was attacked by an Arab fleet. The following year, he ord

“I can’t wait to get to San Francisco”

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On May 10,2012, Nancy Keenan, the outgoing president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, spokewith the Washington Post. ThePost reported: “In recent years, Keenanhas worried about an ‘intensity gap’ on abortion rights among millennials,which the group considers to be the genera

Should We Hope "That All Men Be Saved"?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Editor's Note: This essay was originally published in a slightly different form in November 2013 as part of the CWR Symposium, "Vatican II, Salvation, and the Unsaved". It is reprinted here on the occasion of the recent publication of a new edition of Hans Urs von Balthasar's book, 

On Obsolescence

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I.Cicero’s famous essay “On Old Age—De Senectute”—isbased on the fact that it is normal for human beings to grow old and die. This essay also recalls the passage in Ecclesiastes 3:4, about a “time to weep and a time to laugh.” Cicero wanted to teach us that we could still do valuable things in old age, things we could not do when we were younger and lacked experience. As we age, we should n

Why Fighting Against ISIL is Not Murder

Friday, January 16, 2015

John Paul II defines terrorism as“intention to kill peopleand destroy property indiscriminately and to create a climate of terror andinsecurity, often including the taking of hostages” (Solicitudo Rei Soci

Gay, Catholic, and Called to Love

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The daughter of two atheist academicswho came out as gay in middle school, Eve Tushnet was in many respects anunlikely convert to Catholicism. But convert she did, and she tells her story inher new book, Gay and Catholic: AcceptingMy Sexuality, Finding Community, Living My Faith (Ave Maria Press). In her book, Tushnet recounts how duringher first week at Yale University, she decided to spend some time “gawki

The Paris Attacks and Home-Grown Terror

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What happened in France just days ago willleave scars and bruises long after the actual wounds have healed. The slaughterof the innocents was particularly poignant for me as our eldest daughter livesin Paris, so close to the kosher supermarket where the second massacre tookplace that she could hear the sirens and shouts. That, I suppose, it whatterrorism does: terrifies not just its direct victims but also those who feelonly the ripples, the dark vibra

“Do Not Grow Bored with Christ": A Week with the Dominicans in Poland

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

On a bitterly cold Sunday morning in mid-December I approached the basilica church attached to the Dominican Priory in Krakow’s Old Quarter.The church and priory are named after the Most Holy Trinity, and upon entering I saw a dense crowd of faithful flooding through the three maindoors below the remarkable church façade. Fr. Ireneusz Wysokiński, OP, warned me that Masses throughout the

Does Religion Really Have a "Smart-People Problem"?

Monday, January 12, 2015

DanielDennett, one of the “four horsemen” of contemporary atheism, proposed in 2003 that those who espouse a naturalist, atheist worldview should call themselves “the brights,” thereby distinguishing themselves rather clearly from the dim benighted masses who hold on to supernaturalist convictions. In the wake of Dennett’s suggestion, many atheists have brought forward what they take to be ample evidence that the smartest people in o

Fighting the Culture of Death—and Planned Parenthood—in California

Friday, January 09, 2015

Inhis 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae,Blessed Pope Paul VI warned of the dire consequences that would befallsocieties if they used artificial means to separate sex from procreation.Nearly two generations later, society has experienced these consequences, whichinclude the decline of marriage and growing number of children born out ofwedlock and reared by single parents, high incidences of sexually transmitteddiseases (STDs), high abortion rates

“What is Islam?” Revisited

Thursday, January 08, 2015

“Anaspect of the attack (in Syria) that was not often reported in the media wasthe way the Islamist invaders tried to remove not only the Christians but theChristianity from the town, a phenomenon that is common now when Islamismexpands in the Middle East and in the greater Muslim world. It is not enoughthat Christians should leave, convert, or die, but all traces of Christianityshould be removed as well.” — Michael Coren: Hatred:

Quo Vadis Matrimonium?

