Catholic Living


In this column, I will do something a little bit unprecedented. I specifically wish to address my female readers, and to issue a challenge. Can we make a special resolution to be good to the men and boys in our lives? I know that this is often a big ask. Modern men can be exceedingly [...]

In this column, I will do something a little bit unprecedented. I specifically wish to address my female readers, and to issue a challenge. Can we make a special resolution to be good to the men and boys in our lives? I know that this is often a big ask. Modern men can be exceedingly [...]

While I generally find the profusion and milling-around of lay ministers of the Eucharist distracting and unnecessary, I found myself offering prayers of thanksgiving for one this past Sunday. We’ve recently moved and were attending a new and unfamiliar parish with a bewildering process for going forward to receive, including multiple lines of Eucharistic ministers [...]

A Tsunami of Mercy

Two stories come to mind when thinking about a Christian’s protracted struggle with sin. One is about a woman who goes to Confession, and, with frustration tells her priest, “Well, Father, I feel a little bit embarrassed. I’m here again to confess the same three sins.” Without pausing the good reverend replies, “Would you feel [...]

The most dramatic part of being a Catholic lies in our calling to be ready for martyrdom. While not all of us are called to be actual martyrs, killed out of hatred for the Faith, the headlines announcing murders by ISIS and others who hate the Church and her members remind us that we could [...]

Have you ever imagined that a person could stand inside a martyr’s reliquary? This summer I did, and you can, too, at least as long as a courageous group of Catholic lay people are able to keep Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine at Auriesville, NY, open. This shrine, which is the location of the National [...]

August can be a dreadful month, with summer heat and lethargy at their peak. This is why so many take the month off, or most of it, heading to favored spots for vacation. Congress “recesses” for the month, a well-deserved break from months spent bickering and accomplishing practically nothing. Traditionally, many European offices are shuttered [...]

At the end of last year, a noted Catholic book publisher offered me a contract to write a book based on four columns I wrote three years ago. The stories were about three children who died young after suffering greatly but also bringing many to the faith through their suffering, their example and their prayers. [...]

I love St. Martha. I am in good company; John’s Gospel tells us that Jesus also loved Martha. She (along with her sister Mary and brother Lazarus) was one of Jesus’s dearest friends. The New Testament mentions Martha three times, and each story about the relationship between Martha and Jesus is a treasure. In the [...]

It has been a depressing month. A few weeks ago, I had brunch with my brother, a loyal Sunday Catholic. He has a vacation home which he generously offers to our extended family, and during our meal he told me that our college-age grandnephew and his girlfriend had visited. The understanding was that they would [...]

We have a crisis of womanhood in our culture. Everyone knows it. Few admit it. Generations ago, the secular-humanists designed a brave new woman who is shrill, selfish, arrogant, and bossy (oh no! the ‘b’ word!). With a clarifying view to Scripture, we can see in retrospect that we have all (myself included) become—at least [...]

Quanto plus afflictionis pro Christo in hoc saeculo, tanto plus gloriae cum Christo in futuro. (The more affliction we endure for Christ in this world, the more glory we shall obtain with Christ in the next.)   ∼ Words inscribed by Philip Howard upon the wall of his cell. When he first entered the fastness of that grim London [...]

The last few weeks have seen the ranks of the #NeverTrump crowd dwindling somewhat as several once-staunch opponents of The Donald have concluded that, despite their myriad objections to Trump’s positions and personality, he would still be preferable to Hilary Clinton as president. Now, the dominance of the two-party system in the United States has [...]

A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed.  ∼ G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (1908). Christian education cannot be utilitarian. In fact, it will only be Christian in as much as it ceases to be utilitarian. One of the most destructive myths in recent decades has been [...]

I was in the fourth grade at Christ King School in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin when the changes wrought by Vatican II were implemented. Memory is a tricky thing, but I am fairly certain that, in the space of one week, Sr. Achillea stopped drilling us on the Baltimore Catechism, threw some pillows on the floor, cranked [...]

There is a prevailing idea that healthcare plans are necessarily complex and expensive schemes. There was, however, an ideal healthcare plan in the distant past that was amazingly simple. The plan did not list its benefits, clinical metrics or financial data. The main emphasis of this plan was not so much on a plan but [...]

“He had been a very charitable priest: in his will he had left all his money to institutions and the furniture of his house to his sister.”   ∼ “Araby,” James Joyce My junior-year high school English teacher used to use the above quote to show how snarky and snide James Joyce was being towards the priesthood: [...]

“Oh! how I wish I could make you realize what I mean! …It is trust, and nothing but trust, that must bring us to Love.” ∼  St. Therese of Lisieux In that wonderful Pre-Raphaelite painting by Holman Hunt, called “Light of the World,” in which Jesus is shown gently knocking on a door so that [...]

She was to die. The doctors had not said as much, but once the word cancer was uttered I knew it was only a matter of time. My mother took the news as she had taken all else in life: with an act of faith. She had been diagnosed just prior to Ash Wednesday; she [...]

If I remove the central reason for a thing to exist, it will slowly cease to exist, and even what it had will be lost. On the other hand, if I proclaim and reinforce that central reason, the thing will not only continue to exist, but will likely even increase and bear fruit in due [...]

In Catholic tradition, three senses of Scripture—the allegorical, the moral, and the anagogical—are built upon the foundation of the literal sense. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church 117, in the anagogical sense we “view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us to our true homeland: thus the Church on [...]

…My three virtues, says God. The three virtues, my creatures. My daughters, my children. Are themselves like my other creatures. Of the race of men. Faith is a loyal wife. Charity is a Mother. An ardent mother, noble-hearted. Or an older sister who is like a mother. Hope is a little girl, nothing at all. [...]