Papal contentment with bland secularities
It is difficult to explain the complexities in Francis’ character and commitments, and we have no choice but to live with them. But Francis’ most obvious tendency as Pope is an insistence on addressing those who do not share the faith in almost exclusively natural terms, with an ever-diminishing willingness to actually proclaim the Gospel.
Upcoming Calendar Highlights: Holy Week Edition
Preparing for Holy Week with a checklist, links for the Annunciation, Vernal Equinox and March sky gazing, Mary Gardens, spring and seeds, and a closer look at Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.
Getting the Synod Back on Topic
So perhaps the best possible outcome of the October Synod meeting would be a realization, among the world’s bishops, that when the Vatican causes confusion, it is their duty of the bishops to restore clarity.
Mother of All Vigils
’Twas the night before Easter, and all through the Church every heart was stirring. The early Christians kept a Vigil that made a lasting impression. The symbols were elemental: fire, water, darkness, nakedness, music, dramatic preaching, surprising chalices, and more-than-marathon endurance. Prepare for your Easter Vigil by learning about theirs.
The confessional seal will remain inviolable.
It is certainly good to know that the Church stands remarkably firm on the seal of the confessional even when she seems incapable of standing firm on almost anything else. It is a powerful grace, I think, which defends this sacrament, and with it the privacy of those who confess their sins. It is a grace so signally impressive, in fact, that the Sacrament of Penance is experiencing something of a comeback wherever it is emphasized, even in the secularized West.
Honest Tenacity; Tenacious Honesty
The man cured of his blindness could escape from the clutches of the Pharisees with a few teeny-weeny white lies. Instead, he refuses to budge, doubles down on the truth, and bears the consequences.
Aids to perception: Three long and three short books
When I was in college and newly in love I learned the difficulty of concentrating on the things I read simply because they were assigned. Again and again, I would emerge from some imaginative ramble to find that I was twenty pages on in the reading of some book, and had absolutely no recollection of what was on those pages. So I’d go back and read it again, usually (at least) with better results. But to this day I cringe when I receive a really long book for review.
Free childcare as a Ponzi scheme
The suggestion is that many stay-at-home mothers are forced to rely on the government to support their households. Instead, this proposal would force those mothers to rely on the government to care for their children. How is that an improvement?
St. Patrick—Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus
"I don't know which is the cause of the greatest grief for me: whether those who were slain, or those who were captured, or those whom the devil so deeply ensnared."
155—Pilgrimage to the Museum—Stephen Auth
For decades, Steve and Evelyn Auth have been giving tours of NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art. When Steve (who last appeared on this show talking about his book The Missionary of Wall Street) had a reversion to his Catholic faith 20 years ago, that tour soon enough became a Catholic tour of the Met. Since there is now so much demand for that tour that they can't give it to everyone, they have written its essence in their new book, Pilgrimage to the Museum: Man's Search for God.
Placatory proselytism? Obscuring the challenge of Faith
The foundation of authentic religion is what God knows, not what we perceive. Divine Revelation, through which we come to know what God knows, is not to be bartered away in a continuous adjustment of Christian principles to suit the vagaries of time and place, influence and ascendancy. A placatory Christianity is a Christianity unfaithful to Christ. At the very moment the concession is made, it ceases to be Christianity, and so ceases to matter at all.
The Vatican’s irresolute response to the threat of German schism
The German bishops have done what they have no right to do. The cautionary statements from Rome are now routinely ignored. Sooner or later the Vatican must draw the line.
The Failure of the Persuasion Strategy
Young priests usually overestimate the power of their persuasive abilities. They soon discover that some people protest their homilies when the remarks touch upon the hot-button topics of the day
Catholic review of The Chosen, Season 3
It’s time for another lively discussion of the wildly popular Christian TV series The Chosen, following on the release of its third season, which stretches from the sermon on the mount to the feeding of the five thousand. Since the show is written by Evangelical Protestants, Thomas and James make a point of keeping an eye out for any doctrinal errors, and Br. Joshua Vargas joins to share his knowledge of Scripture and ancient Jewish and Christian culture and practices.
