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All Catholic commentary from October 2020

Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP—The Created Pure Spirit, and Its Limits

“Among this ever so numerous throng of pure spirits, the highest of hierarchies is that of the great contemplative angels… Next comes those who are ministers of the Most High… and finally there are the angels who simply execute the orders of God, as are the invisible guardians of men, communities, and nations.”

Vision Book Cover Prints

Columbus Day: should we celebrate or mourn?

The same ideological anger that prompts rioters to pull down statues of Christopher Columbus is also motivating the desecration of Catholic churches.

You, the Church, God: Ratzinger’s sacramental homilies

This collection presents two homilies on each of the seven sacraments, book-ended by homilies which express more fully the essential sacramentality of the Church. These are not scholarly texts but real words spoken to real congregations on real sacramental occasions. They communicate their wisdom through specific moments in time, and at what we recognize as a genuinely human length. They are marked by a profound simplicity from which we can all benefit as participants in the sacred.

Who Lost the Culture?

Our cultural decline may have begun as far back as 75 years ago, in the skies over Hiroshima when the Americans dropped history's first atomic bomb on that city.

Pope calls Catholics to read Scripture regularly

The Pope offers St. Jerome’s example of constant reading and study of Scripture, along with devoted acceptance of the authority of the See of Peter as the rule of Faith, to encourage a greater devotion to the Bible at every level of the Church.

Fratelli tutti: Pope Francis’ new social encyclical

Fratelli tutti is devoted to “solidarity”, especially as the bond of genuine solidarity reaches across lines of division, such as those of class, geography, and ethnicity. It is a fairly straightforward examination of the tendencies in our world that engender division and the attitudes and approaches we must adopt to build genuine community, both locally and globally, through an authentically human culture—a culture which takes its inspiration from the parable of the Good Samaritan.

87—The Jester Is Not The King—Jeremy McLellan

Jeremy McLellan is a Catholic stand-up comedian who, strangely, is huge is Pakistan. He joins the show to discuss the woke takeover of comedy, the nihilistic dogmas of many comedians, the relationship between comedy and suffering, and the ethics of the word “retarded”. Thomas describes his past experience doing open mics and Jeremy gives him some pointers.

Pope’s new encyclical ignores previous social teaching

In the current pontificate, I submit, it has become simply impossible to square the Pope’s statements with those of his predecessors.

St. John Henry Newman—Duties of Catholics Towards the Protestant View

“I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold, and what they do not, who know their creed so well, that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it.”

Pro-Bomb? No, morality entails sacrifice and trust in God.

Morality is not simply a series of ends and means to which we adhere by virtue of our perception of the natural law when it seems reasonable and within our abilities. It is much more than that, but this “much more” is clearly visible only in the light of Revelation and Catholic teaching. Moral behavior is a participation in the life of God and, ultimately, a willingness to recognize that God is God, that we are not, and that God’s will is not only theoretically sovereign but always best.

88—On Columbus—Robert Royal

Columbus was neither a genocidal maniac nor a saint; while he did not “discover” America, he did discover the world—as much for Native Americans as for Europeans.

Catholic mission: Properly shaped through our humanity

The idea of extending what we perceive as a Divine calling through the action of a number of persons operating in a well-ordered manner—that is, the idea of developing an organization—is often foreign to the lone apostle. But it is not at all foreign to human work, and when we look more closely, we will find that an assessment of the human components appropriate to any particular Catholic mission is of vital importance.

Ep. 25—Eusebius: History from the Wrong Side of History

Every Christian historian or history buff is dependent upon the work of Eusebius of Caesarea. He didn’t invent Church history, but his writings made it a serious discipline. He was the first to attempt a comprehensive, universal history of Christianity. He wanted his account to be the official story. Yet in his own lifetime he showed the perils and ironies of living within history. He did this by aiding and abetting true villains and assisting in the persecution of saints and heroes.

Bishop McElroy’s variation on the ‘seamless garment’ theme

So if a politician disagrees with pro-life lobbyists on the proper legislative path to ending abortion, he should not forfeit all Catholic support. Fair enough. But suppose a presidential candidate not only refuses to outlaw abortion, but promises to preserve free and unrestricted access to the procedure, pledges to guarantee government subsidies, welcomes support from the abortionists’ lobby...

Quick Hits: Cardinal Farrell’s new post, a priest’s belated vindication

At a time when the Vatican is struggling to regain public confidence about its financial probity, cynics might wonder whether he was chosen for these sensitive posts because he is likely to crack down on any signs of financial impropriety, or because he can be relied upon not to notice them.

The Life You Save—Dekalog: Three (1988)

Krzysztof Kieślowski's DEKALOG (1988) is a series of 10 short films inspired by the Ten Commandments. With this episode we discuss the third film in the series, which deals with the third commandment: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."

