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Commentary by Thomas Van

Showing 26 articles by this author.

Introducing the Church Fathers

Jul. 27, 2014 - Several years ago, CatholicCulture.org processed and made available online a set of the writings of the Fathers of the Church. In order to make our readers aware of this under-used resource, and because the Fathers are still too little known despite their importance as a font of authentic...

Self-Esteem: Beyond Pop Psychology

Jul. 23, 2014 - There are words and concepts in certain disciplines – philosophy, theology and psychology come to mind – which, as they enter the popular lexicon and become operative in daily life, lose their power to illuminate and require immediate clarification in order to retain their...

Crowdfunding can change lives

Jul. 11, 2014 - A professor at Christendom College has started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to pay for psychological counseling for students who cannot afford it. The campaign, which has reached a third of its monetary goal with 34 days remaining, will provide a $1,500 course of treatment for two...

Image Journal: Reconciling Faith and Imagination

Jul. 7, 2014 - My favorite thing about Pope Francis, from day one, has been his insistence that Catholicism cannot be reduced to an ideology or a moral program. The chief reason for this is that such a reduction leads us to neglect the person of Jesus Christ. But there is another, related way in which...

A seminar for journalists covering the Church

Jun. 18, 2014 - The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome is offering an intensive one-week English seminar for foreign journalists who write about the Church. The seminar, which goes from Sept. 8-14, is titled The Church Up Close: Covering Catholicism in the Age of Francis. According to the website,...

Gregorian Chant Camp for Children

Jun. 4, 2014 - A reader, Daniel diSilva, sends us this short video he made about a musical summer camp at St. Anne Catholic Church in San Diego, CA. The camp immerses young people from age seven and up in the Church’s musical heritage of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony. Watching the video, I was...

A serious take on popular music

May. 29, 2014 - Musically inclined readers may be interested in a new blog, Critic's Corner, by Dr. Kurt Poterack, a composer who directs the choirs and the Minor in Sacred Music at Christendom College. Poterack worked as an editor on The Adoremus Hymnal and edited the journal Sacred Music for several years,...

Ideology vs. individual: a novel of ideas

May. 29, 2014 - One of the tragedies of World War II is that, as much as it was “the good war,” many of its winners never completely understood what they were fighting for. This is true even in an external sense – the British and Americans were simply unaware of much of what was going on in...

“You can always try to shoot a famous person”: Collin Raye on country music and the folly of seeking stardom

May. 22, 2014 - Anyone who listened to country music radio in the 90s has probably heard a song or three by Collin Raye, who had a string of chart-topping hits as well as a number of platinum-selling albums. Raye’s rich voice is best-known from ballads like “Little Rock” and “Love,...

Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism

Apr. 24, 2014 - For as long as atheism has existed as a significant intellectual movement, there have been attempts by atheists to psychoanalyze religious belief – to explain it or explain it away not with regards to its inherent truth or falsehood, but rather in terms of psychological needs, as...

Round Trip to the present moment: a Catholic jazz artist's latest offering

Apr. 22, 2014 - “Art is not something that has ceased to be created.” Michael Levey began and ended his History of Western Art with these words, and what with the tendency of modern Catholics towards cultural pessimism, we could always do with a reminder. Of course, since a mere assertion will not be...

The Holy Spirit and Evangelization: A Primer

Apr. 16, 2014 - One thing I have come to realize over the past few years, especially during the reign of Pope Francis, is that in a culture hostile to religious orthodoxy, it is easy for Catholics to fall into the trap of treating orthodoxy as an end in itself. When Francis warns us not to become a...

Atheists and the historical method

Apr. 10, 2014 - Strange Notions, a website devoted to respectful dialogue and debate between Catholics and atheists, has re-posted an interesting piece by atheist blogger Tim O’Neill, entitled “Why History isn’t Scientific (And Why it Can Still Tell Us About the Past)." O’Neill has a...

