Commentary

On politics, the Church, and Satan

Recent news confirms deep flaws in the Catholic Church’s practical commitment to objective moral norms. By “practical commitment”, I do not mean official Church teaching but practical decisions by huge numbers of Catholics, both high and low, to favor and support social movements and political platforms that advocate objectively immoral laws. Again, these decisions are typically based not on Church teaching but on culturally-borrowed perceptions of which causes and candidates are “humane”, or “caring”, or “nice”.

Vie et Passion du Christ (1903)

Vie et Passion du Christ (Life and Passion of the Christ) is is one of the earliest feature-length narrative films, produced and released in 1903. The film portrays the events of the Gospels - from the Annunciation to the Ascension - employing only visual language (it is a silent film, with inter-titles used only to introduce the scene titles).

Courts give Congress a license to be reckless

At a time of deep national divisions and high political tensions— a time when teenage boys can become the objects of a nationwide hate campaign— the courts have given Congressmen a dangerous license to be reckless.

85—Three-Fifths of Our Band Got Ordained—Luxury

There are many strange stories in rock history. But Luxury is surely the only band in which three out of five members ended up becoming Orthodox priests. Combining a hard-edged instrumental texture with sweet, melodious vocals and literary lyrics, Luxury has continued to record and perform sporadically since their beginning in the mid-1990s Christian punk scene. They have retained a loyal following and their latest album, Trophies, was released last year to much acclaim.

St. Cyprian of Carthage—Letter to Donatus

“While I was lying in darkness and in the obscure night, and while, ignorant of my real life, I was tossing about on the sea of a restless world wavering and doubtful in my wandering steps… I thought it indeed difficult and hard to believe... that divine mercy was promised for my salvation.”

New takes on old issues: Catholicism, history, biology

Among the few very interesting and worthwhile books that have come across my desk recently are one on “the secret history of Christianity” and one on “the first humans”, back in the days before we had a historical record to consult. In conception, both books are quite complex. In execution, both provide what I would call permanent insights to readers willing to hear out the authors’ extended arguments.

Malpractice in translation

The compleat contemporary liturgist is faced with a choice: He can use the words “thee” and “thine,” or he can suck the beauty out of the poetry. It’s no contest.

Will Catholics go back to Mass on their bishops’ orders?

Just a few weeks ago the archbishop effectively ruled that everyone had a rational basis for fears. Now he says that rational basis is gone. But it isn’t that simple. Many Catholics are still afraid, and the archbishop can’t flip a switch to turn off their fears.

Reckless transparency

What began as episcopal mendacity and patterns of cover-up, has led to a transparency that we should more accurately describe as “systemic detraction.”

Ep. 23—Alexander’s Lagtime Stand

Alexander can't say he wasn't warned. His predecessor as bishop of Alexandria, Peter, had told him not to trust Arius. But Alexander ignored the advice. Then Arius went into open rebellion, and then his heresy spread throughout the world. And then Alexander had to act decisively, arguing strongly against the Arian heresy and prevailing at the Council of Nicaea in 325.

The prophet who foretold Christianity

Mike Aquilina’s presentation of the “forgotten” prophecy of Malachi, though grounded in his thorough study of the Fathers, succeeds where a more academic approach would fail. His book expands our vision, teaching us once again to take Malachi seriously—in other words, to recognize an eternity already present on earth, in which we are called to participate ever more fully.

84—Disobey Lockdown Now—Douglas Farrow, Andrew Busch

Catholic theologian Douglas Farrow and Lutheran political scholar Andrew Busch join the show to discuss their recent essays on the coronavirus lockdown, and assess the reasons and prospects for civil disobedience.

Christian results flow only from Christian faith

Cardinal Hollerich (a Jesuit) does say that “We must always think about the evangelization of Europe”, but this is presumably to be effected through the abandonment of the “Eurocentrism present in our thoughts” as the Church is “inspired by a humility that allows us to reorganize better” in order to create all those “new missionary structures”.

Fear drives votes in this year’s presidential contest

Every four years partisans SAY they are frightened by the possibility that their rivals might come to power. This year I think they mean it. For faithful Catholic Americans, at least, there is reason to be fearful.

Paul Mankowski, S.J.—What Went Wrong?

"Deviant sexual assault has accomplished what liturgical abuse never could: it has generated secular media pressure and secular legal constraints so overwhelming that the apparat was forced to make its files public."

