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All Catholic commentary from April 2017

Quick Hits: Lenten viewing, Feser on libertarianism, the religious roots of jazz

Martin Scorsese’s Silence is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD. Based on the classic novel by Shusaku Endo, Silence tells the story of two Portuguese Jesuit missionaries whose faith is tested by persecutions in feudal Japan. I can’t vouch for whatever extras may be on the DVD, but as I...

Vision Book Cover Prints

Theologians

Those of us in the business know that the egos of some theologians—from the ancient Gnostics to the professional dissidents of our time—tower over Catholic doctrine. So it was refreshing to hear a very prominent theologian remark years ago, “The Church teaches doctrine, not...

The (spiritually) rich get richer...

Good friends of ours lost a brother to cancer recently. Since they’re from a very big and very Catholic family, the internet has been buzzing with requests for, and promises of, prayers for the dying man and the grieving family. I never met the brother, but from all I’ve heard he...

Obstacles to “Rightsizing” the Church

“This refusal to demand a desire for transformation in Christ cannot continue to be the way of the Church in our time. Her members must learn again to exclude those who refuse to respond to God’s mercy, lest these make a mire of the Gospel, polluting the work of God at its...

Reading the news between the lines

For someone who covers the news every day, it’s frustrating to read a story and know that important information has been left out. In such cases, when I have no good way to dig out the missing details for myself, I’m left with the uneasy feeling that I don’t know the real truth;...

The Magdala Apostolate

At CatholicCulture.org we are enthusiastic supporters of the similarly-named Institute for Catholic Culture, which provides outstanding lectures at the Church of St. John the Beloved in McLean, Virginia (these lectures are also live-streamed and archived at the Institute’s website). Now the...

The marriage game: Musical beds, musical faiths, and no emphasis on fidelity

One of the main emphases of Pope Francis over the past two or three years—and therefore of CatholicCulture.org—has been the problem of marriage in the modern world. This is, of course, intimately connected with the family, and it is no surprise that the high rate of marital breakdowns...

I Don’t Want to Die

We’ve heard it countless times: “The safety of our [fill in the blanks] is our highest priority.” So various safety programs are put into place, with policies, procedures, and protocols—mostly burdening everyone except the perpetrators. A fire drill, in contrast, is a...

Scripture is all about connections

One of the most important aspects of Sacred Scripture is the uncanny ability of the far older texts of the Old Testament to point to Our Lord and His salvific mission as recounted in the New Testament. When we consider that the books of the Old Testament were drafted between a hundred and a...

Holy Thursday Meal

It always seems the end of Lent and Holy Week God sends extra opportunities for penance. This year was no different. My cousin died last week. This week our elementary atrium (ages 6-12) had a three-day retreat in preparation for Easter, which was wonderfully rich, but very time-consuming. Now it...

Thinking like a Catholic: Seeking Clarity in the Current Confusion

In March I began sifting back through all of the essays I had written on CatholicCulture.org since we last released any of my writings in ebook form, in 2014. Whether others will agree or not, it seemed to me that forty-seven of them were still highly relevant, and perhaps sufficiently...

Theological impact of Benedict XVI assessed, on his 90th birthday

As Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI turned 90, two interesting articles appeared to measure his impact on Catholic theology: In the National Catholic Register, Father Raymond de Souza observes that the retired Pope—who was baptized at the Easter vigil on the very day of his birth—has...

The Duskwhales talk about their new album, Sorrowful Mysteries

All photos courtesy of The Duskwhales. I’ve been a fan of The Duskwhales since their very first show. From the start, their strong melodies and lush, old-school vocal harmonies set them apart from most other contemporary rock and pop artists. Those virtues have only grown since they...

Cardinals who take up the slack

During a pontificate that is often confusing and even self-contradictory, we are fortunate to have two outstanding cardinals in charge of two key congregations. The Guinean Robert Sarah leads the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and the German Gerhard...

The Benedict Option—not radical enough

The Benedict Option is the most talked-about book of 2017, at least among religious conservatives. Personally I am pleased with this development, for two reasons. First because I count the author, Rod Dreher, as a friend as well as a gifted controversialist, and I’m happy to see his work...

The unhappy leadership history of St. Luke’s Institute

There’s irony in the news that a laicized priest, who once ran a counseling center, has agreed to counseling as a condition of his parole. In case you missed the story, Edward Arsenault resigned from his post as head of the St. Luke Institute in Maryland in 2013, after he was charged...

This delicate lover: God rarely embraces us by force

In thinking about Our Lord’s passion, death and resurrection this year, I was struck by the extraordinary delicacy of God’s efforts to make us obedient to His will. I don’t mean to say that the crucifixion was particularly “delicate” or that His miracles should have...

Brace yourself; the Pope is taking another overseas flight

Pope Francis flies to Egypt on Friday. In the past faithful Catholics might have offered up a nervous prayer whenever they heard that the Pope was boarding a plane, because they worried about the safety of air travel. Today most of us feel reasonably confident about planes (although a quick...

Three Catholic essay collections, useful in different ways

Recently three different collections of essays crossed my desk, from three different publishers. In some ways, these collections remind me of the various ebook volumes of our own collected essays which CatholicCulture.org makes available as free downloads. But such collections are as different as...

A pastoral crisis the Church cannot (yet does) ignore

The Archdiocese of Boston has opened a new church. That news drew headline coverage, in a city that has become more accustomed to stories about church closings. To be perfectly honest, the news stories are a bit misleading. There have been a few new churches opened in Boston in the past 60...

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