Commentary

How the arts can help form us for Faith

Too often in our modern sterility, art has degenerated into a habit of making explicit statements, or of striving aimlessly for individual difference, or of shocking, of novelty, of pretense in either artist or owner. Such choices also reveal something about the soul. But the soul is Catholic territory. It is ours not to impoverish, but to enrich in every way.

This week: the confessional seal; the Pope and progressives; and more

A frontal assault on religious liberty, and a grave challenge for Australian priests.

Ep. 67—“Why I’m No Longer A Catholic Feminist”—Melody Lyons

After growing up immersed in feminism and a dissident parish that left her deeply unhappy, Melody Lyons found truth and healing in the fullness of Christ's teaching on man and woman. Yet after decades of no longer considering herself a feminist, she started describing herself as a "Catholic feminist" in order common ground with secular women. Melody has recently realized that this strategy is counterproductive.

St. Athanasius—Life of St. Anthony, pt. 4

“I am a servant of Christ. If you have been sent against me, here I am.”

Want a liturgical revival? Start with repentance.

Every believing Catholic recognizes the Eucharistic liturgy as the source of his spiritual life. But do we think of the Sunday Mass in our parish as the summit of our spirituality? Is this the best we can do? Really?

Rethinking Pope Francis even as Pope Francis rethinks?

Pope Francis has been seriously burned over the last couple of years for decisions he has made and positions he has taken. He has supported the wrong people in cases of sexual abuse and lived to regret it deeply. He has set his hand to the plow of Curial reform, and though he has apparently looked back often enough that scandals continue to proliferate, we are now beginning to see the Vatican uncovering problems before they are widely reported elsewhere, particularly in the financial sector.

Love & Suffering—3 Poems by St. Robert Southwell

"Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live."

What Is Septuagesima? (And Why It’s No Longer in the Current Calendar)

The number of liturgical seasons in the 1962 and current Liturgical Calendar differ only by one season. The Extraordinary Form follows the 1962 calendar which includes a Pre-Lent season called Septuagesima. What is it? How do you pronounce it? Is it a day or a season? What does it mean? What is its history and significance? Why did this liturgical season disappear in the 1969 Calendar Reform?

Of aircraft safety and Catholic doctrine

Boeing fired an executive whose subordinates apparently took the company's mission lightly. If only Catholic bishops were held-- or, better, held themselves-- to the same standard!

Doesn’t matter how long Lent is, don’t start your spiritual reading late: 10 books

I frequently do not figure out what special spiritual reading I will do in Lent until after it starts. Even in the days of speedy delivery, this often leads me to find something on the shelf that I can read again. That’s not a bad practice—I mean reading great books repeatedly, especially in the Bible—but if you are looking for something brand new, you might find one of the following to be just what you need.

Ep. 66—Christopher Tolkien, 1924-2020—John Garth

This is a tribute to Christopher Tolkien, who passed away on Jan. 16, 2020. Without Christopher's decades of dedicated scholarship, most notably his editing and publication of The Silmarillion, our knowledge of J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional world and very real genius would be considerably disadvantaged. Tolkien scholar John Garth, author of the acclaimed biography Tolkien and the Great War, joins the show to discuss a father-son collaboration unique in literary history.

Pope has spoken, but celibacy debate is not finished

In short, Pope Francis did not, as some journalists reported, “close the door” on the possibility of ordaining married men. He left the door precisely as it was: ajar.

Episode 9—Justin Martyr—Everything Good Is Ours

"Whatever things are rightly said are ours." Justin looked at creation and saw Christ. He looked into the mind of Plato and found a Christian, born centuries before his time. Speaking with Romans, speaking with Jews, he sought the good in his adversaries’ best ideas and showed that the good belonged properly to Christ and Christians. He showed us how to be fearless in the face of ideas, and fearless even in the face of death.

Does consecrated life trump marriage? Can the married change their minds?

There are three caveats to consider. First, the motives for entering upon a particular way of life can be mixed. That decision does not tell us anything about the person’s holiness. In the end we will be judged not by the “vocation” we happen to “be in” but by our conformity to Christ. Second, it is the essence of having “a vocation” that it is the way of life to which God has called us. Not all receive the same call. Third, when it comes to vocations which demand a vow....

Free Liturgical Year Volume 3 Released: LENT

Our liturgical year ebooks include all the liturgical day information for each season just as it appears on CatholicCulture.org. These 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. Justin Martyr—Dialogue with Trypho

“I will prove to you, here and now, that we do not believe in groundless myths nor in teachings not based on reason, but in doctrines that are inspired by the Divine Spirit, abundant with power, and teeming with grace.”