St. Ignatius of Antioch—Letter to the Ephesians

“It is better to say nothing and be a Christian, than to speak and not to be one.”

Little delights in Scripture, for the superior modern mind

All this comes from the account of Jewish life some 3,300 years ago. We tend to dismiss much of the Old Testament as coming from a very primitive time. And yet here we are: At list six highly significant insights from which all of us, including our whole culture, could benefit enormously today. And all are within the space of a thousand words in a single chapter of the second oldest book of the Bible.

Maintaining Christian Charity in Times of Upheaval

Without sentimentality, we must not forget the fundamental human dignity of our enemies, even as we reject their evil actions.

Science always points to God

As Newman argued over a hundred years ago, no discipline can usurp the place of another without darkening the human mind. Science, philosophy, theology and every other branch of study ought not to quarrel, but work in harmony to see each aspect of reality more clearly, so that all can better grasp the whole.

The Pope sows more seeds of confusion

He is, in effect, relinquishing any claim to territory that the opposing forces have already occupied— and thus creating new obstacles for any Catholics who seek to regain that territory in the future.

89—Mary and the Blues—Mike Aquilina

In addition to being the host of Catholic Culture’s Way of the Fathers podcast and the author of dozens of books on the early Church, Mike Aquilina is a poet who has written songs performed by the likes of Dion, Paul Simon, and Bruce Springsteen.

How long, O Lord? Praying about Pope Francis

There are many kinds of prayer, and the model for one of them is found in no fewer than four different psalms along with a heartfelt question offered by the remarkable prophet Isaiah. The form of this prayer is expressed in the recurring words: “How long, O Lord?” We can and should use the “How long” form of prayer, applied to the vexing question of how long Pope Francis will remain in the Chair of Peter. We have been given too many legitimate occasions to experience his leadership as a cross.

St. Augustine—De Doctrina Christiana | Book 3 (Ch.1-23)

"Reflect for a long time upon what is being read, until the interpretation is drawn over to the sway of charity."

Crowding the conclave

That two Roman Pontiffs would ignore a rule, rather than amend it, is neither a crime nor a scandal. But it is an oddity.

Priest Parables

So an unprecedented dilemma confronts many priests who can no longer ignore the Pope’s frequent and clearly erroneous comments during his casual conversations.

When the rich cry poverty

It seems to me those “more progressive Catholics” get together every day in the faculty lounges at Boston College, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Fordham, and a dozen other Catholic universities.

Science meets secular mythology—and loses, again

Dr. Fauci commits intellectual fraud in an attempt to make environmental opinions scientifically plausible. To prove pandemics have been getting worse, Fauci claims 50 million deaths from the Bubonic Plague of the 14th century. The real number is about 136 million, and adjusted for population, in today’s numbers it would be about 2.7 billion. It is an irresponsible stretch of the imagination to claim that bad environmental practices are increasing the severity of worldwide disease.

Realism, the Pope, and the case for civil unions

It is possible to square what the Pope said with the Catholic tradition. But it isn’t easy— particularly when the Pope and the Vatican let the widespread misinterpretation of the remarks stand uncorrected.

26—Hilary of Poitiers: Exile and Understanding

He is called the Athanasius of the West — and the two had much in common. Both defended the Council of Nicaea and suffered exile for it. But Hilary's approach to controversy differed from that of Athanasius. He listened to his opponents and found common ground when he could. When he couldn't, he addressed their concerns clearly and directly. He was even willing to work with heretics as they opposed more radical heresies. He wrote on the Trinity and composed hymns that are still sung today.

Reverence and the Occult: Nosferatu (1922/1979)

A discussion of horror and treatment of the occult in movies, leading into a discussion of the classic vampire film Nosferatu.

Evangelization and conversion: The keys to civic virtue

The problem is that, as far as Christ and Christianity are concerned, fundamental human progress—whether for our earthly sojourn or our supernatural destiny—simply cannot be made without a radical conversion to Jesus Christ. For this reason, all human progress is illusory unless it is motivated by and oriented toward Jesus Christ. In other words, it will never work for the Church simply to piggyback onto the causes that the dominant secular culture believes in.

90—Leo XIII on the State’s Duties Toward the Church—Thomas Pink

Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Freedom, Humanis Dignitatae, begins by noting that its discussion of religious liberty “has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society” and so “leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.” This episode is about discovering what that traditional doctrine was and is.

Pope Leo XIII—Immortale Dei: On the Christian Constitution of States

"Since, then, no one is allowed to be remiss in the service due to God, and since the chief duty of all men is to cling to religion in both its reaching and practice-not such religion as they may have a preference for, but the religion which God enjoins, and which certain and most clear marks show to be the only one true religion -it is a public crime to act as though there were no God."

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