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All Catholic commentary from February 2024

On playing the game of Common Good with a crooked deck

Call this Practical Social Principle 101: Organizations and movements which find themselves in opposition to Christ cannot promote the common good. Or let me put it in a more practical human way: Organizations and movements which, in carrying out their missions, reject or undermine the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, as known through Divine Revelation and the natural law, cannot promote the common good.

Free Liturgical Year Volume 3 Released: LENT

Our liturgical year ebooks include all the liturgical day information for each season just as it appears on CatholicCulture.org. These offer 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.

Compassion and Gratitude

Note well: The administration of pain-killing morphine that unintentionally shortens life is compassionate. Spiking morphine, intending so-called mercy killing, is murder.

Godzilla Minus One, a profound appeal for a culture of life

You may be surprised to hear that one of the more morally profound new movies we’ve seen recently is a Godzilla reboot! Godzilla Minus One confronts the culture of death that dominated WWII-era Japan and its corruption of the idea of self-sacrifice, and shows how our sacrifices in war should be rightly ordered to preserving the value of human life rather than seeking a heroic death for its own sake.

Liturgical Highlights: Carnival-Pre-Lent Edition

February 6-February 13 Liturgical Highlights: Lent begins in 1 1/2 weeks. Saints celebrated are Paul Miki, Japanese priest martyr, Jerome Emiliani, Josephine Bakhita, Scholastica, and Mardi Gras. Devotion to the Holy Face falls on the day before Ash Wednesday.

A simple example of how apologetics works

Those who have made a careful study of apologetics have conveniently used three Greek terms to highlight the three keys to a successful defense of the Faith. The first is “ethos”—that is, the “trustworthy character” of the apologist. If those who defend the faith are cantankerous or mean-spirited, or indulge in cheap rhetorical tricks, or use various kinds of pressure, then they will not project a trustworthy character, and their audience is unlikely to give them a sincere hearing.

St. Basil the Great—On the Right Use of Greek Literature

"... it is incumbent upon us, for the present, to trace, as it were, the silhouette of virtue in the pagan authors. For those who carefully gather the useful from each book are wont, like mighty rivers, to gain accessions on every hand."

No, this isn’t a culture war

"Just as smoking a cigar is bad but puffing on a joint is OK, so spreading illnesses by being unvaccinated is evil while spreading disease through sexual indulgence is a mere technical problem."

172—Fr. John Saward on turning away from von Balthasar, and on the invisible world of angels

The renowned English theologian Fr. John Saward makes his podcast debut to discuss his new book on angels, the role of art and beauty in his theological work, and his turn away from the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar after years of studying and translating his works.

On the nakedness and temerity of Job—and ourselves

A piety which assumes God offers material happiness to the righteous in this world, but punishes sinners, is common (though hardly exclusive) in the Old Testament. The same mistaken strain of piety runs through various brands of Protestantism, including the prosperity Gospel preached by televangelists. But Job continues to suffer while remaining steadfast in professing his own innocence. And he learns something new when he insists that God Himself answer his questions and judge his case fairly.

The Antibodies of Catholic Truth

The Mass celebrated with integrity provides the antibodies of truth that overcome every ideology threatening our faith and salvation.

Hypocrisy in opposition to Fiducia supplicans?

We use the term “love” to mean anything from sexual attraction to sacrificial self-giving. Marriage, of course, usually incorporates multiple aspects of the potential meaning of the word “love”, but I am pretty sure that everyone reading this understands that there is a great difference between sexual passion and authentic love, which always means willing the good of the one we love.

Entering Lent with Child-Like Love

Entering Lent with a child-like approach: joy, wonder, love. Not looking as privation, but an opportunity for deepening our love with Jesus.

In the land of the living

To say that we are “the living” might suggest that other people are dead. But Pope Benedict is discussing the joy that those early Christians felt because of their confidence in eternal life. They were “living” in a way different from their pagan neighbors. They rejoiced in a life that could not be extinguished by death.

4.6 The Heresies – The Enigma of Origen and Origenism

Whether Origen is considered a father of the Church, or a heretic, depends on whom you ask. But everyone agrees he may have been just a bit too smart for his own good. At best, he tried in vain to out-gnostic the gnostics, at worst, he was too influenced by gnosticism. The Fifth Ecumenical Council declared him a heretic. In this this episode, Dr. Papandrea gives evidence why Origen should not be considered a father of the Church, but should be considered a heretic, but in the end, you decide!

The Ash Wednesday phenomenon

Why are inactive Catholics so anxious to display their allegiance to the faith— on this day of all days, when the message that the Church sends us is so grim?

Media malpractice

The “green” policies are proposed on the basis of computer models and projections. The arguments against them can be reduced to a simple moral imperative: Feed the hungry.

