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The Mosque, the Manger, and Modernity

Saturday, April 29, 2017

PeterD. Beaulieu earned a bachelor of architecture degree and a doctoratein urban and regional planning, both from the University ofWashington. His career includes a tour as a junior officer in theUnited States Navy, long public service, serving on the PastoralCouncil of the Archdiocese of Seattle, and being a founding member ofthe G. K. Chesterton Society of Seattle. He is the author of Kristi:So

The Creative Catholic: Fr. George W. Rutler

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Fr.George William Rutler is a well-known preacher and prolific author,having written hundreds of essays and over twenty books. A formerEpiscopalian pastor, he entered the Catholic Church in 1979, studiedin Rome, and then was ordained to the priesthood in 1981. In additionto an honors degree from Dartmouth, Fr. Rutler has received advanceddegrees from Johns Hopkins University, the Gregorian and AngelicumUniversities in Rome, the University of Oxford, and others.

Settle for nothing less than the infinite mystery and infinite delight

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Back in the early 1840s, John Henry Newman observed that physical philosophers—that is, scientists—"are ever inquiring whence things are, not why;referring them to nature, not to mind; and thus they tend to make a system a substitute for a God..." The "tending" has been, as they say, trending ever since. About a hundred years later, in 1948, Fulton Sheen remarked in his outstanding study Philosophy of Religion, that:

A Father’s Love: The Story of Charles and Anne

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Whenit comes to failed governments in our time, it’s hard to ignoreFrench President François Hollande’s administration. Hollande’srecord on basic issues like unemployment as well as his ineptness inthe face of jihadist terrorism is so unimpressive that he declined torun for reelection. This, however, hasn’t stopped his governmentfrom making the type of last-minute defiant gesture beloved ofadministrations whose days are numbered.

The Decline of Western Civilization and “He Who Must Not Be Named”

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

InJ.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter stories, Lord Voldemort is sofrightening that he’s referred to as “He Who Must Not Be Named”.Thosewho think Western Civilization still has something to offer themodern world, a minority in today’s academic and intellectualmilieu, have been trying to make sense out of the decliningattraction of liberal democracy, and the rights traditionallyembedded in democratic societies: free speech, relig

Catholic institutions vulnerable to sexual "identity" discrimination lawsuits

Sunday, April 23, 2017

In an attempt to continue her desired "transition" from female to male, Evan Michael Minton was scheduled by her surgeon to undergo a hysterectomy at Dignity Health chain’s Catholic Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael, California last summer.  The surgery was denied by the Catholic hospital’s policy.  And, although Minton was able to have the surgery at another Dignity Health chain hospital in September, sh

Lessons from the Prophetess of Eucharistic Love

Sunday, April 23, 2017

St. Mary Magdalene has long been a figure surrounded by controversy, curiosity, and a bit of confusion. In recent years, Dan Brown’s bestselling The Da Vinci Code, portrayed her—against all evidence and logic—as the goddess-like wife of a rather boring Jesus. Unfortunately, that ridiculous claim is, for many people today, the first thing they think of when they hear her name.

Fake canon law goes on goin’ on

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Fr. James Keenan writing in Crux this week makes his own a question raised (last July, it seems) by Rocco Buttiglione in L’Osservatore Romano: “Is there any contradiction between the popes who excommunicated divorced and remarried persons and Saint John Paul II who lifted that excommunication?”That&#

A Week with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal: Part 3—The Mystery

Thursday, April 20, 2017

In a ward of a London hospital, a homeless man was dying. He had been found prostrate on the street and was taken to a nearbyhospital. The medical staff did all they could. It was hopeless, theysaid. It was only a matter of time. The man had few friends; he hailedoriginally from Eastern Europe. There were no visitors. Not atfirst. Soon after his admission, however, word somehow made its wayto St. Fidelis Friary. One of the friars, Fr. Jacob, was soon at thepa

Reason, the Catholic University, and the Morality of Abortion

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

StéphaneMercier, a lecturer in philosophy at the Catholic University ofLeuven (UCL) in Belgium initially was suspended from teaching,pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings, because there wasopposition in a class from a feminist group to his philosophicalargumen

Love, Loss, and The Confessions of X

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

St. Augustine of Hippo knew firsthand the agony of a broken heart. His account of sending away his faithful concubine sears the pages of his famous autobiography, the Confessions. He writes that the woman with whom I had been cohabiting was ripped from my side, being regarded as an obstacle to my marriage. So deeply was she engrafted into my heart that it was left torn and wounded and trailing bloo

Benedict XVI at 90: A rare glimpse into his joy-filled life

Monday, April 17, 2017

In a lengthy interview with EWTN's German television branch, Benedict XVI's closest aide describes how the retired pontiff is doing as he turns the milestone age of 90, giving a rare look into what life is like for the Pope Emeritus.Archbishop Gänswein has been Benedict's personal secretary since 2003, while the latter was still Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He has remained close at Benedict's side throughout his papacy, resignation and hi

But What Exactly is Easter?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

I.As a general principle, an honest man will want know what something is, or is said to be, before he decides whether he thinks it is true or that he must do anything about it. Take one’s relation to a doctor. Insofar as we deal with a doctor qua doctor, we want him to tell us the truth about what is wrong with us. If we didn’t, we should not bother him. We do not, if we are normal, want him to lie to us. Unless we k

To Glory in the Cross of Christ

Thursday, April 13, 2017

DuringLent, Mother Church focused our attention on the Cross and on Himhanging from it. Only the most hard-hearted are not moved to pityand sorrow. Our reflection on the mystery of the Cross, however,likewise causes us to gloryin the Cross, acclaiming Jesus Christ as the “King of love onCalvary.”Atthe same time, we must admit that this is at least, shall we say, abit “out of sync” with modernity’s approach t

A Week with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal: Part 2—The Mission

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

It was a Sunday afternoon. The venue was a hospital chapel that had been Anglican but is nowused by any Christian group who requests it. It was amongst theVictorian statues and monuments to the great and good that a group ofyoung black women were singing songs of praise to the Creator God, toHis Son, and to the Holy Spirit who was undoubtedly animating them. Beautiful as their voices were, more beautiful still was theChristian faith they so clearly profess

"Sacred art is always traditional": An interview with Daniel Mitsui

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

DanielMitsui (http://www.danielmitsui.com/)is a young artist who has, over the past dozen years,established himself as a unique talent, combining remarkabletechnical skills with a traditional vision of sacred art. In 2011 hewas commissioned by the Vatican to illustrate a new edition of theRoman Pontifical, and the following year he established MillefleurPress,

Praying with—and for—prisoners

Monday, April 10, 2017

We are sitting, the three of us, around the table in the classroom,surrounded by posters encouraging literacy and offering opportunities fortaking up new skills. Father S. has been explaining about the Rosary, and theyoung man has eagerly produced his—bright yellow and white plastic beads, givento him at last week’s session. As we say the Hail Mary, his eyes carefully follow my fingers as I lightlyindicate the words on the printed page.

How to Respond to Relativism with Logic and Love

Thursday, April 06, 2017

In his homily for the Mass to open the conclave which would ultimately elect him pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger decried the onset of what he termed the “dictatorship of relativism.” The fight against relativism became one of the signature priorities of Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy.A new book by Dr. Edward Sri, who is a professor of Theology and Scripture at the Augustine Ins

A Week with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal: Part 1—The Men

Thursday, April 06, 2017

The sun was fading as I boarded a London underground train. My destination was different from that of my fellow travellers. Few, I imagine, were on their way to a religious house; none were going to the London friary of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. It was to the friary in London’s east that I journeyed. The plan was for me to spend a week with these men, to observe their lives, to witness their witness, to attempt to experience in one week

Do Ideals Matter Anymore?

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Man is a rational animal. From a moral standpoint, that means he aspires to act—and often does act—in accordance with principles that join together to form an ideal of life.He’s also social, so his ideals aren’t simply individual. In part that’s because they relate to social functions. What is it to be a proper mother, father, soldier, scholar, or priest? And in part it’s because they reflect a tradition of life and thou

Classical educators optimistic about DeVos appointment, proposed policies

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Citingher commitment to parental choice and subsidiarity, classical educators saidthey believe newly appointed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has theopportunity to do good and end the “one-size fits all” approach to educationcoming from Washington, DC.“We areexcited,” Dr. Daniel Scoggin, co-founder of Great Hearts Academies, said of DeVo

The Radical Grace documentary is dissenting, misleading propaganda

Monday, April 03, 2017

“When the Vatican reprimands U.S. nuns, citing their ‘radicalfeminism,’ three fearless nuns risk their place in the Church tofollow another higher calling: social justice.”This bold declaration is the promotion for a documentary filmentitled Radical Grace that is being widely disseminated freeof charge on World Channel's America Reframed website

Patriotism, Piety, and Anthony Esolen's Out of the Ashes

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Inthe ninth circle of his InfernoDante envisioned sinners guilty of treachery against those to whomthey were bound by special ties. One round of the circle is namedCaina,after Cain, and is reserved for those who have betrayed their bloodkin; another is named Antenora,after the Trojan Antenor, who is supposed to have betrayed hishomeland to the Greeks. “Whereat I turned and saw beneath my feet/ and stretching out ahead, a lake so

Cardinal Sarah's Address on the 10th Anniversary of "Summorum Pontificum"

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Colloquium“The Source of the Future” (“Quelleder Zukunft”)onthe occasion of the 10thanniversary of the publicationofthe Motu proprio SummorumPontificumby Pope Benedict XVIMarch29 – April 1, 2017

“Always forward”: Inside the work of the Word on Fire apostolate

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Since being founded in 2000, Word on Fire Catholic Ministries has steadily grown in reach and recognition, offering hundreds of online videos, numerous articles and blog posts, several books, and

Islam and the London Killings

Monday, March 27, 2017

I. In London this past week, on March 22nd, a British-born Muslim, Khalid Masood, drove a truck into pedestrians crossing the Westminster Bridge, near the historic Parliament building. Masood next jumped out of the truck, drew some knives and killed an unarmed police officer with them. He then headed for the building itself before some officers who did have guns shot him, but not bef

Fighting the Porn Myth with Science

Monday, March 27, 2017

In 2013, Beyonce Knowles topped GQ’s list of “The 100 Hottest Women of the 21st Century.”That same year, the “definitive men's magazine” that promises “sexy women” along with style advice, entertainment news and more ran a shorter listicle: “10 Reasons Why You Should Quit Watching Porn.”  The list included reasons such as increased sexual impotence in men that regularly viewed pornography, and a re

Prospects of a Catholic Literary Revival

Sunday, March 26, 2017

At a recent wedding for one of my wife’s former students, the father of a current student asked me about my recently completed semester. I excitedly recounted teaching “The Search for Happiness in the Catholic Tradition,” a course I had changed almost entirely from the last time I taught it several years ago. Rather than shorter units and readings, I organized the course around a number of great and near-great books, punctuated by lectures and shorte

The Annunciation and the Mystery of the Incarnation

Saturday, March 25, 2017

On this solemnity which celebrates the high-water point in the historyof salvation, permit me to explore with you three Latin expressions.1.Verbumcaro factum est[The Word became flesh]. We find this line, of course, in thePrologue to St. John's Gospel, and the Epistle to the Hebrews tellsus that Jesus is God's last and definitive Word – a word spoken inthe flesh. The doctri

