Pope Benedict XVI


US Civil Rights Commission Targets Religious Liberty

On September 7, 2016, the US Commission on Civil Rights issued a report entitled Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties. The report has not received the attention it deserves. Should the next president appoint and the Senate approve judges and justices that agree with its findings, the report will serve as a playbook [...]

Pope Benedict is Still Misunderstood in Germany

In Germany, reality and media-hype are worlds apart when it comes to Pope Benedict’s latest book-length interview called Last Conversations (Letzte Gespräche) in German (and Last Testament in English). Accused of lacking tact, of wanting to interpret his own pontificate when this should be left to others, and of bashing the German hierarchy when he [...]

A Traditional Society of Priests That Practices True Mercy

If I remove the central reason for a thing to exist, it will slowly cease to exist, and even what it had will be lost. On the other hand, if I proclaim and reinforce that central reason, the thing will not only continue to exist, but will likely even increase and bear fruit in due [...]

How “Progress” Led to the Dehumanization of Man

The controversy over a Super Bowl ad for a snack chip that allegedly “humanized,” of all things, a pre-born human being highlights the deliberate rejection of reality of the “abortion rights” objectors. On its face, as others have noted, the controversy exposes the pernicious obfuscation that a fetus is nothing more than a “meaningless blob [...]

What the Magi Can Teach Us Today

In a world riven by conflict, it’s easy to forget what we owe to these three wise men that later legend describes as kings. We easily slough off the acceptance of such stories as naïve. In doing so, I suspect we lose a sense of the wonder that must have been felt by these men [...]

Skepticism: The New Established Religion

Jefferson’s wall of separation has many friends. People who grew up in a nation with a strict separation of church and state are often very proud of that system, which they consider modern, and best-suited for democratic societies today and in the future. This includes both skeptics of all (organized) religions and many religious people [...]

Benedict: “From Where Does Evil Come?”

The former students of Pope Benedict have an annual seminar (Ratzinger Schülerkreis) to think about his vast and profound intellectual accomplishments. This year’s meeting was held Castel Gandolfo. On August 30, in the Church of the Teutonic Cemetery in the Vatican, Pope Benedict gave a brief, penetrating homily in German to the group. The general [...]

When a Man Calls Himself a Chicken

Sanity becomes arguable when insanity becomes attractive. Only a sound mind can assess an unsound mind, and the traditional assessment of insanity is that it is a tragedy. The progressive diagnosis is slightly different. Some forms of insanity pertaining to human identity are now considered wholesome and admirable. This cultural stance of endorsing people who [...]

Benedict XVI and the Roots of Injustice

As 2015 rapidly surges ahead, crashing into us like the waves from Ephesians 4:14, it is tempting to simply view the state of things pragmatically—deep thinking and serious debating on the extraordinary circumstances of today’s world seems simply out of the question. While there is no shortage of opinions, the garrulous talking heads avoid any [...]

Popularity of Latin Liturgy is Not “Unfortunate”

In an article on the website Millennials, sponsored by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, William Bornhoft accuses “TLM Millennials” of hindering the new evangelization by favoring the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM). Bornhoft, a recent college graduate, makes a number of groundless assertions about TLM supporters and about the liturgical reform promulgated at the [...]

Why Benedict’s Regensburg Lecture Remains Relevant

Tragedies have a way of making time stand still. When threatened, we recede into our most primal selves; dominated by fight and flight impulses geared towards the most basic demands of the situation at hand. Objective analysis, reasoned judgment, and even emotion are swept away for an instant as we are seized by the immediacy [...]

How Christians Can Rebuild Our Culture

Editor’s note: The following essay is adapted from an address delivered August 6 at the Archdiocese of Toronto’s “Faith in the Public Square” symposium. In the beginning, Genesis tells us, “the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Gen 1:2). Creation begins in chaos. On each day of [...]

Understanding God’s Love: A Primer on Mercy and Justice

“A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross” (H. Richard Niebuhr, The Kingdom of God in America). This article addresses the question of how God is both just and merciful in the light of some insights of Pope Francis’ recent book [...]

Distinguishing Between Authentic and Heretical Ecumenism

Pope Francis’s visit with the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew in Jerusalem on May 25 elicited the familiar curiosity and hope that accompanies such gestures shared between persons of different faith traditions, in this case persons of the highest leadership and authority in their respective Churches, coming together in at least some degree of commonality and fellowship. [...]

Is God Dead? Have We Killed Him?

Nietzsche isn’t exactly the kind of guy you expect to show up in a papal encyclical. All the more so does it seem odd to refer to him as a prophet. Nonetheless, recent popes have referred to him somewhat often, using him as a referent for our current social and philosophical situation. In one of [...]

Should Pope Francis have Abandoned the Trappings of His Office?

Father Longenecker had an amusing blog last week, headlined “archbishops should live in palaces.” “I think the Pope should live in the Apostolic Palace,” he says, “and I think Archbishop Wilton [Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, who is moving out three months after moving in] should live in his brand new $2.2m home. I think [...]

Why We Need More Canon Lawyers

We’ve all known administrators who were hired to do a certain job, but when they found they couldn’t do that job, they either tried to do everyone else’s job or else tried to change the job into something else completely.  This problem is not uncommon, for example, among functionaries who do fund-raising for colleges.  They [...]

The Benedict Option: What Does It Really Mean?

 “Seeking his workman in a multitude of people, the Lord calls out to him and lifts his voice again: ‘Is there anyone here who yearns for life and desires to see good days?’” (Prologue of the Rule of St. Benedict, quoting Psalm 34:14-15). The Benedict Option—what does it really mean? In my mind, it is [...]

The Gregory Option: St. Benedict in the World

Alasdair MacIntyre’s 1981 manifesto After Virtue famously ends with the argument that we are “waiting for another St. Benedict.”  At some point, the old Roman Empire was lost.  “Men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral [...]

Romano Guardini: Father of the New Evangelization

As Benedict XVI prepared to step down from his pontificate, he offered the following words to those who feared that his resignation marked a dangerous departure from tradition:  "The Church is not an institution devised and built at table, but a living reality. She lives along the course of time by transforming Herself, like any [...]

Benedict XVI on the Christmas Readings

If your family regularly attends the evening Christmas vigil mass, on more than one occasion you may have dreaded the proclamation of the Gospel for this particularly liturgy: “Abijah the father of Asaph. Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram. Joram the father of Uzziah….” The list of names goes on [...]