Catholic Living

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Faith has always been a struggle for me. Indeed, throughout my forty-six years of life, very rarely have I ever felt comfortable for any stretch of time with my religion or my religious practices. I readily and rather gleefully abandoned almost any faith and religious observance during my teenage years. I’m not totally sure what [...]

Faith has always been a struggle for me. Indeed, throughout my forty-six years of life, very rarely have I ever felt comfortable for any stretch of time with my religion or my religious practices. I readily and rather gleefully abandoned almost any faith and religious observance during my teenage years. I’m not totally sure what [...]

There is no way around it: the Christian's life is to be one of obedience. “Let him who has ears to hear, hear,” says Jesus. That does not mean that we are beholden only to God, under our own understanding of who God is and what He wants from us. God in His mercy does [...]

The universal call to holiness is considered by many to be the most important development of the Second Vatican Council. The main location of this call is the fifth chapter of the Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium: Thus it is evident to everyone, that all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank [...]

The two upcoming synods of bishops on “The Pastoral Care of the Family in the Context of the New Evangelization” needs to discuss many serious topics other than communion for the divorced and remarried.  I hope they revisit the standard recommendation that couples in invalid second “marriages” should “live as brother and sister.” This is [...]

Marriage requires sex. This seems to be the sine qua non of marriage even in a world where the definition of marriage has been broadened in ways never imagined even a generation ago. And indeed marriage does require sex because sex is unitive in a unique way and marriage is about union. A shake of [...]

Why is God a he, not a she or an it? Could Jesus have been a woman? What if the Lord’s Prayer began not with “Our Father,” but with “Our Mother”? Reading modern commentaries, you’d think a female goddess invited Sarah out under the stars and promised she would be the mother of a great [...]

Divorce is more common in my extended family than in society at large. My childhood home was a broken home. This experience fostered within me attentiveness to both the often-difficult circumstances faced by couples today and the Church’s teaching related to marriage and divorce. Over the last few months divorce, remarriage, and reception of the [...]

In Robert Speaight’s The Unbroken Heart, a novel sadly neglected in the long years following its publication in 1939, a character named Arnaldo has just been told of his beloved wife’s untimely death.  His reaction, by today’s standards, seems very strange indeed.  “It does not really interest me,” he confesses, “to know by what accident [...]

Nietzsche isn’t exactly the kind of guy you expect to show up in a papal encyclical. All the more so does it seem odd to refer to him as a prophet. Nonetheless, recent popes have referred to him somewhat often, using him as a referent for our current social and philosophical situation. In one of [...]

A few weeks ago, a Catholic priest caused quite a stir in one of our local diocesan high schools. He spoke the truth about sex. Pause here to sigh, and to wish that our heresies were more interesting. Some of the parents and students objected. They did not say, “The priest presented the truth in [...]

When a magazine names itself Crisis, you should know not to expect sugar plums and primroses. Our culture is in a bad way, and here at Crisis we’re pretty up-front about that fact. We endeavor to diagnose the problems and determine the appropriate response. Around here, we skip the sugar coating. As faithful Catholics, we [...]

An unforeseen, positive effect of the HHS mandate’s dramatic affront to religious liberty is to have brought renewed attention to the abortive effects of contraception. But there still needs to be far more discussion of their full moral import—for social policy, institutional behavior, conscience rights, voting behavior—and, ultimately, pro-life rhetoric. This essay makes two points. First, [...]

For those who have the courage to plunge headlong into the great sea of history, their minds accustomed to taking long views, the attractions of Protestantism are few and never fatal.   But for those who know nothing of the past, whose minds are unwilling to travel to such places, the allure of Protestant piety with [...]

In worldly terms, Chiara Corbella’s life was not a success story: two children dying shortly after birth, herself ravaged by an aggressive cancer, which killed her at the young age of 28, leaving a beloved husband and a small son behind. This is not the kind of material dreams are made of. Yet when one [...]

What kind of mindset built all the immigrant Catholic parishes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the Americas? Was it a way of thinking predicated on practical limitations; on being “realistic” in the mundane sense of the word? This can hardly be so. Something deeply potent—and even slightly irrational to the modern mind—had to [...]

The Church is not part of the State. Nor is she simply a part of civil society set up by her members to advance their public and private goals. She is an independent society established by God to be a light to the world. As such, she has her own principles of existence, authority, and [...]

 “Seeking his workman in a multitude of people, the Lord calls out to him and lifts his voice again: ‘Is there anyone here who yearns for life and desires to see good days?’” (Prologue of the Rule of St. Benedict, quoting Psalm 34:14-15). The Benedict Option—what does it really mean? In my mind, it is [...]

Alasdair MacIntyre’s 1981 manifesto After Virtue famously ends with the argument that we are “waiting for another St. Benedict.”  At some point, the old Roman Empire was lost.  “Men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral [...]

Are there some same-sex sexual attractions that are not disordered inclinations? Melinda Selmys, among those dubbed the “new homophiles” by Austin Ruse, seems to think so. At the “Spiritual Friendship” blog, Selmys presents this thesis under the title “Still Looking to Desire.” Now, I consider Melinda and everyone at the “Spiritual Friendship” blog to be [...]

In the nave of my parish church, amongst the walls of glittering glass that are as windows unto the Word of God itself, there is an image of St. Patrick. When the morning light filters inward through its translucent shape, every feature of that great saint becomes sharp and distinct. His figure looms there suddenly, [...]

In my last post I made the case that sexual “orientation” as defined by secular culture today is conceptually far removed from the dignity of the human person and is an abstract and generic form of data collection that does not even accurately describe one’s total experience of sexual attraction once we have found “the [...]

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