Pope Pius XII

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What Catholics Can Learn About Islam from a Former Muslim

Many Catholics look upon Islam as an ally in the struggle against militant secularism. Since Muslims are opposed to permissiveness, pornography, same-sex “marriage,” and other aspects of the secularist agenda, many Catholics assume that they must share similar values about marriage and sexuality. But this is not the case. The Islamic emphasis on modesty and [...]

Procreation: Still the Primary End of Marriage

“The primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of children; its secondary end is mutual help and the allaying of concupiscence.” (Canon 1013, 1917 Code of Canon Law) Anyone familiar with the history of contraception and the Church in the 1960s will know the name of John T. Noonan. His singular 1965 work [...]

Another In Vitro Fertilization “Oops…”

The December 28 New York Times reported another “oops!” in vitro fertilization (IVF) moment. A technician in Utrecht may have mixed up sperm used to fertilize eggs, leading to the members of 26 couples perhaps not being the parents of the babies they contracted to produce. I admit that last sentence is a bit awkward: [...]

The Plot to Kill Hitler and the Vindication of Pius XII

During the debates leading up to the 1983 pastoral letter of the bishops of the United States on nuclear weapons, “The Challenge of Peace,” the great churchman Archbishop Philip Hannan of New Orleans said that many of the bishops were uninformed. I paraphrase, because the archbishop himself used much more colorful language, honed by years of [...]

Painting Catholicism with a Fascist Brush

David I. Kertzer’s Mussolini and the Pope illustrates the mindset that led me to write a book on antifascist obsessions. If we accept the axiom that no form of anti-fascist enthusiasm goes unrewarded, then it is understandable why Kertzer, a history professor at Brown University, received a Pulitzer Prize for his latest book—and the additional honor [...]

A Farewell to Arms and Gary Cooper’s Personal High Noon

This month in London saw the re-release of A Farewell to Arms. The digitally restored classic is part of a series of movie releases marking the anniversary of the Great War. Its source is Ernest Hemingway’s eponymous novel, published just three years prior to the film’s original 1932 release. The book is loosely based on [...]

The Shepherd’s Dilemma: Speaking Out Against Islamic Terror

 “Say too little and people will be killed; say too much and people will be killed.” I don’t remember the source of the quotation, but it succinctly captures the dilemma that world leaders face in deciding how to respond to Islamic violence. Catholic leaders face the same dilemma. When Muslims murder in the name of [...]

To Defeat Caesar Requires the Armor of Christ

The current situation in which American Catholics find themselves at sword’s point with a government bent on imposing an agenda hostile to both human life and religious liberty, puts me in mind of a similar dust-up forty some years ago.  The year was 1970, Paul VI was on the chair of St. Peter, and the [...]

Hanging Concentrates the Mind

Capital punishment does not inspire roaring humor in healthy minds, so wit on the subject tends to be sardonic.  Two of the most famous examples, of course, are: “In this country it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others,”  and "Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows [...]

The Tragic Heroism of Pope Pius XII

There are commentators on the sports channels whose numbing dialogues would never be confused with the Algonquin Round Table.  These are the so-called Monday Morning Quarterbacks. Some historians quarterback that way.  Pope Pius XII, hailed in his lifetime as a protector of persecuted people, has suffered  in reputation from lax minds who never exercised themselves [...]

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