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All Catholic commentary from January 2024

Liturgical Highlights: New Year, and Transition of the Seasons

Overview of First Week of January, last week of Christmas season, Basil and Gregory, Holy Name of Jesus, American and Canadian saints and Epiphany and Baptism of the Lord and Ordinary Time.

The Christmas gift of hospitality

It is important to allow the hospitality which is so natural to the season to include as many family members as possible, particularly those who are no longer actively practicing their Faith. Gatherings in a home firmly grounded in Jesus Christ and the remembrances of the Church at this wonderful time of year serve not only as reminders of love but also as reminders of Love—that is, of Christ Himself and His infinite love and care for all of his brothers and sisters in our estranged world.

Old-Time Catholic New-Year Resolutions

When a wayward family member uses “judgmental” as a stun gun to shame those who disapprove of a sinful lifestyle or a morally unlawful marriage outside the Church, reject the intimidation.

Did Benedict’s death lift restraints on Pope Francis?

Whether or not the death of Benedict XVI emboldened his successor, it is unquestionably true that in 2023 Pope Francis was markedly more aggressive in pushing for changes in the Church.

Spiritual mapping, in the Church, and through the minefield

The first step, I suppose, is for each of us to purchase a spiritual compass that points in the right direction. I say “purchase” because this acquisition costs something in humility and spiritual commitment. We must give up our own claim to be a lodestone and instead strenuously cultivate a spirituality which points always to Christ at the heart of the Church. Such a compass must be calibrated not to personal preferences but to the Church’s own teachings and sacramental discipline.

Liturgical Year Volume 2 Released: Ordinary Time before Lent

This liturgical year ebook includes all the liturgical day information for the period of Ordinary Time before Lent just as it appears on It offers 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.

Jump off the media’s fear-and-panic bandwagon

Fear generates clicks, sells newspapers, generates ad revenues, drives vaccine sales, and escalates political rhetoric. It’s like an addictive drug.

Single-Minded Magi

Compared to the brutality of modern tyrants, Herod is a kindly gent. Many of our leaders – including self-identified Catholics – are complicit in the murder of far more (unborn) babies.

The most troubling aspect of Fiducia supplicans

It is certainly more troubling that this document has tied itself explicitly to the justification of blessings for a particular class of persons who are identified by their commitment to an objectively sinful lifestyle. If eyebrows are not raised as Catholics discern the primary purpose of this exercise, then Catholics are oblivious to what ought to be obvious. This is true even if the text is as spiritually legitimate in its strictest interpretation as it has already proved illegitimate in its more easily predictable implementation. But even this is not what troubles me most.

4.4 The Heresies – Adoptionism: Christ as Anointed Prophet

In the third century, the heresy of the Ebionites evolved into a more general form of adoptionism, still denying the divinity of Christ, and now emphasizing his status as an anointed, but adopted, son of God, much like the kings and prophets of the Old Testament. Adoptionism is also known as “dynamic monarchianism,” in part for its claim that it was preserving the oneness (monarchy) of God by denying the divinity of Christ.

St. Francis de Sales—Introduction to the Devout Life | Part 3 (Ch.36-41)

"No indeed, I would not even have people wish for more wit or better judgment, for such desires are frivolous, and take the place of the wish everyone ought to possess of improving what he has. We ought not to desire ways of serving God that He does not open to us, but rather desire to use what we have rightly."

The inopportunists’ vindication

“Contempt for tradition at the top, a sheepish passivity among the rank and file, whether clerical or lay, irresponsible behavior during a conclave to elect a pope: these were probably not the consequences hoped for by Pius IX when he encouraged the promulgation of his own infallibility.”

Highlights: Jonathan Roumie, classical Christian education, Nouvelle théologie

This episode collects highlights from episodes 74-76 of the Catholic Culture Podcast.

The worst arguments for surrogate motherhood

And the supporters of surrogacy said very little about the poor women who are enticed to rent out their wombs for cash payments.

Welcome your guardian angel! (He’s stuck with you.)

Christ Himself refers with some frequency not only to “the devil and his angels” (e.g., Mt 25:41) but to the angels who do God’s will in Heaven. In fact, Our Lord testified specifically to the existence of personal guardian angels when He warned: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 18:10).

Generational wounds in Tokyo Story (1953)

Tokyo Story should provoke an examination of conscience in viewers of every generation.

The Nathan and Nathanael Options

David wasn't like Herod. He didn't behead Nathan for his honesty. David wasn't like Judas. He didn't despair when indicted for his duplicity. David repented his sins and humbly wrote the Miserere

The best books Catholic Culture staff read in 2023

It’s time for the Catholic Culture staff’s roundup of our favorite things we read in the past year. This time we have lists by Dr. Jeff Mirus, Phil Lawler, Dr. Jim Papandrea, and Thomas Mirus.

God’s election for your fallen family: Never too late!

