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All Catholic commentary from October 2022

Reason without the Search for Faith is Insanity

The Old Testament explains what happens when we lose faith. Every sin is unreasonable.

In the news: No sense of Catholic office or duty

The substitute for personal rule is always bureaucratic rule, and bureaucratic rule always invites two debilitating evils because of the personal anonymity fostered by all its layers, policies, and procedures. These evils are (a) inefficiency, because of the sheer weight of the institutional arrangements; and (b) the abuse of positions for gain by those who know how to manipulate the sheer weight of the institutional arrangements.

Three states face disastrous sexual liberty amendments

Now, baby denier abortionists and their sexual anarchist allies are promising deceptive “reproductive freedom for all individuals.” Their new agenda goes way beyond Roe and abortion, and relies heavily on deceit.

An encyclical to ward off hurricanes?

Notice how quickly skepticism-- which was once recognized as a hallmark of scientific rigor-- is now dismissed as "irresponsible populism." 

On the futility of modern bureaucratic states

Bureaucratic management is how modern cultures not only provide for but promote a general lack of awareness of, commitment to, and capacity for choosing the Good. Bureaucratic management is the absolutist regime’s substitute for morality, and it makes no difference whether that regime is in some distant technical sense a democracy. Finally, bureaucratic management always becomes increasingly totalitarian. It substitutes for what Christianity accomplishes through the theological virtues.

More on Cardinal Czerny’s Hurricanes

The Journal of Climate has published a graph of hurricanes over the past 50 years, which demonstrates that there is no trend toward more frequent and more devastating huricanes.

Gratitude and Apocalyptic Shock Treatment

God has made it relatively easy for a thoughtful Catholic to obtain forgiveness with the certainty that Penance provides. But penitents are often (usually?) oblivious to the gravity of the favors granted.

144—The Obedience Paradox in Marriage—Mary Stanford

The primordial reality of authority as gift and obedience as receptivity is central to Mary Stanford’s new book, The Obedience Paradox: Finding True Freedom in Marriage. Drawing on Scripture, the theology of the body, and the whole Magisterial tradition of the Church on marital obedience, Stanford offers not just a defense of the traditional teaching, but a profound illumination of how both wives and husbands can find true freedom in submitting to God’s design for what Pope Pius XI called “the order of love” in marriage, which is both mutual and asymmetrical.

The First Social-Justice Struggle

The early Church initiated many struggles for the cause of social justice: opposition to slavery, capital punishment, and other institutions of pagan society. But the condemnation of abortion was singular in its consistency and vehemence, from the very beginning of the Gospel proclamation.

A ‘hostile takeover’ of Catholicism?

I have profound misgivings about this synod and the awkward, time-consuming, self-referential process it has begotten.

The Flowers of St. Francis (1950)

The great Italian director Roberto Rossellini made what is generally regarded as the best movie about St. Francis of Assisi. Its original Italian title is Francesco, giullare di Dio ("Francis, God's jester"), but in English it is known as The Flowers of St. Francis - the film being based on a 14th-century Italian novel with the same title. As the Italian title suggests, Rossellini wanted to focus on the whimsical aspects of the saint's personality.

Quick hits: this week’s signs of impending doom

You may be— you should be— troubled by recent stories about FBI actions against peaceful pro-life activists. But you shouldn’t be surprised.

Catholic Exclusion: Drive out the wicked from among you.

The one who does evil is actually depriving himself and others of the good. Thus, evil is always an attack on the Good and on those who uphold the Good. For this reason, we find that there is a moral necessity to exclude from the community of the Church those who repeatedly and unrepentantly attempt to obscure or eliminate what is Good.

Richard Crashaw—A Hymn to the Name and Honour of the Admirable Saint Teresa

"Thou art Love’s victim, and must die / A death more mystical and high!"

