Pope John Paul II

Emile Signot_S. Luigi IX (1839)

The “Strong Money” of Good King Saint Louis

Speaking with a friend recently, we chanced to talk about money and coins. He is a coin collector and had just visited a coin shop nearby. I mentioned my own studies of medieval economy and its coinage. Much to my surprise and delight, he reached into his inner coat pocket and pulled out a gros [...]

St. John Paul II: No Mercy Without Truth

Mercy featured prominently in the polemics surrounding the recently concluded Synod on the Family. Mercy was frequently counterpoised to dogma as an appeal to dilute ecclesiastical practice, and admit to Holy Communion those who are now “remarried.” Cardinal Kasper went so far as to publish a book between the 2014 and 2015 Synod sessions: Mercy: The [...]

How Wojtyla Might Have Answered Cupich on Conscience

In September 1953, a group of 20-somethings and their young parish priest embarked on the first of what would be 26 annual kayaking trips into the wilderness near where they all lived and worked, taking time away from normal life to enjoy the water, the wilderness, and, most of all, a prayerful retreat with each other. This group—Środowisko, as [...]

Saint John Paul II and Cardinal Kasper on Mercy and Holiness

With the Year of Mercy just around the corner, it is fitting to return to what is perhaps the greatest explication of the doctrine of mercy in recent years, that of Pope, now Saint, John Paul II in his encyclical Dives in Misericordia. Like Pope John Paul II before him, Pope Francis has made mercy [...]

A Primer on Authentic Ecumenism

"Above all, it is necessary to recognize the unity that already exists." ~ John Paul II There’s a 7-Eleven across the street and down a couple blocks from where I teach—Bethel College in Mishawaka. I often go there for an afternoon caffeine boost. I could walk, but if I’m pressed for time (or it’s winter), I’ll jump [...]

Of Saints, Suffering, and Scleroderma

In my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions (Col. 1.24). “Hello, Faddah!” I’m guessing it was probably the first time Pope John Paul II heard that one in the Vatican’s audience hall. It was my sister, Adeline, who was visiting Rome with my mom and dad many years ago. None of them were Catholic at [...]

To Restore a Culture of Life, Reclaim the Body

New York Times columnist David Brooks recently noted the visceral kind of cringe we experience when we hear that ISIS jihadis have decapitated yet another person. Brooks adeptly explained that the thought of a person’s head torn away from the rest of him triggers horror precisely because of its bold irreverence toward the human form. [...]

Re-Reading Love and Responsibility

Someone presumptuous enough to recommend some readings for those attending the 2015 Synod on the Family could undoubtedly put together an impressive list of books on marriage and sexual morality. Arguably, at the top of any such list belongs Karol Wojtyla’s classic work called Love and Responsibility. An appreciation of marriage as an indissoluble conjugal [...]

A Note on Our Modern Celebrity Papacy

I’m getting a little tired of people asking me whether I “like” Pope Francis. I don’t want to be too sensitive here. But why are my personal feelings about the Holy Father so very important? Jane Fonda, Elton John and Patti Smith all apparently love Pope Francis. Does that really tell us anything significant? Maybe [...]

What Hierarchy Really Means

What is Pope Francis doing, with his gestures, interviews, and wild synods? To understand this pope, we first need to understand the papacy. To do that, let us consider two versions of what “hierarchy” means. In the first version, hierarchy simply means authority. Hierarchy means that the Pope is the main guy in the universal [...]

Ecumenism, Rightly Understood

In Tyler Blanski’s recent Crisis article titled “Did the Synod Endorse ‘Lifestyle Ecumenism’?,” he claims that “ecumenists are pluralists when it comes to truth.” In other words, they are relativists, searching for unity without truth. Essentially, Blanski claims that this is “what ecumenism [as such] really is.” The question here isn’t whether ecumenism is sometimes [...]

Media Bias Over Papal Canonizations

The satisfaction and indeed joy that Catholics can derive from the double canonization of Pope-Saints John XXIII and John Paul II cannot be significantly compromised by the objections that some have raised with respect to the Church's action elevating the two of them to the honor of her altars. Still, it was disconcerting, for example, [...]

Oh, White Lady: Faith as a Struggle

Faith has always been a struggle for me. Indeed, throughout my forty-six years of life, very rarely have I ever felt comfortable for any stretch of time with my religion or my religious practices. I readily and rather gleefully abandoned almost any faith and religious observance during my teenage years. I’m not totally sure what [...]

St. John Paul II and the Future of Ukraine

With Divine Providence, nothing is left to chance. On the Sunday of Divine Mercy, the Universal Church recognized what God had already ordained—solemnly declaring Pope John Paul II a saint. Almost twenty-four years earlier, this nascent saint made it possible for my future wife and I to meet in the Eternal City. It was to [...]

John Paul II Set the Barque Back on Course

Why was Pope John Paul canonized this past Sunday not alone but together with Pope John? There is a very good answer to this question: but it is not the one generally being touted by the liberal press, Catholic or secular. Here, for instance, is the often sensible John L Allen, writing in the National [...]

Are Canonizations Based on Papal Infallibility?

A few days previously Catholic Family News published an interview with Italian professor Roberto de Mattei.  The subject of the interview, which one should certainly read before perusing my own thoughts, is on the subject of the upcoming canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II.  In particular, de Mattei discusses his concerns regarding [...]

Victory for Life in Colorado

 “It is from the blood of Christ that all draw the strength to commit themselves to promoting life.” — Blessed John Paul II (1995) John Paul’s statement was borne out in a poignant way this week, as men and women across my state, Colorado, spent Holy Week praying and fasting in response to a legislative [...]

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 [...]

What Does it Profit a Catholic Politician to Endorse Contraception?

Sometimes pro-life leaders must disagree, as when I read in these pages an expiatory article about Barbara Comstock by Austin Ruse, followed by an endorsement of her candidacy for the U.S. Congress. My difficulty with Comstock, a candidate for the Republican nomination for Virginia’s 10th congressional district, is that she has, in her own words, [...]

Sorry USA Today, Evolution Isn’t “Settled” Science

It's official, ladies and gentlemen! The Theory of Evolution via Natural Selection is no longer a "theory"; it's confirmed science! At least, that's what USA Today would have us think anyway.  In a column entitled "Evolution is Not a Matter of Belief," Tom Krattenmaker proclaims, “As settled science, evolution is not a matter of opinion [...]

Sacrificing Religious Life on the Altar of Egalitarianism

Young Catholics are spurning religious life.  According to the Official Catholic Directory, there were only 1,853 seminarians studying for American religious orders in 2011.  That’s less than half the number of religious seminarians that were studying in 1980 (4,674), and less than one tenth the number that were studying in 1965 (22,230), according to Kenneth [...]