Catholic Living

As he stood before the rain-soaked crowd estimated to be as great as 20,000, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn—with that truly Russian sense of solemn sincerity and conviction—suggested to the 1978 graduating class of Harvard University that what the West lacked above all else—and in his view the West lacked quite a good bit—was courage. Said Solzhenitsyn: A decline in [...]

As he stood before the rain-soaked crowd estimated to be as great as 20,000, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn—with that truly Russian sense of solemn sincerity and conviction—suggested to the 1978 graduating class of Harvard University that what the West lacked above all else—and in his view the West lacked quite a good bit—was courage. Said Solzhenitsyn: A decline in [...]

The Baltimore Catechism reliably provides a catechesis on the Holy Eucharist: “The Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament which contains the body and blood, soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine.” Furthermore, “Jesus Christ is present whole and entire in the smallest portion of the Holy Eucharist under the form [...]

There was a time when it was nigh impossible not to believe in God—not because of man’s irrational superstitions, as atheist popularizers tell it, but because of nature’s rational design. To early thinkers, the intelligibility of nature pointed to an ineluctable fact: a prime, non-contingent source of reality (i.e., the uncaused Cause, the One, Apeiron, [...]

“They count rosaries…. Please don’t laugh.”  ∼ Pope Francis Thomas De Quincy’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, by turns glamorizing and ruing his dependence, was first printed anonymously in 1821. Its succès de scandale emboldened the father of addiction literature to acknowledge paternity in an official edition the following year. Literary cachet notwithstanding, quotidian journals didn’t approve. [...]

With the bustle associated with Valentine’s Day we often forget that February 14 is about love. True love, that is. We also forget that it is the celebration of the martyrdom of a saint who points the way to true love. Yes, Valentinus (anglicized, Valentine) was a priest of the third century Roman empire. Heavy [...]

Later this month, the Vatican is hosting an international summit of bishops to address the clerical sex-abuse crisis. Based on comments Pope Francis has made to the press, the gathering will focus its attention on prayer and penance, but also educating the Church’s shepherds on what the issue is all about. As if the US [...]

“Let the children be, do not keep them back from me; the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt. 19-14) Recently in these pages, I wrote about a local traditional Latin Mass parish and a modern parish renewal program called “Rebuilt,” which was developed by a suburban parish outside of Baltimore. I noted [...]

The other day Dan Levin, a reporter for The New York Times, went trawling online for stories from “survivors” of Christian schools. Word got out, people were appalled, and Levin ended up publishing a miserable and meaningless little piece, in which a couple of tributes from grateful students—see, even in the Sahara you can find an [...]

Pope Francis wants to change the wording of the “Our Father” or “Pater Noster.” I wonder, though, why he should stop there. Isn’t it time to update the “Hail, Mary”? Although there have been a number of attempts to change this beautiful Marian prayer to make it more contemporary, the time may now have come [...]

I've spent about two-thirds of the Lents of the last few decades either pregnant or nursing. In other words, holding a get-out-of-fasting-free card. But since my late 40s just rolled around, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to draw that card again. Which is why I had to face the truth last Lent that I’m [...]

Twice now I have had the good fortune to be pregnant during Advent. All of the gospel readings come alive in a special way for me. For instance, both times, the Sunday that we read the Visitation gospel, I happened to be six months pregnant—exactly the same as Elizabeth. As Elizabeth tells Mary that the [...]

“Is he a believer?” As a former evangelical, I remember hearing (and asking) this question frequently. Much is at stake in answering it: is the person someone who can be trusted, with whom one can fellowship and pray, or should we pray for his conversion? I used to label people “believer” (or not) with speed [...]

St. Benedict begins his Rule, “Hearken O my son, to the precepts of thy master, and incline the ear of thy heart.” This fundamental principle shapes not only the life of the monk, but of every Christian. Will we listen to the words of Christ, Our Lord and teacher, and conform our life to them? [...]

A week ago, I attended a concert featuring my son’s band. It was a splendid event featuring the hard work of students and their music teachers which I look forward to attending every year as part of my family’s Christmas celebrations. Well, something else caught my attention that night besides the music. In his speech, [...]

While today’s orthodox Catholic in the West complains about a virulent secular culture outside of the Church and scandal and crisis within the pillar and ground of the truth, the apostle whom Jesus loved had his own formidable challenges. While we legitimately complain about the erosion of religious liberties in the U.S., he dealt with [...]

Next year—2019—will mark the 30th anniversary of communism’s collapse in Poland and Eastern Europe. It will also mark 35 years since the murder of Father Jerzy Popiełuszko. I was safe in California when the communist secret police killed my former vicar in Poland in October 1984. In May 1980, Father “Jurek” Popiełuszko was assigned to our [...]

The season of Advent prompts us to ponder anew the question Jesus put to his disciples two thousand years ago: “Who do you say that I am?” It is a haunting question because the possible answers are few. During Jesus’s life, he was accused of being a deluded babbler, knowing fraud, or demon-possessed lackey; acknowledged [...]

Waiting in Hope

I hope I get a Nintendo Switch for Christmas... I hope I get a hoverboard... I hope I get an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle... When I was a boy, about nine or 10 years old, my sister and I longed for and hoped to get a horse. Our family had [...]

We mark anniversaries of events so as not to forget. We do this as a country all the time—we mark, for instance, the anniversary of our independence on July 4th every year. We do it because we consider the Fourth of July to be the birth of our freedom. Naturally, then, we turn to the founding [...]

Advent is the perfect time for beginning, or beginning again. We need a new beginning. It’s natural for parents to worry about their children’s development, but today the situation seems both hopeless and especially acute. I won’t go into the particulars—you know them very well, as we are recounting them to each other at an [...]

Months ago, I somehow got in an online argument defending the sacrifices Roman Catholic priests make for their parishioners. At one point, I mentioned the amount of time devoted to hearing confessions. At this point, a woman on the thread as much as laughed at me through the computer. She insisted that Roman Catholic priests [...]

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