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All Catholic commentary from July 2022

Hallow, the Prayer and Meditation App, “All That” and More

Review of Hallow, a Meditation, Prayer and Sleep App. The app provides for the auditory sense beautiful and meditative sounds in a world that is loud, fast-paced and anxiety-filled. Hallow aims to replace the negative with positive sounds, and fill those empty spaces with something beautiful for God.

St. Augustine—Letter to the Lady Felicia: On Bad Shepherds

"I advise you not to be too deeply disturbed by these scandals, because their coming was foretold so that, when they came, we might remember that they had been foretold and might not be greatly troubled by them."

On abortion/Communion debate, Pope’s answer raises more questions

Pope Francis said “when a bishop loses his pastoral nature, it causes a political problem.” Does a bishop lose his “pastoral nature” when he warns a member of his flock not to endanger her soul? And what IS the political problem— for whom?

How the Papal Pelosi Scandal Affects Priests

When the Archbishop of San Francisco put Nancy Pelosi on notice, he lifted the spirits of hard-working priests in the confessional… The papal Pelosi scandal provokes priests to question their ministry. Why bother hearing Confessions?

Film noir: Out of the Past (1947)

An introduction to one of the most influential genres of Hollywood's golden age: film noir. Noir's distinctively moody chiaroscuro look, suspense-laden plotting, and clever, "hard-boiled" dialogue deriving from popular crime fiction make it a most entertaining style. But why did a genre exploring the cynical, seedy and criminal side of American life thrive in the optimistic years of the late 1940s?

137—The Poetics of John the Evangelist—Anthony Esolen

Poet, translator and cultural critic Anthony Esolen joins the podcast to discuss his book, In the Beginning Was the Word: An Annotated Reading of the Prologue of John.

Inflation is a moral evil

Over the years I have seen and heard hundreds of appeals by Church officials to political leaders, calling for increased spending on various government programs to promote the public welfare. Never— not once— have I heard or seen a Church leader warn against the irresponsible spending that invites inflation.

Losers and Generosity

Imagine that. Imitate an unbeliever.

Righteous among the nations: Au Revoir les Enfants (1987)

On the morning of January 15, 1944, Nazis raided a boarding school for boys in Avon, France. The Carmelite monks who ran the school had been hiding some Jewish boys there under false names. As a number of the children and teachers watched, three of their classmates were led away by the Nazis, along with the headmaster, Pere Jacques, who turned back to say only, "Au revoir, les enfants" ("Goodbye, children").

The Once and Future Former Pontiff(s)

Pope Francis did not criticize his predecessor directly.... Quite the contrary. But reporters took the cue…

2.3 First Constantinople: A Capital Council

Nicaea didn't resolve the Arian crisis. In fact, it provoked a riot of reactions — endless variations on the Arian theme. Imperial force only made matters worse. For a half-century, conflict raged. The situation seemed hopeless until Theodosius summoned bishops to meet in 381.

On effective compromise

Appropriate compromises in the face of conflicting perceptions of reality are extremely difficult. It is in fact impossible to compromise appropriately without the virtue of prudence employed in service to a genuine comprehension of reality, which is to say, in service to the truth. But these conditions can be created only through the development of self-control and discipline over our passions. The further difficulty is that these qualities are rare.

Damned if you do... [updated]

Have you heard spokesmen for Planned Parenthood say that abortion accounts for only a small portion of their work? Isn’t it curious, then, that the clinics are now shutting down in states where abortion is restricted?

St. Francis de Sales—Introduction to the Devout Life | Pt. 1 (Ch.9-18)

"Use them one after another, in the order in which they come, only taking one each day, and using that as early as possible..."

Questions raised by Pope Francis’ document on the liturgy

The question here is whether the current form of the liturgy tends to be a kind of “vertical” (that is, transcendent) experience which draws us into the sacred mysteries which the liturgy celebrates and seeks to make present to us, or whether it tends to be a very “horizontal” (that is, immanent) affair which falls back into a celebration of a very human community not yet absorbed in these mysteries.

Why wait for marriage?

Take two healthy young people who are in love, anxious to fulfill that love and begin their life together. Now tell them that they’ll have to wait a year. Yes, they might practice chastity, and gain much grace in the practice. But let’s face it: there is another option.

Who’s politicizing the Eucharist?

If anyone is politicizing the wanton destruction of unborn human life, it is President Biden…

Sodom Sunday

Just as the prophets of Baal had no realization of the horror of their self-mutilation, our Godless culture is unaware of its madness.

On the papal apology for Church involvement in residential schools

Christian results simply cannot be evaluated in worldly terms: “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn 18:36), said Our Lord. Worldly success for the Church is more often than not, in one respect or another, a serious failure, and the Church ought not to seek to ally herself with worldly powers.

2.4 Ephesus: The Mother of All Controversies

Nestorius was a fussy man with a knack for alienating people. Within days of his installation as bishop of Constantinople, he had offended the imperial family, the monks, and the nobles, but also the common people. But when he tried to suppress devotion to Mary as "Mother of God," he invited all his enemies to join forces — because such a campaign affected not only the status of Mary, but also the doctrine of Jesus Christ. He forced a crisis that played out at the Council of Ephesus in 431.

Gerard Manley Hopkins—The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo

Hopkins considered this to be the most musical of his poems, and among the most dramatic.

138—Drawing in Clay—Christopher Alles

Catholic sculptor Christopher Alles joins the podcast for an introduction to the art of sculpture, especially in its formal qualities. Alles mostly does commission work for the Church, and the theoretical points in this conversation are illuminated by references to some of his recent works, including a work-in-progress Pieta and his monumental sculpture of St. Joseph, Patron of a Happy Death.

Should we apologize for the North American martyrs?

Plenty of people have an incentive to speculate that children’s bodies are buried in mass graves; apparently no one has much incentive to discover the truth of the matter.

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