Our bishops cannot be trusted with a ‘yellow-check’ system

Under Bishop Barron's proposal, the bishop is not asking: “Does this site contradict established Catholic doctrine?” Instead he is asking: “Do I approve of this site’s approach?” The difference is enormous.

Ephesians: The remarkable letter that just happens to mention husbands and wives

We cannot avoid endless wrangling over the thirteen verses in Ephesians that deal with the relationships between husbands and wives. We ignore the 118 verses which precede St. Paul’s comments on it (1:1 – 5:21), along with most of the small number of verses in the conclusion which follows (cf. 6:10-20). This is a huge mistake. The whole point of the letter is to explain that the Gentiles have been incorporated into God’s eternal plan and made heirs of His kingdom in Christ.

Archbishop Gänswein, ‘redistributed’ out of the picture

Welcome to the new, transparent Vatican regime, the regime of dialogue, the regime of accountability.

Ep. 65—Reason With Stories, Philosophize With Your Life (Vision of the Soul Pt. III)—James Matthew Wilson

Human life is imbued with an intelligible, narrative form, and we are capable of telling true stories about ourselves that reflect the actual story-form of our lives and history as a whole.

St. Athanasius—Life of St. Anthony, pt. 3

“It is possible, with the help of God, easily to distinguish the presence of the good and the bad: a vision of the holy ones is not agitated.”

Quick Hits: Elections, Newman, Augustine, Media, and more on Rose Hawthorne

This collection of meditations can be used in almost any reading pattern and during any season of the year. Each of Newman’s thirty-eight meditations has been whittled to just over three pages in length. Topics covered include worship, reverence, the glories of Mary, dispositions for faith, the mystery of Godliness, martyrdom, love of friends, affliction, and a great many more, including love itself. Newman is always fresh, deep, astonishing, and in his sermons, accessible.

Behind the European bishops’ reluctance to acknowledge Brexit

Having been joined to the EU since its creation, COMECE takes that the existence of that political body for granted, and any suggestion that the EU should be abandoned is, implicitly, a suggestion that COMECE might be disbanded as well.

This week: the stories within the stories

Questions that might have been asked about Cardinal Sodano can now be asked about Cardinal Sandri, and those questions will linger over the next conclave.

Lead us not into temptation: What can this possibly mean?

Now we may well wonder at these passages which portray temptation as very valuable, when in fact St. Paul claims that God does not tempt us beyond our strength. Does this mean temptation is easy? And again Our Lord tells us to pray not to be led into temptation, not to be put to the test. Is that not even easier? Finally, how are we to reconcile all of this with our own experience of temptation, and of the number of times we succumb to it?

St. Athanasius—Life of St. Anthony, pt. 2

“Do not be fearful when you hear of perfection, nor be surprised at the word, for it is not far from us… the Lord has already told us: the kingdom of God is within you.”

Will Catholic bishops hamper the pro-life cause?

What worries me about the USCCB initiative is the possibility that the bishops will set up their own guidelines for the CPCs that seek their support. Inevitably those guidelines will exclude some CPCs and encourage others.

Ep. 64—Advancing the Faith in the Podcast Medium—Mike Aquilina, James T. Majewski

It’s Podcast Week here at CatholicCulture.org, as we want to make more people aware of our audio offerings, particularly the two new podcasts we launched last October: Catholic Culture Audiobooks and Way of the Fathers with Mike Aquilina.

Ecclesiastical judgment: Saints who left spouse or children for consecrated life?

None of this is cookie-cutter material. Men have long been permitted to absent themselves from their spouses and children almost as a matter of course for reasons of war, or even business, without the consent of their wives, though this is a different matter which does not involve the judgment of the Church. It is also true that parents or single women can give up their children for good reason, without any dispensation from the Church. But to enter religious life? Ecclesiastical judgment!

A Sunday Feast: the Presentation of the Lord

February 2 is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas or the Purification of Mary. In 2020 this feast falls on a Sunday, and is one of the rare exceptions of a feast of the Lord superseding a Sunday liturgy.

St. Thomas Aquinas—Heaven and Earth Will Pass

“Dearest brethren, how great the delight, how great the pleasure, how great the sweetness that is in the heavenly words of wisdom!”

Conscience counterfeits

Ubiquitous sexual-harassment and child-protection programs, presuming to replace the authority of the Ten Commandments, are indicative of a culture that has lost its moral compass.

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