Catholic Living

It’s coming up on 20 years since my uncle, Msgr. Thomas Wells, was murdered in his Maryland rectory during a somber late summer night. Deputy state attorney Kay Winfree called the scene spine-chilling; as gruesome as anything she’d ever encountered. His body was marked by deep stab wounds around his head and neck, accompanied by [...]

It’s coming up on 20 years since my uncle, Msgr. Thomas Wells, was murdered in his Maryland rectory during a somber late summer night. Deputy state attorney Kay Winfree called the scene spine-chilling; as gruesome as anything she’d ever encountered. His body was marked by deep stab wounds around his head and neck, accompanied by [...]

A battle is a confrontation between an enemy invading to dominate and a friend defending to protect. In the Church, a most crucial battle has been fought for many decades between a culture that has invaded to dominate with artificial birth control (ABC) as the clear means for protecting one’s freedom and the Church’s defense [...]

For several years now, it has become obvious that we have entered into the era of the Incredible Shrinking Catholic Church. All the metrics in places like the U.S., Europe, and Latin America are heading in the wrong direction. Even the weekly Mass attenders have an alarming number of people who embrace heterodox beliefs and [...]

On August 15–17, 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was held on a 600-acre dairy farm near Bethel, New York. Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of this monumental cultural event that marked an epoch. Woodstock changed America. It helped usher in a period of moral devastation. The event enshrined free love as acceptable in [...]

The negation of Mary is directly linked to the anti-feminine, anti-maternal, and anti-family nihilism that grips us today. Long a stumbling block for Protestants, Mary is increasingly rejected and mocked in the godless, death-infatuated cultures that stand strongest in formerly Protestant, but now almost entirely atheistic, lands. The story of Mary, however, helps bring to [...]

The crisis facing the Church at this time has challenged the faith of countless Catholics in the durability of the Rock, which is the Church as promised by Christ. In an effort to avoid precisely this loss of trust, many in the hierarchy went to extraordinary lengths to keep the problems of abuse by the [...]

With the continued normalization of vice in modern life, the idea of preserving or recovering innocence seems somewhat irrelevant. For most people, a return to innocence is more likely to bring to mind a new age hit single from the nineties than a serious societal concern. Today, only a few parents (usually of the Mormon [...]

The so-called Long Lent just keeps getting longer. The myriad sex abuse scandals have damaged her public witness and weakening the faith of her members. Several high-ranking prelates have been mired in corruption charges, most recently Bisjop Michael J. Bransfield of Charleston-Wheeling. Catholic public figures whose dogma “lives loudly” within them, in turn, have been [...]

The Feast of the Transfiguration on August 6th tends to be overlooked: stuck in the middle of summer, not a holy day of obligation, with a Gospel reading generally co-opted by the Second Sunday of Lent. But that’s no reason to overlook it, because transfiguration is not just a one-time event in Jesus’s life. Transfiguration [...]

I have recently seen a handful of stories about clergy and religious with a strong background in the charismatic movement coming to embrace the Tridentine Mass without abandoning their charismatic orientation. This includes an article published by Catholic Herald about the charismatic Franciscans of the Holy Spirit learning the old liturgy and a personal account [...]

Two Paths to Hell

Dear Swillpit, The sure way to Hell is by a series of incremental adjustments so small, and seemingly innocuous, that earthlings never notice they are woefully off course until they find themselves aboard Charon’s skiff heading for the opposite shore. A believer who turns against our Adversary in a moment of anger or doubt is [...]

"In the end, the only memorable stories, like the only memorable experiences, are religious and moral.  They give men the heart to suffer the ordeal of a life that perpetually rends them between its beauty and its terror." ∼ Whittaker Chambers, Witness Evil loves the spotlight. It is exceedingly easy to perceive the chain reaction [...]

In his brilliant Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman writes eloquently of the power of the Catholic Church to assimilate non-Christian, and even heretical, beliefs into her own Tradition. He writes about the Church as being able to stand firm among various philosophies, dogmas, and cultures as one who [...]

These last few years, my wife and I have been restoring an old Victorian house that once was a rectory on our island in Nova Scotia, where we live in the summer. I would like to draw an analogy between what we have done so far and what should be done in the Church. We [...]

Last year in this forum, I wrote “Where Should a Catholic Get Married,” responding to the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s accommodationist approach in allowing Catholics to marry outside of churches and chapels. I criticized Baltimore’s policy and urged other bishops to avoid it because it institutionalizes a lax approach to the sacramental meaning of marriage, which [...]

News of the conflict between a Jesuit high school and the midwestern archdiocese under which the school operates spread quickly last week through social media. For news outlets hungry for a story, the narrative wrote itself: a teacher at Indianapolis’s Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School had entered into a same-sex union, the Archdiocese demanded said teacher’s [...]

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus; it is a feast that helps us to reflect more deeply on the magnitude of Christ's love for souls. It is a feast that comes with an invitation to experience the "abundance of healing waters, that is, heavenly gifts of divine love, [...]

Two years ago I wrote a piece about St. Thomas entitled In Defense of Doubt. In it, I praised St. Thomas for facing his doubts and said that honest doubt can be a good thing. In light of current proposals to change the wording of the last clause of the “Our Father,” I should like [...]

I once heard someone say that the most popular time for pastors to leave town is Trinity Sunday. How true that is, I don’t know. What I do know is that during fifty plus years in the pews I have never heard a comprehensive sermon on the subject. I suspect my experience is not unique. [...]

Recently, I have noticed an increasing amount of news reports challenging morality clauses in employment contracts for Catholic school teachers. While yet another example of a teacher breaking a morality clause popped up this spring, another one struck my eye in late 2018, a little closer to home. This latter one didn’t only challenge the [...]

After Christ rose from the dead and before he ascended to heaven, he made various appearances to certain of his followers and “spoke of the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). Many of us would love to have the manuscripts from those discourses. During this interim between the Resurrection and the Ascension, his followers ask him [...]

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