Catholic Living

I am in the unusual position—for this century, anyway—of being the mother of a young woman who has seen four of her friends enter a convent in the past two years. Three of those women are postulants in cloistered Carmelite convents. Elizabeth has celebrated more wedding showers for brides of Christ than for brides of [...]

I am in the unusual position—for this century, anyway—of being the mother of a young woman who has seen four of her friends enter a convent in the past two years. Three of those women are postulants in cloistered Carmelite convents. Elizabeth has celebrated more wedding showers for brides of Christ than for brides of [...]

English Catholics are by now familiar with the new translation of the first form of the penitential rite, restoring the three-fold culpa from the original Latin, "through my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault." Our sins are most definitely our fault, not God's. But the wounds that contribute to our sins are not all [...]

Matthew Schmitz—maybe the finest columnist of my generation—has written a delightful piece for the latest issue of First Things on his experience at a New Age healing ceremony. It’s chock full of all the solipsistic drivel we’ve come to expect from the spiritual-not-religious crowd: “Inca values,” hemp prayer mats, and a striking melanin deficiency. The [...]

Marriage is a sacrament that is regulated by Church law, mainly in the Code of Canon Law of 1983. It is different from the rest of the sacraments, because what makes it valid is mainly marriage consent. A person must want to get married to his spouse, and manifest this will verbally to the priest [...]

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that “God himself is the author of marriage” (1603a). Unfortunately, he has been rather forcefully booted out as the author—or even co-author—of contemporary wedding planning. Many of us have attended weddings where no expense has been spared, and yet have sensed at their core an emptiness. Despite [...]

“Gloria Dei est vivens homo.”  ∼ St. Irenaeus Saint Irenaeus (130-202) wrote that the glory of God is revealed in living human beings; this idea expresses one of the most central ideas of the primitive Church and the period of the Fathers, that of deification or theosis (becoming god-like). This constant theme within the first Christian millennium [...]

Contraception was not always as widely accepted as it is now. This is important to remember, especially for those of us born after the so-called Sexual Revolution, when contraceptives have become nearly ubiquitous, even farcical to the point of absurdity, just ask the Little Sisters of the Poor. However, in the not-so-distant past, in the [...]

My family and I live in what many Catholics would consider a suburban “sweet spot”—smack between four Catholic churches placed conveniently to the north, south, east and west of us, with the farthest being only a three-mile drive away. Ironically, perhaps, this farthest one, the one to the west, is also our territorial parish. Ideally, [...]

One of the most subversive, dangerous, thankless, and necessary tasks is to state the obvious. Our mental filing systems tend to push things labeled as “obvious” into the back of our minds, leaving room in the front for more important and pressing matters. But things tend to get misplaced in that dark attic of our [...]

Recently, Bishop Paprocki released a decree on "same-sex 'marriage' and related pastoral issues." Some Catholics interpreted it as an unjust singling-out (and rejection) of a specific group of persons. In terms of sin itself they do have a point—we are all sinners. However, some went as far as to interpret it as a form of excommunication. What seemed absent in the grievances I [...]

When looking at the American Catholic Church and the surrounding culture, the honest, orthodox Catholic is left with at least two sobering conclusions: we are losing the culture war both outside the American Catholic Church and inside its precincts. The Obergefell v. Hodges decision (same-sex “marriage”) by the SCOTUS put an exclamation point on the [...]

The July 9 New York Times Sunday Review contained a feature by Richard Conniff. Driven by his research on English moles, he visited the grave of Kenneth Grahame, author of The Wind in the Willows. What impressed Conniff, and inspired his op-ed, was that Grahame’s grave was in both “a graveyard and a wildlife refuge. [...]

A few days ago, I was at a graduation party for the son of a good friend. We were there to celebrate a fine young man raised by thoughtful and serious Catholics, and most of the other parents at the party were also intelligent and devout Catholics. While no graduation party of this sort is [...]

Bill Buckner played professional baseball for 22 years, won a major league batting title, and was elected to the All-Star team. Unfortunately, he is probably best remembered, though, for letting one ground ball go between his legs in the 1986 World Series and costing the Boston Red Sox their first championship since 1918. Life is [...]

God created the world not out of necessity but out of generosity. Eternally blessed and perfect in himself, God had no need to create and no need of creation. Instead, in freedom he created in wisdom and in love. Each creature God endowed with gifts proportionate to its role, but he crowned man with a [...]

Should a Catholic School admit LGBTQ students or refuse the benefit of a Catholic education to this particularly vulnerable subset of children? Such is the choice with which those responsible for Catholic education seem to be presented, and, increasingly, they will opt for the former. Apparently, this is the path chosen by Bishop John Gaydos [...]

Pentecost celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. That descent changed them. It made a difference in their lives. The Upper Room had previously been a chamber of fears. “Surely not I, Lord?” (Mt 26:22) was the question on a certain Thursday night. About 72 hours later, it was a locked room [...]

After 35 years as a liturgical musician, it’s amazing how little I really know about the liturgical music of the Roman Rite. Then again, what should I expect when my earliest memories of music at Mass tend to involve now-forgotten attempts to make Ray Repp tunes, guitar-group versions of Beatles songs, social-justice-pop-folk songs, and patently [...]

As rewarding as it is to study the life of a great saint, it is doubly rewarding to study the influences and connections among saints. Take, for example, Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890): his journey toward the Catholic priesthood in Victorian England was lit by the fire of St. Philip Neri (1515-1595), the exuberant Italian [...]

The Benedict Option isn’t what you think it is. Adorning the cover of Rod Dreher’s much-discussed new book is what appears to be an ancient monastery, clutching a mountaintop. Below is a blue lake, cropped by scraps of land. A mist broods over it. Rising above the mist, the monastery seems aloft, almost cloud-borne, the [...]

The last few years we have seen a lively debate and discussion over how Christian believers should interact with our increasingly secular and hostile culture. These different possibilities have come to be known as “options.” The most famous is certainly the Benedict option popularized by author Rod Dreher. But others have written about the Dominican [...]

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