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All Catholic commentary from September 2021

An unintentionally revealing papal interview?

Does the Pontiff really think that traditionalist Catholics are “laughing at the Word of God?” In marked contrast with that harsh judgment, he offers no criticism of the German bishops whose “Synodal Path” threatens to challenge foundational Church teachings on faith and morals, creating a very real danger of schism.

Is realism in modern fiction an aberration? w/ Joshua Hren

In this outtake from episode 113, Thomas asks Joshua Hren whether the turn to realism in modern fiction, a historical anomaly, is also a problem from a religious and philosophical point of view.

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Happy Birthday to Our Lady!

Celebrate by remembering the historical and humanity of Mary and Jesus, the liturgical Blessing of Seeds and Seedlings, drinking wine in honor of Our Lady of the Grape Harvest, and being inspired by depictions of the Birth of the Virgin Mary and the poem by Robert Southwell.

Remembering Uncle Di

...we wish we were wrong. We would be ecstatic if it turned out that the apparent villainy we decry had an innocent explanation, that ecclesial corruption was a phantasm, that we had misread the signs and had a long list of apologies to make.

Why early Church debates were more exciting

The early Church father hit new audiences broadside with a simple, stunning message— the same message that successful Christian evangelists have always emphasized— the astonishing news that mortal men can obtain eternal life.

St. Augustine—De Doctrina Christiana | Full

“Whoever, then, appears in his own opinion to have comprehended the Sacred Scriptures, or even some part of them, yet does not build up with that knowledge the two-fold love of God and his neighbor, has not yet known as he ought to know.”

Bishops, politicians, abortion, and a witch-hunt

The op-ed presents a challenge to Archbishop Cordileone himself. Because this essay contains an implicit threat— particularly to Speaker Pelosi— and a threat that is made repeatedly but never carried out loses all its force.

State control of sex, or Eucharistic Coherence?

In a society which, at the adult consensual level, typically defends all manner of sexual abuse as “love”, those who “love” children in the same ways may well perceive themselves as riding the next great wave of positive change. May they not reasonably hope it is only a matter of time before their own form of abuse is recognized as liberating, wise and good? They cannot help but recognize that the opprobrium heaped upon them alone, for their own sexual desires, is not fair.

Synodality and the evasion of responsibility

Though some at Vatican II hoped Synod of Bishops could gain something like a permanent conciliar status, they were preempted by Paul VI’s establishment of a synodal mechanism that is purely advisory to the Pope. The benefits grow murkier when the topic to be vetted by the Synod is synodality itself—a favorite word of Pope Francis, but one that is almost infinitely malleable. This topic is encapsulated in a single world which nobody understands because, in fact, it has no set meaning.

On when human life begins, Cardinal Gregory flubs the question

“The Catholic Church teaches, and has taught, that life – human life – begins at conception,” Cardinal Gregory told the National Press Club yesterday. No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Scratch and Sniff Sainthood

“St. So-and-so helped the poor” is easily said. But that simple phrase encompasses a whole lot more if we 'scratch and sniff' the surface (just a bit).

The Week in the Shadow of the Exalted Cross

Through the intercession of Our Lady of Sorrows and these saints, may we embrace and lift high the Cross daily in our lives.

Fear: a leading comorbidity

"Hypertension and disorders of lipid metabolism were the most frequent, whereas obesity, diabetes with complication, and anxiety disorders were the strongest risk factors for severe COVID-19 illness."

Drama of Holiness: Monsieur Vincent (1947) w/ Steven Greydanus

Film critic and deacon Steven Greydanus joins the show to discuss one of the best movies about a saint ever made, Monsieur Vincent, about St. Vincent de Paul. It is a very rare thing: a compelling drama about a soul already advanced in the spiritual life.

On being rooted in the Kingdom of Heaven

She then recalls how much Christ in his earthly ministry wanted to be loved, wanted helpers, wanted friends—and how often he was refused: “When He gave gifts, when He cured ten and was thanked by only one, He revealed to us His suffering human heart: ‘Where are the nine?’ And yet, she explains, “We do not find Jesus saying the equivalent of, ‘Well, that is that! That is the last time I shall ever do anything for lepers. What is the use? Why scatter gifts to people who do not even thank me for them?”

47—Vincent of Lerins: Believed Everywhere, Always, by All

All Christians respected the authority of Scripture, but already in the fifth century the Church was riven by conflicting interpretations. Vincent of Lerins developed a formula to tell true doctrine from false: "All possible care must be taken that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all." He emphasized the special role of the ancient Fathers as witnesses to authentic tradition. Thus he provided the foundation for the study of patristics — and this podcast!

On abortion and Communion, the Pope temporizes

Suppose a pastor decided to withhold the Eucharist from President Biden— not because he wanted to advance the Republican Party, not because he wanted to ban abortion, but because he wanted to save Joe Biden’s soul?

