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All Catholic commentary from May 2021

Pope St. John Paul II—Redemptoris Custos: On the Person and Mission of St. Joseph in the Life of Christ and of the Church

“...at the moment of Joseph's own ‘annunciation’ he said nothing; instead he simply ‘did as the angel of the Lord commanded him’. And this first ‘doing’ became the beginning of ‘Joseph's way’. The Gospels do not record any word ever spoken by Joseph along that way. But the silence of Joseph has its own special eloquence..."

Vision Book Cover Prints

Archbishop Cordileone’s pastoral: Pelosi’s last warning?

The point is that the Eucharist has already been politicized, by the public figures who profess their “devout” Catholicism while defending and promoting the slaughter of unborn children.

Vindicating the Holy Shroud

I have previously called attention to Gerard Verschuuren’s latest book on the Shroud of Turin. But having finished a careful reading of his argument, I decided it would be useful summarize the main points.

104—John’s Gospel, Mary’s Voice—Michael Pakaluk

Michael Pakaluk joins the show to discuss his new translation and commentary on St. John's gospel, making the case that this loftiest of gospels echoes the voice of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the evangelist's adopted mother) in subtle but profound ways.

Joe Biden: Annihilating Christian Colleges

In a direct challenge to the College’s Christian character and teaching purpose, the HUD Directive “requires a [student] housing resident to be treated according to the person’s stated gender identity, including use of the person’s preferred pronouns, and it prohibits as discrimination because of gender identity using pronouns according to the person’s biological sex.”

A Short Film About Love—Dekalog: Six (1988)

The sixth episode of Kieslowski's Dekalog series inspired by the Ten Commandments deals with a characteristically modern form of adultery: voyeurism.

One soul at a time: The scandal of order is resolved in love

It is one of the most peculiar characteristics of post-modernity that the dominant culture has a love-hate relationship with the concept of “order”. On the one hand, the contemporary mindset seeks to justify every desire that was formerly considered “disordered” through the assumption that the universe is the product of chaos; on the other, this same contemporary mindset insists upon a socially uniform, consistent and orderly stance against challenges to this assumption.

Little Italian Grandmothers

In our culture, it doesn’t take much to be a celebrity – or at least a narcissist. But it takes a whole lot more effort (with grace) to be like our little devoutly Catholic Italian -- or Polish or Irish or Filipino -- grandmothers.

Now Available: Liturgical Year Ebook for Ordinary Time after Easter

We have just released the fifth volume in the 2020-2021 Liturgical Year series of ebooks. Volume five covers the first half of the long stretch of Ordinary Time between the close of the Easter Season on Pentecost and the beginning of Advent. Like all CatholicCulture.org ebooks, this volume is downloadable free of charge.

What we need is another Cluniac reform

History often repeats itself, but as circumstances change, things may look different the second time around.

Cautionary notes: what Cardinal Ladaria did NOT say

Cardinal Ladaria did NOT say that it would be wrong for a diocesan bishop to bar a pro-abortion Catholic from receiving Communion.

The random Catechism: Right here, right now!

I found myself thinking today of the various saints throughout history who had discerned their future course by opening up a Bible at random and reading that page—or perhaps opening the Bible, plunking their finger down on the page, and reading that verse. I’ve tried this myself from time to time, with no discernible result.

39—Augustine (Part 2): A Mob-Made Bishop Makes His Mark

The drama of Augustine's life hardly ended with his baptism. The years that followed included his ordination-by-mob, an attempt on his life, and wars of words with at least four major heresies. His years were breathless adventure and busyness, and yet they yielded 44 volumes of work that continues to exercise a profound influence — no only on Christian theology, but on civilization. This is the second of three episodes on his life.

The Book of Normal

After bestowing all the dignity on us throughout the entire Bible, why would the Father send Jesus into the world to ruin it all by commanding us to do things that violate our happiness? But such is the view of woke culture, which condemns Christianity as a hate group. Why? Because we refuse to call evil good.

105—Confronting an Unprecedented Church Scandal—Phil Lawler

The scandal of 2020 and beyond finds no equal precedent in Church history. That bishops throughout the world would choose, of their own volition and without even the excuse of persecution, to deny participation in Mass to the laity for long periods of time, is still as shocking to contemplate today as it is nightmarish to witness.

