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All Catholic commentary from August 2020

Remedies for Discouragement

If you find yourself discouraged by the attack on truth, goodness, and beauty, be a cancel-culture subversive.

Joseph Ratzinger—Aspects of Christian Meditation

“All the aspirations which the prayer of other religions expresses are fulfilled in the reality of Christianity beyond all measure.”

Our culture is attempting suicide

The public meetings that build up our culture— the concerts and parades and lectures and religious rituals— are still banned or tightly restricted. The public events that tend to destroy that culture are allowed.

Podcast Highlights: The abuse crisis, acedia and more

This episode revisits some great moments from past Catholic Culture Podcast episodes.

Ep. 21—Lactantius: The Fall and Rise of the Christian Cicero

He was the greatest rhetorician in the Latin-speaking world. Born in North Africa, Lactantius was summoned to serve at the imperial court. He converted to Christianity and, with the persecution of Diocletian, lost his job and lived in poverty. He continued writing to strengthen the faithful. With the rise of Constantine and the legalization of Christianity, he was restored to glory. In his writings we have a unique eyewitness account of one of history's most important transitional moments.

St. John Henry Newman—On the Fitness of the Glories of Mary

“Her glories are not only for the sake of her Son — they are for our sakes also.”

A Prison Is For Escaping: La Grande Illusion (1937)

James and Thomas discuss this seminal work by director Jean Renoir, son of the famous French painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The US bishops’ one-sided ‘dialogue’ with Joe Biden

The Catholic bishops who say that Biden should still be allowed to receive Communion— and they are, apparently, still the majority in the US bishops’ conference— argue that it is wrong to politicize the Eucharist. That is certainly true. But when the issue of Communion has been politicized— by a candidate who trumpets his Catholic faith, who runs advertisements about the inspiration he receives from that faith— how should prudent bishops react?

McCarrick’s legacy in the Biden-Communion debate

McCarrick claimed that he had the support of Cardinal Ratzinger. He said that the Vatican official “clearly leaves to us as teachers, pastors, and leaders whether to pursue this path.” That was false.

Pressure for enforced COVID vaccination (and more?)

But there is a peculiar thing about governmental controls: They always tend to serve the interests of a culture’s elites. In the COVID era, this is already playing out in America in efforts to discourage religious worship while permitting many other kinds of gatherings, and in efforts to force religious schools to adopt the same problematic and expensive policies as public schools, which are funded by enforced taxation. God forbid that any “counter-cultural” group should succeed in an activity for which failure has been mandated!

Bishop Bransfield’s disgraceful non-apology

Did I mention that Bransfield is a protégé of the disgraced former cardinal, Theodore McCarrick? And did I mention that we are still waiting for the Vatican’s promised report on how McCarrick rose to power and influence?

Arguments and Faith: Why do we believe?

Someone once objected to my arguments for the Resurrection by pointing out that Christians frequently believe without requiring or depending upon particular arguments. I see the point of the objection, but the issue here is very complex, and we must consider the different factors involved. These factors depending not only on the personality of each Christian but also on the degree of commitment to the Faith reflected by the culture in which each Christian lives.

St. Augustine—De Doctrina Christiana | Book 2 (Ch.1-18)

“Everyone devoted to the study of the Holy Scriptures... will find nothing else except that God must be loved for His own sake, and our neighbor for the sake of God.”

Discovered: liturgical abuse leads to invalid sacraments

Archbishop Vigneron said that the Second Vatican Council had “established that no one ‘even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.” I beg to differ. That’s what Vatican II SAID. What was actually established was precisely the opposite.

Increasing concern about government and the social order

I hope that the bug for rethinking the nature of religion, politics, government and mercy is thoroughly mixed into the air we breathe and the water we drink. The Western world is well into a personal spiritual and moral collapse, with a corresponding social collapse that starts with the family and ends in government and law. Change must necessarily begin with thought, and perhaps even with imagination. We cannot believe we have unlimited time to right the ship.

Ep. 22—Anthony of the Desert: The Solitary Celebrity

Through one man’s witness, monasticism took the world by storm. Anthony of Egypt became history’s least probable celebrity. He gave up his money and possessions. He couldn’t read or write. He fled to the desert to be alone with God. Yet he drew disciples wherever he went. His desert became a city populated by monks and hermits. Philosophers and emperors sought his sage advice. In the course of his life he exercised a profound influence on the history of religion.

Ep. 83—The American Founding’s Medieval Roots—Robert Reilly

Robert Reilly’s new book America on Trial: A Defense of the Founding argues that the Founding’s roots lie a few millennia further back than the Enlightenment. With superb scholarship, he examines the whole history of Western culture up to the Founding, beginning with the Greeks, Hebrews and early Christians, proceeding through the Middle Ages to the Protestant Revolt and the debate over the divine right of kings.

Fatima (2020)

Our first response to the new feature film based on the events surrounding Our Lady of Fatima's appearance in 1917.

Sister Deirdre’s ‘old-fashioned’ religious witness

Whatever their weaknesses, the nuns who taught my grammar-school class also adhered to Sister Deirdre’s vision. There was never any doubt in my mind— because the sisters reminded us often— that they wanted all of us, their students, to go to heaven; and that they saw their teaching mission as their own way to get there.

Archbishop Paglia buries the abortion issue…again

Paglia essentially resorts to the “seamless garment” tactic, which takes the truth that all problems adversely affecting the human person are issues of “human life”, and then emphasizes that very marginal insight to the point where it becomes immoral to prioritize these issues.

St. Athanasius—Life of St. Anthony | Full

One of the most influential works in the history of Christian literature, read in its entirety by voice-actor James T. Majewski.

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