Church

I’m sometimes accused, when I write about bad hymns, of wanting to impose a single style upon everyone. I find this strange. It’s like saying that all classical music sounds the same, and that Bach, Brahms, Dvorak, and Debussy are all the same. I point out that the hymns in a good hymnal were composed [...]

I’m sometimes accused, when I write about bad hymns, of wanting to impose a single style upon everyone. I find this strange. It’s like saying that all classical music sounds the same, and that Bach, Brahms, Dvorak, and Debussy are all the same. I point out that the hymns in a good hymnal were composed [...]

Adultery is sinful, marriage is indissoluble, and divorce is forbidden. Let us assume that we accept the validity of these precepts in principle—but is it possible to apply them in practice, without committing a serious injustice to individuals in difficult cases? Every statement only covers a limited part or aspect of reality, and in this [...]

In the American Catholic Church and in the Church worldwide under the Francis papacy, we’ve entered the Cupich Moment. With his appointment to the Archdiocese of Chicago, and with his being selected as the primary American organizer of the gathering of bishops this coming February for the purpose of addressing the sexual abuse crisis (which [...]

In Plato’s Republic, Socrates leads a group of ambitious young Athenians on a search for the best way of life. Their verbal construction of a perfectly just regime is not motivated by idealism, real or feigned, but by genuine perplexity about the one thing human beings cannot help desiring: happiness. Glaucon, Adeimantus, and their companions [...]

Despite his penchant for theological innovation, Pope Francis seems to hold some fairly traditional beliefs about the devil. Here’s an example from Gaudete et Exsultate: It is precisely the conviction that this malign power is present in our midst that enables us to understand how evil can at times have so much destructive force… Hence, [...]

Dear Swillpit, The next best thing to a religion that is ignored or marginalized is one that is found useful, i.e., a means to some practical end. Thus, the minute a creature is drawn into religion, help him to see its utility in something important to him. This something can be as personal as self-improvement [...]

“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly, “'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy; The way into my parlour is up a winding stair, And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.” Mary Howitt wrote 180 books with her husband, and was a [...]

Last Sunday I was away from home; this normally means trouble. It means I do not attend Mass at the chapel of Saint Thomas More College, which is where I teach, nor at Northeast Catholic College, which is in the town where we live. It means I must hear Mass, or have Mass drummed into my [...]

“Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must be that scandals come: but woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh” (Mt. 18:7). Once again we must endure a period of shame in the Church, much to the pain of all believers. Our Lord had predicted the inevitability of scandals, so we [...]

Watchdogs and Wolves

“Do you not know,” says Saint Paul to the lax and factious Corinthians, “that we shall judge angels?” For they had ceded to the unbelievers around them the authority to judge a controversy between Christian brothers. But Jesus says, “Judge not, lest you be judged,” because the criterion by which we measure others will be [...]

In this present crisis in the Church, with more and more revelations of a “sodomitic filth that insinuates itself like a cancer in the ecclesiastical order” (St. Peter Damian), and the subsequent cover-ups and payoffs, the Body of Christ is pierced again with new thorns and nails, and the Mother of God is pierced again [...]

Hating Sin

It is Passover, and Jesus has gone up to Jerusalem with his disciples. He has come to the Temple, where he finds people “selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the moneychangers at their business.” It is interesting to note what he does then, and what he does not do. He does not engage the [...]

Why Divinize the Pope?

Last month, I discussed the tendency among prominent supporters of Pope Francis to speak as if he had very special and even divine qualities. Where does it come from? Some possibilities seem obvious. Any argument looks good if it favors the desired outcome, meaning that people who are convinced the pope’s new initiatives are right [...]

“Cometh the hour, cometh the man.” The saying means that a time of crisis invariably brings forth the man to meet the challenge. Well, the hour is here, but where’s the man? That’s what many Catholics must be wondering. The Church is in the midst of what may be the worst crisis of its existence, [...]

In a recent essay in this magazine, I explored the parallels between the story about the children of Israel dancing around the Golden Calf (Ex. 32) and what’s happening among priests and prelates in the American Catholic Church. The article, with an assist from Aquinas, scrutinized their idolatry through the prisms of wealth, pleasure, power, [...]

Press reports last summer suggested that the French have rediscovered the devil. Across the Channel there appeared to be at large a variety of “do-it-yourself exorcisms” taking place, alongside a growing band of free market—and unofficial—exorcists who, according to The Times, were advertising their services to the French public at a price, for example, to [...]

Catholic Church employee Aaron Bianco says he has “endured physical and emotional violence” at the hands of Catholic laymen, watchdog groups, and media outlets. Specifically, he charges Church Militant and LifeSite News with slashing the tires of his car, making death threats, and physically attacking him outside of Mass. Announcing his resignation after what he [...]

In recent decades, the whistleblower has occupied a prominent yet uncertain place in American culture. Sometimes, he is greeted as a hero, and his story becomes the stuff of legend, recounted in books, Dateline NBC episodes, and blockbuster Hollywood movies. At other times, depending on whose eardrum gets pierced by his whistle, he is reviled and [...]

Blessed be the Lord, my rock who trains my arms for battle, who prepares my hands for war (Psalm 144). During the 1970s, the United States Army descended into chaos. Discipline, tradition, morale—all were lost during, after, or because of the Vietnam War. I do not mean to argue here for or against the justice [...]

This past spring, a marvelous new cathedral was dedicated in Knoxville, Tennessee. The dedication of Sacred Heart Cathedral is certainly a sign of the return of traditional architecture in sacred buildings. The cruciform cathedral was designed in a classical style, featuring arches and Corinthian pilasters in the nave. With a traditional long nave and cruciform [...]

After Moses had been up on Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights, the children of Israel grew impatient and asked Aaron to make them a god to lead them on their journey through the wilderness (Ex. 32). Aaron complied by taking all the earrings from the wives and daughters and fashioning a golden [...]

MENU