David G. Bonagura Jr.

David G. Bonagura, Jr. teaches classical languages at St. Joseph’s Seminary, New York. He is the author of Steadfast in Faith: Catholicism and the Challenges of Secularism (Cluny Media).

recent articles

Abortion Induces Moral Relativism

Two elderly priests I know have offered complementary insights into our current cultural crisis: “Social engineering is preceded by verbal engineering,” and “Those who win the language wars win the culture wars.” Language carefully hones, shapes—or distorts—our culture. And, since language is our medium for comprehension, our use of language directly impacts our ability to … Read more

Religious Liberty: The Long View

Believers won the latest battle concerning the free exercise of religion in these United States. The Supreme Court again proved amicable in its 7-2 decision in American Legion v. American Humanist Association, ruling that the 40-foot Peace Cross standing on a public cemetery for nearly a century can remain, largely because it was erected in … Read more

What Will Draw the “Nones” Back to Church?

The number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation—dubbed “the Nones”—has been growing steadily for two decades. The Nones are now a slightly larger percentage of the American population than Catholics. But they are not all atheists: half say they believe in God. The problem for many of them is organized religion: over 70 percent … Read more

Evangelization and Doctrine Are Inseparable

We preach doctrine, and doctrine exists to be preached. If that sounds circular, then we understand correctly that doctrine and evangelization are two sides of the same coin. Recently announced plans for Pope Francis’s reform of the Roman Curia have produced euphoria among liberals and concern among conservatives that evangelization is being elevated over doctrine … Read more

Saving Fallen-Away Catholics with Luke Skywalker’s Help

How ought we to approach our family members and friends who have fallen away from the faith in the hopes of bringing them back? New survey data reports that, for the first time in our history, there are as many Americans with no religious affiliation as there are Catholics and Evangelicals. More significantly, of these … Read more

Is Vatican II Irrelevant Now?

Is Vatican II irrelevant now in the seventh year of Francis’s pontificate? In one respect, yes; in another, no. Neither explanation is what one might expect at first glance. Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI devoted the heart of their respective pontificates to trying to implement—or salvage, depending on one’s perspective—the teachings … Read more

Caesar’s Enduring Influence on Western Civilization

“Beware the Ides of March!” So heard Gaius Julius Caesar, Rome’s just-declared Dictator for Life, as he walked to meet the Senate on this day in 44 BC. Hours later, Caesar lay dead, murdered by a group of senators conspiring to rid Rome of his tyranny. In death Caesar became larger than life; declared a … Read more

The Times, the Abuse Crisis, and the War Against Celibacy

The New York Times has spent this past week in a less than subtle attack on clerical celibacy, insinuating it as the cause of the current crisis in the Church. On the eve of the Vatican summit on The Protection of Minors in the Church, the Times, in a panic that homosexuality will be blamed … Read more

Ad Orientem As A First Step Toward Spiritual Renewal

Pope Francis and his pontificate go on trial February 21-24 when the heads of the world’s bishops’ conferences gather for a summit on “The Protection of Minors in the Church” after the fallout from clergy sexual abuse and its episcopal cover-up. Catholics worldwide are demanding real, structural reform that will prevent such scandals from ever … Read more

Dear Bishops, Now Is the Time

Originally Published in Crisis September 2008 The statements made by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Joseph Biden on Meet the Press have provided a wonderful, even providential, opportunity to present the Church’s teaching on abortion and explain its foundational importance to Catholic moral and political teaching in general. Already many bishops have … Read more

Ash Wednesday in the Public Square

Rev. Richard John Neuhaus long wondered about the phenomenon of innumerable Catholics, pious and not, practicing and not, who throng to churches at all hours of Ash Wednesday to receive ashes on their foreheads on the first day of Lent. He was unable to pinpoint a reason why the annual ashes exceed both the Lord’s … Read more

The Pope of Unity

Sunday, April 19, 2009, marks the fourth anniversary of the election of Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI. Although he is now 82, a career theologian, and a former professor, Benedict’s pontificate has been anything but dull. His decisions have brought joy to conservatives and consternation to liberals. He has inspired young people and the … Read more

Proportional Ecumenism

The media and Catholic blogosphere continue to react in the opposing directions of joy or horror, depending on which side of the ecclesial aisle one stands, to the Vatican decree remitting the 20-year excommunications of four illicitly consecrated bishops of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). The New York Times adroitly captures the inner … Read more

Dear Bishops, Now Is the Time

The statements made by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Joseph Biden on Meet the Press have provided a wonderful, even providential, opportunity to present the Church’s teaching on abortion and explain its foundational importance to Catholic moral and political teaching in general. Already many bishops have issued clear and courageous statements correcting … Read more

Dialogue, Defined and Exemplified

Pope Benedict XVI has left America a treasure of wisdom that will take some time to unlock. Just a few of a wide variety of pearls include the relationship of freedom and truth, the primacy of human dignity and human rights, the “responsibility to protect,” the place of religion in the public square, and the … Read more

Restored Preparation

When the Christmas season concludes in mid-January with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Church begins the season known as Ordinary Time. Ordinary Time is not so named because it is dull or lacking the flare of more exciting liturgical seasons; rather, it designates time that is ordered or numbered, first through … Read more

Bread, Circuses, Nature, and Grace

The front page of the October 7 edition of the Sunday New York Times featured an article that described how certain Protestant denominations have been using Microsoft’s rapaciously popular video game Halo 3 to lure youths to church. They promise the avid youngster large screen televisions and multiple control options so he and his friends … Read more

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