Catholic Living

“All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven.” This passage from Ecclesiastes—about there being a time to be born and a time to die, a time to cast away stones and a time to gather them together, and vanity, and dust—well, it’s pretty grim stuff if you take it [...]

“All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven.” This passage from Ecclesiastes—about there being a time to be born and a time to die, a time to cast away stones and a time to gather them together, and vanity, and dust—well, it’s pretty grim stuff if you take it [...]

There is a great deal of division among Catholics across the globe today regarding the way in which the hierarchy have dealt with the pandemic. Some feel that by closing churches and forbidding the Sacraments to the faithful, those bishops who have done so have betrayed the flock. Others believe that they are showing prudence [...]

We’re all hoping that life will return to “normal” in a few weeks, at least to some extent. We’re also hearing (often from the same source) that life will never be the same because of COVID-19. Obviously, we all want certain things to return to normal as soon as possible. We want to receive the [...]

As I was walking past the many gates in the Denver International Airport, thinking of all of the festivities that would soon be taking place for my sister’s wedding, my eye was caught by one of those “Pass It On” billboards which line the walls, shining and waiting for someone to receive its motivational message. [...]

A few years ago, in Defending Marriage: Twelve Arguments for Sanity, I wrote that the recognition of same-sex pseudogamous relations—the acceptance of a lie, that a man can in fact mate with another man, or a woman with a woman—would make it even harder than it already is for us to see that man is made for woman [...]

Ritual Notes

Saint Paul implores us to remain “unspotted from the world.” I suppose I have my share of spots but, in order to keep from accumulating any more, I do my best to avoid the news. Even so, I cannot but notice that something is amiss. Odd staples go missing from the refrigerator for days at [...]

“The Lentiest Lent we’ve ever Lented.” Those words make up my favorite meme, which gained great traction on social media during the first few months of 2020. Even those who aren’t Catholic or Christian found themselves relating to this catchy phrase, as recently, thanks to the coronavirus, we’ve all been put through some version of [...]

On the evening of Good Friday, as on the evening of every Good Friday as far back as I can remember, I was reading from Saint John Henry Newman’s Parochial and Plain Sermons, published by Ignatius Press. (I was surprised and disappointed to learn recently that Baron Friedrich von Hugel, the Catholic spiritual writer of [...]

Mercy and justice are difficult to balance in human affairs, and even more difficult can be the belief in their balance in the God from Whom we beg for the one while trembling in fear of the other. These are days when it is not difficult to believe we are feeling the heavy hand of [...]

Anyone with faith in God could easily conclude that the current crisis has all the hallmarks of divine punishment, especially here in Australia given the recent drought, fires, smoke, floods, and now plague. It is beginning to sound all a bit biblical, like the book of Exodus, especially having just been through Lent. If we [...]

For those who know what they are looking for, the journey to the twelfth-century Norman church of St. Mary the Virgin is still something of an adventure. Others—hikers, tourists, or just people who take a wrong turning—come upon the deserted church by accident. The winding country lanes of that part of Kent—the county where St. [...]

Trading in a sober view of our final ends for raw power has almost certainly been the Faustian transaction of our time. Then again, it truly is baked into the human experience, terminating with that infamous serpent who hoodwinked our first parents with his somatic wager to recast us as gods.  The payout was anything [...]

“Behold! I tell you a mystery.” — Corinthians 15:51 How many of us have been energized by that line from Handel’s “Messiah”, which leads into the magnificent trumpet flourish and aria, announcing the resurrection of the dead? But what is a mystery? Let us say what it is not: it is not a story akin [...]

St. Thomas More’s A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation is a classic of prison literature. Arrested in 1534, More wrote his Dialogue while in the Tower of London during that same year, as he awaited his trial and execution the following summer. More’s book deserves attention this Holy Week as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to [...]

The Real Absence

“I have sowed sackcloth upon my skin, and have covered my flesh with ashes. — Book of Job 16:16) “I hereby release everyone from fasting and abstinence. I think we’ve suffered enough already.” — Bishop Luke Warm, Diocese of Acedia “Whatever…” — Book of None These three responses pretty much encapsulate the three broad ways [...]

Go to the Altar

“What are you?” a construction worker demanded quizzically of a cassock-wearing priest, as he passed a job site near a hospital. The priest looked at his interlocutor and hesitated; the undercurrent of contempt was perceptible. Deciding to take the question at face value, he responded peaceably: “I am a priest.” “And what,” the man inquired [...]

This year, due to the reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, in many parts of the Catholic world the faithful will not be allowed to partake in the Holy Week ceremonies; the liturgical celebrations will be carried out behind closed doors. While the world has been occupied with the spread of the coronavirus—especially since it appears [...]

When a lady complained to the great short story writer that her works “left a bad taste” in her mouth, Flannery O’Connor replied that what she wrote was not meant to be eaten. For the conventional palate, those often-macabre stories can be distasteful, but Miss O’Connor deliberately wanted to avoid the sentimentalism of much pious [...]

“For he who is not against us is for us.” — Mark 9:40 Ever since my conversion to the Catholic Church in 1992, I have begun every argument with Protestant disputants by justifying Her claim to be Christ’s true and only Church by adverting—after citing the plain historical fact that She is at any rate [...]

A cardinal, a Prince of the Church, remains locked up in a small cell, separated from all, locked in, and without access to the sacraments. No, this is not coronavirus, and this is not Italy. In many ways it is a metaphor—we might even be forgiven for thinking it a paragraph from Lord of the [...]

Christendom has seen a plague or two in its day. On more than one occasion a worse pestilence than that which we now face has plunged the West into chaos, or brought it to a grinding halt. In every extraordinary time, however, the Church has remained semper idem and has remained, at the very least, [...]

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