sin

Is Canada Committing Cultural Suicide?

The good news is that ISIS has been defeated in Mosul and Raqqa, and may soon be driven entirely out of Iraq and Syria. The bad news is that Islamists continue to pile up victory after victory on the home front. The home front war is basically a culture war. Islamists are winning it because [...]

My Most Grievous Fault, Amended

English Catholics are by now familiar with the new translation of the first form of the penitential rite, restoring the three-fold culpa from the original Latin, "through my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault." Our sins are most definitely our fault, not God's. But the wounds that contribute to our sins are not all [...]

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 [...]

Impurity and the Felix Culpa

"Where sin has abounded, grace has abounded all the more," St. Paul assures us. Felix culpa, as we sing in the Easter Exultet. This "happy fault" refers specifically to Adam's sin, but in Christ's redemptive work, he draws good out of every sin. Accordingly, in our battle against impurity, let us stop trying to bury [...]

Discovering Our Own Sinfulness

Some people say we never hear about sin any more. Not true. It’s just that they are not the familiar sins listed in the Catechism: stealing, lying, missing Mass on Sunday—and especially nothing about sexual sin. Yet we do hear about sins all the time—in the news, on talk shows, and in every kind of [...]

Misericordiae Vultus: Mercy Without Repentance?

On the Second Sunday of Easter (April 12), Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis released his bull Misericordiae Vultus, proclaiming the coming “Jubilee Year of Mercy,” commencing on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in December. The document contains many praiseworthy passages and welcome references to traditional modes of Catholic spiritual expression. It will no doubt [...]

Being Charitable for the Right Reasons

Despite the recent upward trend in charitable giving, history suggests giving over the next several months will be comparatively low. According to the Blackbaud Index, almost one-fifth of all charitable giving is done during the month of December. This increased emphasis on charity during the latter part of the year, as well as its corresponding [...]

Misbehaving Children Need Punishment

There seems to be a lot of overlap between people who don’t believe in spanking, and people who don’t believe in sin. This is a long-standing theory of mine, but it was especially confirmed in recent weeks following the kerfuffle over NFL superstar Adrian Peterson’s severe spanking of his 4-year-old son. To be clear, I [...]

Anglicans Set to Remove Satan from Baptismal Rite

Declaring that the devil has departed from the Church of England’s baptism service, the Guardian reported on June 20 that “a simplified baptism which omits mention of the devil” is now favored by the clergy who have test-marketed it throughout the United Kingdom. Claiming that the traditional rejection of the devil and all rebellion against [...]

Will Anyone End Up In Hell?

In Robert Speaight’s The Unbroken Heart, a novel sadly neglected in the long years following its publication in 1939, a character named Arnaldo has just been told of his beloved wife’s untimely death.  His reaction, by today’s standards, seems very strange indeed.  “It does not really interest me,” he confesses, “to know by what accident [...]

Sin and Purity

I once had the misfortune to watch a television program about the economic crisis. There was some attempt being made to explain why people kept investing in schemes that really were not very sound, why they kept getting bigger mortgages than they could not afford to pay back, why they kept believing that the value [...]

The Catholic Church: Home for Sinners

Perched majestically atop courthouse buildings in almost every land, there stands the Roman goddess Justitia, armed with sword in one hand, scales in the other, exercising her fine art of giving all and sundry exactly what they deserve.  Often depicted wearing a blindfold to emphasize the pure impartiality of her judgments, one cannot help but [...]

Advice for Preachers on Sin and Satan

I once knew a pastor whose homilies were so awful, so bone crushingly boring, that I’d swear he composed them in the time it took us to sit down after he’d finished reading the Gospel.  In other words, three seconds flat. But while they may have been a tad bit thin theologically, they were always [...]

The Blessings of Sin

When asked once about a sermon he’d just heard, the legendarily laconic Calvin Coolidge managed to summarize its theme in a single word:  “Sin.”   Pressed for details concerning the preacher’s views on the subject, President Coolidge added four more:  “He was against it.”  Where Coolidge himself stood on the matter, the record does not show.  [...]

Awaiting the Fire’s Fall: Pentecost in Art & History

Not since the impacted savageries of the late 8th century, when Viking raiding parties ravaged the coast of England, can anything compare to the protracted destruction wrought by the German Air Force during the Battle of Britain.  Between September of 1940 and May of 1941, countless incendiary bombs fell upon that brave island race.  A [...]

Love the Sinner

On the forest floor, half covered in withered leaves, lay the naked body of a child, a young girl. Her short dark hair reached just to her shoulders; her face was obscured with leaves. In her childish breast there was a small, curiously shaped triangular wound, livid against the white, translucent skin. It was a [...]

Running From Hell: Thoughts on Love and Sin

Running from hell is a lousy way to approach God. This seemed to be the consensus of many post-Vatican II Catholics who saw the pre-Vatican II era as a generation beholden to the fear of sin and subject to rules drawing sharp lines over which a good Catholic did not cross. As a high school [...]

Temperance: The Sixth Lively Virtue

Temperance, alas, is a virtue with a bad reputation.  It calls to mind photographs of the flint-jawed Carry Nation, crusading against alcohol, until finally her cause carried the day and Prohibition, speakeasies, bootlegging, and organized crime swept the land. I’m not being quite fair to that old temperance movement.  Drunkenness was a scourge for a [...]

Liberality: The Fifth Lively Virtue

When Jesus first sent forth his disciples to preach that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand, he did not advise them to take provisions.  “Heal the sick,” he said, “cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”  They had, in Jesus, entered into a relationship of giving.  [...]

Zeal: The Fourth Lively Virtue

When Dante and Virgil enter the fourth ring of the winding path up Purgatory Mountain, they meet a band of souls weeping and racing at once, “galloping for good will and righteous love.”  Before they can ask a single question, they hear these heartening words: “Come on, come on, don’t let time slip away for [...]

Sin and the Decent Chap

A lot of people are mad about the new translation of the Mass. For my part, I have always had a phobia of debates about liturgical arcana, which somehow seem to sap the vitality of my liturgical fervor as fast as you can say Summorum Pontificum, and I will not pronounce on the goodness or [...]

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