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The year2014 saw important changes in attitudes and policy in the US regarding marriageand the so-called “same-sex marriage” (SSM) debate. In this article, I wouldlike to bring readers up-to-date on some recent developments, and helpCatholics understand their own position better, by summarizing some importantphilosophical arguments used by traditionalists and by the proponents of SSM. Inspiritual warfare as in politics it is helpful to

Rethinking the American Experiment

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

In the aftermath of a terrible civil war pitting brother against brother, the Theban ruler Creon ordered the body of the traitor Polynices, his own nephew, be left unburied outside the city walls, to be devoured by the vultures and jackals. By stealth, Polynices' sister Antigone flouts thisdecree, giving Polynices the funeral rites she owes him as a female of his family. Even the head of state himself, Antigone proclaims, “has no right to keep me from my own.&#

The Fundamental Good of Complementarity

Monday, January 05, 2015

With multiple degrees in theology and law, and experience with a vast spectrum of public forum issues, Professor Helen M. Alvaré is one of the leading Catholic voices in the United States on pro-life issues, marriage and the family, and the role and mission of the laity.At George Mason University School of Law,Dr. Alvaré teaches Family Law, Law and Religion, and Property La

The Journeying of Humanity toward Christ

Saturday, January 03, 2015

The Christmas Season continues for many this Sunday with the Feast ofthe Epiphany. This feast celebrates the revelation in Matthew’s Gospel of the adoration of the magi. This account offers an important but oftenoverlooked detail about the scandal of Christmas—of how Christ’s birth is good news of great joy that comes at a price.This is foretold in one of magi’s gifts to the Christ child. While gold is a gift for kings as is franki

The Church in Africa in 2014: A Year in Review

Friday, January 02, 2015

Theyear 2014 has been a challenging one for the Church in Africa, as it journeyed through a numerous highs and lows. Conflicts in different parts of the continent and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa have dominated news headlines all year long. However, there have also been many moments of consolation.Conflict and peaceIn February, I had the opportunity

“The Best Books I Read in 2014”

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

“It is our duty to live among books; especially to live by onebook, and a very old one.” — Blessed John Henry NewmanTen years ago, I posted a “Best/Worst of 2004” piece on Ignatius Insight, containing a listing of books and music thatI either really liked or didn’t care for at all. That then led, the fo

The Holy See Commemorated a Trio of Anniversaries in 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

In2014, the Holy See observed three major historical milestones, all of which were virtually ignored in the global press. This past year marked the 85th anniversary of the Lateran Pacts establishing sovereignty for Vatican City State, the 50th anniversary of the Holy See presence as Permanent Observer at the United Nations and the 30th anniversary of the restoration of full diplomatic recognition by the United States.Thesekey hi

Catholicism and Environmentalism

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Whatare Catholics to make of the big environmental questions: climate change, deforestation and habitat loss, water quality and water shortages, the extinction of species, fossil fuels? How compatible is environmental activism with Catholicism? What does it mean to be responsible stewards of creation? These are important questions, made even more timely in anticipation of Pope Francis releasing an encyclical in 2015 on environmental and ecological issues.Ch

Catholicism in New York City

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Rev. George William Rutler, 69, is pastor of the Church of St. Michael in New York City. He was raised in the Episcopal tradition while growing up in the Northeast, and served nine years as an Episcopalpriest. He converted to Catholicism in 1979, and was ordained a priest in 1981.He has served in a variety of parishes in New York, and as chaplain for many organizations, including Legatus, an organization for Catholic business leaders. He ha

On Violence

Friday, December 26, 2014

Everyoneis familiar with the principle, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” It is in fact a “principle”. As such, it is not a bad one. It was an effort to establish justice in a world where no effective legal system existed. The remedy for a crime depended on the relatives and friends of the victim. The retaliation was to be carried out according to proportion—an eye for an eye, no more, no less. It was in the name ofdeterrenc

