Action Alert!
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

Commentary

Little Italian Grandmothers

In our culture, it doesn’t take much to be a celebrity – or at least a narcissist. But it takes a whole lot more effort (with grace) to be like our little devoutly Catholic Italian -- or Polish or Irish or Filipino -- grandmothers.

Vision Book Cover Prints

One soul at a time: The scandal of order is resolved in love

It is one of the most peculiar characteristics of post-modernity that the dominant culture has a love-hate relationship with the concept of “order”. On the one hand, the contemporary mindset seeks to justify every desire that was formerly considered “disordered” through the assumption that the universe is the product of chaos; on the other, this same contemporary mindset insists upon a socially uniform, consistent and orderly stance against challenges to this assumption.

A Short Film About Love—Dekalog: Six (1988)

The sixth episode of Kieslowski's Dekalog series inspired by the Ten Commandments deals with a characteristically modern form of adultery: voyeurism.

Joe Biden: Annihilating Christian Colleges

In a direct challenge to the College’s Christian character and teaching purpose, the HUD Directive “requires a [student] housing resident to be treated according to the person’s stated gender identity, including use of the person’s preferred pronouns, and it prohibits as discrimination because of gender identity using pronouns according to the person’s biological sex.”

104—John’s Gospel, Mary’s Voice—Michael Pakaluk

Michael Pakaluk joins the show to discuss his new translation and commentary on St. John's gospel, making the case that this loftiest of gospels echoes the voice of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the evangelist's adopted mother) in subtle but profound ways.

Vindicating the Holy Shroud

I have previously called attention to Gerard Verschuuren’s latest book on the Shroud of Turin. But having finished a careful reading of his argument, I decided it would be useful summarize the main points.

Archbishop Cordileone’s pastoral: Pelosi’s last warning?

The point is that the Eucharist has already been politicized, by the public figures who profess their “devout” Catholicism while defending and promoting the slaughter of unborn children.

Pope St. John Paul II—Redemptoris Custos

“...at the moment of Joseph's own ‘annunciation’ he said nothing; instead he simply ‘did as the angel of the Lord commanded him’. And this first ‘doing’ became the beginning of ‘Joseph's way’. The Gospels do not record any word ever spoken by Joseph along that way. But the silence of Joseph has its own special eloquence..."

This papal reform is a blockbuster

Now the question is whether the policy will be enforced: not just the letter of the law, but the intent. Will a Vatican official still be allowed to accept donations to his “personal charity” or to an institution that he sponsors?

David’s choice: Falling into the hand of God

We might also have expected some very good preaching during the Pandemic to the effect that we ought not to be particularly fearful in times like this, but rather to express a simple confidence in God, knowing that whatever He permits to happen will draw us closer to Him, if only we will trust Him with our entire lives as we should. Searching my memory, I don’t think I heard any preaching to that effect ever, not even once. That seems strange to me, perhaps even ominous.

38—Augustine (Part 1): Misspent Youth and Conversion

Augustine of Hippo is a name that appears on any short list of the most influential intellectuals in the history of the world. He seemed to live several productive lifetimes in the course of his own. In this first of three episodes on Augustine, we examine his dramatic early years — from his childhood through his conversion to Christ at age 31. We also consider the profound influence of his mother, Monica.

Contagious Faith in a Church that saves

Right out of the gate, in an introduction entitled “Living Dangerously”, Lawler poses the ultimate questions of life and death which are (or ought to be) answered so differently by pagans and Christians. This sets the stage for an examination of the Catholic response to Covid—a response which, whatever it may do for the body, certainly chills the soul.

Vatican reforms at a crossroad, Part II: the financial scandals

One by one the Vatican officials who were questioning Becciu’s moves were eliminated; for months, the sostituto himself— the man they were all investigating— survived

Highlights: Feminism and ideology; intuition, temperance and art; Great Books; Tolkien’s visual art

This episode features highlight clips from episodes 26-30 of the Catholic Culture Podcast.

Vatican reforms at a crossroad, Part I: the financial scandals

In the campaign for effective reform of the Roman Curia, the first order of business should be to rein in the excessive powers of the Secretariat of State.

St. Alphonsus Liguori—Uniformity With God’s Will | Pt. 2

“Sickness is the acid test of spirituality, because it discloses whether our virtue is real or sham.”

Crucifixion of a Parish Priest: Calvary (2014)

A good priest is threatened with death for the sins of an evil one. He has one week to prepare. That is the simple premise of Martin McDonagh's 2014 film Calvary, starring Brendan Gleeson. This portrait of a heroic but very human priest illuminates the crucifixions, mundane or dramatic, faced by good parish priests everywhere, but especially in post-Catholic cultures such as Ireland, in which the film is set.

