Commentary

Here’s how to end the CCHD scandals

The moral argument against the CCHD has been made again and again and again and again. Every year the US bishops’ conference insists that the problems have been addressed, and yet every year there are fresh scandals.

St. John Henry Newman—The Glories of Mary for the Sake of Her Son

“It was fitting, for His honor and glory, that she, who was the instrument of His bodily presence, should first be a miracle of His grace.”

The Sheen beatification debacle: Why?!

You might not have believed that plans for the beatification of a revered prelate could be turned into another reason to mistrust the hierarchy. But our bishops have managed to do it.

In a remote Indian village, a victory against persecution

During a frenzy of anti-Christian violence, seven illiterate men were convicted of killing a Hindu leader-- despite the fact that Maoist rebels claimed credit for the murder. They remained imprisoned for years, their appeals ignored by local officials in a region dominated by Hindu nationalists. Now-- thanks largely to the efforts of a CWN correspondent-- the nation's high court has ordered their release.

St. John Henry Newman—Worship, a Preparation for Christ’s Coming Seasons

"The season is chill and dark, and the breath of the morning is damp, and worshipers are few, but all this befits those who are by profession penitents and mourners, watchers and pilgrims."

A gift to all: Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter on the Nativity Scene

The Pope wishes to encourage the family tradition of setting up a nativity scene and “also the custom of setting it up in the workplace, in schools, hospitals, prisons and town squares.” In this simple wish, the Pope acknowledges that he has ignored the memo from our increasingly secular culture and its leaders. Instead, he begins with St. Augustine’s observation about the birth of Christ: “Laid in a manger, he became our food”.

The real reason for postponing Archbishop Sheen’s beatification

The purpose of the ceremony is to provide encouragement for the faithful. As things stand, regrettably, this beatification would more likely to cause discouragement.

First Corinthians: Paul’s insistence that we really must grow up

In the first part, Paul rebukes and warns the Corinthians for their worldly Christianity. In the second, he offers spiritual advice on matters that could easily be genuinely perplexing. And in the third, he teaches them about spiritual gifts, including the charismatic gifts, but in a way that sheds further light on what is really the main point throughout: The Corinthians wear their Christianity like spoiled children, and it is time to grow up.

St. Ignatius of Antioch—Letter to the Smyrnaeans

"Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." 

Episode 57 —River of the Immaculate Conception —James Matthew Wilson

James Matthew Wilson’s new cycle of poems, The River of the Immaculate Conception, is a reflection on the history of the Catholic faith in the Americas, from Juan Diego to Elizabeth Ann Seton. Its title is the name given to the Mississippi River by the missionary Fr. Marquette. James reads four of the seven poems, explains their relation to the recent Mass of the Americas which inspired them, and discusses the challenges and delights of poetic form.

An Advent Meditation

"The priesthood is like Shane. You ride into town. You see a lot of bad. You do a little good, and you ride off into the sunset."

St. John Henry Newman—A Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

At last: a bishop denounces his predecessor’s behavior

The punishment of Bishop Bransfield is "for his own spiritual good and his own healing as a man who professes to follow Christ."

Advent-Christmas Ebook released for new liturgical year

Our free liturgical year ebooks offer a rich set of resources for families to use in living the liturgical year in the domestic church. Resources include biographies of the saints to match each feast day, histories of the various celebrations and devotions, descriptions of customs from around the world, prayers, activities and recipes.

St. John Henry Newman—Christian Reverence

"In heaven, love will absorb fear; but in this world, fear and love must go together."

Episode 56 —Vindicating Authority —Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P.

Modernity has attempted to do away with authority. It does this not most commonly by advocating anarchy. Rather, it justifies its own established powers in terms of a fictive self-rule, and purports to replace the arbitrary dictates of power--and much of what makes us human--with scientific rationality. But authority is necessary to human life, and not just as a medicine for weakness and evil. It arises from and serves what is noblest in us.

Episode 4—Ignatius of Antioch: To Know “Jesus Christ Our God”

Ignatius of Antioch is the first of the Fathers to leave us abundant writings. His seven letters were written in 107 A.D. as the aged bishop traveled to his appointed death in Rome. They give witness to many of the early Church’s beliefs and practices: Jesus’ true humanity and true divinity; his real presence in the Eucharist; and the Church's hierarchy of bishop, priest, and deacon. The host of this podcast, Mike Aquilina, confesses Ignatius to be his favorite among the Fathers.

