Catholic Living

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 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 [...]

"Where sin has abounded, grace has abounded all the more," St. Paul assures us. Felix culpa, as we sing in the Easter Exultet. This "happy fault" refers specifically to Adam's sin, but in Christ's redemptive work, he draws good out of every sin. Accordingly, in our battle against impurity, let us stop trying to bury [...]

A lady recently wrote me with a question about the role of material things in life. She was confounded by apparent contradictions between living a pious life while enjoying material things that are all around us. She had read the stories of the saints and how they often scorned material things. Since we are all [...]

“The primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of children; its secondary end is mutual help and the allaying of concupiscence.” (Canon 1013, 1917 Code of Canon Law) Anyone familiar with the history of contraception and the Church in the 1960s will know the name of John T. Noonan. His singular 1965 work [...]

St. Gregory's University just concluded its first bi-annual “Leisure and Labor Conference,” which brings academics and professionals together to reflect on the interplay between the liberal arts and the professions. The dialogue between Martha and Jesus in Chapter 10 of Luke’s Gospel captures the essence of this relationship between labor and leisure. Mary sits at Jesus’s [...]

Every year, we are fortunate to hear two accounts in church of the Passion during Holy Week—the first one on Palm Sunday and the second one on Good Friday. The latter account is always from Saint John’s Gospel. On Palm Sunday, we rotate among the Synoptic Gospels according to Cycles A, B, and C. This [...]

I recently took my nine-year-old son, Karol, to the National Gallery of Art here in Washington. I knew that a nine-year-old’s idea of a fun Sunday was not necessarily looking at art, but I thought he needs some exposure to it and we can do it in limited amounts, maybe once a month. Besides, I [...]

“The entire population of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them because they were seized with great fear. So he got into a boat and returned.”  (Luke 8:37) It is amazing. Our Lord has just freed a man from a legion of demons, a man that presumably these folks had, at one [...]

God is the Most Real Being, so our religion is about what we accept as most real. It’s our basic understanding of the world, to which all our other views must accommodate themselves. That’s a problem. To all appearances, Catholics have pretty much the same basic understandings as other people. Otherwise, our thoughts and actions [...]

“Distinguo”—that curious Latin term that reminds us that we need to make essential distinctions between and among similar concepts in order to fully understand them. And now, with the untimely passing of reparative therapy pioneer Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, which in turn met with an inhumane “glad-you’re-dead” response from ‘gay’-affirming ideologues who refer to Nicolosi’s life’s [...]

My friend and former colleague Dr. Jared Staudt recently penned an article “How to Save the Soul of Our Catholic Schools” for Crisis Magazine. Dr. Staudt (as I’ll call him here) made a number of sober and valid points about the need to return to a truly Catholic education. Affirming his belief that “[t]he Catholic [...]

“How can we make our school more Catholic?” This is a real question schools ask, some with perplexity. Is it a new curriculum? Better religion classes? Having the kids come to Mass? The answer is vital for the future of Catholic education. The sociologist Christian Smith notes, from his extensive research on the life of [...]

The plague of pornography and the abuse of sexuality, compulsions that enslave so many souls, begin with a lie that must be unmasked and cast out if ever we are to regain our freedom as sons and daughters of God. After years of hearing litanies of confessions on this subject, and upon reflection of my [...]

It has been reported that Sister Lucia of Fatima wrote a letter to Cardinal Caffarra predicting that “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.” Not long after, Pope John Paul II was in the midst of his famous “Theology of the Body” talks on [...]

In reading the latest essay by Paul Kengor in Crisis, I was taken aback in learning about James K. A. Smith’s misguided and mean-spirited attack on Rod Dreher, Anthony Esolen, and Archbishop Charles Chaput, whose recent books, among other things, offer the self-evident thesis: American culture is going to hell on a hand basket. As [...]

When one thinks of boarding schools, it’s easy to default to stereotype: a bunch of rich kids riding horses or playing lacrosse as they prepare for an Ivy League college and life as a senator or corporate executive. My experience a few decades ago (okay, a little over three) was vastly different, yet one I [...]

My grandfather—who loved telling stories and who, in his last years, would endlessly retell the same stories—was particularly partial to the story of the fellow who, condemned to hang for his crimes, was nevertheless permitted a bit of exercise the day before. “In that case,” the prisoner asks the judge, “may I just skip the [...]

Once regarded as a virtue, chastity is now largely considered a fool’s quest. Those perpetrating chastity’s demise depict its death as a victory for life and love. Yet the opposite is true; an unchaste world is one of self-absorption and death. In subordinating the procreational nature of sex to recreational purposes, an unchaste society will [...]

Lent is a season of conversion. During this time, it’s common to encounter readings, orations, and teachings from the saints in the Mass and the Breviary that direct us to “turn away” from sin and error and “turn to” God. An example is Joel 2:12-14, which happens to be the First Reading of the Mass [...]

My brother-in-law, Jerome Vertin, died in Chesapeake, Virginia, in hospice care at about five A.M. on February 25. My sister, his wife of sixty-three years, was with him when he died. She said that he seemed most peaceful in death. I thought: “This is the reality that marriage vows prepare a couple for, the ’till [...]

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