The murdered Ulma family’s story is bringing Catholics and Jews together today

Friday, March 24, 2017

Pope Francis hasfrequently spoken of an “ecumenism of the blood.” Today, Christians are beingpersecuted and exterminated solely for professing belief in Christ in theMiddle East and many parts of Africa and Asia, just as the faithful were in Nero’sRome or during the Spanish Civil War. Today’s martyrs come from all Christiantraditions: they are Roman and Eastern Rite Catholics, Protestants, andOrthodox. This shared experience of

A "Wounded Healer" Offers Guidance for Wounded Catholics

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Two things will strike readers of Fr. Thomas Berg’s Hurting in the Church: first, that this book needed to be written at all, for who could have ever believed that so much hurt could have been inflicted so quickly on so many in the Church; second, that an effective response to such pain would not only help heal those hurting in the Church, but could also inspire others not wounded to be

“The Devil wins if we don’t show up for the debate”: Fr. Spitzer on reclaiming the transcendentals

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Father Robert Spitzer, SJ was still celebrating Mass, ashe does daily, when I arrived for our interview. It had been a year since ourlast meeting, which resulted in one of CWR’s most-read articles of 2016. I waited outside his Magis Center office preparing

Fighting the Ideologies of Contraception, Divorce, and Gender

Monday, March 20, 2017

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse is a Catholic author, speaker, academic, and founder of the Ruth Institute (www.ruthinstitute.org), “dedicated to finding Christ-like solutions to the problems of family breakdown.” The Institute “has accumulated decades of research to support individuals and families harmed by divorce, the hook-up cul

St. Thomas More's True Relevance for Our Time

Monday, March 20, 2017

The John Paul II Shrine’s exhibit on St. Thomas More argues convincingly that he is more relevant now than ever. But is that because he was a martyr for religious liberty, as the exhibit implies? Certain facts brought forth by the exhibit itself undermine this conclusion.If you have not already seen the exhibit—which will

Pius XI, Saint Joseph, and Joseph Stalin

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Eighty years ago this week, Pope Pius XI issued two encyclicals condemning two of the most brutal regimes in history: Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union.  Pius released Mit Brennender Sorge (“On the Church and the German Reich”) on March 14, 1937 (which was smuggled into Germany and read from pulpits on March 21, Palm Sunday), and

Finding a Form for Prayer

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Thelast decade has been dotted with reluctant valedictions for the lostage of the American Catholic Literary Revival. Paul Elie’sTheLife You Save May Be Your Own(2003), a hefty biographical history that interweaves the lives ofThomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Flannery O’Connor,and Walker Percy, sought to capture both the promise and the passingof a time when Catholics found compelling expression in Americanliterary culture. With Perc

Learning to Unfold and Understand Sacred Scripture

Friday, March 17, 2017

It is truly a marvel that the Bible can be so utterly indispensable for Judeo-Christian faith, and at the same time be so mysterious, overwhelming, and even incomprehensible. The riches and depths of the biblical texts surely goes beyond our understanding; after thousands of years, there are still new insights to be gleaned, surprising facets of historical context to be uncovered, and unexpected inspirations from its pages.Even the greatest and mo

The state of the Catholic Church in contemporary Ireland

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Irelandcelebrated by G.K. Chesterton in his Christendomin Dublin is no more.He discussed thatcity during the 1932 Eucharistic Congress, when ceremonies were attended byhundreds of thousands and the Irish military provided escorts for papalrepresentatives disembarking from a ship. Four years later, an Irishconstitution, composed by Eamon de Valera and approved by plebiscite thefollowing year, had in its prea

Sacra Liturgia Conference in Milan to feature Cardinals Sarah, Burke; focus on Ambrosian liturgy

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

From June 6-9 Sacra Liturgia will hold its fourth international conference in Milan, Italy, continuing the work begun in Rome (2013), in New York (2015) and London, England (2016). The international panel of speakers features Cardinals Raymond Burke and Robert Sarah amongst others (the Milan conference will be in both Italian and English with simultaneous translation of all presentations). CWR spoke with

Papal Anti-Judaism?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Arenowned Italian rabbi, Giuseppe Laras, recently wrote an open letter in response to developments within the Italian Biblical Associationwhich he considers extremely problematic in terms of Jewish-Christianrelations. In fact, he says that he is “very indignant andembittered.” Most interestingly, he asserts that P

The Mysterious, Surprising, and Joyful Work of the Novelist

Monday, March 13, 2017

Michael D. O'Brien has been working as an iconographer, painter, and writer for nearly fifty years. He is the popular author of over two dozen books, including several best-selling novels such as Father Elijah, Elijah in Jerusalem, The Father's Tale, Eclipse of the Sun, Sophia H

Diversity Is Not a Cult—But What is It?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

A couple ofmonths ago I was savaged on my campus on account of a title suppliedby one of my editors: “MyCollege Succumbed to the Totalitarian Diversity Cult.” I don'tknow that Providence College has succumbed, but the next day somebodyhad written on the blackboard of my class, “Diversity is not acult!” Well, of course it isn't. The sentence“diversity is a cult” makes no sense. It is like saying that&#x20

Without law and freedom united, truth and dignity are destroyed

Thursday, March 09, 2017

A couple of months ago I commented on how modern ways of thinking make it hard to understand human life. I didn't say so specifically, but a big part of the problem has to do with the relation between law and freedom.The problem comes up in the scientific approach to knowledge. Scientists pursuing their investigations view themselves as free and rational, but they want

As Europe Declines, the Church Dithers

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

In 1985, the then-European Economic Community which eventually became today’s European Union formally adopted what’s known as “The Flag of Europe.” Consisting of a circle of 12 golden stars on an azure background, many believe that the flag, first used by the Council of Europe in 1955, combines the traditional Marian blue with the crown of twelve stars worn by the Woman Clothed in the Sun portrayed in the Book of Revela

“Kids want a story they can sink their teeth into”: Raymond Arroyo on writing for young readers

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Raymond Arroyo has worked for the AssociatedPress, the New York Observer, and asfounding news director, managing editor, and lead anchor for EWTN News. He hasinterviewed cardinals, politicians, presidents, actors, authors, and more. He hasalso written several books, including a two-part biography of EWTN foundressMother Angelica.In recent years, however, he has branched outinto new territory: middle-grade fic

Open the Treasure Box and Recover the Church's Musical Treasures

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Ihave beside me a new book by Father George Rutler. It is called TheStories of Hymns: The History Behind 100 of Christianity's GreatestHymns.It is quite simply the most fascinating book about sacred music thatI have ever read. Every sentence counts, every sentence revealssomething wondrous or ironic or poignant or profound or amiably humanabout the authors, the translators, the composers, the arrangers, thecongregations who sang the hymns, and the immense

Papua New Guinea: Unique challenges face some of the world’s most isolated Catholics

Saturday, March 04, 2017

In October 2016, Archbishop John Ribat became the firstcardinal from Papua New Guinea, a South Pacific nation of about 7.5 millionpeople, more than one-quarter of whom are Catholic.But in this geographically remote nation, tribal beliefsand superstitions can preempt Christian teaching. When incidents such as asudden illness or death strike a community, people have been accused of sorceryand then banished, maimed, or killed.

Stopes v. Sutherland: The legal battle between a eugenicist and a Catholic doctor

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Editor’s Note: This is the second and final article on the Stopes v. Sutherland libel trial of 1923. The firstarticle discussed the background of the case, including UK birth-controladvocate Marie Stopes’ enthusiastic interest in eugenics and Dr. HallidaySutherland’s opposition to that movement, based both on his Catho

Beware the Fundamentalist, my brothers! ... and shun the fractious Fomenters

Thursday, March 02, 2017

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun the frumious Bandersnatch!" — “Jabberwocky,” by Lewis CarrollPope Francis, right at the start of Amoris Laetitia, identifie

“Because I do not hope to turn again...”: On the attraction of Ash Wednesday

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What is this strange fascination with ashes? Today in Grand CentralStation, if it was a typical Ash Wednesday, the priests of St. AgnesChurch imposed ashes on the foreheads of over 20,000 people, which“congregation” was comprised of fervent Catholics, lukewarmCatholics, apostate Catholics and non-Catholics! What power doesthat smudge of ash exert? Better yet, why?Whether consciously or not, I suspect the average person recognizessomething i

Is the “Benedict Option” the only option left?

Monday, February 27, 2017

When Joshand Laura Martin, both converts to the faith, moved their growing family of sixfrom the city of Dallas, Texas to the hills of Oklahoma, they didn’tnecessarily know that they were participating in the “Benedict Option.”“We initiallyjust wanted to get out of the city and raise our family in a more protected,slower-paced environment,&#x20

The Subjective Church

Sunday, February 26, 2017

I.In all institutions we find a difference between what the constitutions or authorized descriptions define them to be and what they turn out to be in practice. We hear of two constitutions—one “written” and one “living”—that often seem to have little relation to each other. A firm’s legal definition or a university’s “mission&#x2

Martin Luther: True Reformer or Defender of Erroneous Conscience?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Two trials, two appeals to conscience. Trial 1: I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen. Trial 2: If the number of bishops and universities should be so material as your lordship seems to think, then I see little cause, my lord, why that should make any change in my conscience. For I have no doubt that, though

Faith and doubt in the films of Martin Scorsese

Friday, February 24, 2017

Martin Scorsese’slatest film, his adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence, has provoked mixed reactions from Catholic reviewers, fromadulation to criticism. Indeed, the film—which deals with Jesuit missionaries inJapan during times of extreme persecution of Christians, and which, like thenovel it is based on, ends with the main character apostatizing—is complex anddoes not offer simple answers. This is not the first ti

Theological Orthodoxy, Church Growth, and Church Decline: Observations from Canada

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Catholics are used to seeing the 1960s as a turning point for the faith, not least because of the impact of Vatican II and the divergent interpretations of it in different circles. Upheaval in the church coincided with social changes so rapid that historians often refer to them as a cultural revolution. At least in North America, in the decades since the 1960s the Catholic Church has had a harder time attracting people to worship, religious orders, and the priesthood. In

The true story behind the Marie Stopes eugenics trial of 1923

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Editor’s note: This is the first of two articleson the Stopes v. Sutherland libel trial.The second article can be read here.In1923 in Britain, a Catholic doctor won an important victory in the battleagainst one of the most harmful ideologies of the 20th century: eugenics. Th

“This is our time of witness”: Abp Chaput on how American Catholics remain “strangers in a strange land”

Monday, February 20, 2017

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput’s latest book, Strangersin a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World,is available now from Henry Holt & Co. In anticipation of therelease of the book, CWR editor Carl E. Olson conducted the following emailinterview with Philadelphia’s archbishop earlier this month.