The Age of Cynicism

If the Devil had a capacity for love, he would love cynics. Dismas saw the soldiers laughing and ridiculing human misery. “And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching; but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him vinegar, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’” (Luke 23:35-38)

This week: the unfolding Vatican financial scandal

The Vatican had claimed a substantial victory when the Egmont Group admitted the Vatican agency as a participant in the international exchange of information about suspected money-laundering. Now that victory has been reversed.

St. Clement of Rome—Letter to the Corinthians

"But, if some shall disobey the words which have been spoken by Him through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in no small transgression and danger."

Sedevacantism: An attack on the Church’s Authority Principle

For one reason or another, we conclude—based on our own purely private judgment of a pope’s character or impact on the Church or faith or morals—that this person who calls himself “the pope” has either ceased to be the pope or must never really have been the pope. We decide this, then, not by the historical fact of his election, but based on our own understanding of faith and morals, and of what God will or will not permit to happen in his Church.

Christmas can’t come before Advent

The Advent season builds up naturally toward the explosion of joy on Christmas Day. But when the bright lights go on in early December, Advent fades into the background.

One more damaging blow to the Pope’s credibility

If you can concoct an innocent explanation for Pope's involvement in the Zanchetta case, please let me know. I can’t.

Church troubles: What good Catholics may and may not do

The time is ripe because, at least in my opinion, too many ostensibly “good Catholics” are going to extremes in what they mistakenly believe is a service to orthodoxy, extremes that are now becoming mirror images of what has long been advocated on the side of heterodoxy. So let me make some distinctions.

Episode 55—The Hundredfold—Anthony Esolen

Having honed his skills translating Dante, Tasso and Lucretius, well-known Catholic cultural commentator Anthony Esolen has now published his first work of original poetry. The book-length poem The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord is centered around twelve dramatic monologues set during and shortly after the time of Christ, complemented and illuminated by dozens of lyric poems and hymns.

St. John Henry Newman—Martyrdom

“The unseen God alone was their Comforter, and this invests the scene of their suffering with supernatural majesty, and awes us when we think of them.”

This week: The US bishops test relations with Rome

So clearly there IS some resistance in the US hierarchy— if not to the Pope’s leadership, at least to the rhetoric being churned out by papal supporters.

Influencing the Church, monetarily

As the spiritual stability of the Church has been undermined by the current papacy, a number of groups have engaged in the spiritual work of counseling the doubtful while consistently ignoring the spiritual works of bearing wrongs patiently and forgiving offenses. Some are also more prone to condemn than to instruct, counsel, admonish and comfort. This can never foster authentic Catholic renewal; all it can do is make angry Catholics feel better about themselves without spiritual growth.

Episode 3—Clement of Rome: The Earliest Christian Author after the Apostles

Clement of Rome led a church in turmoil. And it was only 67 A.D. His letter is the earliest piece of literature outside the New Testament whose author we can name with confidence. Clement knew both Peter and Paul and carried their mission forward. His letter gives a snapshot of earliest church life and reveals the origins of apostolic succession, Roman primacy, and the unity of the Old Testament and the New. It was considered Scripture in some ancient churches.

One year later, still no answers from Vatican on McCarrick scandal

We know where to look for the documents in question. They’re in the files of the apostolic nuncio in Washington, and/or the offices of the Roman Curia. It shouldn’t take a year to dig them out.

Episode 54 —Fostering Responsible Elites —Jonah Bennett

Today’s guest is Jonah Bennett, editor-in-chief of a fascinating new online magazine called Palladium which is devoted to constructing what could be called the post-liberal synthesis. Palladium Magazine seeks to foster the perspective of a responsible elite, with high-quality, non-ideological coverage of everything from geopolitics to video-game addiction to the crisis in Ivy League institutions.

The mystery letter of St. Paul to the Romans

You can imagine the importance of this truth in a period in which God’s chosen people, the Jews to whom Christ came, thought of themselves as a people set apart and made righteous by the Law. But Paul explains that the Law, while good in itself, actually awakens us to sin, and so the Jews turn it into an occasion of sin, even while the Gentiles, who do not have the Law, actually know the moral law through nature, and likewise are guilty of transgression.

The Martyrdom of St. Polycarp

"The uproar in the stadium was such that nobody could be heard at all."

Does Pope’s representative hope to silence US bishops’ questions?

If the papal nuncio convinces American bishops to swallow their concerns and stifle their questions, that would be a grave disservice both to the Pope and to the faithful Catholics of the US.

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