Venite adoremus, Dominum!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

“To worship ourselves is to worship nothing. And the worship of nothing is hell.” — Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation“The worship of the one God sets man free from turning in on himself, from the slavery of sin and the idolatry of the world.” — Catechism of the Cath

Pope Francis the Economist

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Where, exactly, does Pope Francis stand oneconomic matters? While the Pontiff’s pronouncements are abundant, they are farless systematic and scholarly than they are pastoral in nature. Thus, we arefrequently left wondering what economic science, if any, underpins his pastoralteaching on issues such as wealth disparities, development, job creation, andincreased solidarity with the poor.  Is Francis a sociali

Polls, Sociology, and Loss of Faith

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The late Father Andrew Greeley, the dean of American Catholic sociologists, was a habitually angry man, at various times angry at the American Catholic theological establishment because his sister failed toget tenure at a Catholic college, angry at the Catholic historical establishment because one of his books was mildly criticized, and (for atime) angry at the University of Chicago for denying him tenure.Mostof all, he was continually angry at the American

The Spirit of Christmas and the Spirit of Islam

Sunday, December 21, 2014

“Theman that hath no music in himself/ Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds/ Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils” –William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice Every year around this time, Ibrahim H

"The Mystery of His Nativity"

Friday, December 19, 2014

The phrase “the mystery of His (Christ’s) Nativity” is taken from the Preface of the Masses immediately before Christmas. This wording struck me for several reasons. One has to do with the notion of “mystery”. We actually know quite a lot about the Nativity of Christ. We know the place and the circumstances. We know the parents. We know the names of rulers and emperors around at the time. Much enterprise over the centuries has gone i

Is Catholicism the "Babylon Mystery Religion"?

Friday, December 19, 2014

As we saw last time in this space,the notion that Christianity is "really" warmed-over paganism is contradicted by the fact—abundantly in evidence not only in the New Testament but in the writings of the Fathers and the liturgy of the Church—that, well, early Christians just don't care much about pagan things, while both the New Testament and the Fath

The Catholic Con Regroups

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Promising yet again to “move beyond partisan and ideologicaldivisions,” the George Soros-supported Catholicsin Alliance for the Common Good (CACG)has refined its successful strategies of the past in its attempts to convinceCatholic voters that the pro-choice Democratic nominees for public office in2016 will do more to reduce the number of abortions than pro-life Republicanswill. The group&

Vatican Report on US Sisters Largely Positive, But Concerns Remain

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The final report of the apostolicvisitation of US women religious was released December 16 at a morning pressconference at the Vatican Press Office. The report had a positive tone that wasvery complimentary of women religious in general, but it also noted somesignificant areas of Vatican “concern.”Th

Resisting Torture Logic

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

In mid-December the US Senate released its report on theCIA and the use of torture to gain information from jihadists concerningterrorism and planned attacks on Americans. The report was damning, claimingthat use of torture or—(God save us from euphemisms) “enhanced interrogationtechniques”—was widespread, but generally unsuccessful. Prisoners werewater-boarded, forced to stand on broken limbs, and subject to prolonged rectalfeedin

ISIS, Assad, and What the West is Missing About Syria

Monday, December 15, 2014

Last yearPope Francis called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria, theMiddle East, and the whole world, setting the date for September 7 and himselfpresiding over a prayer vigil in Rome. In a recent piece for the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonanreports that in September of 2013, “the American people spontaneously rose upand told Washington they would not back a bombing foray in Syria that would help theinsurgents op

An "Exodus" Plagued by Extravagant Mediocrity

Saturday, December 13, 2014

MPAA Rating: PG-13USCCB Rating: NRReel Rating: (2 out of 5) Thereare several film and television adaptations of the story of the Exodus and subsequent events—most notably, of course,

The Poet, the Great War, and "The Break"