The End of the Catholic State?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Perhaps Benedict XVI’s greatest gift to the Church was his emphasis on what has come to be called the “hermeneutic of continuity.” This concept emerged in his Christmas 2005 address on Vatican II to the Roman curia. But if we pay attention to the letter of Benedict’s text, we see t

The rich treasure of the monastic life

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles (www.benedictinesofmary.org) of the Priory of Our Lady of Ephesus were established under the auspices of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1995.  They later became independent of the Fraternity and re-located to Gower, Missouri—near St. Joseph, in northwestern Missouri and Kansas City—at the invitation of the then-bishop of Kansas Ci

The “dark heart” of human-robot companionship

Friday, February 17, 2017

Professor Sherry Turkle, founder anddirector of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, has studied thepsychology of human interactions with computational artifacts since the 1970s.In the nascent years of the 21st century, she argues, society has reached a“Robotic Moment.” This crossroads is defined not by the actual manufacture ofrelational robots, but by the fact many in Western society—particularly parentsand eldercare providers—are ready t

The Courageous Witness of "The Lion of Münster"

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Father Daniel Utrecht, C.O., is a priest of the Oratory of St Philip Neri, Toronto. He is a graduate of the University of Dallas (B.A., Philosophy), and the University of Toronto (Ph.D., philosophy). He joined the Oratory in 1980 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1985. Father Utrecht teaches in St Philip's Seminary, directed by the Fathers of the Oratory, and is Pastor of St Vincent de Paul Church in Toronto. Previou

Paul, Apollos, and Cephas, all over again

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

In April 2016, Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, England, issued a pastoral letter on the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia (the Pope’s apostolic exhortation on marriage) and re-affirmed the Church’s long-settled teaching: the divorced and civilly remarried, while members of the Christian community, are not living in

The End of the Road for SNAP?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Years ago, a number of Catholic World Report articles argued the case that the group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) – whom the media has called upon repeatedly over the years as a reliable voice to bash the Catholic Church over its handling of the sex abuse crisis – was actually nothing more than a front gr

"Facts" and "values" and darkness at noon

Monday, February 13, 2017

(Editor’sNote: The following is an excerpt from Archbishop Charles Chaput’s forthcomingbook Strangers in aStrange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World (Henry Holt and Co.). The book will beavailable February 21.) And Godsaid, &#x201

The Living and the Dead and Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Early and late, Tennyson’s theme was mortal beauty.  In The Princess (1847), when he was scarcely forty, he set it to an enchanting music.   The splendor falls on castle walls     And snowy summits old in story;The long light shakes across the lakes,     And the wild cataract leaps in glory.B

The Hysterical Media Attacks on Cardinal Burke

Thursday, February 09, 2017

A couple of weeks ago I came across the following, written by Oscar Wilde some 125 years or so ago:Inold days men had the rack. Now they have the press. That is an improvement certainly. But still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralising. Somebody - was it Burke? - called journalism the fourth estate. That was true at the time, no doubt. But at the pres

Divine Revelation and the Standards of the Future

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

“It will be one of the confusions of the damned to see that they are condemned by their own reason, by which they claimed to condemn the Christian religion.” — Pascal, Pensée #562. “A new species of philosopher is appearing; I venture to baptize these philosophers with a name not without danger in it. As I divine them, as they let themselves be divi

How Many Faces of Christ?

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Recent decades havewitnessed revisionist portraits of Jesus congenial to thecontemporary concerns of the chattering classes rise time and timeagain, whether Christs compatible with New-Age thinking from the 1970s and '80s,reconstructions of Jesus as peasant or cynic or revolutionarypopularized by members of the Jesus Seminar in the 1990s, or the neo-Gnostic Jesusdepicted in Dan Brown’s 2003 Da Vinci Code. These portraits ofJesus are drawn largely

Freemasons and Their Craft: What Catholics Should Know

Monday, February 06, 2017

Many Catholics view Freemasonry as a dangerous—even Satanic—conspiracy founded to destroy the Faith. On the other hand, the Craft likes to present itself as “an ancient Order dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God.” Some of the “Brethren” may take that description seriously, depending on which room of the Masonic edifice they inhabit. But the Lodge has many suites, annexes, and outbuildings whose inmates are no

The Role of Gregorian Chant in Ministry and Religious Education

Monday, February 06, 2017

There are many perspectives and positions regarding the propriety of different styles of music in a liturgical context. One point that is beyond debate is that the Church has a vast treasury and rich tradition of sacred music. The question remains: what role does this treasury and tradition play in contemporary pastoral ministry and religious education? An upcoming conference in New York will explore this very question.Hosted by St. Joseph’

The Truth is Not Up for Negotiation

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Editor's note: The following interview appeared in the February 2017 edition of Il Timone and was conducted by Riccardo Cascioli and Lorenzo Bertocchi. The translation is by Andrew Guernsey.&

Is Liberal Democracy Closer to Communism or Catholicism?

Friday, February 03, 2017

Whiledialogue with non-Catholics, non-Christians, or even anti-Christiansmay sometimes be perfectly appropriate, Ryszard Legutko is quiteright, in The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in FreeSocieties, to highlight the fine line which divides Catholics whoare open to civil debate from those who act as useful idiots for theLeft. In particular, Legutko—a professor of philosophy who heldvarious high-ranking positions in the Polish government&#1

A Catholic Populism?

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Populist movements are making striking gains throughout the Western world. Causes are not hard to find. Recent decades have seen widening social, economic, and cultural differences between ordinary people, who prefer what they are used to, and elites, who favor the global order new emerging, which is run in accordance with their outlook and interests.That order favors economic and regulatory globalization as well as replacement of family and commu

German bishops: Some divorced-and-remarried may receive Communion

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Cologne, Germany, Feb 1, 2017 / 11:29 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The German bishops have published their own guidelines on Amoris laetitia allowing, in certain cases, for divorced-and-remarried Catholics to receive Communion.The decision by the German bishops' conference comes on the heels of 

How the ordinary form of the Mass can “enrich” the extraordinary form

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

In 2007,Pope Benedict XVI issued his motu proprioSummorum Pontificum (SP), in which he gave broader scope to the earlierpermissions of Pope John Paul II regarding the celebration of Holy Massaccording to the Missale Romanum of1962. In the Pope’s accompanying letter to the bishops of the Catholic world,he expressed the conviction that the availability of the older rite (now to becalled the “extraordinary form”) w

A Surprising Choice for Krakow

Monday, January 30, 2017

When Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz turned 75 in 2014, Pope Francis extended his tenure. The conventional wisdom was that the pope wanted to keep Dziwisz in Krakow until World Youth Day was held in the city last year. In recent months, many Poles impatiently waited to learn who would lead the diocese whose pastor was once Pope St. John Paul II. There were many rumored candidates, but nobody had expected the appointment of Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski of Lodz. This choice is

The Docile Visionary, James V. Schall, SJ

Friday, January 27, 2017

Several years ago I began a review of The Modern Age (St. Augustine’s Press, 2011) by noting the error of the author, Fr. James Schall, in citing Psalm 90, verse 10’s estimate of the standard human age as “four score years and ten” rather than “three score and ten, four score if our strength endure.” Three score and ten is 70, four score is 80. I sympathized with Fr. Schall’s confusion, given that at the time of publication

An Order of Malta Church Shake

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Who knew that 2017 could be the Year of Malta? And yet, in less than amonth's time, the little island—122 square miles in size and populated by fewer than 450,000—located some 50 miles south of Italy has been involved in two of the biggest stories of the year. First there was the pastoral letter signed January 8th by the Archbishop of Malta, Charles J. Scicluna, and the Bishop of Gozo, Mario Grech, titled

“Racketeer for Life”: Joseph Scheidler on the pro-life movement’s earliest days

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Joseph M. Scheidler is a former Benedictinemonk and journalism professor who became a public leader in the pro-lifemovement when the US Supreme Court allowed abortion on demand with its 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton rulings. Sued by the National Organization for Womenunder federal racketeering laws and found guilty in 1998, Scheidler has triumphedtwice in appeals before the Supreme Court, in 2003 and again in 2006.Mr. Schei

Theology isn’t math; but it is theology

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

During the heyday of the Solidarity movement, a famous Polish slogan had it that, “For Poland to be Poland, 2 + 2 Must Always = 4”. It was a quirky but pointed way of challenging the communist culture of the lie, which befogged public life and warped relationships between parents and children, husbands and wives, colleagues and neighbors. For Poland to be something other than the claustrophobic Soviet puppet-state it had been since 1945 – for Poland to

New film portrays dramatic life, inspiring conversion of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Saints have much to teach us. Throughout the history of the Church the faithful have looked to the example of the Saints, asking for their aid, guidance, and intercession. And the Saints have also powerfully come to the aid of those who are not necessarily seeking them or who seem far from interested in spiritual contemplation and Christian discipleship. This was certainly the case with Íñigo López de Loyola, who was born i

The Tailors of Tooley Street: Reflections on the Ivory Tower and Reality

Monday, January 23, 2017

“Thy neck is a tower of ivory" (Song of Solomon 4:7). In so saying, the Old Testament reminds one that standards of beauty do change. To call a long white neck swan-like is a commonplace, and the Arabic equivalent is fawn-like. Even Marge in “The Simpsons” cartoons is said to have a neck like a swan. But a neck like a tower of ivory seems unique to Solomon’s song though long before the Litany of Loretto, it became a symbol for the Virgin Mary.

Walk for Life West Coast a positive witness in a heated political climate

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Walk for Life West Coast, held on Saturday, January 21, was full of familiar sights for the approximately 50,000 pro-lifers who gathered in San Francisco from around the Bay Area and from elsewhere in California and across the country. Lots of up-beat pro-life signage, lots of babies in strollers, lots of Catholic religious in clerical garb and habits (Dominicans in their striking black and white were particularly well-

The World's First Rock God—and a Franciscan Tertiary

Saturday, January 21, 2017

“ [François] Mauriac has said: ‘The Romantics were the corrupt children of Christianity.’ I should not put it so harshly; but it is very much more true than talking of the Victorians as smug, contented Christians. The Victorian Age was really a violent collision and struggle; a meeting-place of two furious onslaughts, b

Henri de Lubac's observations of Vatican II offer prescient perspective

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Last year I had the pleasure of reading and reporting to our readers on the first volume of Henri de Lubac’s memoirs of the Second Vatican Council.  With the appearance of the se

Fake History

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Speaking of public policy debates, Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said that, while everyone had a right to his opinion, no one had a right to his own facts. Something similar might be said about today’s debates within the Church: everyone has a right to their opinion about the state of Catholicism in 2017, but no one has a right to invent their own Church history.I thought of Moynihan’s Rule when reading British writer Paul Vallely

In Kenya, bishops take a stand to curtail election-year violence

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

As political tensions rise nationwide in Kenya, just months ahead of generalelections, the country’s Catholic bishops are not sitting comfortably in theirdioceses.The East Africa nation is set to head to the polls in August, the sixth electionsince the adoption multi-party democracy in the 1990s.The bishops are highlighting political tensions, which they warn are reachingdangerous proporti

The Bomb That Never Detonated

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I.Back in the early 1970s, in the heyday of unceasing rancor over Humanae Vitae, a great number of books were published that prophesied disaster for the human race. Among the most famous was Paul Ehrlich’s widely read The Population Bomb. At that time, we were given various apocalyptic scenarios about the end of things caused by our ow

“Only a blind man can deny that there is great confusion in the Church.”