The whole history of the Jews recounted in the Book of Nehemiah seems incredible to us, not so much because of the dramatic miracles which the Jews experienced in their Exodus from Egypt (and even afterwards through the prophets), but mainly because of how quickly the people and their leaders forget what God has done for them and fall into precisely the sins God has forbidden. Really, though, we should not find this surprising, for much the same thing happens in the Catholic Church today.

Liturgical Highlights: January 14-27

Liturgical Calendar Highlights of January 16-27, 2024, Ordinary Time, Conversion of St. Paul, Francis de Sales, Timothy and Titus, Fabian and Sebastian, Vincent of Saragossa and Marianne Cope.

Lightning strikes twice in an Argentine diocese

So what’s going on in Mar del Plata? Is there some reason why, as the date of their installation has approached, these two prelates have bowed out?

The world must be peopled

“Having Children is Saving the World.” That marketing strategy makes sense: If you’re selling diapers, you have a keen interest in babies.

What sacrament means the most to you?

All seven of the Church’s sacraments are extraordinarily powerful occasions of grace for those who receive them, but I suspect we all have our favorites. For example, an adult convert might single out baptism as having a powerful impact on his life, whereas a cradle Catholic might appreciate baptism only somewhat more “theoretically”, since he or she cannot remember receiving the sacrament and may not particularly associate graces received with that blessed foundation.

St. John Henry Newman—The Idea of a University | Duties of the Church towards Knowledge

"If the Catholic Faith is true, a University cannot exist externally to the Catholic pale, for it cannot teach Universal Knowledge if it does not teach Catholic theology. This is certain; but still, though it had ever so many theological Chairs, that would not suffice to make it a Catholic University... a direct and active jurisdiction of the Church over it and in it is necessary, lest it should become the rival of the Church with the community at large in those theological matters which to the Church are exclusively committed."

The Mystery of Masculinity and Fatherhood

All the loose talk about ordaining women for purposes of “equity” is about as plausible as a woman becoming a man.

The best movies I watched in 2023

Thomas Mirus lists the best movies he watched in 2023.

When Pope Francis goes off script

Spontaneity is a hallmark of his pontificate, however, and Pope Francis is not deterred by the furors he has created by his unvetted public remarks.

The complexity of assessing a pontificate

It is evident that good people can be spiritually and morally misled, mistreated and injured even within the Church. It is evident also that we do not always receive the leadership we want. But it is far from evident, in God’s providence, that as adults we do not usually receive at least leadership from which we can benefit, if only through spiritual adversity, by leading lives of prayerful docility to the Holy Spirit.

4.5 The Heresies – Gnosticism: Christ as Cosmic Mind

The heresy of docetism evolved into a complicated web of schools of mythology, which we lump together under the name of gnosticism. These all still denied the real humanity of Christ, though in two distinct ways. Docetic gnosticism continued the trend of seeing Christ as a phantom, with no real tangible body. “Hybrid” gnosticism made concessions to the accounts of a tangible body of Jesus, but called it an ethereal, or luminous, body - in other words, not a true material flesh and blood body.

A Vatican court ruling keeps the lid on financial scandals

Back in September 2017, immediately after the auditor general’s removal, then-Archbishop Becciu told a reporter: “If he had not agreed to resign, we would have prosecuted him.” WE would have prosecuted?

Catholicism: The glory of God and the horror of sin

The Church agrees with St. John Henry Newman that it is better for each one of us that we should endure the most serious temporal suffering rather than commit a single deliberate sin.

St. Francis de Sales—Introduction to the Devout Life | Part 4

“If anyone strives to be delivered from his troubles out of love of God, he will strive patiently, gently, humbly and calmly, looking for deliverance rather to God’s goodness and providence than to his own industry or efforts; but if self-love is the prevailing object, he will grow hot and eager in seeking relief, as though all depended more upon himself than upon God.”

The Dignity of Celibacy

Those who do not view marriage as something holy and good are incapable of making a promise of celibacy as envisioned by the Church.

The Presentation of the Lord: A Light for the Nations

February 2, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas, or Purification of Mary. A feast of light, with a blessing of candles, and last feast that points to Christmas.

Why we must pray for the Church, and one way to do it

Now, if we groan inwardly as we await our salvation, we must therefore struggle in union with all the members of the Church. Thus must we also pray unceasingly that the Church’s work may be completed in each one of us, even while recognizing that this great Church is made up here on earth solely of sinners, the salvation of whom will not be secured without their own cooperation.

Competition as dialogue? A tennis player objects.

If you participate in an athletic contest, and you’re not trying to win, something is wrong. You may have reasons for failing to compete honestly, but whatever those reasons are, they are foreign to the game. Competition is, by definition, an effort to prevail.

The dangerous Vatican enthusiasm for the WEF

Conspicuously missing from the WEF agenda— and, unfortunately, from the interventions by Pope Francis and Cardinal Turkson— was any discussion of the traditional principles of Catholic social teaching.

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