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thecentenary of World War I has occasioned numerous commemorations of the generation of poets who wrote about the war. The work of Rupert Brooke, Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, Edmund Blunden, Julian Grenfell, Wilfred Owen, and many others define the experience of the Great War in away different from almost any other conflict. If the post-World War II era is defined by reportage, and current conflicts by YouTube videos andTwitter accounts, the first real world war

Catholic "Women Priests": Can There Be a Discussion?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Elevenyears ago Christine Mayr Lumetzberger was excommunicated because she attempted to be ordained as a Catholic priest. A mischievous and misleading article by British journalist Peter Stanford entitled “Meet the Female Priest Defying Catholicism for her Faith" recounts her story. Ms.Lumetzberger says she knew

Catholic Radio Launches in Los Angeles

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Los Angeles welcomed the return of English-speaking Catholic radioon November 17, when Archbishop Jose Gomez “flipped the switch” to turn on KHJAM 930, broadcasting Catholic programming to a market of 15 million for thefirst time in more than a decade. The station is owned and operated by Immaculate Heart Radio (IHR), and features such programs as Right Here

Catholicism’s Latin American Problem

Sunday, December 07, 2014

It’s hardly surprising that the election of Latin America’s Pope Francis has focused more attention on Latin American Catholicism since the debates about liberation theology which shook global Christianity in the 1970s and 1980s. The sad irony, however, is that this renewed attention is highlighting something long known to many Catholics but which non-Catholics are now becoming more cognizant: that Latin America’s identity as a “Catholic co

"Behold Your Mother!": Meeting the Virgin Mary in D.C.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

What do you suppose is the one verse of the Bible that has generated the most Christian art? CertainlyJohn 1:14—“and the Word became flesh”—is a compelling option, as the reality that God became man is the fertile soil from which all artistic praise of God springs. But is there one seed that has fallen into that soil and borne the most fruit? For that honor, I’d suggest a different verse from John, this time towards the end

You Better Watch Out—St. Nicholas is Coming to Town

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Everyone loves jolly ol’ Saint Nicholas. There issomething romantic and cozy about telling Santa stories around the cracklingfire. He is an icon of the Christmas season. But not everyone agrees about thereal Santa Claus. Some like to picture Santa

Normality Is Not Hatred

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Veryrecently the view that homosexuality is entirely normal has become not only widespread but compulsory in secular public discussion.Leadersof thought tell us the change has been part of a general deepening of moral insight and improvement in the art of living. The older outlook oppressed millions out of fear, bigotry, and ignorance. We have learned better now, except for a few haters and dimbulbs who need to be re-educated or else shamed and shut up un

From Anglican Bishop to Catholic Monsignor

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Msgr.Peter Wilkinson, 74, is a retired Roman Catholic priest who assists at St.Columba’s Church in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  He is also a former bishopin the Continuing Anglican movement, a group of traditional Anglicans who, in1977, separated from the more liberal Anglican Communion.Msgr.Wilkinson was born and raised in Victoria, the seat of government inBritish Columbia, locate

Revisiting Pope Leo XIII and Reclaiming Catholic Social Doctrine

Monday, December 01, 2014

Anthony Esolen, aprofessor of English at Providence College and—among a multitude of other scholarly and intellectual accomplishments—a translator of Dante, is one of the most appealing Catholic thinkers of our time. He writes onCatholic matters with remarkable lucidity and applies the transcendent truths of the Church to contemporary questions with the deftness of a master. In his work, Esolen shows again and again the thrill of orthodoxy that Chesterton fa

Patriarch Bartholomew I prays for full union between Catholic, Orthodox churches

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Istanbul, Turkey, Nov 29, 2014 / 10:20 am (CNA/EWTN News).-In a prayer gathering on the second day of Pope Francis' visit to Turkey, Patriarch Bartholomew I welcomed him with joy, saying his presence is a symbolic “bridging” of the East and West.“May these holy fathers, on whose teaching our common faith of the first millennium was founded, intercede for us to the Lord so t

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