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Editor's note: The following interview was originally published in Il Foglio by Matteo Matzuzzi. It was translated into English by Andrew Guernsey and is reprinted her

A Malta Laetitia

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Just yesterday I was lamenting to some colleagues about how weary I've become of the ongoing and escalating debate over Amoris Laetitiaand its interpretation. "I would be happy," I said, "to not write of itagain." Knowing full well the topic was not going away. Quite the contrary.So, I am not happy. But this really isn't about feelings, is it? Or is it?Thebishops of Malta, in a pastoral letter signed January 8th by the Archb

Journalist Peter Seewald: Pope Benedict is “one of the most misunderstood personalities of our time”

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

It is well-known that Pope Francis regularlygrants interviews to various media outlets, and has done so since the earliestdays of his papacy. As a result, it seems as if each successive interview isreceived with less fanfare, and the words of the Holy Father are watched withbreath a little less bated.His predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, wasnever one to give interviews so frequently. However, over the last 25 y

Is the Organ Really a Sacred Instrument?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the document shaping modern Catholic liturgy, has much to say about the music of the Mass, including this:  In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church's ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man's mind to God and to higher th

What is "Pro-Life"?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

In America, “pro-life“ mostly means “anti-abortion.“ The name helps counter the “pro-choice“ brand and emphasize the positive concerns at stake. It also supports closely-related concerns such as euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and various reproductive technologies.But should a pro-life movement be broader than that? After all, the name suggests issues that are not medical or categorically resolve

Catholics and the Present Confusion

Monday, January 09, 2017

All through the modern era, the primary accusation against Catholicism was its clarity, its being too sure of what reason and revelation meant. It was arrogant. Imagine her claiming that she had a handle on essential truths! What angered people was not the fact that the Church did not know what she was talking about, but the fact that she did and claimed that she did. People were comfortable with doubt. Doubt makes you free, not truth! Doubt leaves a lot of leeway. Peopl

New history describes founding, rise, and secularization of Fordham University

Friday, January 06, 2017

Fordham University identifies itself as “the Jesuit University of New York”. However, some, including Jesuits, remain confused as to what that precisely means. Some cynics even suggest it does not necessarily imply a Catholic University. Help toward an answer can be found in the very well written and researched book,

The Epiphany and Evangelization

Thursday, January 05, 2017

“Nations shall walk by your light.” (Isa 60:3) “Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.” (Responsorial Psalm, The Epiphany of the Lord)  “The Gentiles are now co-heirs with the Jews, members of the same body and sharers of the promise through the preaching of the Gospel.” (Eph 3:6) “. . . Magi from the east arrived one day. . . to pay him homage.” (Matt 2:1, 2)

Byzantine and Catholic in the Secular Northwest

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Fr. Richard Janowicz is celebrating his 35th anniversary at Nativity of the Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Church in Springfield, Oregon, 34 years of which he has served as pastor.  It is a small, Eastern Catholic parish which celebrates the Byzantine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.  While it is essentially the same Eucharistic celebration wit

Seeking Signs During The Times

Monday, January 02, 2017

The fall of my junior year in high school the United States had launched Operation Desert Shield, designed to keep Saddam Hussein out of Saudi Arabia while providing time to make preparations for the offensive that would be known as Operation Desert Storm. The passage of over twenty-five years puts the operations in perspective; we know the rest of the story. Coalition forces won an easy rout over Iraq in a matter of weeks with minimal casualties.But though we know the

“The Best Books I Read in 2016”

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Essayistand author Alberto Manguel, in A Reader on Reading (Yale, 2010), ina chapter titled “The End of Reading,” asks: “Why, at certain moments in ourlife, do we choose the companionship of one book over another?” He observesthat “the author of Ecclesiastes and Pete Seeger have taught us that foreverything there is a season; likewise, I might add, for every season there isa book. But readers have learned that not just an

The Saturnalia and St. John Chrysostom: A New Year’s Message

Saturday, December 31, 2016

On the 2nd of January in the year 388, St. John Chrysostom began the first of seven homilies on the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31).  Much like in our own day, when the New Year’s celebration is an excuse for too much drinking and drunkenness, so too in the ancient world, the 1st of January would have fallen at the end of their biggest and most popular festival, the Saturnalia.  The hedonistic poet Catul

The Pastoral and Moral Crises That Lie Ahead

Friday, December 30, 2016

There has been a moral and pastoral crisis for the last half century in the Church, but I honestly think we haven’t yet seen anything like what might lie ahead. The 4 Cardinals—I like to call them "The Four Just Men" (coined by the prolfiic Edgar Wallace a century ago)—have nailed the roots of this threat&#

Retreat offers hope and healing for survivors of family breakdown

Thursday, December 29, 2016

When we think of the “least of these,”whom Jesus exhorted us to defend and aid, several groups easily come to mind:the poor, the unborn, the disabled. One often overlooked group is adultchildren of family breakdown. The non-profit Ruth Institute is striving to help thatgroup with a new Healing Retreat for Family Breakdown, launched recently inLouisiana.

A Truly Catholic History of North America

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Acclaimed historian and author Dr. Kevin Starr holds a BA from the University of San Francisco, an MA and PhD from Harvard University, and a Master of Library Science from UC Berkeley. He has served as both the City Librarian of San Francisco and the State Librarian for California, and in 2010 was inducted into the California Hall of Fame. He is currently a Professor History at the University of Southern California, where he is a director of the Institute for Advanced Ca

Scorsese's "Silence" and the Seaside Martyrs

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I have long been an ardent fan of Martin Scorsese's films. Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, The Aviator, Gangs of New York, The Last Waltz, Casino, etc. are among the defining movies of the last forty years. And The Departed, Scorsese's 2007 crime drama, was the subject matter of the first YouTube commentary that I ever did. It is certainly the case, furthermore, that the director's Catholicism, however mitigated and

The Holiness of Fr. Walter Ciszek, S.J.

Monday, December 26, 2016

With God in America landed on my desk hot off the press in September but various projects prevented me from turning to it for some weeks. Finally, late one Monday morning, I poured a cup of hot tea and settled down in my comfy recliner to peruse this collection of writings by and recollections about the American Jesuit missionary, Fr. Walter Ciszek (1904-1984), to see what historical tidbits or personal insights might r

The Arc of History, the “Enlightened” Narrative, and The Christ

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A meditation on Christ in the manger, angels singing, the Magi coming, is welcome this time of year, but this isn’t such a reflection. This is about how an event transformed a world that still refuses to believe it’s been transformed.The “enlightened”, educated, popular, settled science narrative of history is grounded in environmental determinism (meaning climate, geography, cataclysms, birth rates, innovations, etc.),

G.K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens, and the Joy of Christmas

Friday, December 23, 2016

“I have been asked to speak to youfor a quarter of an hour on Dickens and Christmas.” Thus began alive radio broadcast from England to America on Christmas Day, 1931.The man speaking into the microphone was G.K. Chesterton.“Why, on this day of holiday, am Imade to work?” he asked. “Why, on this day of rejoicing, are youmade to suffer?”

Anchorage’s archbishop on his new assignment and new frontiers

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Archbishop Paul Etienne has become known as abishop of the American frontier. These days, there isn’t much more of a“frontier” than Alaska. In an incredibly appropriate move, in October PopeFrancis named Etienne to the Archdiocese of Anchorage, where he was installedas archbishop in early November.Archbishop Etienne (pronounced “AY-chen”) hadbeen the bishop of Cheyenne—Wyoming&#

What Is "The Nativity"?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

“What is?” questions are of particular significance. When we see or hear of something before us or of something happening, we want to know what it is. We are not satisfied until we find out. Even if we cannot find out, we still want to know what is going on here. We call it a mystery, a challenge, or an object of scientific investigation. When we speak of “the” Nativity in this context, we distinguish “the&#x2

Cardinal Burke: "No, I am not saying that Pope Francis is in heresy."

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke was made a bishop by Pope John Paul II in 1994. In June 2008 he was appointed Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, and in 2010 he was named a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI. In 2014 Pope Francis removed Cardinal Burke from his position as Prefect and named him chaplain to the Order of Malta. During the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, held in Rome in October 2014, Cardinal Burke 

Postmodernity and the "Ideal" Jesus

Saturday, December 17, 2016

“God made us in his image—and we returned the favor.” I was reminded of this old joke reading the latest tome from John Shelby Spong, for he employs what he thinks he knows of biblical studies and theology to sever Jesus both from history and his Jewish matrix to generate an ideal Jesus who affirms the progressive project entire, a Jesus who looks like Spong.For those not familiar with Spong, he has long reigned as the maddest of clerical madmen, an

Rogue One paints a grittier picture of the Star Wars universe

Saturday, December 17, 2016

A year ago, TheForce Awakens was released, inaugurating a new era in the Star Warsfranchise. The previous year, 2014, marked what could be the last year in humanhistory in which no Star Wars filmgraces the big screen. Now, as 2016 ends, we have Rogue One: A Star WarsStory. This is the first of the branded “anthology” films which explorecharacters, stories, and events outside the main “episodic”

It's time to get into a good argument about the Catholic faith

Friday, December 16, 2016

It's time for Catholics to start arguing. Not with each other. They already do that. With non-Catholics. And not about politics and sports. About religion. About the big questions. About the Catholic faith.I say this because I have just seen the seen the results of a survey about religion that was published by Pew Research. (I don't know if there is a pun in that name.) One of the questions asked was: “What do you personally think is the best thing to do when so

Bishop Paprocki on sharing the Gospel, running marathons, and building a culture of life

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Bishop Thomas Paprocki,64, has served as bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois since 2010. Hewas born and reared in Chicago, and attended Catholic schools there. He wasordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1978, and ordained anauxiliary bishop for the archdiocese in 2003.While in Chicago heserved as a pastor, and in a variety of administrative chancery positions,including chancellor. He earned a law degree from DePaul University in 19

Reading Silence for the first time

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

In a few weeks, Martin Scorsese’s long-awaitedadaptation of the novel Silence willgo into wide release. Scorsese’s interest in the story of 17th-century Jesuitmissionaries in Japan goes back decades, and the questions it raises for himare spiritual ones: “Endo’s novel confronts the mystery of Christian faith, andby extension the mystery of faith itself,” Scorsese wrote in an essaycontributed to a

Why Moral Absolutes Matter

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

At the core of the now-famous dubia submitted to Pope Francis by four cardinals is the question of moral absolutes. By “moral absolutes,” Catholicism doesn’t mean vague generalizations such as “don’t offend others” or even more specific claims like “don’t steal unnecessarily.” Instead the Church has something very particular in mind: that there are intrinsic

FOCUS consecrates missionary efforts to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Monday, December 12, 2016

However youmight mark the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe this week, the missionaries andleadership of FOCUS (Fellowship ofCatholic University Students) will be doing something distinctive. FOCUS,dedicated to evangelization on college campuses and parishes in the US andEurope and with service trips across Latin America, will consecrate theirefforts to the protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the intercession of hergreat herald, S

Nigeria approves Africa’s first Dominican university

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Last month it was announced that the Nigerian FederalExecutive Council had approvedthe establishment of eight new private universities in the country. Among theseis the Dominican University in the city of Ibadan, which will be Africa’s firstDominican university. The new university builds upon the work of the DominicanInstitute, which has been offeri

Ecumenism, "Proselytism", and the Danger of Doctrinal Ambiguity

Thursday, December 08, 2016

When the Catholic Church began its great project of ecumenical dialog following the Second Vatican Council, great hopes were expressed for the benefits that might spring from it. In the eyes of the council fathers, expressed in the decree Unitatis Redintegratio, the ecumenical movement had the potential to “promote justice and truth, concord and collaboration,” eliminate misunderstandings between Catholics

Mary, “the daughter of Eve un-fallen", and God's plan of grace

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Editor's note: The following homily was delivered by the Reverend Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D., atHoly Innocents Church, Manhattan, on the Solemnity of the ImmaculateConception, 2016.------Thisweek In 2007, I was on a ten-day lecture tour in Mexico, and I washelicoptered up to a village which would have been about a five- hourdrive from Monterey but which by helicopter was about forty-fiveminutes. We got up there (al

On Meeting Sally Read: Poet, Writer, Convert from Atheism

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

As I entered Soho Square the bell of St. Patrick’s Church startedto toll. It was three o’clock in the afternoon. The bell rang out threetimes and then continued tolling. It was the hour of Great Mercy. Itwas to this sound of a tolling bell that I entered the church. Therethe Blessed Sacrament was exposed upon the altar. It was here alsowhere, as arranged, I met Sally Read. Ignatius Press has just published a remarkable book: 

How many cheers for capitalism?

