Pope John Paul II

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 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 [...]

Two Noble Ends of an Authentic Education

The Oracle of Delphi foretold countless fortunes, futures, prophecies and mysteries over many centuries and is the same ancient fount of wisdom who declared Socrates to be the wisest man in the world. A great sign above the entrance to the Temple at Delphi exhorts all who enter her sacred halls to “know thyself,” for [...]

John Paul II’s 1983 Visit to Poland: Anniversary Reflections

It was sixty years ago that the Hungarian émigré historian, John Lukacs, published his first book, The Great Powers and Eastern Europe, a masterful treatment of the subject, whose conclusion, including an elegy on the lost world he left behind, has haunted me for years.   Surveying the wreckage of that shattered and divided world, he [...]

John Paul II’s Definitive Answer to Secular Feminism

St. Paul wrote in his Letter to the Galatians (4:4): “When the time had fully come, God sent forth his son, born of woman"; “Only by the power of the Holy Spirit,” added Pope John Paul II in the apostolic letter Mulieris dignitatem, (one of his very greatest teaching documents, the twenty-fifth anniversary of which [...]

Bl. John Paul II: Shepherd on the Slopes of Mt. Carmel

It seems everyone has his own John Paul II. Even among highly committed Catholics there are many views on the lessons of his papacy. Indeed, he was pope for so long, and did so much in so many spheres, that a full account of his activities is perhaps nearly impossible, especially for those who were [...]

A Throw Away Culture in Reproductive Medicine

The “Brave New World” of genetic manipulation in reproductive medicine has arrived, and its arrival embraces the utilitarian calculation that the death of the innocent is a legitimate means to secure the health of another. Mitochondrial diseases, such as Leigh’s Syndrome and Alpers Disease are passed down from mothers to their children because offspring inherit [...]

A Case of Mistaken (Sexual) Identity

My favorite novel of mistaken identity has always been C. S. Lewis’s The Horse and His Boy. It’s the perfect fairy tale, beginning with a miserable young boy, Shasta, growing up in Calormen, treated like a slave by Arsheesh, the man who he assumes is his father. When one of the lords of Calormen, a [...]

Crisis Co-Founder Celebrates 80th Year with New Memoir

It is a small detail, but a revealing one, as the small details tend to be.  Michael Novak in the final chapter of his personable memoir tells the story of his first meeting with John Paul II.  Friends of Novak know that Wojtyła counted him as his friend too. But somewhat surprisingly they did not [...]

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