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All Catholic commentary from July 2021

What St. Junipero Serra shows about Eucharistic coherence

I’ve been working full-time as a Catholic journalist for nearly 40 years now, and I still don’t know what bishops do all day.

Vision Book Cover Prints

The challenge of personal memories

Without the human faculty of memory, we would experience life as a disconnected series of moments, not an intelligible whole. Without deliberately bringing our lives before God as partially embodied in our memory, we could not bring our lives before God at all, nor seek His counsel, nor grow in understanding and virtue through His help.

Announcing the Pope’s surgery: another Vatican PR blunder

Nearly all of the alleged financial crimes involve the cooperation, and sometimes the explicit approval, of the very agency that controls the flow of information from the Vatican: the Secretariat of State.

109—A Catholic in the NYC Ballet—Claire Kretzschmar

Claire Kretzschmar, a dancer and soloist with the New York City Ballet, joins the show to discuss her path to becoming a professional dancer, the challenges and joys of being a Catholic in the ballet world, and the spiritual value of dance. She also discusses a beautiful dance film which she choreographed for the NYC Ballet this year.

Interview with Lourdes writer Sixtine Leon-Dufour

James and Thomas interview Sixtine Leon-Dufour, writer of the new Lourdes documentary, one of the best religious films in recent years. She discusses her background caring for the sick at Lourdes, how she convinced the Lourdes authorities to give secular filmmakers unprecedented shooting access to this holy place, how a documentary about a Marian pilgrimage got the support of a large French secular film studio and became a big success, showing the inner life of those who come to Lourdes, and more.

Equality Act: Gnostic destruction of the First Amendment

It was the agreement to add a Bill of Rights, and especially express protections for religious practice and conscience, that finally made the establishment of the United States possible. But today a totalitarian clique seeks to replace the Natural Law foundations of America with their own set of despotic practices and policies. Similar influences from the past received sufficient notoriety to be chronicled in history books.

St. Jerome—Against Helvidius: On the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

“The axe of the Gospel must now be laid at the roots of the barren tree and the tree must be delivered to the flames with its unfruitful leaves, so that he who has never learned to speak might learn at length to hold his tongue.”

American sources of truth?

The following question inescapably arises: Why should we prefer the vision of national polity adopted by our eighteenth-century founders to the dominant cultural vision of polity which is emerging today? Or, to put the question in somewhat broader but probably clearer terms, why should we think that the vision of the Common Good articulated by the American founders (who were the elites of their day) is superior to that represented by the proponents of the Equality Act (who are the elites of our day).

43—The Pastoral Poems of Paulinus of Nola

Paulinus was tagged as the most promising poet of his generation — by the most famous poet of the preceding generation. He was supposed to carry the torch forward for his art. And he did, but not in the way the old school had wanted or expected. Instead he fashioned a new esthetic for the empire, a deeply Christian appropriation of the old classical forms. Along the way, he formed a religious community and then served as bishop.

110—Woke Idols, Woke Pathologies—Noelle Mering

Noelle Mering joins the show to discuss her new book Awake, Not Woke: A Christian Response to the Cult of Progressive Ideology.

Freaks

During a brief period in the 1980s -- with the onslaught of AIDS – a rollback of the sexual revolution seemed possible. But it failed to materialize.

Natural Law as a basis for polity

These standards cannot come from the positive law, which simply reflects the human arrangements, arising from the relative intelligence and imperfect will, of human agents like you and me. They have a merely human authority, and they can be foolish or even evil arrangements. But the natural law, communicated to us through the things God has made, has a Divine authority, which explains the legal axiom of more enlightened ages that any positive law which contradicts the natural law is null and void.

Review: A Quiet Place Part II

A Quiet Place Part II is a more straightforward horror film than its predecessor, with less emotional weight, but it delivers well-executed suspense and action while faithfully carrying forward the first film's themes of themes of family and self-sacrifice.

God-talk, naturally speaking

We know, simply from universal human experience and constant human intuition, the basic reality of the existence of God and His concern for the moral order. We can figure out much more about morality through reason, but we need some revelation from God to disclose more about His Being, His inner life, which transcends our own being and understanding. But these two perceptions, of the existence of God and a moral order, may reasonably be taken as the first two points of the natural law.

Quick hits: schisms and fear of schisms

Insofar as the motu proprio prevents other priests from celebrating the TLM in approved parishes, it will surely drive some people into the UNapproved SSPX chapels: a curious strategy for ending divisions within the Church

St. Robert Southwell—Mary Magdalene’s Complaint at Christ’s Death

“One that lives by other's breath, / Dieth also by his death.”

44—Prudentius, Poet Laureate of the Western Fathers

Prudentius is the Latin poet most praised from the ancient Church. He invented new poetic forms and genres — and established artistic standards that would hold through the Middle Ages. Scholars as varied as C.S. Lewis and Robert Wilken call him “the first Christian poet,"  the first great representative of a real Christian literature. Compared to Prudentius, all earlier Christian poets were dabblers. Upon his model depended such later luminaries as Bunyan, Milton, and Spenser.

Pandemic paranoia: What must never happen again

I will let you in on a secret: We live in an all but worldwide society which is now generally conditioned to being “taken care of” by bureaucratic states, and in which people are now very uncomfortable with the prospect of making their own fundamental decisions about anything, lest, by exercising personal responsibility, they will be held responsible. In other words, there is a marked psychological tendency toward totalitarianism almost everywhere today.

The Pillar stories do raise questions—but not about journalistic ethics

We still do not know that influential clerics are active homosexuals. But we do know that phone calls to gay hookup sites have come from the offices of the US bishops’ conference and of the Holy See.

Theft of Motherhood—Dekalog: Seven (1988)

The podcast returns to yet another episode from Dekalog, the series of Polish short films inspired by the Ten Commandments. Part seven, based on the commandment "Thou shalt not steal", is about a young woman who kidnaps her own daughter. It asks the question: can you steal something that belongs to you? But it also asks: what happens when motherhood is stolen from you?

Sacramental Hunger

he compassionate objective of eliminating starvation becomes the “politics of hunger” through crass self-interest, greed, and power politics.

St. John Henry Newman—The Patristical Idea of Antichrist | Pt. 2: The Religion of Antichrist

“Surely the world is impregnated with the elements of preternatural evil, which ever and anon, in unhealthy seasons, give lowering and muttering tokens of the wrath to come!”

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