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Many Christians arguefor capitalism on the grounds that markets and private property support man’srightful freedom, and doing away with them means poverty and tyranny. Thatseems a strong argument, so in response opponents of capitalism need to saythat the current system has additional features that make it intrinsically badand worth getting rid of.Earlier this year,the Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart, a severe critic of capitalism,

Catholic Vietnam: Growing despite Communist oppression

Monday, December 05, 2016

Late lastmonth, the president of Vietnam, Tran Dai Quang, met with Pope Francis for aprivate audience at the Vatican. Though the meeting was described by the HolySee Press Office as “cordial,” relations between Rome and Vietnam have beenbumpy for the last several decades. One of five remaining Communist nations,Vietnam has been ranked as the world’s 20

Travesties of Newman

Saturday, December 03, 2016

No Englishman—or only Lord Byron—ever fascinatedhis countrymen more than John Henry Cardinal Newman. Lord Macaulay wasconvinced that the British public’s fascination with Byron was mostly pharisaical.For the great Whig historian, the man whom Sir Walter Scott called “theChampion of the English Parnassus” was held up “as a sort of whipping boy” toshow how superior English morals were to “the Parisian laxity”; he was

Waiting for the War That Is Already Here

Friday, December 02, 2016

Weshall not flag or fail.  We shall defend our homeland, whatever the cost may be.  We shall fight in the town councils, we shall fight in theworkplaces and in the school boards, we shall fight in the courts and state legislatures.  We shall never surrender.  Or will we?Olderreaders will recognize this as a (not very elegant) paraphrase of Winston Churchill’s “We shall fight on the beaches” speech.  It was

Young Catholics campaign for a London World Youth Day

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Today it seems likehardly a week goes by in which we don’t read about another traditionallyChristian country adopting laws hostile to life, the family, or religiousliberty. Meanwhile, parish closings have become everyday events in many partsof the Western world. One local church that has in many respects weathered thesecularist storm well is the United Kingdom. Although it is one of the leastreligious countries on earth, now is a heady time for

Women and the Protestant Reformation

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

At the end of October 2016, Pope Francis traveled to Lund, Sweden.He was there to commemorate the beginning of a momentous anniversary: fivehundred years since Martin Luther’s posting of his “95 Theses” on October 31, 1517 and therefore thecommonly-recognized beginning of the Protestant Reformation.The Reformation and narratives        &#1

“We support the frail and failing members of the Body of Christ”

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sister MaryCharitas is a member of the Bethlehem Monastery of the Poor Clares ofBarhamsville, Virginia. As their websiteindicates, they are a cloistered monastic community in the tradition of St.Francis of Assisi and his faithful disciple, St. Clare: “We seek the face ofGod as He reveals himself in the liturgy of the Church, our contemp

The Four Cardinals and the Encyclical in the Room

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Howto make sense of the current situation? There is no single answer, for the ongoing saga—encompassing Synods and stratagems, debates and dubia,Exhortations and excoriations, posturings and pontifications—is about awide range of questions. Some of them are obvious and capture the headlines, especially: does Pope Francis want to allow those Catholics who have been divorced and civilly remarried access to Holy Communion, even while th

Death by Fidel

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro is dead. To say those words is so strange. I’ve never known a moment when he wasn’t alive.Castro came to power seven years before I was born, and I’m almost 50. I’ve been lecturing on the man every fall semester for 20 years, spending two or three weeks on him, his ideology, and the beautiful country he destroyed. It’s ironic that the day he died I finished two long chapters on him for a book manuscrip

Belgium bishop co-authors book in support of pre-marital sex, same-sex relations

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Christ is the Light of the worldThe opening sentences of Vatican II’s Lumen gentium state that Christ is the light of all nations, not the Church, but that this light shines on the Church’s face, especially in its proclamation of the Gospel. The human reception of that light—and hence of the Gospel—is, however, open to resistance and hence to distortion, misinterpretation, and rejection (see John Paul II, D

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput on vocations, elections, apostolic exhortations

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., 72, was born in Concordia, Kansas, in 1944.  He attended Catholic schools in the area before joining the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, St. Augustine Province, in 1965.He was ordained to the priesthood in 1970.  He served as a teacher and pastor an in a variety of roles in his community.  He was ordained Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1988, and appointed Archbishop of Denver in 1997.  Pope Benedict

Not Your Typical Lesson in Giving Thanks

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A strange thing happened to me theother day. My left knee went on strike. Refused to do its assignedjob. Abandoned its work altogether. As so often happens in thesecases, there were consequences to be had. The most notable was that Ifound myself unable to walk. I had been making my way across a largeparking lot into a large retail establishment (too large, perhaps),and by the time I got inside the store I was clinging to walldisplays and shopping carts and unsuspectin

Cdl. Tobin: In an unmerciful world, the Church isn’t always seen as an instrument of mercy

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pope Francis realizes that we live in anunmerciful world and that the Church has not always been seen as a source ofmercy.

Cardinal Sarah’s pastoral call to “turn to the Lord”

Monday, November 21, 2016

With Advent around the corner, one cannothelp but wonder if any pastors or bishops will accept thecontroversial invitation Cardinal Robert Sarah made last July. As keynote speaker at the 2016 Sacra Liturgia conference, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments calledfor a “return to a common orientation of priest and people ea

Trump, Putin, and the Wheel of Russian History

Sunday, November 20, 2016

“Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; butperhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.” —Winston ChurchillPresident-electDonald Trump will soon be brought up to speed on urgent matters offoreign affairs. High on the list will be Russian-American relations.This essay is about the kinds of things any American president mustknow about Russia in general and about the forces that

The Cross Divides Because It Demands a Choice

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Readings:• 1 Sam 5:1-3• Ps 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5• Col 1:12-20• Lk 23:35-43“Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?”Those words were uttered in the mid-second century by St. Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna and one of the Apostolic

A moral case for abortion?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

In Britain, AnnFuredi’s name is synonymous with abortion apologetics. She is the director ofone of Britain’s largest chains of abortion facilities and she makes frequentappearances at debates and in the press, defending abortion with a zeal thatwould be regarded as fundamentalist if she were a member of a religious sect.Furedi is a proud former member of the (defunct) Revolutionary Communist Party(which really was as barking mad as it sounds) and contribut

Polish Independence Day Marches Demonstrate Ideological Divides

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

WARSAW. On November 11, the 98th anniversary of Poland’s regained independence, the cold streets of central Warsaw were crammed with citizens marching under red-and-white Polish flags. Two rival marches held that day illustrated Poland’s ideological divide. The principal march, including 65,000 –100,000 people, represented Polish patriots determined to defend Polish independence and culture against the Europe

How to Stay Catholic While Attending College and University

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Catholic parents often think about how they can nurture and encourage their teenage children to mature in their knowledge and love of the Faith. There is, without question, a steady and often deceptive onslaught in the dominant culture against Catholic belief, practice, and morality. And in many ways there is no more crucial and difficult battleground than that found on university and college campuses across the country.Aurora Griffin has recently written a book recoun

A Great Political Idea Can Only Be Sustained By a Great Religious Idea

Monday, November 14, 2016

I do not normally read the New YorkTimes. No normal person normally does. But every once in a whileI make an exception. Which is also a normal thing to do. The articleI read astonished me, especially the following passage: America had a great political idea, but it had a small religious idea. The spiritual vision was not wide enough for the breadth and variety of brotherhood that was to be established among men. . . The nation arose not wi

"The Battle Against the Devil Is Still Being Fought Today"

Friday, November 11, 2016

Why such a gloomy, and to many absurd, topic? Three reasons: know your enemy, know what he’s after, know his tactics.Let’s start with the elephant in the room: the majority, especially the educated majority, are convinced that anyone who talks about the devil as if he really exists, as a being that thinks and acts, A) is superstitious, B) has a psychological illness, C) is ignorant, D) is all of the a

Get married and be submissive? One woman’s recipe for marital happiness

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Costanza Miriano is an Italian Catholic wife, mother offour children, and journalist for Rai (Italian public television) who writes oneducation and relationships and has worked with the Pontifical Council for theLaity. She authors a popular blog and has written four bestselling books—includingMarry Her and Die for Her—which havebeen translated into Spanish, French, Portuguese, Polish, Slovenian, and English.

Trump's "Shocking" Victory and Catholicism's "Lonely Labor"

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Nearly everyone, it appears, is "shocked" and "stunned" by the election of Donald Trump. Frankly, I can understand people being a bit surprised, but those who are shocked probably need to revisit their understanding of the current situation and reevaluate their trust in the polling and punditing experts. A good example of the shocked smart set is Paul Krugman, the economist and longtime columnist for The New York Times who, as it became clea

Catholicism embodied: “The Pivotal Players”

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Looking for some uplift after this tawdry election cycle? Some inspiration for tackling what lies ahead? A good way to enrich Advent? Examples of sanctity to help you be the missionary disciple you were baptized to be? Then let me recommend Bishop Robert Barron’s new DVD series, Catholicism: The Pivotal Players.Pivotal Players is

New Album for Advent & Christmas Melds Wide Range of Musical Styles

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Two years ago I came upon an album by a jazz trio that caught my attention because the leader was Director of Music at Sacred Heart Parish (the crypt church beneath the University of Notre Dame's Basilica of the Sacred Heart) and held my attention because it was one of the best jazz releases of 2014. Five of the songs on Inside Looking Out by the J.J. Wright Trio contain

Dictatorship and Relativism

Sunday, November 06, 2016

A lot of bad things happen in a world that has lost God. One is the disappearance of the rational freedom that is the natural setting for faith, science, morality, and pursuit of the common good.Just before he was elected pope, Cardinal Ratzinger noted that modern man is “building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose

Honoring God through the “pigness of the pig”

Saturday, November 05, 2016

JoelSalatin has been writing books on biological farming for more than 20 years. Earlyon, in books like Pastured PoultryProfits (1996) and Salad Bar Beef(1995) he explained the details of specific types of farming enterprises,principally for the benefit of aspiring farmers. These books, along withspeaking appearances and columns in magazines like Stockman Grass Journal made him a central figure in alternativeagriculture. But when he showed u

Mel Gibson returns to Hollywood with Hacksaw Ridge

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Having been away fromthe director’s chair since 2006, Mel Gibson steps behind the camera again with HacksawRidge, in theaters November 4.The biopic tells the story of Desmond Doss, a Medal of Honor recipient andSeventh-day Adventist who rejected the use of weapons and instead served as anunarmed medic in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Hacksaw Ridge dramatizeshis life leading up to his enlistment in the war effort, his

Learning to Live Liturgically, Day by Day

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Numbering My Days: How the Liturgical Calendar Rearranged My Life (Ignatius Press, 2016), a new book by Dr. Chene Heady, chronicles one man’s attempt to rearrange and reorient his life with the Church’s liturgical calendar as a guide. It recounts how Dr. Heady, a convert to the Catholic Church and a professor of English at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, endeavo

The Quiet Courage of Cardinal Robert Sarah

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

About 365 miles south-east of Paris, high in France’s remote Chartreuse Mountains, lies one of the world’s most well-known monasteries. Since its foundation in 1084 by the religious order that would become known as the Carthusians, La Grande Chartreuse has been characterized by a daunting quietness. This was famously captured and brought to the world’s attention in the award-winning 2005 documentary

Sweden’s Catholic Bishop: “We Christians Speak With One Voice"

Monday, October 31, 2016

In spite of some obstacles that make it seem unlikely unity among Christians is on the horizon, Bishop Anders Arborelius says Christians in Sweden speak with one voice. In this interview just a day ahead of the Pope’s visit to Sweden, he discussed Francis’ choice to commemorate the Protestant Reformation, and responded to how Christians who have differing views on important moral questions can move toward unity and pursue ecumenic

UK religious freedom leaders speak out for Asia Bibi, persecuted Pakistani Christians

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The archbishop of Pakistan’s largest Catholic diocese was embarking on a nationwide tour of England to draw attention to the persecution of Christians, just as news broke of yet another delay in the blasphemy appeal case of Asia Bibi which was due to be heard on Thursday 13th October.  Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw OFM, of the Archdiocese of Lahore, had been giving a series of keynote lectures around England throughout the third week of Octob

Intercommunion?

