Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

Search or Browse Commentary

All Catholic commentary from June 2023

Sacrilege against Mary in the new Padre Pio film

The new film Padre Pio, directed by Abel Ferrara and starring Shia LaBeouf, is ruined by a pornographic and sacrilegious scene involving abuse of a sacred image. James Majewski and Thomas Mirus contend that conscientious Catholics must not see this movie. They explain the difference between portraying an act and committing that act, and how that line can be obliterated on a film set. They discuss the reality behind holy images, and the importance of making reparation for sacrilege.

Straight to heaven…by Scripture alone?

Obviously these topics can be made either interesting or dull, depending primarily on the manner of presentation. For example, one could not only organize them in the form of a basic catechism (which Fr. Morrow has done very well) but also treat them in accordance with a kind of rote memorization of formulaic statements (which Fr. Morrow has avoided very well). The book is written not only to instruct but to engage and inspire. The presentation is not formulaically memorizable: It is simply memorable.

Judging the revolutions of the 1960s by the standards of those days

Go ahead: Tell Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., that in 2023, the President of the United States will say that the most important civil-rights battle of the day is the campaign to allow young people to change their sexual identity.

160—The Vocation of Thomas Aquinas—Matthew Minerd

A deep dive into the life and vocation of St. Thomas Aquinas as a Dominican friar, student, and teacher.

Dare To Be Dull

Young college Catholics mock the Faith for its old-fashioned dullness. Of course, they haven’t seen the inside of a church since Confirmation and know barely enough of the routine to hold the Church in contempt.

Moses the rationalizer? (So like us.)

Like the rest of us, however, Moses did not always like the punishments he received for failing to follow God’s will both whole-heartedly and, as we might say, to the letter. We are all prone to shave off some of the harder bits, or take credit for the good that is primarily God’s doing. The most we can do, if we are honest, is to cooperate with God’s plan. We cannot write the script.

St. Francis de Sales—Introduction to the Devout Life | Pt. 3 (Ch.1-10)

"Anyone who will calmly consider what he has done without God, cannot fail to realize that what he does with God is no merit of his own; and so we may rejoice in that which is good in us, and take pleasure in the fact, but we shall give all the glory to God alone, who alone is its author."

Who’s afraid of American Catholics?

So the Dodgers are trying to remain neutral, giving equal honors to the haters and to the people they hate.

Will Teilhard’s Catholicism never stop evolving?

We may need a Hopkins center in Paris, but we do not need a Teilhard center. The Catholic poet Gerard Manly Hopkins—who unlike Teilhard de Chardin refused to publish his work once he was ordained a priest—was also a Jesuit. Yet he had a much saner understanding of the ways in which God manifests His glory, that glory which is the perfect antidote to the twin poisons of absolutizing the material and evolutionizing the spiritual. The latter was the attraction and the downfall of Teilhard.

Constitutional Originalists, Marriage, and Decrees of Nullity

Events that transpire after the wedding are relevant only if they provide evidence of a significant defect at the time of the exchange rendering the marriage null.

Intolerance reigns for Pride Month

I was moved by the imam’s admonition. If he truly believed that I was risking damnation, then it was an act of charity to warn me. So, far from being offended by his words, I took them as a sign of genuine friendship.

Highlights: AI is boring; liberal anti-culture; misguided Catholic feminism

This episode features highlights from episodes 61 and 67 of the Catholic Culture Podcast, and from an early episode of Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast.

The Mass in Need of Artists—Great and Small

Like the stained glass in great cathedrals, sacred images help tell the story of the Gospel and the Mass through the work of great artists -- or the scribbles of an aspiring Michelangelo or Rembrandt, young or old.

The Declaration on Human Fraternity is a Dud

Despite the ballyhoo, it seems, the Declaration on Human Fraternity could not hold public attention even through the day it was launched.

3.4 Cities of God: Rome between Time and Eternity

No one would have guessed when Rome was founded that it would become anything important. But it became the capital of a vast empire and earthly center of the universal Church. It is the destination of the Acts of the Apostles — a place consecrated by martyrs' blood, a city to which the Fathers ventured as pilgrims, a city whose Church and bishop spoke with a singular authority.

Don’t look now, but the pews are getting crowded

Granted, I still can site only a very small sample. But the evidence is encouraging. We have encountered more and more solid pockets of energetic, orthodox Catholic faith: parishes and communities where a large number of faithful families joyfully living out their faith, and drawing others to join them.

Metaphors of the Faith and Preparing to Meet God

Metaphors do not provide the precision of intellectual creedal definitions, nor does the poetry of the Scriptures and Catholic devotions. But metaphors complement doctrinal assertions and, like relaxing and watching TV, give rest to our souls.

The Synod working document: a recipe for confusion

In other words the organizers of the Synod have decided that we should play the game before defining the rules. This is a process that lends itself to manipulation.

St. Thomas More—Poems from the Tower of London

St. Thomas More wrote poems while languishing in the Tower of London.

Getting in over our heads in the life of prayer

Dive into the ocean— any ocean— and you take a risk; you might be lost at sea. So most of us stay close to shore. Only the saints, like Aloysius Gonzaga, take the headlong plunge.

Healthy and Hellish Curiosity

Indeed, the secular culture is more curious about Confession than are most Catholics. Ask any priest.

We watched the WHOLE Vatican Film List

Since starting Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast in May 2020, we’ve been hosting in-depth discussions of movies from the Vatican’s 1995 list of important films. Now, after three years, we’ve finished discussing all 45 films—and in this episode, together with Catholic filmmaker Nathan Douglas, we’re taking a look back at the list as a whole.

A ‘listening Church’—but Synod organizers aren’t listening

The International Theological Commission sought to answer “the question of how to consult the faithful in matters of faith and morals”— which is what the Synod organizers said they were doing in the long series of consultative meetings leading up to the October assembly.

3.5 Cities of God: Alexandria, Library and Lighthouse of Christian Learning

Alexandria was cultural capital of the ancient world — and the ancient Church. It had the greatest library on the planet and a state-subsidized community of scholars. It was the city where theology first developed as a science. The Alexandrians had their own distinctive way of interpreting Scripture, developed over centuries by giants: Clement, Origen, Athanasius, Cyril. Its influence on the development of Christianity was profound and permanent.

Feeling disconnected from the Church?

The dysphoria we feel in some historical moments—in this case “a state of unease or generalized dissatisfaction with life” specifically in the Church—is primarily due to our ecclesiastical marginalization, the constant pounding we take within a Church in which orthodoxy, clear thinking and effective discipline seem to be on holiday, even at the highest levels.

Caviezel’s Sound of Freedom: a thriller about fighting child trafficking

Jim Caviezel’s latest project, The Sound of Freedom, is a harrowing but thrilling look at the fight against the global sex trafficking of children. Caviezel's intense but nuanced performance plays well into both the serious subject matter and the film's mainstream appeal. The film's spiritual relevance is increased by the choice to include not only protective fathers, but a repentant exploiter among its protagonists. 

Want more commentary? Visit the Archives.