Church

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 [...]

Larry Doyle’s “Jesus-Eating Cult”

The reaction of Catholic leaders to Larry Doyle’s recent satiric piece at HuffPo, “The Jesus-Eating Cult of Rick Santorum,” has been exactly the wrong reaction.  We have taken offense, demanded apologies of Arianna Huffington, and asked that we please not be exposed through satire to the virulently-anti Catholic opinions of the Church’s opponents.  Doyle’s piece, [...]

False Premises

Earlier this month in a Catholic Exchange piece I said that those in support of the HHS mandate think that the Catholic position prohibiting contraception is irrational; I failed to mention that they also think the prohibition is immoral. This is why, in addition to focusing primarily on religious freedom, we must also directly address contraception. I [...]

The Coming Age of the Laity

To win the culture war, the Church is going to have to break a lot of bad habits. And old habits die hard. A new generation of bishops now recognize the perils of allying with the American government that Pope Leo XIII warned against a century ago.

From the Beginning: The Father and the Son

Our civilization is full of thinkers who have claimed to know the Father without Christ. Likewise, we find those who claim the Son can be known by study or by philosophy. He does not “reveal” anything but a visionary, a carpenter, a zealot, a revolutionary. What Irenaeus tells us is that getting it right is important for our very well-being.

Jean-Baptiste Lamy, the Apostle of Santa Fe

The man chosen by Blessed Pius IX to restore the Faith to the troubled American Southwest was the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Lamy, who died on the 13th of February in the year of Grace 1888.

Hagia Sophia is No Lady

The primary use of sexual metaphors in Christianity is to convey the balance of activity and passivity, initiative and response, between the Lord and a human soul. We call the Church the “bride” of Christ, and Jesus the “bridegroom” of the soul precisely because of what these terms convey to psychologically normal people...

The Spirit of Metroplex II

There are many good arguments against quickly convening a Third Vatican Council—a notion beloved of Catholics who occupy the portside cabins on the Barque of Peter. The most obvious is that Catholicism has barely begun to digest the teaching of Vatican II on the nature of the Church, the universal call to holiness, and the [...]

Picking up the Broadsword

It was only in 1991 that the truth sank in to me: I am probably not going to die in a nuclear war. It’s conceivable I might have grandchildren. The magnificent City of New York, from the stained glass of St. Vincent Ferrer to the Art Deco gargoyles of the Chrysler Building, would not certainly [...]

The Church that Converted Khans

The Assyrian Church of the East, an apostolic Church found primarily in Iraq today, cannot boast of any attraction as spectacular as the Ark of the Covenant, the pride of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. However, it does boast The Book of Protection, a collection of prayers and charms that they say the angels gave [...]

Obama Sandbags the Archbishop

  At the end of Sunday mass at the church this writer attends in Washington, D.C., the pastor asked the congregation to remain for a few minutes. Then, on the instructions of Cardinal Archbishop Donald Wuerl, the pastor proceeded to read a letter. In the letter, the Church denounced the Obama administration for ordering all [...]

Of Peyote and “Humanae Vitae”

Religious liberty is at a crossroads in America. On one side are the forces of secularism, who think that religions, like children, are best seen and not heard (and, in truth, not even seen that much).  States like Illinois, California, and New York have been passing laws aimed directly at the ability of religious social-service [...]

Why Catholics Like Einstein

This article originally appeared in the March 1996 edition of Crisis Magazine. Science is mankind's great success story since the Renaissance. Only the most obdurate Luddite can regret the computer chip, the Hubble telescope, and the heart bypass. But these material triumphs have come at a philosophical cost. The scientific method has been so successful [...]

Keepers of the Lost Ark

There are many worthy pilgrimage sites all over the world, but none can boast of anything approaching the Church of Ethiopia’s singular claim to fame: the Ark of the Covenant. Ethiopian Christians maintain that the Ark, the portable shrine holding the stone tablets of the original Ten Commandments that were written atop Mount Sinai by [...]

Some New Church Music That Isn’t Sickening

The music you hear in a family’s household says a great deal about that family. For instance, if all they ever play is the shallow, repetitive stuff that gets churned out of the modern pop music machine then they deprive themselves of the richness and depth that God intended when he gave us the gift [...]

The Other Successors of Peter: The Patriarchs of Antioch

Gregory III Laham, the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, has joked that if the Apostle Peter had just stayed put, he himself would be the earthly head of the Catholic Church today. For tradition has it that St. Peter headed the Church of Antioch, where “the disciples were first called Christians” (Acts 11:26), for [...]

To Follow the “Way of Beauty”

In 1999, Pope John Paul II wrote a Letter to Artists. In this he called for a “new epiphany of beauty” and for a “renewed relationship between Church and culture” in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council. A “new epiphany” will not just happen by itself.  This article aims to set out a basis [...]

Ranking the “Top Ten” Popes

Ten Popes Who Shook the World by Eamon Duffy, Yale University Press, 136 pages, $25   Eamon Duffy is an eminent scholar of the English Reformation and Professor of the History of Christianity at Cambridge University. In a succinct volume, Ten Popes Who Shook  the World, he explains how each of these popes met the [...]

Decentralizing the Church?

The following review originally appeared in the March 2000 edition of Crisis Magazine. The Reform of the Papacy: The Costly Call to Christian Unity John R. Quinn, The Crossroad Publishing Company, 189 pages, $18.00. The new year brought ugly news from Beijing. Chilling what had begun to look like a thaw in Vatican-China relations, the [...]

“Happy” Birthday, Sex Scandal

As of today, ten years have passed since the Boston archdiocese was engulfed in scandal, as the result of investigative reporting by the Boston Globe. Today the faithful in Boston are still struggling to shake off the lingering effects of that scandal. But a full recovery is delayed because of two popular misconceptions, which should [...]

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