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Rumors are running rampant that intercommunion with Lutherans is on the table as Pope Francis travels to Lund, Sweden to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this Monday and Tuesday. On one hand, extraordinary ecumenical expectations prior to some event often appear overblown after the fact, as when some speculated that Pope Benedict might in some way &#x201

The Holy Spirit and the Two Stewards of Justice

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Editor's note: The following is a homily given at a Red Mass celebrated on October 27, 2016, for the New York Guild of Catholic Lawyers.------------------------------------------------“He said this with reference to the Holy Spirit that those who believed in him were to receive" (John 7:39).On the culminating day of the Days of Judgment, “Hoshana Rabba”, Christ began to hint at the bond of love between

Inside the first interracial cloistered community in the US

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sister Mary Jordan is a member of the Dominican Monastery of St. Jude inMarbury, Alabama. The cloistered community was founded in 1944 andwelcomed women of all ethnic backgrounds, a practice not typical of theera. The community is todayhome to eight nuns, who devote five hours a day to praising God and praying forvarious intentions

Martin Luther's Revolt: A Psychological Examination

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

IntroductionThis coming year will mark the five-hundredth anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses onto the door of the collegiate church of Wittenberg, traditionally regarded as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.It has been a cause of some concern and consternation for many Catholics to have learned that there will be Catholic (even papal) participation in various events connected to this annive

The Liberty of Dogma vs. the Tyranny of Taste

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Years ago I wrote an article titled "Dogma is Not a Dirty Word". In it, I noted how those who criticize the Church for being "dogmatic" fail to understand that everyone is dogmatic in a very real sense, as G.K. Chesterton noted in his 1905 book Heretics: "Man can be defined as an animal that makes dogmas. . . . Trees have no dogmas." Along those same lines, in 1928, Ch

God, Money, and Catholicism

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Dr. Samuel Gregg is director of research at the ActonInstitute, the author of several books and numerous articles, anda frequent contributor to Catholic World Report. He haswritten and spoken extensively on questions of political economy,economic history, ethics in finance, and natural law theory. Dr.Gregg has an MA in political philosophy from the University ofMelbourne, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in moral philosophy

How St. John Paul II changed the Church and the world

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Today, we celebratethe feast day of Pope St. John Paul II, whose pontificate was the third-longestever and who was canonized just nine years after his death, making his theshortest canonization cause in modern Church history. John Paul II was a popewho broke many other records. If we try to imagine what the world and theChurch would be like today if on October 16, 1978, the College of Cardinals hadelected someone else to lead the Barque of Peter, we wo

Faith in Putinism: A Church-State Symbiosis

Thursday, October 20, 2016

TheSeptember 18 elections for the State Duma, Russia’s lower chamberof the Russian Federation Assembly, have confirmed the dominance ofPresident Vladimir Putin’s party, United Russia. With his personalpopularity at over 80% nationally, the nation’s leader can nowclaim a mandate for another term following the presidential electionin 2018, if he chooses to run.Afamiliar pattern is holding true: sanctions imposed after theannexation

A cradle of early Christianity, Turkey is often unwelcoming to today’s Christians

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

When I was growing up in Turkey,during my mandatory Religious Culture and Moral Knowledge courses in middleschool, other belief systems of the world were briefly touched upon. Other thanOttoman war movies in which Byzantine Christians were all evil, and voiced-overHollywood movies in which morals and clothing were optional, these short andextremely inaccurate accounts were my only source of knowledge about whatChristians believed. As a result, I grew up con

Crazy clericalism at Houston’s University of St. Thomas

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Someinstitutional dramas are so ridiculous, the actors’ motivations so bizarre,that you couldn’t sell it as a movie script. Any decent producer wouldimmediately send it back saying: “Your characters make no sense. They’re justnot believable. The story is too absurd.”Clericalismmasquerading as concern for the laityImaginethis scene: Three lay f

Abp. Alexander Sample Discusses His Pastoral Letter about "Amoris Laetitia"

Monday, October 17, 2016

During the first week of October, His Excellency Archbishop Alexander K. Sample of Portland, Oregon, issued "A True and Living Icon", a 13-page "Pastoral Letter on the Reading of Amoris Laetitia in Light of Church Teaching". While addressed to the "Priests, Deacons, Rel

Serving the Divorced and Remarried Well

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Following Pope Francis’ release of Amoris Laetitia (AL), many in the Church expressed serious concerns that the Pope was, in effect, driving a dangerous wedge between Church doctrine and pastoral practice, as if you could uphold the indiss

Padre Pio: The Second Pillar of the Jubilee of Mercy

Friday, October 14, 2016

WhenI was a young boy discerning a priestly vocation, I belonged to aPadre Pio Prayer Group. In our meetings we would pray the Holy Rosaryfor the intention of Padre Pio's beatification. I recall theexcitement of making summer pilgrimages via a long bus ride from NewYork City to the rural Shrine in Washington, New Jersey. There Iwould volunteer to serve the solemn outdoor Masses and enjoyedparticipating in the outdoor Eucharistic processions and Stations ofthe Cross.

Fake Catholic Groups and the "Catholic Spring" Emails

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Beginning in 2007, orthodox Catholic writers including myself wrote dozens of articles in an attempt to expose the funding and duplicitousness of two fake Catholic groups: the George Soros-funded Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United. (For example, see here and here and

Scientist, Theologian, Mother

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Howmany people do you know whocangive you a technical description of photosynthesis andquote fromLudwigOtt’s Fundamentalsof Catholic Dogma?Dr. Stacy Trasancos (stacytrasancos.com) isone such person, accomplished in both science and theology.A native of Texas, Trasancos’s love of nature and insatiablecuriosity led her to eventuallyearna Ph.D. in chemistry from Penn State University and

Visiting the Benedictine Monks of Norcia

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

This is how you get to Norcia. You fly to Rome and travel to its central railway station. You then take the Ancona train to Spoleto—I recommend the 11:58 AM. If you can’t manage that, take the 3:35 PM.  The Ancona train takes 1.5 hours to reach Spoleto. There are four buses a day from Spoleto to Norcia: the 10 AM, the 2:05 PM, the 5:20 PM and the 8:10 PM.  The trip takes 55 minutes. Therefore, if you want to get to Norci

Secularism’s “moonshot” doctrine of resurrection

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Time magazine’s cover story “CanGoogle Solve Death?” was published on the last day of September 2013 and waswritten by Harry McCracken and Lev Grossman. The subtitle—“The search giant islaunching a venture to extend the human life span. That would be crazy—if itweren’t Google”—evokes an insight Ken Auletta noted in his 2009 Googled: TheEnd of the World As We Know It,quoting an unnamed “CEO of o

From an October Night to an Easter Dawn

Saturday, October 08, 2016

DawnEden Goldstein is a theologian who rocks. Not only has she writtenmany excellent, helpful books. She has also written a pop song, “Girlon the Northern Line,” which has been recorded by The AndersonCouncil and released this year on their AssortedColoursCD. This love song shimmers with a jangly melody that is harmoniouslypropelled by especially intelligent lyrics. Dawn’s connection topop music is an interesting part of her life story.

China's human rights record "is utterly disgraceful" and getting worse

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Washington D.C., Oct 8, 2016 / 06:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- China’s “utterly disgraceful” human rights record is not just bad, it’s getting worse every year, a new Congressional report has warned.“The Chinese government’s human rights record is utterly disgraceful, continuing a downward trend over the past three years,” Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), chair of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Committee on China, which pub

Poland and Abortion: Facts and Falsehoods

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Since the collapse of communism, Polish legislation has become among the most pro-life in Europe. Concurrently, popular support for abortion in Poland has plummeted, and the pro-life movement there is arguably the strongest on the Old Continent. Recently, however, a proposal to block abortion entirely was met with resistance among some in Polish society. The mainstream media in the West, of course, supported this backlash, often using false information. The silver lining

“Now all that is gone”: The vanishing Christian communities of Iraq and Syria

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

A young boy, 10 years old or so, faces the camera.Like many young boys, he is happy to be interviewed. This is war-torn Iraq, however, so he tells of the day ISIS came to hisvillage. He starts to recount, horror after horror, what took place. It is hardto accept that one so young has already seen so much evil. Gradually, his retellingof what happened slows and he breaks down. It is hard to watch as

Cardinal Robert Sarah on "The Strength of Silence" and the Dictatorship of Noise

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Editor's note: The following interview with Robert Cardinal Sarah appeared in the October 2016 issue of the French newspaper La Nef; it was given on the occasion of the publication of his new book La Force du silence (The Stre

Norms, Abnormality, and False Liberation

Sunday, October 02, 2016

What's bad about normalizing homosexuality and other forms of sexual nonconformity? If a woman becomes sexually involved with another woman, or redefines herself as a man, how does it harm anyone else? Why not just assume she knows her own business, accept what she does, and get on with life?Such libertarian arguments attract a lot of support, and even people who doubt them often have trouble responding to them effectively. The reason is that such

Pope Francis in Georgia: "Gender theory" is a "great enemy of marriage today"

Saturday, October 01, 2016

In a lengthy, off-the-cuff speech in Georgia, Pope Francis said the world today is at war with marriage, and urged couples to fight against modern threats to the sacrament such as gender theory.Speaking to Irina, a Georgian wife and mother who gave her testimony in front of Pope Francis and hundreds of priests, seminarians and religious Oct. 1, the Pope said “you mentioned a great enemy of marriage today: gender theory.”“Tod

Why We Can't Do Without the Natural Law

Thursday, September 29, 2016

This book is for big picture readers, those who seek to view things in a long term perspective. Its thesis is that the moral values that underpin the legal and political systems of Western countries are being seriously eroded by the ongoing conflict between what is generally referred to as the “classical worldview” and the “modern worldview”. More specifically, John Lawrence Hill argues that as the former worldview

What’s next for Catholic Answers Live host Patrick Coffin?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

After seven-and-a-halfyears at the helm of the enormously popular national radio show Catholic Answers Live, Patrick Coffin isstepping into the life entrepreneurial. A new media platform, led by a podcastcalled The Patrick Coffin Show, isnow being launched through theIndiegogo crowd-funding site.Patrick recentlyspoke with Catholic World Report abo

Beware the (Online) Culture of Wrath

Monday, September 26, 2016

Not long ago Time magazine ran a cover story about Internet trolling with the alarming but not inaccurate cover blurb “We’re losing the Internet to the culture of hate.”Trollingand other antisocial behaviors are widespread online. They can even be found in devout Catholic circles, though outright trollery and the “culture of hate” are perhaps more easily recognized

