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All Catholic commentary from December 2022

Man Found Dead in Graveyard

It is fair to speculate that John the Baptist even refuses the "prophet" label. It waits until Jesus confers it on him.

The refusal to preach purity in the face of sexual license

This incident reveals how determined our modern secular culture is to assert the control of personal desire over being, as long as the desires in question are destructive of both our human nature and our relationship with God. Transgenderism simply extends the litany of the confused sexual desires which afflict our fallen nature, and which must be re-ordered through a combination of respect for reality, self-discipline, grace, and human growth—including spiritual growth.

Urban Hannon—The Politics of Hell

I want you to imagine a society—a society made up of self-absorbed, atomized individuals—a society in which the various members tolerate each other, because they know they need each other, but only so that each of them can achieve his own private ambitions and desires—a society, moreover, that is in open rebellion against its own origins. Sound familiar yet?

Computer hacks, Providence and really helping others

Nature alone may do in a pinch, but it is nowhere near all that we have. And if Our Lord cannot reach souls even through those who can offer the fullness of truth and grace, then surely nature alone will never be enough.

Hope amidst Hopelessness

During the Macedonian Greek occupation, many upper-class elite Jews, anxious to get along, covered up the marks of their circumcision and joined the Gentiles for fellowship and job opportunities. Many Catholics also cover up the marks of their Baptisms and join an anti-Catholic culture.

The gap between papal rhetoric and action

But of course Pope Francis has not made such specific pleas for the release of these prisoners. On the contrary he has carefully avoided any pointed public criticism of either the Chinese or the Nicaraguan regime.

149—Duns Scotus, Minstrel of the Incarnation—Thomas Ward

Blessed John Duns Scotus (1265-1308), the Franciscan friar known as the “Subtle Doctor”, is one of the most important theologians and philosophers of the Middle Ages, yet over the centuries he has fallen into disrepute, or at least neglect, by comparison with the “Angelic Doctor”, St. Thomas Aquinas. Interest in Scotus has revived somewhat in part due to his beatification by Pope St. John Paul II, who called him the “defender of the Immaculate Conception” and “minstrel of the Incarnation”.

The Scandal of the Virgin Martyrs

In early Christianity the epic heroes were often heroines — specifically those who had suffered violence rather than submit to a patriarchy that despised them for what they were. In a time of demographic winter, the virgin martyrs refused to marry and bear children for the good of the empire. They consecrated their lives to Christ instead. Thus they were seen as a threat to traditional family values.

Biden denounces ‘hate’—and Catholic teaching

Since he believes that the Church teaches hate, I wonder why, on Sunday morning, he will turn up at a Catholic church, and affirm his allegiance to “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.”

‘Rebuilding Notre Dame’—highly recommended

Interviews with expert restorers provide a new appreciation for the astonishing expertise that went into the original construction of the basilica, more than 800 years ago.

Moral clarity is a requirement of love

If we grow spiritually and morally as human persons, then over time we learn to recognize rationalization and dismiss it through a combination of sound moral analysis, deepening convictions, and strong habits. We become persons in which all faculties act together in harmony—that is, persons of integrity. But if we decide to roll with the rationalizations, we gradually descend into intellectual darkness.

Whisper of the generations: The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978)

The Tree of Wooden Clogs, by Catholic director Ermanno Olmi, depicts a year in the life of four peasant families living on a tenant farmhouse in late 19th century Lombardy. The actors are non-professionals, real local peasants speaking their Bergamasque dialect, recreating their normal life on camera (even if in the trappings of a century earlier). The result is a stunning vision of a now-bygone culture that grew out of close contact with the land.

The Lord of History

Even high-ranking Church officials suggest, with breath-taking arrogance, that modern anthropological studies will change historical Church teaching.

The Vatican’s action against Frank Pavone: overdue yet unexplained

Priests for Life (PFL) is a large activist organization, with an annual budget of about $10 million. So a question naturally arises: can a diocesan priest devote his full-time attention to a secular organization? Can he set his policies for that organization, disregarding input from his bishop?

Why Pavone is defrocked—not Martin, not Rupnik

Why is Pavone severely disciplined, when priests like Father James Martin and Father Marko Rupnik continue in good standing?

150—Solemnities and How to Celebrate Them—McNamara & Carstens

Denis McNamara and Christopher Carstens join the podcast to talk about the upcoming solemnities of Christmas; Mary, Mother of God; and Epiphany. Their new book covers the Church's 17 solemnities. For each, there is a discussion of its theological and spiritual significance, a reproduction and analysis of a great artwork related to the solemnity, and tips on how to observe the solemnity more deeply, from spiritual practices to festive traditions.

Merry Christmas, according to the Letter to the Hebrews

Many Christians are not worried about losing their salvation, because they have been raised in the “I’m OK, you’re OK” culture of therapeutic, secularized Christianity. They rely on the notion that we are all simply too nice to be damned—and who would want to be with a God who would damn anybody anyway? But this is to look at the whole problem backwards. God has redeemed all of us through Jesus Christ. The question is simply: Who wants to take advantage of that, and who does not?

In Pavone case, the Vatican’s silence is damaging

In the absence of a clear explanation for this unusually severe penalty, many Catholics who admire Pavone’s work are understandably confused, upset, even outraged. Still the hierarchy remains silent.

A Sentimental Christmas Homily

The denial of the existence of God does not only violate healthy human sensibilities. Dodging the abundant evidence is unreasonable and exhausting, even amidst the turmoil of every life.

Christmas Peace on Earth

Christmas greetings, a reminder of Christ coming at Christmas and Parousia or Second Coming, not to react to negative but to have the peace and joy that comes from Christ.

Not conservative or liberal, but faithful or unfaithful

It does absolutely no good to point out the difference between conservatism and liberalism. The only thing that matters is the difference between truth and falsehood—or in Catholic terms, the difference between fidelity and infidelity. I mean the difference between following Christ on the principle that no servant is greater than his master and that His kingdom is not of this world, and aspiring instead to be accepted by the cool kids in the class—the class that dominates the world.

From Controversy to the Calendar: The Lord’s Baptism

The calendar is a catechism. Every feast is a lesson in doctrine. The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, like Christmas, rose to prominence at a time of deep division in the Church, as some Christians disputed Jesus' true divinity. Both celebrations served as a kind of credal statement — and they still do today.

St. John Henry Newman—The Lapse of Time

“We are now entering on a fresh stage of our life's journey; we know well how it will end, and we see where we shall stop in the evening, though we do not see the road.”

Mary Sees Her Son in Us

Innocence can be lost, but we cannot destroy it because it is of God. So Divine Innocence rises again to attract us to Him, or to condemn us for refusing His gifts of grace and healing.

Reluctant Pontiff: the end of the Ratzinger/Benedict era

As Sovereign Pontiff, Benedict XVI continued to speak, but he cut back drastically on his writing, conscious that now anything he wrote might be mistaken as a definitive pronouncement, and so cause confusion. (Would that his successor had the same prudence!)

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