The inexpressible sadness of Christian failure

We can pick any period of the Church’s history and we will find, along with any obvious successes, the following three characteristics: The Church ran into trouble with worldly power wherever she was true to her mission; serious Christians experienced frustration far more often than not; and wherever the Church appeared to be culturally dominant, or tried to cling to cultural dominance, she was in grave need of reform.

Blocking Biden Administration’s mail order abortion pills

Aside from prayer, penance and fasting for our country’s return to adherence to the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” Virginia’s James Madison, fourth president of the United States and Father of the Constitution, suggested controlling the power of the purse to effect good public policy. Urge your U.S. Congressman and two U.S. Senators to cut off any FDA funding to implement Joe Biden’s abortion-by-mail policy.

103—Pope Leo XIII’s NYC Hotel

Did you know there's a hotel in NYC named after Pope Leo XIII? The Leo House was founded in the 1880s as a boarding house for German Catholic immigrants, at the behest of the Holy Father, and is still operating today as a Catholic nonprofit hotel providing charitable hospitality at a discount.

When a bishop discourages baptism....

When should the Catholic Church bow to orders from the state? I offer a simple answer to that question: Never.

Out of the past, three surprise books, all occasions of grace

Reading any or all of these books will be far too little to alter the course of history, or the progressive slide into ever-increasing infidelity on the part of the once-Christian West. For that a far-deeper conversion is needed than can come from reading alone—but also a far more widespread conversion, in God’s own time, inspired and nourished now by the few who lead the way.

What Segregation, White Guilt, and Black Power Can Teach Catholics

Racism came under new management. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan called it: “The soft bigotry of low expectations.”

St. Alphonsus Liguori—Uniformity With God’s Will | Pt. 1

“Conformity signifies that we join our wills to the will of God. Uniformity means more -- it means that we make one will of God's will and ours, so that we will only what God wills; that God's will alone, is our will.”

Why can’t you just be “more loving”?

Catholics have a traditional expression which captures the proper attitude: “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” But more often than not, the person who hates the sins loved by the dominant culture is rebuked for being uncharitable, narrow, unfeeling, judgmental, and dogmatic. In other words: Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong. The explanation of all this is blindingly obvious. It is rooted in that “respect of persons” which causes us to praise what our “betters” approve and to denounce what our “betters” condemn.

NOW bishops ask for ethical vaccines: too little, too late

The letter-writing campaign might have been a good idea, twelve months ago. But our bishops were silent then, when the ethical decisions were being made. Now the vaccines are on the market, billions of dollars have been invested, and the promotional campaign is in full swing. This campaign comes far too late.

On banning the Tridentine liturgy, and selling the Edsel

Isn’t it revealing, though, that the one liturgical option liberal Catholics cannot abide is the option for the ancient liturgy?

37—Jerome, the Curmudgeonly Commentator

Jerome is renowned for his biblical studies and translations, The Church invokes him as Doctor, Father, and Saint. Yet he is just as famous for his curmudgeonly character. He clashed with Augustine and Rufinus, disdained Ambrose and Chrysostom. His insults stand with the best of Mark Twain and Groucho Marx. He is often depicted angry in works of art, and the poet Phyllis McGinley said: “He wasn’t a plaster sort of saint.”

God exiles His people when He must. What about us?

God never acts in ways that are bad for us. But He does reach a time when, on any given trajectory, He knows He has done all He can do. He reaches a time when He recognizes our definitive refusal to take refuge in the shadow of his hand (Is 49:2)—a time when He can only lament for us, for the Church we claim to honor, and for the nation we inhabit, as he lamented for Jerusalem, “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you would not!”

After disrupting liturgy in London, police express empty ‘regret’ but make no promises

The showdown in Southwark was particularly shocking, but the same sort of conflict has been taking place in many other places— usually, I’m say to say, with similar results.

Pasolini’s Gospel According to Matthew (1964) w/ Heather King

In 1962, inspired by Pope St. John XXIII's outreach to non-Christian artists, a gay communist picked up the Gospels and ended up making a film about Jesus. This might make you nervous, but one thing with which you can't charge Pier Paolo Pasolini is taking liberties with his source material - the dialogue in The Gospel According to Matthew is drawn entirely from that book of the Bible.

Equality Act: Combating Christians and coercing churches

The so-called Equality Act, HR 5, pushed by President Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will prevent churches which follow sexual morality as taught by Moses and Jesus Christ from obtaining commercial bank loans. Individuals who abide by the same teaching will see their employment opportunities severely curtailed under the bogus Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) provisions of HR 5.

Want more commentary? Visit the Archives.