New film about James Foley isn’t without controversy

Monday, September 26, 2016

In the burning desert heat, there stands a man dressed all in black. Hisface is hidden. In his hand, he holds a blade. Kneeling beside him, dressed inflorescent orange and with arms tied behind his back, is Jim Foley, Americanphotojournalist and ISIS hostage.  This is, for many, the first image they saw of the captured American. Itwas also to be the last. Minutes later Foley was dead, sickeningly and publiclyexecu

Catholics in an Age of Secular Moralism

Sunday, September 25, 2016

From the Church’s earliest beginnings, Christians have sought to make this world a better place. Whether through thinking about how to order the political realm more justly or by serving the poor in conditions of indescribable filth, great saints ranging from Augustine to Teresa of Calcutta exemplify this living-out of the Gospel message.Like everything else in the Church’s life, however, such activities can become distorted as a res

Lazarus, the Rich Man, and the Sin of Pride

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Readings for Sunday, Sept. 25th:• Am 6:1a, 4-7• Ps 146:7, 8-9, 9-10• 1 Tm 6:11-16• Lk 16:19-31As we hear the various parables from the Gospel of Luke it is good to keep two things in mind. First, the context of these teachings, which were given by Jesus as he made his way up to Jerusalem to “be delivered into the hands of men&#x201D

More Catholic schools are making the switch to classical curricula

Friday, September 23, 2016

Three years ago, Sacred Heart Academy in Grand Rapids, Michigan was afailing school. It was down to 69 students in the entire K-12 program, employedonly six teachers, and was a financial “drain on the parish,” according to theschool’s provost, Zach Good.This fall, however, the school—which is 100 years old and was formerlyknown as Sacred Heart o

Conference brings the Theology of the Body to Southern California

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The 2016 Theology of the Body(TOB) Congress will be held Friday, September 23, through Sunday, September 25(with a “Pre-Congress” Thursday, September 22) at the Ontario Convention Centerin Southern California. The event will include keynote addresses and workshopsby prominent Catholic speakers on Theology of the Body and related family lifetopics. Keynote speakers include Christopher West, Archb

The Vatican, China, and evangelical prudence

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Recent remarks by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, have fueled speculation about a possible exchange of diplomatic representation between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China. Unfortunately, the cardinal’s remarks did not address any of the serious questions that have been raised about the evangelical and prudential wisdom of such an agreement at this moment in history. Those questions involve the

The Catholic Conscience, the Argentine Bishops, and "Amoris Laetitia"

Monday, September 19, 2016

A group of Argentine bishops (ABs) recently published pastoral guidelines for implementing Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia(AL). The ABs tell their clergy that under certain circumstances divorced Catholics in sexually active second unions may receive the HolyEucharist, even without receiving an annulment.The ABs sent their guidelines

Oklahoma City’s archbishop on Satanists, vocations, and a unique canonization case

Monday, September 19, 2016

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma,61, grew up in a Catholic home in the Kansas City area. His family was activein the Catholic community; his mother was a parish secretary and his aunt was anun.He attended the University of Kansas and studiedin its Integrated Humanities (“Great Books”) Program, which, he said, “resultedin hundreds of

On the Poetry of Kathleen Hart: Everything that Rises Must Converge

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Imagine being theAmerican architect, George Franklin Barber (1854-1915). Your designsfor “houses and stores and churches” all fit on hundreds oflittle cards “threaded together with a length of yarn” toconstitute a catalogue of almost infinite possibility. To design abuilding, a block, or a city entails simply flipping through thosemany cards of elements and combining them to fit the “light,weather, texture, / of color and climate a

For Catholics, Trump’s and Clinton’s family policies leave much to be desired

Friday, September 16, 2016

In this electionseason, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have proposed significantpolicies to help parents. Their proposals share two main features: (1) enhancedmaternity or family leave mandated by federal regulations and subsidized byfederal spending, and (2) assistance with educational and other childcareexpenses via federal spending, tax relief, or both. For the Catholiccitizen, these proposals have signific

My Two Years as a Catholic in Oxford

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

There is a local inside joke about Oxford that goes like this: “How is the Anglican Church like the Turl?”Answer: “Because it goes from High to Broad, passing by Jesus.”The joke is usually told by Catholics, who can appreciate the irony of Turl Street, connecting the two thoroughfares Broad and High Streets by Jesus College, and its connection to the downward, secularist trend of the Church of Engl

The Technocratic War on Traditional Identities

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I noted last month that personal and social identity is a problem for people today. No one seems sure where it comes from, what it's for, or what difference it should make.The natural attitude, it seems, is that to some extent we're born with it—I was born male and the son of two particular people, and those things are part of who I am—and

The Gender Identity Mandate: The latest threat to health care rights of conscience

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Section1557 of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) prohibitsdiscrimination on the basis of sex in health coverage and care. The Departmentof Health and Human Services (HHS) has released the Final Rule

Benedict the Brave: The Regensburg Address Ten Years Later

Monday, September 12, 2016

Ten years ago Pope Benedict XVI took to the dais of the University of Regensburg’s Aula Magna to offer a few “memories and reflections.” The speech, which became widely known simply as Regensburg, has long been dismissed as an infamous gaffe in a generally misunderstood pontificate; it was leveled as incendia

God and 9/11

Friday, September 09, 2016

Editor's note: This essay was originally written and posted on September 11, 2012. -------------I hadn't planned on writing much, if anything, on the anniversary of the murderous attacks of September 11, 2001, if only because that event usually leaves me at loss for words. And what more can be said? It is an occasion, first of all, to pray for those who were murdered and for all those innocent—born and unborn, young and old—who are vi

Showing Mercy to Creation?

Friday, September 09, 2016

In his Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Pope Francis suggests adding two “works of mercy” to the traditional lists of the seven Spiritual Works of Mercy and the seven Corporal Works of Mercy: “care for our common home”.  He write

Time for Catholics to Reconsider Islam and the "Prophet" Muhammad?

Thursday, September 08, 2016

In recent months, some prominent Catholics have taken pains to emphasize the supposedly special ties between Islam and Catholicism.  In an editorial for The Angelus, the Los Angeles archdiocesan newspaper, Fr. Ronald Rolheiser called for greater solidarity with Islam.  More recently, Msgr. St

The Loser Letters, Adapted for Stage

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

While Mary Eberstadt has been making headlines with her new and well-received book on religious liberty, It’s Dangerous to Believe, she already has a new project: the stage production of a work of fiction published in 2010 by Ignatius Press. The adaptation of the acclaimed “wickedly witty satire”

Pope Francis, Henri de Lubac, and the Decentralizing of Church Authority

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

One consistent theme marking Francis’s pontificate has been his desire to decentralize authority in the Church. His 2013 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium spoke of establishing a juridical status for “episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine

Labor Day Lessons from St. Teresa of Calcutta

Sunday, September 04, 2016

In his 1991 best-selling book, Awaken the Giant Within, motivational speaker and life coach guru, Tony Robbins, equates the motivations of Donald Trump and Mother Teresa.  In the chapter, “The Force That Shapes Your Life,” Robbins claims that “Donald Trump and Mother Teresa are driven by the exact same force…they’re both driven by pain and pleasure.”  Trump purportedly gets his kicks by “accumulating the biggest an

Being the “poorest of the poor” with Mother Teresa

Friday, September 02, 2016

Never inmy wildest dreams did I ever think I would be staying at Mother Teresa’shomeless shelters. And not just once, but twice. Truth be told, I have enduredtimes of poverty, but my days spent in the shelters were not during those times,and th

Modern "Rights" and the Loss of Freedoms

Thursday, September 01, 2016

I.Our political rhetoric is no longer formed in terms of virtue and vice but in terms of “rights”. A virtue requires that we take a careful look at ourselves. We intuitively see that we need to have some insight into our actual tendencies and where they lead. We need to control and guide our desires. Other people will often frankly tell us of the dire effects of our skewered actions which we are not willing to see. W

World Youth Day: A witness to the joy of the Church

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

“A pilgrimage is fortransformation.” Those words, gleaned from a pilgrim manual I received from mycollege spiritual director, capture the essence of my journey to Krakow, Polandfor World Youth Day. Nearly a month has passed since World Youth Day concluded,but the memories, experiences, and spiritual lessons remain vivid and fresh. Andthat is how it should be, for if a pilgrimage is for transformation, its impactshould endure, rippling out

Cardinal Raymond Burke on Life, Truth, Mother Teresa, Islam, and Cardinal Sarah

Monday, August 29, 2016

In a wide-ranging international teleconference call on Mondaywith media members, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke spoke in detail about many timely topics. These included the priority of standing up for life in addressing poverty and other social ills, the witness and message of Mother Teresa, essential differences between Christianity and Islam,and the recent controversy over remarks by Cardinal Robert Sarah about liturgical orientation. The occasion of the call was Cardinal

“Mother changed my life”: Friends remember Mother Teresa

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pope Francis will canonize Mother Teresa (1910-1997)on Sunday, September 4. In 2015, the Vatican recognized the miraculous healing throughher intercession of a Brazilian man with multiple brain abscesses, the secondmiracle required to declare her a saint.Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born in Skopje, todaycapitol of the Republic of Macedonia. She grew up in a devout, middle-class

Metaphysics as an Act of Mercy

Friday, August 26, 2016

“We need to form future priests not to general and abstract ideas, which are clear and distinct, but to this keen discernment of spirits so that they can help people in their concrete life. We need to truly understand this: in life not all is black on white or white on black. No! The shades of grey prevai

A thriving Midwestern diocese’s secrets to success

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bishop James Conley is the ninth bishop of theDiocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. The Midwestern diocese is home to 96,000Catholics who attend 134 parishes and missions.The bishop grew up in Overland Park, Kansas, asuburb of Kansas City. His father was a building-materials salesman and hismother a housewife; he has one adopted sister. The family was nominallyPresbyterian and atten

Surprised by the Beauty of 20th-Century Music

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Robert R. Reilly has written about classical music for more than 35 years, including for Crisis magazine, where he was music critic for 16 years. He has also written about music for High Fidelity, Musical America, Schwann/Opus, and the American Record Guide. He is the director of The Westminster Institute, which was established in 2009 to "promote individual dig

Poverty, Politics, and the Church in Pope Francis’s Argentina

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Before Jorge Bergoglio’s election as the first Latin American pope in 2013, Argentina was famous for many things: tango, its magnificent pampas, the beautiful late-nineteenth century architecture that marks much of Buenos Aires, to name just a few. Unfortunately, other things also come to mind: rampant and persistent corruption, extreme political instability, and, above all, the fact that Argentina is the twentieth century’s textbook-case of largely self-inflicted eco

Saint Teresa of Jesus and the Search for the Sacred

Friday, August 19, 2016

Editor's note: The following essay was originally given in slightly different form as an address on November 23, 2015, at the presentation of Fr. Uwe Michael Lang's book Signs of the Holy One: Liturgy, Ritual, and Expression of the Sacred. Among the signal events to mark the Church’s life in 2015 was the 500th birthday of St Teresa of Jesus. The year’s peak event, her feast on 15 October, was overshado

Friendship, forgiveness, and chariots: The Ben-Hur team discusses their new film

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-MayerPictures will release its remake of Ben-Huron Friday, August 19. The movie is a retelling of the 1880 novel by retiredCivil War Union General Lew Wallace, and it follows Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur(played by Ja

God and Brexit

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ever since the UnitedKingdom decided in June to leave the European Union, contending (and sometimesoverlapping) explanations have been offered for a vote that stunned the world’sopinion-makers: a perceived loss of national sovereignty to a transnationalorganization; concerns over current EU immigration policy and the effect ofopen EU borders on jobs and the rule of law; aggravations with pettybureaucratic regulation by EU mandarins in Brussels.