The family: Not for production or consumption, but joy
Societies and their economic engines can be organized more or less beneficially to the life of the family. When this develops in less beneficial ways, we end up with widespread personal instability and distress, the normalization of many individualized forms of immorality, the decline of the family and close-knit societies, and the consequent loss of natural communities of support.
Fourth free ebook on Faith in series by Fr. Pokorsky
The last decade has seen the acceleration of errors in Catholic doctrine. Church officials seem increasingly unable to distinguish between their sacred duties as pastors in promoting Catholic principles and the indispensable role of the laity in applying those principles in everyday politics. Maybe these clusters of articles will help reaffirm our faith and desire for heavenly glory.
Please, not another ‘program’ for evangelization
After the Council of Jerusalem, the apostles quickly spread the Gospel message across the world. After Vatican II, the Church talked about evangelization.
Work of Human Hands: The Fathers and the Revaluing of Labor
Plato scorned manual labor. Aristotle said that "no one who leads the life of a worker or laborer can practice virtue." Pagan religion reflected such precepts of the philosophers. In such a world, Christianity seemed revolutionary. The churches were full of laborers, who worshipped a Laborer — and whose Scriptures preserved NOT the syllogisms of philosophers, but the stories of people who got jobs done. Implicit in the writings of the Fathers is a radical and new idea: a theology of work.
Cardinal McElroy’s refusal to speak the truth
The Catholic Church does not regard herself as a club through which sinners may grow in social acceptance. She regards herself as a Divine institution for the reclamation of sinners and their transforming incorporation into Christ. Those who refuse to accept her authority cannot benefit from her ministry. Those who act in public defiance of her teachings cannot remain in full communion with her. This does not arise from her changeable decision but by virtue of what she is.
Do We Have Sufficient Evidence to Make an Act of Faith?
The Apostles’ Creed is “inclusive” – universal -- and excludes heretical content (including that of prominent prelates in our day). Regardless of personal belief, its realism spans the history of mankind, from creation to redemption and salvation.
Looking Ahead: March 4-20
Upcoming reminders of St. Joseph, St. Patrick, March 4-20 on Liturgical Calendar, Sundays of Lent with the Transfiguration, the Samaritan Woman at the Well and Laetare Sunday.
Children’s Books: Three new ones from Ascension Press
Review of Ascension Press books for children, with their "Ascension Kids" line: Louie's Lent and The Real Presence both by Claude Cangilla McAdam and My First Interactive Mass Book by Jennifer Sharpe.
Will other bishops answer Paprocki’s challenge?
Bishop Paprocki is right; there is no point in pretending that all Catholics— or even all Catholic bishops— are in fundamental accord. There are serious disagreements among us, which must be addressed.
The meaning of the clash between McElroy and Paprocki
The modern experiment has been one of marginalizing the unpleasantness of the important. The result has been not liberty but enslavement to wayward human desire: The selfish championing of the “individual”, if he is from the right group, or possesses the right wealth, or is eager to sing the right tune for his supper.
J.R.R. Tolkien—On Fairy-Stories
"God is the Lord, of angels, and of men—and of elves."
The ERA’s manipulation of thought and culture
Modern politics, as brilliantly exemplified in the Equal Rights Amendment, is radically influenced by the tendency (derived in part from a woefully incomplete Personalism) to believe that we must be forever rebuilding our “thought world” from our own personal subjectivity—a process which, given ever-shifting cultural pressures and the difficulty we find in conforming our impassioned minds to reality, makes us prey to one ideology after another.
The Methods of the Red Supremacist
Turn those stones into bread, he demands of Jesus. The Devil hates nature, God’s handiwork. But the miracles of Jesus do not violate nature.
154—To Muck We Shall Return—Jane Clark Scharl
Jane Clark Scharl discusses her play Sonnez les Matines, in which a young Ignatius of Loyola, Jean Calvin, and Francois Rabelais, together in 1520s Paris, find themselves implicated in a murder.
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