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A relative recently wrote an e-mail to me in which he made the following off-handed comment: “What do you think of the pope’s recent course change on abortion?” Now, unless I missed something, on this subject the pope has not changed anything. He has, no doubt, indicated that he wanted to downplay its relative importance [...]

A relative recently wrote an e-mail to me in which he made the following off-handed comment: “What do you think of the pope’s recent course change on abortion?” Now, unless I missed something, on this subject the pope has not changed anything. He has, no doubt, indicated that he wanted to downplay its relative importance [...]

In his article in Crisis, “The Anointing of the Healthy?,” Kevin T. DiCamillo contrasted a pre-Vatican II understanding of the sacrament of Extreme Unction with the rite now known as the Anointing of the Sick, stating that “of the seven sacraments of the Church perhaps none underwent more transformation.” Indeed, he claimed, “Extreme Unction became [...]

“We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.” ∼ St. Paul Out of “deep pastoral concern,” four cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, His Eminence Joachim Meisner, Archbishop emeritus of Cologne (Germany), His Eminence Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop emeritus of Bologna (Italy), His Eminence Raymond Leo Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order [...]

The interpretation of Amoris Laetitia by Cardinals Schönborn and Kasper is now well known. Communion for those in a second union represents a change in practice, not in doctrine. What Francis is doing is simply inviting the Church to insert her settled doctrine on mitigated culpability into her reflections on how the divorced and remarried [...]

During my first tentative explorations into Catholicism, some Protestant friends pointed out examples of “bad Catholics” in their attempts to dissuade me from swimming the Tiber. The type is well-represented in literature, of course, including the “here comes everybody” of James Joyce, the Flyte’s of Brideshead Revisited or Crouchback’s of Sword of Honor, and many [...]

A recent survey (August 2016) by the Pew Research Center reveals that American churches have produced a generation of spiritual consumers who want little more from their religious community than a good pulpiteer, a satisfying worship service, and a congregation filled with nice, friendly members. Researching the habits of U.S. Christians, Pew found that nearly [...]

September 26 is the feast day of St. Nilo (Νεῖλος/Nilus) the Younger of Rossano otherwise known as St. Nilo of Grottaferrata. St. Nilo died in 1004, the year the Monastery of the Mother of God of Grottaferrata was founded. Grottaferrata is a monastic community of originally Greek monks coming from what was called the Greater [...]

Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor accused Christ of insufficiently loving the “weak, ever sinful and ignoble race of man.” Christ, he declared, cared only for those “great and strong” souls who would freely obey him for the sake of the bread of Heaven. So the Grand Inquisitor would “care for the weak too”—the “millions” who are too [...]

The Church in recent decades has found itself in an internal discussion about how best to express its belief about sexual morality, and these conversations have filtered into the episcopate as well. Fr. Gerald E. Murray raises some recent examples in an essay at The Catholic Thing. In an interview with America magazine this summer, [...]

O, the glories of a classical education! I spent part of this past summer attempting to supplement my classical deficiencies (what I received in college was partial and patchy) by perusing Cicero's philosophical essays in English and plodding through parts of Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy in the original Latin, dictionary in hand. In doing so, [...]

On September 1, John J. DeGioia, the president of Georgetown University confirmed and published the recommendations of the university’s Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation. For almost a year the members of this group have been studying the ties of the Georgetown Jesuits with black slaves, and particularly, with the sale of 272 slaves [...]

Pope St. John Paul II was well-known for his vigorous opposition to capital punishment. Yet in 2004, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—the pope’s own chief doctrinal officer, later to become Pope Benedict XVI—stated unambiguously that: [I]f a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment … he would not for that reason [...]

Editor's note: The following essay by Dr. Harriet Murphy is a response to a column published in Crisis on July 27, 2016 by Fr. Regis Scanlon OFM Cap on the possibility of a female deaconate. Fr. Scanlon's response to Dr. Murphy's critique may be read here. Cultural historians of the future may well say that Fr. [...]

Dr. Harriet Murphy has taken a leap off a cliff of her own making in her broadside against my essay in Crisis on the female deaconate. She concludes that anyone (namely, me) who accepts the "literal" interpretation of 1 Tim 2:12-14—“I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man"—is somehow [...]

In a brief count of saints, there are at least 148 who were mothers, and Marie-Azelie Guerin Martin’s daughter was a saint, too—like Marie Zhao Guoshi in China whose daughters Marie and Rosa were martyred with her. Many mothers in the Middle East are appearing in heaven during these days of genocide possibly faster than [...]

Years (and years) ago I went to an opera in Graz, Austria—I guess the American equivalent to this is going to see the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park (if you are a huge baseball fan) or Ricky Skaggs play the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, if you are a big country-western aficionado. Anyway, [...]

When teaching survey courses in French and Western literature, I sometimes note a student’s puzzled reaction to the thoughts of medieval writers. Novice readers will eagerly dive into an Old French text hoping to discover a paean to Catholic life from an age when Christendom was still mostly united, and the Church integrated into every [...]

“Huge news: The female diaconate is not only an idea whose time has come, but a reality recovered from history.” ∼ Father James Martin, SJ With one “tweet” celebrating the new commission appointed by Pope Francis to study the possibility of the ordination of women to the diaconate, Father James Martin, SJ managed to perfectly encapsulate [...]

The Apostles’ Creed (updated version): I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, and the peaceful nature of Islam. Amen. Or, anyway, that’s how it ought to read according to Monsignor Stuart Swetland, President of Donnelly College in Kansas City. No, Msgr. Swetland didn’t actually [...]

In the midst of the prevailing bad news confronting the Catholic Church in Ireland, ranging from declining Church attendance, constitutional approval of same-sex “marriage,” diminished time allotment for religious education in national schools, and declining number of church marriages, a new controversy has developed regarding the only seminary left in the Republic of Ireland—St. Patrick’s [...]

“Father, why don’t you smile more at Mass?” It is a question that I am asked at least once every few months. The question is usually posed by a well-meaning older person while I am greeting the faithful after Mass, making every effort to prove that I am not one of the “little monsters” that [...]

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