Progressive Catholics

The Day the Music Died

One day, out of curiosity, I Googled “symphony orchestras in the Muslim world.” The results were rather dismal. One site—“About Symphony Orchestras in the Arab World”—contained the following (badly translated) information: Symphony of Saudi Arabia: “Non-existent…” The Orchestra of Emirate of Qatar: “This orchestra has no clear identity…100% of foreign elements” [i.e., none of the [...]

Chaplains to the Zeitgeist

Recently, La Civilta Cattolica ran an article by that journal’s editor-in-chief, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, and by Marcelo Figueroa, the Argentinian Presbyterian minister chosen by Pope Francis to be the editor of the Argentinean edition of L’Osservatore Romano, which subsequently republished the article. Since articles in La Civilta Cattolica are vetted by the Vatican secretary of [...]

The True Ecumenism Spadaro and Figueroa Missed

Jesuit Antonio Spadaro and Protestant Marcelo Figueroa recently published what can only be described as a diatribe against my friends and me. It was highly personal because it was directed right at a coalition of believers who have banded together to advance what a previous pope referred to as a Culture of Life. The column [...]

Orthophobia and the Marginalized QTBGL Catholic

As I survey the current state of the Catholic Church, I believe I can no longer hold back. It is time for me to come out. I am and have for some time identified as a member of the QTBGL community, and I need to explain why I call myself a QTBGL Catholic. For those [...]

Fr. Martin’s Grammar Problem

Sometimes I think all that is needed is a good course on grammar. At least, that is my first thought in reading an article about Fr. James Martin and his book Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter Into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity. (Fr. Martin recently [...]

Fr. Jim Martin “Canonizes” Sr. Jeannine Gramick

When I think of a holy hero who speaks with authority, who reflects my beliefs and values, I think of Pope St. John Paul II, worthy of canonization. When Fr. James Martin, S.J., who was out hawking his new book Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship [...]

The Problem of Catholic Pretenders

Catholics always have been taught that the word “catholic” means “universal,” and arguably one of the hallmarks of the Catholic faith is that it recognizes no borders; while there are many rites, of which the Latin is the predominant one, there is one truth, one set of dogma. As I consider this from St. Louis, [...]

New Book’s “Sexual Reality” Bursts LGBT Catholic Bubble

Writer Dan Mattson has bequeathed a lasting treasure to the Church, a spiritual masterpiece titled Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay: How I Reclaimed My Sexual Reality and Found Peace. Might this be over-effusive praise for a book that’s only about homosexuality and identity labels? Not quite. That would be like saying St. Augustine’s Confessions was [...]

The Gospel According to Jim

"I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by grace for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other [...]

When “Accompaniment” Never Names Sin

Here’s a little thought experiment to start your day: Imagine you woke up one morning last week and read this headline in your local Catholic newspaper: “Bishop John Smith Leads Prayer at Contra Catholic Gathering.” In this imagined universe, you’ve heard of these “Contra Catholics”—these are fellow Catholics who have publicly “come out” as using [...]

Debate Continues Over Amoris Laetitia

The ambiguities of Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, continue to provoke a lively debate even as we pass its one-year anniversary. Allies of the pope marked the event by rallying to his support as they beseeched the faithful to contemplate this maligned papal document. On the other side of the ledger, orthodox theologians continue [...]

Is Anyone Catholic Anymore?

God is the Most Real Being, so our religion is about what we accept as most real. It’s our basic understanding of the world, to which all our other views must accommodate themselves. That’s a problem. To all appearances, Catholics have pretty much the same basic understandings as other people. Otherwise, our thoughts and actions [...]

Another Progressive Academic Gets Scripture Wrong

Scholarship, like cooking, is as much a function of what one leaves out as much as what one puts in. Luke Timothy Johnson’s recent Commonweal  essay on Scripture and trans-sexual issues is a case-in-point: what he chose to de-emphasize is as important (I would argue even more so) that what he emphasizes. Johnson seeks to [...]

The Thing That Used to be Catholic Apologetics

One of the many reasons I am grateful Crisis is not a blog and that, with the exception of a few months at First Things, I have never blogged, is that columnists have editors who have many functions, chief among them as a kind of safety valve of the id. Editors catch mistakes certainly, but [...]

The “Concern”

A relative recently wrote an e-mail to me in which he made the following off-handed comment: “What do you think of the pope’s recent course change on abortion?” Now, unless I missed something, on this subject the pope has not changed anything. He has, no doubt, indicated that he wanted to downplay its relative importance [...]

Beware of Candidates Who Define Catholicism For Us

Though he has local roots in the Kansas City area, I have never met vice presidential candidate, Senator Tim Kaine. From those who do know him, I understand that he is a very affable and likable person. In the Oct. 4 vice presidential debate, Senator Kaine acknowledged he was blessed with great Irish Catholic parents [...]

Why America Has It Wrong About Homosexuality

The Jesuit magazine America carries an editorial in its current issue titled “Unjust Discrimination.” The editorial refers to the alleged injustice committed by church officials when they dismiss employees who formally enter into same-gender civil "marriages." The editorial argues that the Church should not automatically dismiss but rather dismiss only when there was an instance [...]

What Real Church Reform Looks Like

During my first tentative explorations into Catholicism, some Protestant friends pointed out examples of “bad Catholics” in their attempts to dissuade me from swimming the Tiber. The type is well-represented in literature, of course, including the “here comes everybody” of James Joyce, the Flyte’s of Brideshead Revisited or Crouchback’s of Sword of Honor, and many [...]

How Catholic is Kaine?

A recent flattering article in the New Yorker describes Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's vice-presidential running mate, as a "devout Roman Catholic." Not only that, but the paean proceeds to declare that the pious senator "is more comfortable quoting Scripture than any Democrat to reach the level of Presidential politics since Jimmy Carter." There is more: [...]

What Will You Do When the Persecution Comes?

I know there are plenty of Catholics who are, in one way or another, looking forward to the relentless institutional persecution that is coming our way unless we surrender the One Thing Needful to the secular left, and that is the family-destroying and state-feeding beast called the Sexual Revolution, with its seven heads and ten [...]

When We Subordinate Our Christian Principles

“I die in the Catholic Apostolic and Roman religion, that of my fathers, that in which I was brought up, and which I have always professed” wrote Queen Marie Antoinette in the early morning hours before her execution on October 16, 1793. She penned these words in her final letter, written to her sister-in-law Princess [...]

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