How the Threat of Damnation Protects the Doctrine of Natural Law

The “fundamental option” hypothesis undermines the Church’s traditional teaching on the loss and restoration of sanctifying grace.

145—Catholic Imagination Conference poetry reading

The Catholic Culture Podcast Network sponsored a poetry reading session at the fourth biennial Catholic Imagination Conference, hosted by the University of Dallas. Thomas Mirus moderated this session on Sept. 30, 2022, introducing poets Paul Mariani, Frederick Turner, and James Matthew Wilson.

He’s back! Diogenes Unveiled

Diogenes cites a “Catholic” publisher who asked whether it is not possible “that the Catholic Church still has it wrong on sexual morality and needs to reconsider church attitudes and teachings?” This would require...becoming a more humble church, perhaps one with less sweeping claims to infallibility.” In response, Diogenes compares infallibility to a calculator, which people discard if it makes less sweeping claims to accuracy; and he compares Catholic dissenters to...tapeworms.

We should apologize to the North American martyrs

Would St. Jean de Brebeuf have asked for a blessing from an Iroquois shaman? How would St. Isaac Jogues have responded to the veneration of the Pachamama?

Now the Pontifical Academy for Life adopts ‘pro-choice’ rhetoric

The “pro-choice” gambit has been eagerly embraced by the Democratic Party, the mainstream media— and now by the Vatican.

God, I thank thee that I am not like devout Catholics

“But woe to you, devout Catholics, hypocrites!"

146—40 Days for Life Co-Founder Shawn Carney

Though prayer, fasting, and public presence, 40 Days for Life has been very successful in reducing abortions, closing down abortion clinics, and even saving the souls of women who intend abortion and abortion industry workers. Co-founder Shawn Carney joins the podcast to discuss their work, the current situation post-Roe, and the necessity of prayer and fasting for fruitful activism.

The case for excommunication today

Public excommunication has three purposes: First, it places the excommunicated beyond the reach of the Church’s sacramental grace until the ban is lifted; second, it is a solemn statement designed to bring that person to his spiritual senses through repentance; third, it puts the Catholic faithful on notice that the behavior which incurred excommunication is so serious as to admit no possibility of participation in the life of Christ until repentance permits the lifting of the ban.

Liturgy and Love: Revolutionary Acts

The Fathers saw a profound connection between Eucharistic communion and social concerns — between liturgy and charity. It’s evident in the works of the great saints of antiquity, from Ignatius of Antioch and Justin Martyr to Tertullian and John Chrysostom. It's spelled out even in the ancient liturgical books.

Inclusive Church, uncertain trumpet

In everything the Church in all her members is compelled by mission to preach the truth to all who have not yet received it. Of course, many potential missionaries are put off by embarrassment at preaching Christ, or fear of an adverse reaction to honest evangelization. The word has gone out through all the world that it is far nicer simply to welcome everyone regardless of what they believe and that, besides, anyone who claims a superior grasp of the truth is an unChristian blowhard.

Stripping St. Francis: Francesco (1989)

Trying to make sense of the most dubious selection on the Vatican film list: Francesco (1989), starring Mickey Rourke as St. Francis and Helena Bonham-Carter as St. Clare.

A hostile takeover of the Pontifical Academy for Life

At this point it is abundantly clear that under the leadership of Archbishop Paglia, the PAL is no longer the institution that was established by Pope John Paul II to defend the dignity of human life.

Gender dysphoria: First, do no harm

Isn’t it a grave disservice— a sin against charity— to encourage young people in their delusions?

The Void in Church leadership: Is damnation possible?

Bad churchmen are a vexation, but an understandable and probably unavoidable vexation. Harder to explain -- and progressively harder to deny -- was The Void at the center of the Church's activity: the absence of concern for souls in jeopardy.

A Pharisee’s Examination of Conscience

The number of hostile encounters in the Gospels suggests the failures of the Pharisees pose a more deadly threat to the teachings of Jesus than the Herodians and Romans.

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