Catholic Living

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 [...]

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 [...]

Dear Swillpit, It's interesting how humans can go through life without giving much serious thought to their faith. Oh yes, they may believe in a supreme Being and an afterlife. They may be members of a church, even leaders or clergy. And they may have mouthed their allegiance to our Adversary. But beyond the sanctuary [...]

My wife and I have recently started regularly attending our local Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form. We took our two young boys one Sunday in July, shortly after the news of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sins jumpstarted the current round of clergy sex scandals. We had previously attended about once a year just to mix [...]

It is this silent swerving from accuracy by an inch that is the uncanny element in everything.  ∼ G.K. Chesterton In the digital age of LED lighting, we risk losing all sense of the uncanny. Of course, in the age of science in general, we tend to grow numb to the mystery that calls us [...]

Father Arne Panula died quite publicly and for a very long time. We kept hearing the end was near, but he kept on going and going. Besides in his coffin, the last time I saw him was when he took the podium at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast and offered a prayer. This movie-star-handsome man [...]

When my friend’s little brother died, his family performed rites that are rare nowadays. They brought the body of their boy back home. They dressed him and laid him out for a wake in their dining room. They built his coffin and carved his headstone. They dug his grave and buried him with their own [...]

A conversation I had with a family acquaintance typifies the fuzzy reasoning I often encounter with believers of a liberal bent. It began with a post I had written on a March for Life rally, commenting on the contrasting behaviors of the pro-choice and pro-life camps. Taking issue with my comparisons and conclusions, “Jane” engaged [...]

Waiting for Miracles

When I was a kid, I found a book that featured dozens of Eucharistic miracles. I was enraptured by the dramatic situations that led up to the glorious moment when a host dripped blood or turned into human flesh before an astonished congregation. For years after discovering this book, I didn’t bow my head during [...]

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