Noah: far from a natural disaster

Mar. 29, 2014 - Darren Aronofsky’s Noah lets us know within the first thirty seconds that it isn’t a literal translation of the Biblical account. In the course of a text opening that quickly recounts the story of Eden, the fall of Adam and Eve, and Cain’s murder of Abel, we learn that Cain and...

Two great, chart-topping Benedictine chant albums

Mar. 29, 2014 - Weeks ago, we reported the unusual phenomenon of two chant albums reaching the top of Billboard’s traditional classical music chart. I say this is unusual, but not unheard of, because it seems to happen every few years since the ‘90s chant craze was kicked off by the 1994 rerelease of...

A Strange Case: The Clash’s drummer-turned-chiropractor on music, healing, and his return to Catholicism

Mar. 15, 2014 - The Clash is one of those bands you’re almost guaranteed to have heard whether you know it or not. The seminal English punk act made a dent in the rock music scene in 1977 with their first, self-titled album, featuring a simple, aggressive style with political lyrics, exemplified by songs...

Pilgrimage - they don't make it like they used to

Mar. 15, 2014 - What’s the difference between a pilgrimage and a vacation? There was a time when going on a pilgrimage involved a great deal of sacrifice. Pilgrims traveled great distances to holy sites, often on foot, enduring great physical hardship to reach their destinations for some spiritual purpose...

An Aquinas Primer

Feb. 21, 2014 - Sophia Institute Press has published a new popular presentation of the philosophy and theology of St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas’s work defined Catholic theology for the greater part of the past millennium, guaranteeing that any properly catechized Catholic will have been influenced by the...

The Courage to Live

Feb. 6, 2014 - For all the popularity in pro-life rhetoric of the phrases “culture of life” and “culture of death,” it seems as though the majority of words in pro-life literature have been spent making moral and political arguments against abortion, rather than exploring the meaning of...

Mass offerings: a useful survey

Jan. 27, 2014 - We recently received the following note from a reader, Father Albert Dello Russo: Dear Sirs: I am a priest graduate canon law student at the Catholic University of America. I am writing my thesis on the subject of Mass offerings [for the intention of a loved one] and their licit retention by...

Common Core vs. Catholic Core

Jan. 15, 2014 - Along with the general community of educators, more and more Catholic writers and groups are sounding the alarm about the new Common Core educational standards. While there are plenty of individual reasons to be wary or even hostile to the proposed standards, the Cardinal Newman Society is taking...

Galileo and the Joy of History

Dec. 21, 2013 - Here’s a classic example of human egotism: we rarely take an interest in the past except insofar as it can serve us in the present. We are seldom patient enough to see history in all its messy complexity; we would rather torture it into a simplistic narrative to win some modern culture war,...

J. Budziszewski: The Underground Thomist

Nov. 21, 2013 - Catholic Culture readers may already be familiar with one of our favorite natural law scholars and Christian apologists, J. Budziszewski, two of whose books we have reviewed in the past (What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide and The Meaning of Sex). Budziszewski, a professor of government and...

Confraternity of the Holy Rosary

Nov. 15, 2013 - Second only to the Mass as the Catholic prayer par excellence, the Rosary is a staple of the spiritual life of many Catholic families and individuals. For several centuries it has nourished the faith of countless saints, Popes and ordinary Christian men and women. Out of all those who today...

Frs. Planty and McGraw call for sobriety and compassion in dealing with immigration

Oct. 26, 2013 - The immigration issue has been a point of bitter dispute among American Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and it is one area where conservative Catholic laypeople and the Church’s hierarchy have often failed to see eye to eye. In the Arlington Catholic Herald, Frs. Donald J. Planty and...

Public Discourse pushes back against porn

Oct. 22, 2013 - Common sense alone may lead us to question whether pornography as such can really constitute speech, or if it does, whether it is a kind of speech that is or ought to be protected by the Constitution, given a proper understanding of the First Amendment. In a recent two-part series for Public...

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