Franciscan Beat

Monday, August 15, 2016

In this age ofFrancis, in which the Holy Father seems to surprise everyone with hisoff-the-cuff pronouncements on matters of passionate intensity, wewould do well to consider the work of David Craig, America’s mostconspicuously Franciscan poet. If one waits with anxiety to hearwhat the Pope will say in his next in-flight interview with thepress, then one will perhaps approach in the proper spirit an earlypoem of Craig’s, called “Pentecost,&#x201D

Pope Francis vs. Gender Ideology

Friday, August 12, 2016

In Krakow with the Polish bishops two weeks ago, Pope Francis declared that, “We are experiencing a moment of the annihilation of man as the image of God.” He specifically included within this defacement “[the ideology of] ‘gender’”. He was clearly outraged that, “Today children – children!

Islam, ISIS, and Turkey

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Dutchman of 6-foot-5 stature lookedat me with a tilted head at an academic conference. “My grandmother used totell me if I didn’t behave she would give me to Turks…you don’t look thatmenacing.” I looked up at the man, who was a foot taller than me, and thanked himfor the compliment, and we continued our discussion about Turkey’s accession tothe EU.That was the first time I met aEuropean w

Francis and Fundamentalism

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

This past week I spent several days with some Fundamentalists. Not only did I converse at length with these strange creatures, I ate meals with them and slept in the same house. They fed me well; they never threatened me; I never heard any of them refer other people as "infidels" or "disciples of Satan"

Brexit, Trump, and Identity

Monday, August 08, 2016

Brexit and the Trump movement, with their emphasis on  the decisive importance of national identity, show that explicit identity politics has spread to all points of the political compass.That's not surprising, since identity is radically contested today. The questions relate not only to who gets placed where, or the common concerns of this group or that, but to the nature of identity as such. When something so basic becomes an issue it can't

China and Vatican Make Preliminary Agreement on the Election of Bishops

Saturday, August 06, 2016

TheAmerican historian and novelist Edward Eggleston once said,“Journalism is organized gossip.” There has been a lot ofjournalism lately about the Church in China, but it has beenextremely difficult to separate the genuine news from “organizedgossip.” In June, the bishop of Shanghai, Ma Daqin, who has spentfour years under house arrest for refusing to join the ChineseCatholic Patriotic Association (CCPA), released an “admission ofh

New documentary shows Franciscan friars among the world’s “outcasts”

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Outcasts is a new documentary film from Grassroots Films. You may remember theirimpressive debut, The Human Experience,from 2008. Be prepared to be impressed once more.The film’s subject matter is the life and witness of the FranciscanFriars of the Renewal, a congregation founded by Father Benedict Groeschel andothers in 1987. The documentary is not just about the friars, though; equallypresent thro

Vladimir the Inevitable? Understanding the rise of Putin

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Editor’s note: The following article is thefirst of a special CWR serieson post-Soviet Russia, the rise of Vladimir Putin, the role of religion inPutin’s political project, the rise of right-wing extremism under Putin, andthe ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.It has been 16 years since Vladimir VladimirovichPutin rose to the top of political power in post-Soviet Russia

Ben-Hur, 2016: A classic tale for a new generation

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Mark Burnett is an award-winning televisionproducer and president of MGM Television and Digital Group. He has produced avariety of well-known television and cable shows, including Survivor and Celebrity Apprentice. He is married to Roma Downey, an actressperhaps best known for starring in the television series Touched by an Angel (19

The Pope and Perón

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Until Jorge Bergoglio waselected pope in 2013, the most famous Argentine of modern times was an armyofficer and politician named Juan Domingo Perón. Perón served as Argentina’spresident from 1946-1955 and 1973-1974. Although Perón died 42 years ago, theman and the movements he inspired have cast a long shadow over many Argentines’lives. Given his age, that definitely includes Pope Francis. But do Francis’ideas and gover

“Ad orientem” and the problems of modern church architecture

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Since Cardinal Robert Sarah’s speechat a London liturgical conference urging a return to the traditional practiceof celebrating Mass ad orientem,there has been a fair amount of debate and even acrimony. What is clear,however, is that a more reverent posture is not only permissible and l

WYD shows Poland can help the West rediscover its roots

Monday, August 01, 2016

Now that World Youth Day 2016 is in the past, the dust hassettled, the many international pilgrims who visited Poland are returning home,and Krakow is cleaning up after and transitioning back to everyday life, we canlook back at this great event and draw the most important conclusions. At atime when Europe—the Christian identity of which has been eroding for decadesand which in recent weeks has been devastated by a shocking wave of terror—most

A Christian Future or a Pagan One?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

  “Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.” — Matthew 25:45R.R.Reno is, of course, the estimable successor to Fr.Richard John Neuhaus as the editor of FirstThings.He has brought his own insightful voice to the center of that journalwhile maintaining the rich intellectual content established under Fr.Neuhaus’s influential reign. Reno

Catholic street evangelization and getting “back to basics”

Friday, July 29, 2016

Steve Dawson is a manset apart from many of his fellow Catholics. In fact, he has been told byseveral of his fellow Catholics that his methods of evangelization aredecidedly non-Catholic. But he feelsthat he is fulfilling a calling of the Holy Spi

In Poland, Francis shows profound respect for the nation’s Christian history

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Despite Pope Francis’ initial plans, his visit to Poland forWorld Youth Day has been complemented by a pastoral visit to the country,including a meeting with the Polish government and president and a Mass inCzestochowa celebrating 1,050 years of Polish Christianity. The Pope’s wordsduring these events reveal his profound respect for the Polish nation andmature grasp of Polish history. However, Francis doesn’t allow the Poles torest

During WYD, Krakow’s Jewish community pays tribute to John Paul II

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

As Krakow hosts thisyear’s World Youth Day, many local institutions, from museums to cinemas andmore, are hosting events related to the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, and PopeJohn Paul II. Among the most unexpected of these may be an exhibit of photos ofJohn Paul II at the Krakow Jewish Community Center. This moving tribute to thePolish pope illustrates the enormous role he played in bringing Catholics andJews closer together, both in Poland and i

Church leaders respond to “pain and horror” of French priest’s murder

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pope Francis has decried the“absurd violence” which has left an elderly priest dead after his church innorthern France was taken hostage during Mass.In astatement released Tuesday by the Vatican, the Pope, having been informed ofthe situation, “participates in the pain and horror of this absurd violence,”while radically condemning “every form of hatred.”Thestatemen

Europe, Islam, and Saint James the Moor-slayer

Monday, July 25, 2016

“Europe will return to the faith or she will perish.” — Hilaire Belloc, Europe and the Faith.Soon after the March, 2004 bombing of Madrid’s Atocha train station by Al Qaeda partisans, there were calls to remove the statue of Saint James the Moorslayer from Spain’s famous cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. The Madrid carnage—191 dead, 2000 more injured—stunned the country. The gover

With new ordinations, the Jesuits see hope for the future

Saturday, July 23, 2016

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

On making the world safe for Jesuits

Friday, July 22, 2016

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

Why the Death Penalty is Still Necessary

Thursday, July 21, 2016

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

Reason, Authority, and the Roman Rite

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

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

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

Monday, July 18, 2016

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

Race and Policing in an Era of Moral Equivalence

Monday, July 18, 2016

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

Why the Church Cannot Reverse Past Teaching on Capital Punishment

Sunday, July 17, 2016

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

Political Pragmatism and Catholic Public Action

Friday, July 15, 2016

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

The adventurous life of radical dependence on God

Thursday, July 14, 2016

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

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

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

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

Sunday, July 10, 2016

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

The Panorthodox Council: A Fragile Hope for Aggiornamento?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

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

A Flawed Search for Japan's Hidden Christianity

Saturday, July 09, 2016

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

Mich. diocese opts for liberal arts over Common Core

Friday, July 08, 2016

A remarkable thing is happening in the Diocese ofMarquette.

Finding the Way of Beauty

Thursday, July 07, 2016

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

In vibrantly Catholic Poland, growing secularism produces new challenges

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

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

The Joys and Challenges of Filming the Story of Salvation History

Monday, July 04, 2016

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

Martyrs on the Fourth of July

Monday, July 04, 2016

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

10 Things You Should Know about Catholics and the American Founding

Sunday, July 03, 2016

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

"The Innocents" and the Secret It Reveals

Saturday, July 02, 2016

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

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

Friday, July 01, 2016

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

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

Thursday, June 30, 2016

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

Poland’s history is a story of resilient Catholic faith

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

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

Revisiting the The Catholic Enlightenment

Monday, June 27, 2016

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

"Brexit" and the Failure of Europe

Sunday, June 26, 2016

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

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

Saturday, June 25, 2016

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

Orlando in Hindsight

Thursday, June 23, 2016

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

Catholics in America: A Tale of Two Flags

Thursday, June 23, 2016

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

Confessions of an “elitist”

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

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

Europe as a ‘Soft Utopia’

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

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

Warning Signs in Orlando

Monday, June 20, 2016

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

When Should We Ignore Tradition?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

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

Pope Francis, Marriage, and the Missing Middle Term

Friday, June 17, 2016

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

How Saint John Paul II Conquered Communism

Thursday, June 16, 2016

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

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

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

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

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

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

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

Stop Being "Shocked" and Start Being Honest

Monday, June 13, 2016

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

Back to the Land, Back to the Lord

Sunday, June 12, 2016

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

Fox's Book of Augustine

Friday, June 10, 2016

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

The Metaphysics of the Bathroom

Thursday, June 09, 2016

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

As Pan-Orthodox Council Approaches, Conflicts and Uncertainty Intensify

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

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

Maronite Monks Work to Establish Monastery in Washington State

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

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

A Bright Star in Ireland’s Sad Religious Prognosis

Monday, June 06, 2016

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

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

Sunday, June 05, 2016

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

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

Friday, June 03, 2016

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

Vatican II and Eastern Orthodoxy’s Approaching Council

Thursday, June 02, 2016

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

Catholicism and Citizenship

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

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

The Chartres Pentecost Pilgrimage of Christendom

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

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

Out of the Ashes: The Passion of Joan of Arc

Sunday, May 29, 2016

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

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

Friday, May 27, 2016

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

Walker Percy at 100

Friday, May 27, 2016

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

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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

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

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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

Pope Francis, Populism, and the Agony of Latin America

Saturday, May 21, 2016

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

Reading Flannery O’Connor for the first time

Thursday, May 19, 2016

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

The man behind Catholic U’s largest donation ever

Thursday, May 19, 2016

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

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

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

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

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

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

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

Supreme Court sends Little Sisters' case back to lower court

Monday, May 16, 2016

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

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

Saturday, May 14, 2016

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

The day they tried to kill the Message and the Messenger

Thursday, May 12, 2016

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

Pope Francis and the Matter of Female Deacons [Updated]

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

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

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

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

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

The History, Enemies, and Importance of Natural Law

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

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

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

Monday, May 09, 2016

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

Bruised, Yet Resurrected: On Motherhood and the Virgin Mary

Saturday, May 07, 2016

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

Farewell, Social Media

Friday, May 06, 2016

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

Politics, Religion, and the Ruling Class

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

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

The Suffering and Faith of Saint Damien of Molokai

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

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

The Suicide Gender Gap Narrows

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

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

Tradition: Its Necessity and Its Discontents

Monday, May 02, 2016

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

Three Counterfeits of Mercy

Sunday, May 01, 2016

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

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