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All Catholic commentary from March 2019

Are those who experience same-sex attraction prone to abuse?

I noticed on our Facebook page that there was a brief discussion of whether or not those who experience same-sex attraction are predisposed to sexual abuse. Without considering the distinction between abuse that is legal and abuse that is illegal, the answer is “yes” of...

Vision Book Cover Prints

How do we really know Jesus Christ founded a specific Church?

Or audio track only: Your browser does not support the web audio player. In the second video in the How do we really know? series, I examine the evidence for Christ’s...

Preparing for Lent

I recently picked up a book from the library by Katrina Rodabaugh entitled Mending Matters. It’s a book on how to recycle clothes by repairing, patching, stitching, and darning but in a decorative way. She had begun a fast from fashion, trying to buy minimally and only from...

A statement the Tennessee bishops shouldn’t have made

The Catholic bishops of Tennessee have recommended against support for a “Heartbeat Bill,” on prudential grounds. The bishops may be right in their political judgment. But even if they are, they had no business issuing their statement. In that statement, the bishops make it quite...

The minor prophets: Varied voices, including our own

In discussing the twelve “minor prophets”, I began last time by treating the three who were active in the eighth century before Christ. This time I will take up what I call the four “exilic” prophets, that is, those whose mission fell during the period just before or during...

Churchmen, out on a limb again, defy the world

It is one of those days. I am finding it difficult to get excited about much of anything, and I am not sure what the problem is. After all, just look at the dramatic news stories from the past three days: First, on the matter of the common good: In a stunning statement on Wednesday from the US...

Life Is Worth Living: The Message of Fulton Sheen

In the mid-1950s, Bishop Fulton Sheen became the Catholic voice of America with his groundbreaking television series, Life Is Worth Living. But there was a second series with the same title, recorded only in audio in 1965 and released just after the close of the Second Vatican Council. The...

Tongue-tied bishops—is it fear of retribution?

John Allen of Crux does his best to be balanced, but he can only do so much. When he suggests that “Vigano may have made it harder to get to the truth on McCarrick“, he can’t avoid implying that many American bishops are keeping their silence, rather than demanding a thorough...

Episode 31—Some Jazz You Should Hear

You may or may not know that I have a background in jazz piano (I wrote and performed the intro and outro music for this show, for example). In this episode I introduce you to about ten of my very favorite jazz albums. This is an experimental...

Four late minor prophets, plus Jonah as a bonus

Wrapping up the so-called minor prophets in rough chronological order, we will now look at those who prophesied after the Babylonian Exile. Ranging from about 520 BC into the 300s, these prophets tend to be more specifically Messianic. It is almost as if the pre-Messianic time is growing short. As...

Pope Francis shows no regret over a shocking appointment

Was Pope Francis sending a subtle message to his critics this week? Or have I become a bit paranoid about papal statements? You decide. In a statement of condolence after the death of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Pope Francis summed up the ecclesiastical career of the Belgian prelate in two...

Bent on evil: How do we explain human culture run amok?

The other evening on our (almost) daily walk, my wife mentioned a recent talk given by a public librarian who was expert on fiction for teens. One of the points made by the speaker was that the overwhelming majority of the books that came across her desk featured gender-confused young people who...

Transfiguration and confidence

Self-confidence, properly understood, is spiritually healthy. With an honest and well-formed conscience, we should all strive for an unshakable faith and confidence, without arrogance, that is rooted in Jesus. A letter to the editor in Catholic World Report many years ago gave a wrenching...

1 Maccabees: A shift in understanding salvation history

The two books that close the Old Testament, 1 and 2 Maccabees, are among the most enjoyable to read and the most difficult from which to draw lessons. They are enjoyable because they are all action adventure, covering the remarkable exploits of a priest named Mattathias, along with his sons and...

Episode 32—Antoni Gaudí, Patron Saint of Architects?—Gabriela Gonzalez-Cremona

For many people who have never been to Spain, their only image of the country may be the strange spires of Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia, designed by Antoni Gaudí. It is certainly the best-known building in Spain, despite still not...

A wretched ‘tell-all’ Vatican exposé that tells us only one thing

“I don’t often talk about my own life in my books,” writes Frederic Martel, near the close of his sensationalistic In the Closet of the Vatican. Reading that phrase, I laughed out loud. The humor was unintentional; Martel takes himself very seriously. Still in light of the...

Redeeming the time: Christianity for knaves and fools like me

I don’t know about you, but I frequently flash back to particular times in my life when I behaved foolishly or even sinfully. I’m pretty sure I remember every moment of youthful arrogance in which I treated others badly, and perhaps it goes without saying that I still have skeletons...

Cardinals violating their vows: a ho-hum story?

America magazine is running a story about the conclave of 2013. The story—excerpted from the forthcoming The Election of Pope Francis, by Gerard O’Connell—includes a precise account of the voting on the cardinals’ first ballot. Do you have any doubt that...

Ten steps every bishop can take to renew the Church

Everyone has a role in Catholic renewal, but there can be no question that the greatest spur to an authentic renewal of the Church is episcopal leadership. If results throughout the long history of the Church are any guide, however, even bishops often do not know the concrete steps they should be...

Episode 33—Structure and Freedom in Music and in Christ—Mark Christopher Brandt

The quest for freedom in structure is fundamental to Catholic spiritual life (particularly during this season of Lent). It’s also fundamental to musical improvisation. How can you be free and spontaneous without giving way to...

Following up: might cardinals have been authorized to disclose conclave secrets?

Responding to my post from Monday, about cardinals who violate their oaths by disclosing the secrets of a papal conclave, several readers have made the observation that it’s possible Pope Francis gave permission to one or more cardinals to speak about the voting process. That is at least a...

The bizarre ring-kissing controversy

A few quick comments on the Papal Controversy of the Week: the odd refusal to allow people to kiss his ring: First, understand that Pope Francis often does allow people to kiss his ring. The video captured during his trip to Loreto went viral in large part because it was unusual, in several...

How do we really know the pope has Christ’s authority in the Church?

Or audio track only: Your browser does not support the web audio player. In this presentation, Dr. Jeff Mirus explains how Jesus Christ gave Peter special powers to...

Laetare, Jerusalem! Rejoice!

Easter is almost here! “With childlike joy the Church begins to count the days.” Rev. Pius Parsch describes the Fourth Sunday of Lent so perfectly! (The Church’s Year of Grace, Volume 2, p. 212). While there is not much change liturgically for the Fourth Sunday of Lent except for...

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