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All Catholic commentary from August 2022
At a minimum, we need not treat the crude paradigm shift opinions of the Pontifical Academy of Life with respect.
In what is surely an American First, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco, His Excellency, Salvatore Cordileone, informed Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and third in line to be President, that she is not to receive Communion, “until such time as you publicly repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance.”
Too often the cautious rhetoric of the pro-life movement suggests that abortion is unnecessary, or unseemly, or unwise, or all of the above. We need to drive home the message that it is unconscionable.
What St. Vincent was getting at is what St. John Henry Newman spelled out. Newman’s point was that each legitimate doctrinal development will tend toward greater precision. In other words, while this may sometimes serve to correct what some erroneously thought the doctrine to imply, it will do so by corroborating, confirming and more fully explicating the truth of the Church’s authoritative earlier form of expression.
The Pope said that “the Church is either synodal or it is not Church.” Then just a few moments later: “Certainly, we can say that the Church in the West had lost its synodal tradition.” So it follows that the “Church in the West” was not Church.
Bicycle Thieves, the most beloved classic of Italian neo-realist cinema, would be too easily explained as depicting the crushing pressures of poverty and societal dysfunction in Rome immediately following World War II. But the film transcends any sociological analysis: it has something spiritual to say about how those in poverty can respond to their situation: about trust, and about how quickly things get worse when we act as though we are in control of our circumstances.
"There is no disposition so good but it may be made bad by reason of vicious habits, and neither is there any natural disposition so perverse but that it may be conquered and overcome by God's grace primarily, and then by our earnest endeavor."
The dogma of the founding fathers that God "created all men equal" is a recipe for perpetual turmoil. The disdain for inequality fuels endless attempts to achieve equality: a fool’s errand.
Undset saw the spiritual disease of the modern period very clearly. For her, conversion entails a deliberate embrace of reality, and the rejection of Satan’s pomps, or empty promises, which are quite simply the antithesis to what is real. This perverse pattern of diminishing reality led Undset to disdain not only overt secularism but even Protestantism, which Undset saw as a vain effort to flee from reality in such a way that Christianity could mean whatever people wanted it to mean.
Even on the very best reading, Bishop McElroy’s actions (or rather his inaction) have contributed to a climate of scandal that still afflicts our Church, and to the cynicism of lay Catholics who question whether our bishops are ready to police themselves.
What happened when God took flesh? A simple question roused hundreds of speculative answers, most concerning the "person" and “nature” (or natures) of Jesus Christ. But the philosophical terms themselves were slippery, and mistranslations made matters worse. The wild speculation came to a stop at the Council of Chalcedon, thanks to the Tome of Pope Leo the Great.
The cardinal said it was time for a fundamental revision of church teaching, and suggested the way Pope Francis had spoken about homosexuality in the past could lead to a change in doctrine.
Our Guardian Angels can be of enormous help. We can pray to our angels, asking them to allow concern about any sin we have not yet confessed to come through and prick our consciences, and also to make us see anything we have already confessed as a cause to renew our joy in the surpassing mercy of God.
The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15 brings the pondering of "first fruits" which is a term used in the Old Testament, New Testament and all through the Liturgy.
Gregory Pine, O.P. recently voiced his concern that mass entertainment, particularly music and movies, is often an obstacle to achieving the heavenly end of contemplation for which we are made. This discussion inspired by Fr. Pine’s points specifies some elements of music and film which are obstacles to the contemplative life, but also suggests how, rather than simply eschewing music and movies, we can engage with better art in a deeper way which serves the contemplative end of man.
The Magisterium cannot be disassociated from Scripture and Tradition. There can be development of doctrine and deeper understanding of doctrine but not contradictions of doctrine.
The Church may have many members or few; she may have great worldly influence or almost none. That is largely hidden in the Providence of God. But to the degree that she is not significantly distinguishable from the larger human culture that surrounds her, she is burdened by a depressing human baggage which has blurred her essential identity, undermined her essential claims, and subverted that synodality which is the very strength of her mission in the world.
Panneton is right about one thing: in the battle that really matters, the Rosary is more powerful— and therefore more dangerous to the liberal hegemony— than an AR-15.
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