Top intellectual approaches to unbelievers

Enumerating these six possibilities does not exclude others. As I suggested above, the barriers for some may simply melt away through exposure to the penetrating vision so consistently present in great Christian works of art. And of course, there is no getting away from the simple witness of apparently ordinary men and women to whom gravitate for no other reason than that they radiate some Presence which is greater than themselves.

St. Alphonsus Liguori—Uniformity With God’s Will | Pt. 3

“True, we should esteem the things that make for the glory of God, but we should show the greatest esteem for those that concern the will of God.”

The road to heaven is paved by a healthy Church

Although a straightforward paganism is growing today with the decline of Christianity in the West, most contemporary leaders would not admit to any formal pagan worship or the consultation of sorcerers and soothsayers. But their continuous record of latching onto convenient moral lies is a parallel case. Paganism was essentially religion without morality. It is the same today, except that our leaders do not typically refer to their oracles as “gods”.

Senator Kaine’s unhappy debut as a theologian

His bishop cannot remove him from the Senate, but he can tell Kaine that his public stands are morally indefensible, that they constitute a scandal for the Church, that they endanger his immortal soul.

Pope John Paul II (2005)

In honor of Pope St. John Paul II's birthday, we discuss the 2005 film about his life starring Cary Elwes as young Karol Wojtyla and Jon Voight as the Pope. One of the strengths of the film, made within a few months of the saint's death, is its portrayal of John Paul II's Polishness and how it influenced him as a world leader. Other aspects of the film are outdated in light of what we know today, such as its sunny portrayal of the Vatican and the Curia.

The Church and social policy: When less is more

There is a big difference between “policy” and “virtue” and, choosing between these two, the Church’s business is virtue. A similar difference exists between “facts” and “truth” and, again choosing between the two, the business of the Church is truth. But if what I have just declared were really the case, why would so many ecclesiastical statements over the past fifty years concern themselves with social, environmental and managerial facts and policies? And so little with faith and morals?

Paul Claudel—“Magnificat”, the third Great Ode

“Like the new mother, burdened with milk for the child, so the poet with the word within him, addressed to others.”

40—Augustine (Part 3): Last Days and the End of an Age

When Augustine's story is told, it too often ends with his baptism. But the drama of his later years is no less moving. He was as introspective at the end as he had been in his Confessions decades before. He gave his life and work a thoroughgoing review, even as he produced what many consider his masterpiece. His City of God marked the close of an age and the twilight of a brilliant life.

Equality Act allows group marriage, and more

The goal of these measures is to treat policies which recognize sexual distinctions as invidious “discrimination” based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in every aspect of public and private life, including public accommodations, public facilities, adoption and foster care, churches, hospitals and medical care including for pregnancy or related conditions, sports and recreation, education, federal grant funding, women’s shelters, soup kitchens, employment, housing, and credit worthiness.

Undermining the New Communist Menace

What should a priest say to his people today as they head into the gale-force winds of cultural upheaval, a new cold civil war?

Embarrassed over the Church’s response to COVID?

For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.

106—Abortion-Derived Vaccines: Conscience Over Legalism—Michael Pakaluk, Jay Richards

Catholic circles have seen significant division and anger over the COVID-19 vaccines. This discussion with Michael Pakaluk and Jay Richards, two signers of the statement “To Awaken Conscience”, avoids both rigorism and permissive legalism about cooperation with evil. Instead of dictating to or dulling conscience, it assists conscience by clarifying a number of issues related to the production and use of vaccines derived from aborted fetal cell lines.

Beware when Church leaders manipulate the language: Part I

The quest for synodality is a key theme in the teaching of Pope Francis. But the truth is that no one has a very clear understanding what “synodality” means. And maybe that's the point.

Beware when Church leaders manipulate the language: Part II

These people— who will block the doors to those who are unmasked and undocumented— are identified as “the parish’s greeter/hospitality team.” Some greeting; some hospitality.

A Church dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century

The generally misunderstood strategy of synodality is selectively advocated by its proponents. Clerics such as the high-ranking Blase Cardinal Cupich promote it only when it promises to be a path toward the approval of their own ideas. For deeply secularized Church leaders, in fact, you can lay it down as an axiom that synodality is perceived as a “tactic from below” to change the Church in accordance with the spirit of the times. But that is not what it should be.

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