Progressive Catholics

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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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Pokémon Go Is the Least of My Parish’s Problems

A couple weeks ago as my wife and I approached the entry doors to our parish’s “Gathering Space,” which leads to the church proper, the parish social hall, and the parish offices, we couldn’t help but notice the signs that were prominently placed on all the doors: “Please refrain from playing Pokémon Go while inside [...]

When Dialogue is a Distraction

Pope Francis has announced a commission to study the female diaconate, following through on a suggestion he made to a group of women religious a few months ago. The announcement has been met with all manner of speculation and punditry, and not a little confusion. The confusion flows from the fact that the topic was [...]

How a Small-Town Parish Disposed of Its Troublesome Priest

The story you are about to read is true. The names have been changed to protect the guilty. The innocent don’t need such protection, but there aren’t any innocent people in this tale. Some years ago, I was living in a small, mid-western town populated mostly by people whose livelihood centered on agriculture. It was [...]

On Converting for the Wrong Reasons

The last few weeks have seen the ranks of the #NeverTrump crowd dwindling somewhat as several once-staunch opponents of The Donald have concluded that, despite their myriad objections to Trump’s positions and personality, he would still be preferable to Hilary Clinton as president. Now, the dominance of the two-party system in the United States has [...]

Blaming Christianity for Islamic Terrorism

It is difficult for faithful Christians to understand why they are being blamed by some of their own religious leaders for inspiring a terrorist attack that killed 50 and wounded dozens more in a gay nightclub in Orlando. Earlier last week, Most Reverend Robert N. Lynch, the bishop of St. Petersburg, Florida, posted a statement [...]

Transgender Teachers in Catholic Schools?

On May 11, the administration of Mercy High School in San Francisco announced that a Jewish woman who was finishing up her fourth year as an English teacher at the Catholic school would now be accepted as a man and could keep her job. The Mercy Sisters who run the school offered counselors to help [...]

The Future Church That Never Was

"The Yankees," said the Hall of Fame center fielder Tris Speaker, "will regret making Babe Ruth into an outfielder." Speaker can be forgiven that colossally errant prediction. Nobody had actually done what Ruth was about to do, changing the game forever by changing the batter’s strategy, "uppercutting" the ball to produce a lot of strikeouts [...]

Buying the Right Toys from Faiths R Us

A couple of weeks ago I was staying at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., as a guest speaker for a symposium on the role of Dominicans in the life of the intellect. The eastern province is flush with vocations, as we at Providence College know well, having in recent years sent to [...]

Looking Down on Africa

No better example of a tendency of the most famous to be most quickly forgotten, is Albert Schweitzer. He lived ninety glorious years as theologian, musician, missionary, physician, and ranked at the top of each. His Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 was almost an afterthought, for by then he was what Blessed Teresa of Calcutta [...]

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