173—Chastity, Integrity and the Desert Fathers—Bishop Erik Varden

Erik Varden, bishop of Trondheim, Norway as well as Trappist monk, joins the podcast to discuss his new book Chastity: Reconciliation of the Senses.

Our Lady of Guadalupe and preparing the Americas for Christ

There is a poetic tradition in Mesoamerica stretches back many hundreds and perhaps even thousands of years. The very forms of expression traditionally used to refer to God, and the gods, and the paradise to which they held the key, made it difficult for the sixteenth-century Catholic missionaries to express Christianity clearly and effectively in ways that would not be confusing to the native peoples. Then everything changed.

St. Francis de Sales—Introduction to the Devout Life | Part 5 & Conclusion

"By that love He won for you all good things that you were ever to have, and amongst them your good resolutions."

ICYMI: another consolidation of power in Rome

When the Council of Cardinals was created in 2013, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras was named as the group’s chairman (the official term was “coordinator”). He continued in that role until March of last year, when having passed his 80th birthday he retired. Nearly a year later, he...

Back-to-Basics Lenten Resolutions

Peter – even with his failures and sins – is the model of the Catholic hierarchy. Do not allow the sins of the hierarchy to distract us from our love for Holy Mother Church and her sacraments.

Taking the grace of God in vain? Lent can help.

Even after we admit the truth of Christ and begin to pay attention to him in His Church, I am sure that most of us squander at least some of the graces we receive. Therefore, St. Paul’s plea, “We entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain”, becomes a wonderful point for meditation during Lent.

Coming soon to a parish near you?

Count on it: there will be other similar efforts to do what the activists in Manhattan did: to celebrate sexual license and to ridicule the Catholic Church, which remains the most prominent institutional opponent to the unbridled satisfaction of lust.

174—Medieval Mystery Plays w/ Gregory Roper

Gregory Roper, a professor of literature at the University of Dallas, joins the podcast to discuss medieval “mystery plays” (also called “miracle plays”). In England these plays, often grouped together in cycles spanning all of salvation history, were performed by town guilds for the festival of Corpus Christi. This tradition, which developed out of the liturgy, could be said to represent the revival of drama in Europe, and was an important influence on the Elizabethan theatre.

If Peter is the rock, where is the Pope?

When does a Pope teach with magisterial authority? When is he speaking for himself, and when does he represent Peter, the rock on whom the Lord built his Church?

On Chesterton’s thrilling (and accurate) account of man

Of all of G. K. Chesterton’s books, I should say that by far the best is The Everlasting Man, in which he presents the human religious impulse as being fulfilled in Christ just as all the combined hopes of Judaism and Greco-Roman Civilization were, like an immense wave, curling into a thunderous collapse.

The Transfiguration Embodiment Game

The arguments in favor of the atomic bombings in WWII are familiar. It would be better that one city (or two) should die than the whole nation. The high priest Caiphas used the same argument when he conspired to put Jesus to death...

Endgame for a papacy of contradictions

But of course the Pope’s interventions in the Rupnik case have everything to do with the scandal. The reforms are on paper— and paper thin. The corruption is much deeper.

Kiarostami: blurring the line between documentary and fiction

There are many ways to make a movie. Only a few of those ways fit within the Hollywood mold. We believe that rather than taking pop culture as their sole model, Catholics and Catholic filmmakers should be open to a wide variety of artistic approaches. Thus, in this episode James and Thomas discuss the early career of the great Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, who came up with an approach to filmmaking that is not just different from Hollywood, but different from anyone else in world cinema.

What happened to the Christianity of the apostles?

There is a popular mythology to the effect that we must build only on what we have in common, which is less and less, instead of offering to others precisely what it is that they lack, which is more and more. The result, as the demons again gain in power over mankind, is a constant accommodation with the demons. The situation has gotten so bad that huge numbers of Catholics actually no longer know what to do about it even if they want to do something about it.

4.7 The Heresies – Modalism: God as a Monad with Three Names

Modalism denies the distinctions between the three Persons of the Trinity, so that God is presented as, not a Trinity at all, but rather a monad with three names. Modalism can be expressed chronologically (the Father became incarnate as the Son) or functionally (the names describe activities like Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer), but either way, in modalism the Son IS the Father in disguise, which ultimately denies the real humanity of Jesus Christ and the reality of his passion.

A loss for Vatican news coverage

You might ask: Why does the Wall Street Journal, a paper dedicated primarily to financial affairs, have a special correspondent covering the Vatican? Evidently the publishers asked themselves the same question.

Strange news that makes you think strange things...

Sometimes the news can appear to be just plain strange. Sometimes the point becomes clear on further reflection. Sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes it is clear that the figures in the story are missing the point altogether.

Teaching America to fear Christians

Once the goal of the radical left was to push Christians out of the public debate on abortion. Now the more ambitious goal is to shove Christians out of the public debate altogether.

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