Francis knows the Church is in a rut. But does he know why?

I am interested in the positive aspects of Pope Francis’ desire to shake things up. We already know, I think, that this desire is full of contradictory elements which make it very difficult to fulfill in any consistent way. There is still something substantial in the Pope’s consistent message of going outside our comfort zones. But if the Pope is right about the Church being inside a box, does he also understand how this box was made, and what it really takes to break out of it?

Here’s how to beat liberal censorship of ideas

If you know that the mainstream media are offering slanted coverage of some stories, and blacking out other stories altogether, you need to find outlets that will provide accurate reporting on the subjects that interest you.

114—A Children’s Book About Accepting Your Nature—Matthew Mehan

Writer Matthew Mehan returns to the show to discuss his new children's book co-authored with painter John Folley, The Handsome Little Cygnet. This lovely tale about a family of swans in Central Park introduces children to the idea of accepting one's God-given nature. That is no small matter in a world which tantalizes the young with offers of a more exciting new identity just around the corner. But we need to know what we are in order to properly shape who we will become.

Follow the Science

The term "embryo" denotes its change of location, but the entity is the same: a human baby.

The Calling of Saint Matthew

And today, the Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist on September 21, is one of those higher feasts of September. It falls right around the Fall Equinox. St. Matthew is patron of accountants, and since my husband is a CPA, this is one of his patron saints. St. Matthew is one of our family saints.

A guide to resources in apologetics, including two new ones

Of course, apologetics in itself is designed to clear away the obstacles to belief, so that those with concerns and questions about Christ and the Church can become more open to evangelization, which (taken in full) is the proclamation of the mercy, love and redemption offered to all by Jesus Christ through His body the Church. And both evangelization and apologetics must be further distinguished from catechesis, which is simply teaching the Catholic faith to those who already believe.

St. John Henry Newman—The Patristical Idea of Antichrist | Pt. 3: The City of Antichrist

"What a wonderful rule of God's providence is herein displayed which occurs daily!—the Church sanctities, yet suffers with, the world—sharing its sufferings, yet lightening them."

The Pope vs. EWTN: too hot to handle?

A politician might fret over unfriendly editorials; the Vicar of Christ should not.

Spiritual symbiosis: What it takes to be a good priest

Each vocation has its own built-in parameters, its own clear channels of prayer and action, its own kinds of grace, its own triumphs of love and responsibility, its own particular forms of loss and failure, and its own temptations to inaction and even despair. This means that every vocation can experience its own doldrums—periods of drifting slowly and aimlessly, with no sense of progress or fulfillment.

Mental Preservation—Dekalog: Eight (1988)

In 1943 Warsaw, a little Jewish girl is brought to the home of a Catholic woman who has offered to provide her a fake baptismal certificate so she could be safely settled with a Catholic family. Upon her arrival, though, the woman turns her away, saying it is against the principles of her religion to lie. Decades later, that little girl, who had escaped to America and survived, returns to Warsaw to confront the woman in order to make sense of what happened to her.

48—Leo the Great: Who Roared with the Voice of Peter

Prolific in words and prodigious in deeds, Leo was also self-effacing. He preached with Gospel simplicity. Yet he made history for three world-changing interventions. It was Leo who stopped Attila the Hun's rampage through Europe. It was Leo who put a decisive end to the ancient heresies about the natures of Christ. And it was Leo who kept the barbarian Vandals from murdering the Romans and burning the city. Tradition calls him "the Great." He earned the title.

The Feast of the Archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, “Michaelmas” for Short

Angels truly exist, but we need to push past the cutesy and cherubic “angel on my shoulder” to recognize the dignity and higher order of these spiritual beings.

Thankless lepers: On San Marino and the Church today

While San Marino did lag over forty years behind Italy in getting on the abortion train, its bid to “catch up” illustrates very clearly the failure of the Catholic Church in this era of Western civilization’s spiral into paganism. A key feature of this illustration is the ease with which people can self-identify as Catholics while voting to legalize the murder of unborn children.

Cashing in on the Devil?

We view diabolical special effects with horrified fascination. But mortal sin should terrify us more than any demon or any suffering in this life.

115—A Bishop’s Stand on Gender Ideology—Fr. Stephen Schultz

Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, recently issued “A Catechesis on the Human Person and Gender Ideology”. The document takes a strong unequivocal stance against transgender ideology, down to practical specifics like telling the faithful we must not use transgender names and pronouns. Beyond that, it excels in showing how the Church’s whole anthropology and theology are at stake in the transgender issue.

Scientists, censors, and scapegoats

Today the most powerful figures in politics, the media, and academe tell us that we cannot, we must not, attempt to move the consensus about Covid vaccination. Nevertheless it moves.

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