Catholic Living

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 [...]

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 [...]

We are told repeatedly that we must believe “the woman” whenever she makes a claim of sexual assault. Disbelieving her or even asking for evidence other than just her word makes you a rape apologist. Just how bankrupt is this charge was borne out in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. We were supposed to believe “the [...]

This past Feast of the Assumption was a seminal date for me. It was my birthday, as it is every year, of course, but this particular birthday was noteworthy and sobering. I am now the age my father was when he died, prematurely in an accident, after a life of self-denial and heroic sacrifice that [...]

It seems peculiar that the gospel reading for the first Sunday of Advent centers not on Christ’s first coming, but his second. In all three liturgical years, the gospel passage is taken from the Olivet Discourse—Jesus’s lengthy response to the eschatological curiosities of the disciples. But maybe this is not as peculiar as it seems. [...]

On a recent fall afternoon, bright and chilly as it can be in the Midwest, a group of parents in St. Louis had the opportunity for an informal visit from the president of Wyoming Catholic College and his wife, who is an associate professor at the school. The Doctors Arbery—Glenn and Virginia—each brought to the [...]

This may sound like the start of a “shaggy-dog” story: So … there are these three Western Canadian bishops at a Catholic youth conference called “One Rock 2.0.” The bishops are prepping for a Town Hall, a “Q and A” session with a tough audience, 620 millennials aged 18-35, and the episcopi are steeling themselves for [...]

The words of this ancient maxim are akin to the quintessence, the crystalline solid that was thought to move the planets in perfect orbits in pre-modern cosmology: The words are a succinct, nearly perfect encapsulation of the whole of the Catholic (and not only of the Catholic) religion. They name, and tell the relation of, [...]

Does hell play a role in evangelization? If it does, then when and how? Catholics take many positions on this topic and they all impact the effectiveness of evangelization. To begin, let me situate this analysis by raising three relevant points. First, discussing hell can be emotional and difficult to face for obvious reasons, such as hell's [...]

Advent: Latin ad-venio, to come to. "Send down the dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One: let the earth be opened, and bud forth the Redeemer." Thus begins the Advent hymn, “Rorate Caeli,” that mournfully calls upon God to hear our prayers. We are made to sigh with longings, [...]

Katharine, my preteen, sent me a link to a song she’d happened across. “It’s my new jam,” she wrote, and I eagerly clicked on it to listen. What dad of a preteen wouldn’t? Imagine my surprise when Kath’s new jam turned out to be an ad for a cleaning product. The accompanying video was fun [...]

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