Catholic Living

What’s the connection between time and eternity? Twitter and scripture? How can we use human language to speak of divine things? It’s complicated, so it’s not surprising we sometimes get it wrong. Gaudium et Spes, a document of the Second Vatican Council, says the Church should read the signs of the times, so that “in [...]

What’s the connection between time and eternity? Twitter and scripture? How can we use human language to speak of divine things? It’s complicated, so it’s not surprising we sometimes get it wrong. Gaudium et Spes, a document of the Second Vatican Council, says the Church should read the signs of the times, so that “in [...]

The liberal arts curriculum as we know it today formally grew out of the theological education of the early Middle Ages; however, this heritage seems to have been largely forgotten. Over the years, I’ve found that professors at English and Composition conferences often tilt their heads at me when I mention theology. Sometimes they deflect the [...]

When Jesus told his disciples, “I am the light of the world,” he was saying something deeply profound about himself. In fact, my academic background in physics convinces me that nothing in the material universe reveals as much about the divine nature. Most of us think of light as a source of illumination that renders [...]

Just as the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, we might say that the first step on the road to sanctity is the realization that we are in exile, strangers and sojourners, knowing somehow, someway, we belong somewhere else. Ever since Adam and Eve got themselves cast out of the Garden, we [...]

When one is looking for a good dose of reality and common sense, there are few better places than a Jane Austen novel. Entertaining they are, but also scattered with drops of wisdom that run counter to our modern notions. For example, take the idea of “change” (often coupled with “hope”); today this idea is [...]

There are thousands of articles explaining "how to receive communion," and thousands more explaining who may receive communion. But there are few articles about how to not receive the Eucharist. Notice I say "receive the Eucharist." I hate the phrase "receive communion." Communion is not a thing to be received, but a condition at which [...]

It seems the “Spiritual Friendship” thinktank cannot catch a break among fellow Christians. Militant homosexualist Catholics say they don’t go far enough, and magisterially faithful Catholics think they go too far. And now Protestants from various backgrounds are challenging and criticizing their plan to hold a summer conference. Can’t we all just be spiritual friends? [...]

2018 is one of those years when June 24 falls on a Sunday and, therefore, one of the rare occasions when the Sunday liturgy is preempted by a Solemnity: the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. 2018 is also the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, the papal encyclical that became the lightning rod for much dissent [...]

When I lived in the northeast I had an embarrassment of riches in terms of the availability of Masses. There were 27 options for daily Mass within five miles of my northern home. At our new home on the border of the Carolinas there are only two or three options within 15 miles. Visiting different [...]

According to a gay victim of the clerical sex scandal in Chile, Pope Francis told him, “You have to be happy with who you are. God made you this way.” It’s the conclusion reached by many Christians with same-sex attraction, whose stories share telling similarities. They knew they were different at a young age. Throughout [...]

The furor has died down around revelations in late March that a professor of religious studies at the Jesuit College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, opined in an article that Jesus may have had sexual fantasies about his Father while being crucified. Dr. Tat-Siong Benny Lew, Class of 1956 Professor in New Testament [...]

“Man tends by nature toward the truth” (CCC 2467). Brian Regan does a funny bit about Pop-Tarts in which he reads aloud the package directions. Yes, there are Pop-Tart directions—which is pretty much Regan’s joke in a nutshell. However, his rendition of those instructions is genius, particularly step #1: “Remove pastry from pouch.” Regan, nodding [...]

Throughout my Christian life the question that has haunted me more than any other is why there is not a greater difference between Christians and non-Christians. The lack of distinctive Christian behavior and practice has prompted observers like Mohandas Gandhi to conclude, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.” It has caused [...]

A few weeks ago, the Chronicle of Higher Education got all spun up about whether “Catholic U.’s Chaste Brand” was scaring off prospective students. Some anonymous professors were practically gleeful that the reassertion of authentic Catholicism at CUA, begun under Father David O’Connell and continued robustly under current president John Garvey, was finally shown to [...]

Crowns fall fittingly upon the head of the Virgin during this month of May, but it is also fitting that they fall upon the head of every mother. Mothers possess hearts that act like God’s megaphone. It is of the very nature of mothers to be God’s proxy in a world weary of God. Even [...]

The disturbing decades-long decline in church rolls along with the growth of the “nones” and rise of the “dones” has led me to believe that the most urgent business of the Church is not the evangelization of the lost, as important as that is, but the re-evangelization of the “saved.” Why so? It is a [...]

"Every other sin that a person commits is outside the body, but the impure person sins against the body itself." More than any other type of sin, St. Paul is suggesting that impurity is a sin against ourselves. A deep healing of such sins cannot be limited to a correction of external behavior, but must [...]

In "Unpracticed Faith is Functional Atheism," I addressed one error in the Church: heteropraxy—that is, the belief in right doctrine (orthodoxy) without the pursuit right living (orthopraxy). Now I turn to the equal and opposite error—orthopraxy divorced from orthodoxy—which is a reaction to the first. Sadly, heteropraxy has been a problem in the Church from [...]

In “Is Grace Amazing or Appalling,” some readers felt I was advocating the cheap grace of faith without works. Although I should have been more clear, it was not my intent to suggest that human effort has no role in coming to Grace, and afterward. Rather, my point was that our works do not merit [...]

The religion professor asked the students, “Why do you think Jesus was persecuted by the religious establishment of his day?” Their answers: “He healed on the Sabbath,” “He dissed the Jewish leaders,” “He hung out with sinners and tax collectors.” Finally, the daughter of a personal friend replied, It was because of grace. The Jews [...]

It is a well-known element of Christian tradition: early missionaries repurposed or replaced established pagan rituals, artifacts, and places in their effort to convert the local people. There are some very famous instances of this: Santa Maria Sopra Minerva is a beautiful Roman church built upon the ruins of a pagan temple to the goddess [...]

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