Church

LA Times_Watts Riots

Black Crime and White Flight

The recent events in Ferguson, MO, in which a “gentle giant” was shot and killed after assaulting a policeman, leading to demonstrations and riots, brought back to me memories of the August 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles, which likewise developed in the aftermath of assaults on a policeman after a young black man was [...]

A Herd of Hookers

That’s what you do in a herd: you look out for each other.  ~ Manny the mammoth “Did he just say what I think he said?” The radio was on as background noise—I can’t remember if I was at my desk or driving somewhere. NPR’s Frank Langfitt was talking about money laundering in Macau, and [...]

Christian Witness and America’s Birthday

In his great biography of Benjamin Franklin, Walter Isaacson noted that Franklin donated money to “the building funds of each and every sect in Philadelphia.” For Franklin and his founding brothers, religion promoted the civic virtue essential to sustaining the republican model of government.  Franklin was a deist throughout his life.  But he understood, nonetheless, [...]

The Real Significance of the Crusades

Sometimes the story goes like this: The Catholic Church attacked the Holy Land in 1095 and relations between Christians and Muslims have been poisoned ever since. This simplistic interpretation is not only false, it misses the real significance of the Crusades. They reacquainted Europe with her past, helped bring her out of the so-called Dark [...]

Where Do We Go From Here?

 "The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free."  —President Barack Obama, June 26, 2013  "I will tell you that I don't believe [...]

St. Peter and St. Paul, the Fathers of Great Rome

 Peter and Paul, the Fathers of great Rome, Now sitting in the Senate of the skies, One by the cross, the other by the sword, Sent to their thrones on high, to Life’s eternal prize. Elpis, the wife of Boethius, sings the praises of St. Peter and St. Paul in her Latin poem, Decora lux [...]

The Key to the Bastille: Learning from the Past with Benedict XVI

“Show me what a man remembers of his past,” the late Fritz Wilhelmsen once said, “and I will tell you what kind of man he is.”  Like Friedrich Nietzsche, Wilhelmsen was inclined to bold affirmation and even bolder denial, and was wont to frame his statements in the irrefragable terminology of metaphysics. The gallant Thomist [...]

Liberal Catholicism: Requiescat in Pace

With the dust settling on the uproar which followed the Vatican’s April intervention into the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), it’s possible to put this and other emerging trends into a longer-term perspective. The blustering reaction of the LCWR and supporters such as the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof (whose grasp of rudimentary Catholic [...]

Roger Williams and The Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty

The role of individual conscience and religion in American society has been debated since the arrival of the first English settlers. The original intent of the Puritans was to establish a theocracy in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. John Winthrop, its first governor (1588-1649) envisioned it to be a “city on a hill.” Roger Williams (1603-83), [...]

Catholic Schools: Toeing the Party Line

Robbed of much of their vitality by the violent implosion in religious orders, especially those devoted to teaching the young, over the past fifty years, our Catholic schools have struggled to stay alive - and many have closed their doors forever. Those that remain retain but a shell of their former orthodoxy. Prior to 1960 [...]

The Speed of Change in the Republic of Rights

“I grew up in Kansas. When I began my book Render Unto Caesar in 2006, I had in my mind the America I always knew—or thought I knew. But that America, I admit, has been passing for fifty years, and probably longer.” —Charles Chaput, September 2010 The Catholic thinkers, in the past century or so, [...]

Lawless Christians

We consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law. –Rom. 3:28 We have believed in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. –Gal. 2:16 In November, 2008, [...]

Our National Pride

“I’m proud to be an American.” Those words are more than the refrain of a country-western song. This sentiment encompasses both reflection on our past and national aspiration. We look back on our history and see things we can be proud of as a nation, and we look forward to dream of pride in what [...]

Hope: When A Loved One Dies in Sin

My mother died at age 27. She left a grieving husband and three little children: myself, age six, and my younger sister and brother, ages four and two, respectively. I remember my mother well, her death from pneumonia the day after Christmas 1934, and her funeral, the first I ever attended. I remember too my [...]

Because She’s a Kennedy

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend—yes, one of the Kennedys—recently wrote an inspired piece of moral theology in The Atlantic. And we should all take note. Fresh off a rally with New Ways Ministry, the Maryland-based group of Catholics who promote a “gay positive” view, Townsend felt moved to weigh in on the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. And [...]

Authority and Its Discontents

The Church’s response to the ObamaCare Mandate calls to mind this journal’s original name, Catholicism in Crisis. Today the Church confronts a crisis – “an invasion of our religious freedom,” Donald Cardinal Wuerl calls it -- and the outcome is far from certain. The Mandate is only one in a flood of attacks that will [...]

Bring Me The Head of Maria Stuarda

The thought of a new book, from a proverbially establishmentarian imprint, on Elizabeth I’s spymaster is not one that immediately gladdens the heart. Anyone who has actually been expected to spend time in modern England – rather than simply viewing it through a Downton-Abbey-generated haze – knows perfectly well that English anti-Catholicism has reached during [...]

Cardinal Dolan and the New Evangelization

The irrepressibly effervescent personality of Cardinal Timothy Dolan may tempt some to think of the archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as the latest in a line of glad-handing Irish-American prelates, long on blarney and short on depth. Succumbing to that temptation would be a very serious mistake. [...]

The Age of the Laity…or the Latte?

So what will it be? A grande Latte... or Western Civilization? A scone with that... or the meat of doctrine? An extra shot of espresso… or the survival of families? A Moccachino... or the Mystical Body of Christ? Today, the price is the same.  Tomorrow the terms change.  Tomorrow there may be silence, apart from the [...]

Rick Santorum and the Kingship of Christ, Part Two

This second part of this series treats the experience of Roman Catholics during the Founding era, since this period establishes the particular milieu in which American political rhetoric was forged and continues to find its orientation.

The Irrational Beauty of Conversion

The world is spiraling out of control. It has been, in fact, since its pinnacle eight hundred years ago, but today it seems that any minute now, we’ll hurtle off kilter. The HHS Mandate threatens the religious freedom of all people, not just Catholics. Abortion is rampant. Gay marriage was just approved in Maryland (the [...]

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