Church

confessional

In the midst of moral and sacramental debates in the Church, it is easy to focus on ecclesial politics and to look there for solutions. Without denying the importance of such debates, it is also helpful to take a step back and to examine the roots of the crisis. The Church’s Cross: A Crisis of [...]

In the midst of moral and sacramental debates in the Church, it is easy to focus on ecclesial politics and to look there for solutions. Without denying the importance of such debates, it is also helpful to take a step back and to examine the roots of the crisis. The Church’s Cross: A Crisis of [...]

Following the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, in some particular churches there were published norms for its application and interpretations whereby the divorced who have attempted civil marriage with a new partner, notwithstanding the sacramental bond by which they are joined to their legitimate spouse, are admitted to the sacraments of Penance and the [...]

No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him (Jn 1:17-18). In class the other day, sensing that the attention span of my students was about to snap, I took immediate action, and suggested a Composition of Place to try and jump-start whatever lay hidden [...]

On his flight back to Rome from World Youth Day in Brazil (2013), Pope Francis speaking about the season of mercy and the Church as a mother dispensing mercy, praised the pastoral practice of the Orthodox Churches on marriage and divorce, the pastoral care for the divorced and remarried Orthodox faithful and the possibility of [...]

Euthanasia is the next front in the culture of death’s juggernaut, and Canada represents one of its biggest wins. The Supreme Court of Canada has declared an entire “right” to “physician assisted death” from protections for life in Canada’s Charter of Rights, and the incumbent government is set, with the same single-mindedness with which it defends [...]

One of the many reasons I am grateful Crisis is not a blog and that, with the exception of a few months at First Things, I have never blogged, is that columnists have editors who have many functions, chief among them as a kind of safety valve of the id. Editors catch mistakes certainly, but [...]

A recent issue of the Italian daily Avennire suggests the next possible front in the effort to accommodate the sacraments to “pastoral” problems (at least as Cardinal Walter Kasper sees them): intercommunion. The December 9 issue features a brief interview in which Kasper reflects on Pope Francis’s October 31-November 1 visit to Sweden to mark the [...]

A recent article in First Things by J.D. Flynn reflects upon Shusaku Endo’s 1966 Japanese novel Silence, now being released as a film directed by Martin Scorcese (which should tell you something). The tale follows an idealistic Jesuit missionary who, towards the end of the story, well, in Flynn's words: At its pivotal moment, Silence’s protagonist, the Jesuit missionary [...]

The aroma was transporting: the familiar smell brought me back to childhood, to being in the kitchen with my mom, as her banana cake baked in the oven, promising sweet and banana-ish goodness. To this day, the aroma of a well-made banana cake (and, you’ll allow me to aver, my mother’s was the best) brings [...]

As a cradle Catholic long accustomed to the rituals and feasts of faith, the earliest memories I have coincide, most happily, with membership in what the comedian Lenny Bruce used to call the only the Church. And so there was never a time when Christmas was not an occasion for sheer wonderment and joy, an [...]

The vocation of the Church historian and historical theologian is similar to that of the Catholic philosopher: to serve as a handmaid to theology, the queen of the sciences. Church history is distinct from secular academic history in that—as a subset of theology—it has the ability to incorporate the insights of revelation. In Church history [...]

In 1886, Pope Leo XIII added the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel to the prayers he had already ordered to be said after the Low Mass in 1884. The origin of the prayer is subject to much speculation, particularly about whether or not Leo received a locution with the voices of Jesus and the [...]

In his recently released message for the 50th World Day of Peace, Pope Francis called on humanity to adopt nonviolence as a “style of politics for peace.” Continuing a tradition inaugurated in 1968, the Holy Father began his message by painting a picture of a “broken world” in which humanity finds itself “engaged in a horrifying [...]

I blush to admit this, but there was a time when I could really get worked up about Marian dogma. In the years just before my conversion, I used to cite the Catholic affirmation of Mary’s Immaculate Conception and perpetual virginity as major obstacles to my intellectual submission. I just didn’t believe in that stuff. [...]

Catholic teaching holds that the Church is truly the Body of Christ, and that the Holy Spirit is the soul of the body, animating it and directing its actions. The Spirit of God, promised by Christ as the Advocate and Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:16-17), who descended upon the Apostles at Pentecost and [...]

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 [...]

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