Sacraments

The Sexual Revolution Turns Ugly

How many intellectuals have come to the revolutionary party via the path of moral indignation, only to connive ultimately at terror and autocracy? ∼ Raymond Aron The Sexual Revolution is now out of control. Initially promising freedom, like all revolutions, it has entered something like its Reign of Terror phase and is devouring its own children. As with [...]

What Makes a Marriage Valid?

Marriage is a sacrament that is regulated by Church law, mainly in the Code of Canon Law of 1983. It is different from the rest of the sacraments, because what makes it valid is mainly marriage consent. A person must want to get married to his spouse, and manifest this will verbally to the priest [...]

Advice to a Young Priest

The illusion of one being perpetually young was shattered in my case recently when a publishing firm asked me to write some advice to a young priest from the perspective of an elder. For me, youth was a permanent state. I was the very youngest in my college class and, in my Anglican years, at [...]

Green Light on the Confessional

Fr. Kenneth Doyle writes one of those syndicated columns in the Catholic press that answers questions about the Church that Catholics pose. Recently, a Minnesota correspondent wrote asking about confessions during Mass. The writer recalled being told in catechism that fulfilling the precept of attending Mass required attendance at the Gospel, offertory, and Communion, but his [...]

Paganism Redeemed

Lord Dunsany has written a charming short story about two "local gods" obliged to share the same temple. Every Tuesday the priests enter the inner sanctum, praise and sacrifice to the elder idol, Chu-bu, until one day they bring a fresh-carved "usurper," Sheemish. "There is none but Chu-bu … there is also Sheemish," they intone. [...]

Some Canadian Bishops Pull Punches on Euthanasia

Euthanasia is the next front in the culture of death’s juggernaut, and Canada represents one of its biggest wins. The Supreme Court of Canada has declared an entire “right” to “physician assisted death” from protections for life in Canada’s Charter of Rights, and the incumbent government is set, with the same single-mindedness with which it defends [...]

What the Anointing of the Sick Is and Isn’t

In his article in Crisis, “The Anointing of the Healthy?,” Kevin T. DiCamillo contrasted a pre-Vatican II understanding of the sacrament of Extreme Unction with the rite now known as the Anointing of the Sick, stating that “of the seven sacraments of the Church perhaps none underwent more transformation.” Indeed, he claimed, “Extreme Unction became [...]

The Anointing of the Healthy?

At the 2004 National Catholic Deacon’s Conference in Baltimore the bishop gave a humorous address to the deacons and their wives about the difference between men and women. “Women,” His Excellency began, “when they are sick but there is still much to do, go into the bathroom, take a couple of aspirin, put a cold [...]

Advice for a Catholic Neophyte

It’s an especially happy Easter for the Lu family this year, since a near and dear relative of mine came into the Church at the Easter Vigil. Eleven years into my Catholic life, I am no longer the only Catholic in my natal family. God is good. In light of that, I’ve been reflecting on [...]

Why Lowering the Age of Confirmation Makes Sense

This past Pentecost Sunday, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver announced that the age for the reception of Confirmation would be lowered to seven. In addition, the archbishop said that he would restore the sacrament’s former place in between Baptism and First Communion. In his pastoral letter “Saints Among Us,” he explains his reasons for [...]

Rethinking the Age for Confirmation

“Let us think, each one of us: do we truly care that our children and our young ones receive Confirmation? This is important, it is important!”   ~ Pope Francis It’s a new year, and that means a new MASTER CALENDAR in the kitchen—a familiar sight in most homes with children. There’s always plenty of [...]

Rediscovering the Pleasures of Penance

Growing up Catholic at a time when everything you needed to know to save your soul was presumptively understood by everybody, there was never any excuse for those of us who fell short or missed the mark.  Having been carefully coached by legions of dedicated priests and nuns, where would the wiggle room be when [...]

The Lost Sheep

 I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.  If a man owns 100 sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the 90 and nine on the desert and go to look for the one that has wandered off and if he finds it I tell you the [...]

The Gospel According to Garry

For more than a decade, Garry Wills has been devoting much of his energy to Catholic matters.  In Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit (2000), he explained that the papacy was never intended by Jesus and that most popes have had a malign influence on the Church and the world.  In 2002 he followed with Why [...]

The Strange World of Garry Wills

These must be trying times for Garry Wills.  In 2001, he wrote a book blasting the papacy, Papal Sin:  Structures of Deceit.  But ordinary Catholics did not take up Wills’ call to turn St. Peter’s into a Congregationalist meeting house.  Instead, when John Paul II died in 2005, some 5,000,000 people came to Rome to [...]

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