The frequency problem in liturgical translations

The most underrated problem with new liturgical translations over the past few generations is not that they are no longer Latin, and not that they have taken certain liberties with the Church’s official Latin text, and not even that they have sometimes been tendentious and even puerile. All these are worth discussing, but the biggest problem has been their frequency.

Farewell, Uncle Di: Father Paul Mankowski, RIP

He was unimpressed with academic colleagues who, he chuckled in wonderment, “wouldn’t even know how to change a shock absorber.” Then again he was also unimpressed with his own academic achievements, and congenitally incapable of self-promotion.

Mercy, revisited by useless servants

Fr. Moloney treats many things in exploring the meaning of mercy, including: Mercy as a political virtue, justice-only politics, solidarity and mercy, the role of mercy in civil and ecclesiastical punishment, mercy in the sacraments of the Church, mercy and the nature of God, God’s merciful discipline, mercy and the Fall of man, Our Lord’s covenant of mercy, our own devotion to mercy, works of mercy, and a last chapter on Mary which is brilliantly entitled “Mother of Mercy, Mirror of Justice”.

Dekalog: Two (1988)

James and Thomas discuss Krzysztof Kieślowski's DEKALOG, a series of 10 short-films inspired by the Ten Commandments.

St. Athanasius—Life of St. Anthony | Full

One of the most influential works in the history of Christian literature, read in its entirety by voice-actor James T. Majewski.

Archbishop Paglia buries the abortion issue…again

Paglia essentially resorts to the “seamless garment” tactic, which takes the truth that all problems adversely affecting the human person are issues of “human life”, and then emphasizes that very marginal insight to the point where it becomes immoral to prioritize these issues.

Sister Deirdre’s ‘old-fashioned’ religious witness

Whatever their weaknesses, the nuns who taught my grammar-school class also adhered to Sister Deirdre’s vision. There was never any doubt in my mind— because the sisters reminded us often— that they wanted all of us, their students, to go to heaven; and that they saw their teaching mission as their own way to get there.

Fatima (2020)

Our first response to the new feature film based on the events surrounding Our Lady of Fatima's appearance in 1917.

Ep. 83—The American Founding’s Medieval Roots—Robert Reilly

Robert Reilly’s new book America on Trial: A Defense of the Founding argues that the Founding’s roots lie a few millennia further back than the Enlightenment. With superb scholarship, he examines the whole history of Western culture up to the Founding, beginning with the Greeks, Hebrews and early Christians, proceeding through the Middle Ages to the Protestant Revolt and the debate over the divine right of kings.

Ep. 22—Anthony of the Desert: The Solitary Celebrity

Through one man’s witness, monasticism took the world by storm. Anthony of Egypt became history’s least probable celebrity. He gave up his money and possessions. He couldn’t read or write. He fled to the desert to be alone with God. Yet he drew disciples wherever he went. His desert became a city populated by monks and hermits. Philosophers and emperors sought his sage advice. In the course of his life he exercised a profound influence on the history of religion.

Increasing concern about government and the social order

I hope that the bug for rethinking the nature of religion, politics, government and mercy is thoroughly mixed into the air we breathe and the water we drink. The Western world is well into a personal spiritual and moral collapse, with a corresponding social collapse that starts with the family and ends in government and law. Change must necessarily begin with thought, and perhaps even with imagination. We cannot believe we have unlimited time to right the ship.

Final Liturgical Year volume for 2019-2020 available now

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.

Discovered: liturgical abuse leads to invalid sacraments

Archbishop Vigneron said that the Second Vatican Council had “established that no one ‘even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.” I beg to differ. That’s what Vatican II SAID. What was actually established was precisely the opposite.

St. Augustine—De Doctrina Christiana | Book 2 (Ch.1-18)

“Everyone devoted to the study of the Holy Scriptures... will find nothing else except that God must be loved for His own sake, and our neighbor for the sake of God.”

Arguments and Faith: Why do we believe?

Someone once objected to my arguments for the Resurrection by pointing out that Christians frequently believe without requiring or depending upon particular arguments. I see the point of the objection, but the issue here is very complex, and we must consider the different factors involved. These factors depending not only on the personality of each Christian but also on the degree of commitment to the Faith reflected by the culture in which each Christian lives.

Bishop Bransfield’s disgraceful non-apology

Did I mention that Bransfield is a protégé of the disgraced former cardinal, Theodore McCarrick? And did I mention that we are still waiting for the Vatican’s promised report on how McCarrick rose to power and influence?

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