martyrdom

The Sexual Revolution Turns Ugly

How many intellectuals have come to the revolutionary party via the path of moral indignation, only to connive ultimately at terror and autocracy? ∼ Raymond Aron The Sexual Revolution is now out of control. Initially promising freedom, like all revolutions, it has entered something like its Reign of Terror phase and is devouring its own children. As with [...]

While Only God is Good, Everyone Can Be Perfect

The sonorous start of Lent jolts with the reminder that man is dust and shall return to dust. It is hardly what we call news: before there were calendars and clocks or Donne’s tolling bell, Abel learned it when Cain struck him. Even the immortals of our civic pantheon and postage stamps were immortalized by [...]

All the Chatter About Silence

Silence is all the talk. And it should be. It is a stellar work of cinematography. That should come as no surprise with Scorsese as director. Then too the film touches on themes of perennial relevance. There is the drama of living the faith in unbearable circumstance, its total censure, as in the case of [...]

Scorsese’s Silence: Many Martyrs—Little Redemption

The official trailer for the newly released Martin Scorsese film Silence gives the impression this movie is about missionaries in Japan and how Catholics bravely endured persecution for the sake of the Faith. That however is not the real focus of this very disturbing movie and movie-goers should not be lured into believing they are [...]

Martyrs Know Apostasy Can Not Be Justified

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 [...]

Who Will Endure the Coming Persecution?

During the days when David was king (1010-970 BC), the leaders of the tribe of Issachar were lauded because they “were endowed with an understanding of the times and … knew what Israel had to do…” (I Chron. 13:33). Jesus rebuked the crowds for not understanding their present age: they knew how to predict the [...]

Making the Case for Martyrdom

“I expect to die in my bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history.”  ∼ Francis Cardinal George, OMI [...]

Recollections of Martyrdom in an Age of Terrorism

The most dramatic part of being a Catholic lies in our calling to be ready for martyrdom. While not all of us are called to be actual martyrs, killed out of hatred for the Faith, the headlines announcing murders by ISIS and others who hate the Church and her members remind us that we could [...]

“Nature’s Own Reliquary” 

Have you ever imagined that a person could stand inside a martyr’s reliquary? This summer I did, and you can, too, at least as long as a courageous group of Catholic lay people are able to keep Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine at Auriesville, NY, open. This shrine, which is the location of the National [...]

Priest Martyrdom a Warning to the West

On Tuesday July 26, the day after the feast day of St. James and less than two weeks after a rampaging Islamic terrorist killed 84 civilians with a truck in the south of France, Fr. Jacques Hamel was celebrating Mass in a quiet Normandy church in Sainte-Etienne-du-Rouvray. Two militants backed by ISIS burst through the [...]

The Narrowness of Martyrdom

A broad justification for martyrdom is preferable to a narrow one. A person would prefer to die for something grand, sweeping, and generally held. Perhaps world peace, or what used to be called the fellowship of man. Martyrdom is in practice narrow. When St. Thomas More died on a scaffold in Henry VIII’s kingdom, it [...]

The African Church Is the New Champion of Orthodoxy

Europe is the Faith—so Hilaire Belloc declared in 1920. Nearly a century later, the faith burns as bright as it did then, but it is Africa, not Europe, that is carrying the torch of orthodoxy. Such is the unavoidable take-away from last month’s synod on the family. With prominent Western traditionalists like Cardinal Raymond Burke [...]

Fool’s Paradise: The Appeal of Jihad

“As for the righteous, they shall surely triumph. Theirs shall be gardens and vineyards and high-bosomed maidens for companions.”  ∼ Koran 78: 31-33 According to the principle known as Occam’s razor, the best explanation of an event is usually the one that is simplest. Yet Western analysts persist in using the most convoluted hypotheses to [...]

Imitating the Saints: From Don Quixote to the Whiskey Priest

Readers should need no introduction to The Ingenious Knight Don Quixote de la Mancha. Infected with a madness focused on the bygone era of knight errantry, Don Quixote leaves home to enact a new golden age of chivalry. As Don Quixote says to his loyal squire: “Friend Sancho, I would have you know that I [...]

Lessons Drawn from the Japanese Martyrs

Christianity came to Japan in 1549. The Land of the Rising Sun must have been ready to hear the good news when St Francis Xavier first set foot on its shores. By the time he left, just two years later, there were three thousand Japanese Christians. Over the next forty years that number increased to [...]

Martyrs of Today

A visitor this past week came from Italy. Don Angelo Romano, the priest who is responsible for the church of St. Bartholomew on the Tiber Island, was passing through Chicago after giving a talk at a conference at the University of Notre Dame. The conference was entitled “Seed of the Church: telling the story of [...]

Saint Thomas More (1478-1535)

February 7 (the anniversary of his birth) It was the stubble.  That, more than anything, drew me to Saint Thomas More when I was young.  Of course, I had seen the film version of Robert Bolt’s play, A Man for All Seasons, and I enjoyed it.  You are a bad fellow if you don’t like [...]

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