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All Catholic commentary from July 2024

Penance Pensées

Jesus demonstrates His dominion over suffering and death with His miracles. Yet all those He healed eventually died. His miracles carry a meaning that extends beyond physical healing. His mission is to save us from our sins and restore our humanity.

The human paradigm of knowing, how it is different, why it is not replicable with AI

AI can of course generate random “ideas”, understood in the rather limited sense of data structures or random chatbot statements; but that is not how humans develop new theories or deal with unexpected situations, as anyone who has done either can attest. This means that our impression of reality is different than what can be achieved by any sort of paradigm based on separation of functions.

St. John Henry Newman—Many Called, Few Chosen

"Your very perplexity in reconciling the surface of things with our Lord's announcements, the very temptation you lie under to explain away the plain words of Scripture, shows you that your standard of good and evil, and the standard of all around you, must be very different from God's standard."

Working under the sun…with Christ

For the “Preacher” who is the voice of this inspired book, the key lesson is that everything in human affairs is vanity. This is so because we see neither the origins nor the ends of anything; we can do nothing to resolve this problem; and so we must be content with the simple goods of life and not worry ourselves with things far too great for mortal man. But it is surprising, of course, that the Book does not refer to what we can know from Divine Revelation up to that point.

The disturbance of patriotic hymns on July 4th

One of the powers and the dangers of music is that it stimulates our emotions. That’s fine when the purpose is to engage us more fully as human persons in the worship of God. It is not so fine when the purpose of that engagement is to enhance a primarily secular message or even a good message that is so obviously politically correct.

Beautiful Lourdes documentary now available for streaming

The beautiful 2019 French arthouse documentary on Lourdes is now available for streaming.

Vestiges of the Church’s Authority

Jesus refuses to use His power to gain our servile compliance with His teaching. His authority – stripped of all power on the Cross -- elicits our filial and loving obedience.

Diabolical assault and the absence of witnesses for God

Who can doubt the ferocity of the attack in a culture which glorifies sexual depravity, gender change, and abortion? Thus does diabolical activity reduce itself to mere temptation when Christ is present yet increase into manifest and even possessive manipulation among persons, groups and societies whenever they fall into a rejection of Christ and His Church. This is the story of both child sacrifice to Ba’al several thousand years ago and child sacrifice to Santa Muerte in our own day.

Raffaella ballet premiere: love opening the way to artistic greatness

This new ballet proves what Catholics are capable of when they believe that artistic greatness is still possible if they embrace their God-given gifts – and that it still matters enough to justify the bold outlay of time, training, and money. This ambition to create was born of the love of bereaved parents for their daughter.

Rhetoric vs. reality in the Synod’s working document

Nowhere is the gaping chasm between rhetoric and reality more evident than in the working document’s references to the need for accountability in Church leadership.

4.16 The Heresies—Eutyches & Monophysitism: A Drop in the Ocean

The pendulum swings one more time as Eutyches overreacts against Nestorius, and emphasizes the union of the two natures in Christ, to the point of blurring the distinction between them. This solution corrected Nestorius’ separation of the two natures, but it went too far and compromised the integrity of his human nature and, even more than Apollinarius before him, described a Jesus who was not really fully human.

St. Aphrahat—On Penitents

St. Aphrahat is known in the tradition as “the Persian Sage.” Born in the late third century in the Persian Empire, he flourished amid persecution and is the earliest prominent witness to Syriac Christianity. He wrote in a dialect of Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus, and maintained close contact with Judaism, demonstrating a profound knowledge of Hebrew Scriptures and Jewish customs. He is best known for his collection of twenty-three writings called the "Demonstrations."

Fulton Sheen’s new book on the demonic

Fr. Tomaszycki spent a total of four years identifying and tagging everything that Archbishop Sheen had written about the demonic and organized all the material to create a set of chapters which would amount to something akin to the book which the famous bishop had intended to write.

Aging Baby Boomer Blues

The Book of Wisdom (cf. Wis. 1-2) reveals that God did not make death, nor does He delight in human suffering. The envy of the devil brought death into the world. Suffering and death are not a part of the “cycle of life.”

181—Beauty, Imitation, and Music—Daniel McInerny

Philosopher and novelist Daniel McInerny argues for a recovery of the Aristotelian understanding of art as fundamentally imitative or mimetic. More boldly, he claims that this imitation is narrative and moral in nature - telling a story about human beings questing for happiness - even in art forms that are not typically considered storytelling arts. In this episode, after the initial explanation of the theory of mimesis, there is a robust back-and-forth between Daniel and Thomas on whether moral narrative is really the primary purpose of arts like painting and music. 

Immunity for Trump—or for everyone?

If you think the courts have given Trump broad immunity from prosecution, I won’t debate the point. Just realize that the courts in recent years have routinely upheld a very strong presumption that all elected officials should be given that sort of protection. I take a particular interest in the legal arguments on this matter, because I was a plaintiff in one of the precedent-setting cases.

Psalm 80 reveals a flawed faith in Israel, the Church…and us

To Christians, it may seem a paradox that fidelity must be purified under duress—but it is not at all a contradiction. To put the matter bluntly, there is little personal conviction in praising God only when His protection and His care and His favors are grandly manifest. With an improper understanding and a faulty commitment, our path to union with God turns into a series of detours created by our own wayward desires, our own passions.

This week’s big story that didn’t break

In a small, closed community where secrecy is the norm, speculation about what might be afoot becomes a way of life, and rumors quickly take on a life of their own.

Trump/Vance must undo the harm caused by the RNC platform

There is a difference between recognizing a political reality and being reconciled to it. John Paul II came down firmly on the side of the pragmatists—but with a caveat. It is this caveat with which Catholic pro-lifers must contend, when assessing how to approach the Trump/Vance campaign. According to John Paul II, " elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support" incremental pro-life strategies.

The Path of Harmony and Peace

The willingness to forgive our enemies is an essential component of unity in families, communities, and communities of nations.

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