Catholic Living

There is an unprecedented crisis in our cities, yet most are not aware of it. It does not affect residents nor shoppers in our tony neighborhoods. In working-class neighborhoods some see it as a concern, but they are a minority. What is this crisis? In dioceses across the country, including Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, and New [...]

There is an unprecedented crisis in our cities, yet most are not aware of it. It does not affect residents nor shoppers in our tony neighborhoods. In working-class neighborhoods some see it as a concern, but they are a minority. What is this crisis? In dioceses across the country, including Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, and New [...]

At the very end of Evelyn Waugh’s novel on the finding of the True Cross, Helena, he writes a paean to the Magi in the form of a prayer: You are especial patrons, and patrons of all latecomers, of all who have a tedious journey to make to the truth, of all who are confused [...]

The story of the rich man and Lazarus is more than a bracing reminder about our duty to the poor; it is a cautionary tale about misjudging our spiritual condition. In Jesus’s day, material wealth and well-being were commonly assumed to be divine blessings for personal righteousness: the rich were rich because of their moral [...]

“A wind there was, rude and boisterous, that shook the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the [...]

January 1, 2018, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, falls on a Monday. Because it falls on a Monday it ceases, according to norms the American bishops adopted in 1992, to be a holy day of obligation. The Code of Canon Law contains ten holydays of obligation but allows local conferences of bishops to [...]

Eight octave days, culminating in a New Year. Twelve days before Epiphany. Forty days until the Presentation. This is how we count the days of Christmas. The octave and forty days are biblical, prescribed by the Mosaic Law for Circumcision and the dedication in the Temple of a male who opens his mother’s womb. Through [...]

Just in time for Christmas 2017, the Pew Research Center released the results of a survey that found that 56 percent of Americans believe that the "religious parts of Christmas" are emphasized less in the United States today than they were in the past. It's hard to argue otherwise: Even many of those who have [...]

On March 25, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation, commemorating the moment when Gabriel brought Mary the divine invitation to bear the Savior. Mary's fiat allowed the Holy Spirit to overshadow her, and bring about the conception of Jesus. Now, at Christmas, nine months later, the work begun in Mary comes to its [...]

When I was attending Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas—the precise year and semester, I have forgotten—I met the first opposition to Santa Claus. I had known that there were people who did not believe in the “Christmas Man”; my parents had explained to me that such people did exist in the world. But the opposition [...]

And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. And all that heard, wondered: and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these [...]

Emmanuel Has Come

Throughout my life I’ve had more discussions with people about God than I dare count. Most conversations are with believers who accept him despite their lack of proof; others with skeptics who reject him, or throw up their hands in uncertainty, because they deem the evidence contrary or inconclusive. When I've asked what would seal [...]

It’s a small miracle, in our present moment of pronounced decline, that any new Catholic eventually arrives at the destination of robust orthodoxy, fervent spirituality, and luminous sanctity. Recent polls confirm this assertion in disclosing the widespread heterodox beliefs and practices of American Catholics: 65 percent believe that employers who have a religious objection to [...]

Joy and the Rosary

In this season of the Church calendar the Rosary should loom large for every Catholic. Nativity imagery will abound at all churches depicting the birth of Christ in the manger. But the importance of Mary within the story of the incarnation of Christ is something that is deeply important which is, of course, captured through [...]

Over seventy years ago, C.S. Lewis disclosed a mysterious correspondence that became known as The Screwtape Letters, consisting of instructions to a novice demon from his netherworld mentor. What follows is a newly discovered document that bears eerie similarity: Dear Swillpit, It’s that time of year again! The weeks—no, months—of preparations for the Event reached [...]

A writer can learn a lot from people who comment on his writings. My Thanksgiving Day piece on the “Secular Puritan Covenant” elicited one reader’s opinion that we should celebrate a “Native Americans’ Day” to celebrate the contributions they made and the experiences they suffered during the settlement of North America. I initially demurred, noting that [...]

Question: What do the push to admit those with irregular marriages to communion, the effort by Fr. James Martin to bless same-sex relationships, and the movie Silence have in common? Answer: They all assume that the demands of Christianity are too hard for ordinary people to live out. In the movie Silence, which is based [...]

After Polish Catholics lined the country’s 2,000-mile border to pray the “Rosary to the Borders,” Poland made another headline last week: Poland’s Sejm (lower house of Poland’s parliament) voted last week to phase out shopping on Sundays by 2020. The idea behind the bill is to allow Poles to spend more time with their families [...]

All God Asks

Ronald Knox once said, “He who travels in the barque of St. Peter had better not look too closely into the engine room.” In case you’ve been living under a rock the last five, ten, fifty years, the barque has been going through some heavy seas. Some would say we’re with Columbus sailing to a [...]

Invisible, odorless, and deadly, carbon monoxide clericalism is less a power-trip than a survival mechanism that proves counter-productive. Simply describing it is the first step toward prevention or cure. Then let us all pray for a serious intervention of the Holy Spirit, for without the reform of the priesthood, it is difficult, if not impossible, to renew [...]

Usually I don’t bother with pieces about “the first (y) (x),” where y = special interest group and x = profession. They always drip with a smugness that I, who looked up to the Jafar character as a child, find nauseating. The bien pensant journalist always seems pleasantly surprised their pet minorities have risen to [...]

Our Pining for Home

Downtown, early morning, all alone. Ten stories up, staring across the Hudson River, at nothing. Tears filled my eyes. ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ Looking across the East River from the taxi cab window, I was rapt by the twilight skyline of Manhattan. The sight of the bejeweled city stirred memories of Gershwin melodies, gangster stories, and scenes from [...]

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