Church

The brouhaha that erupted last month over the latest Scalfari interview with Pope Francis concerned whether the Holy Father really believes in the existence of hell. The Vatican press office was quick to deny Scalfari’s claim. Yet the controversy overshadowed only briefly a more contentious and longstanding debate in theological circles over eternal punishment. Since Pope [...]

The brouhaha that erupted last month over the latest Scalfari interview with Pope Francis concerned whether the Holy Father really believes in the existence of hell. The Vatican press office was quick to deny Scalfari’s claim. Yet the controversy overshadowed only briefly a more contentious and longstanding debate in theological circles over eternal punishment. Since Pope [...]

“The deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines out for our sake on Christ who is both the mediator and the fullness of all revelation.”   ∼ Verbum Dei, #2, cited in Placuit Deo I, 1. Several weeks ago, Clifford Staples called my attention to a recent document from the Congregation for the [...]

As one who is in the process of leaving the Southern Baptist church for Roman Catholicism, I say without hesitation and full of love and concern that the Church I fell in love with, the Church in which I found, finally, the full embodiment and expression of truth, goodness, and beauty, is becoming harder to [...]

Donald Trump might refer to James Martin S.J. as “Slippery Jim.” He is certainly slippery. His latest act of slipperiness is a column he published this week at America wherein he claims to support the teaching of the Church on homosexuality. Keep in mind the Church teaches that the homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered” and [...]

The 1960s were extremely hard on the Catholic Church. The damage done by relativism, contraception, abortion, no-fault divorce (summed up as the Sexual Revolution) and Cultural Marxism has resonated for five decades. When dissident priests such as Fr. Charles Curran advocated for a distorted version of social justice in Catholic colleges and universities, the prophetic [...]

Each year, five million tourists view the 5000 square feet of Michelangelo’s amazing frescoes in the Sistine Chapel in Rome which depict Biblical scenes from the Fall to the Last Judgment. The Cappella Sistina is one of the great patrimonies of humanity. It doesn’t argue with you. It engulfs you in its momentous beauty. On this anniversary [...]

To the sophisticated Romans of the ancient world crucifixions were a hum-drum affair. They were as routine as writing a traffic ticket. For instance, in 71 B.C. seven thousand slaves led by Spartacus revolted. After they were captured, each one was crucified. Suetonius tells us that the line of the crucifixions extended for 240 miles, [...]

The aged German theologian, Peter Hünermann, is no stranger to ecclesial conflict. His name has arisen once again, now in regard to the recent Vatican media scandal, where Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò publicized a fragment of a personal and confidential letter by Benedict XVI to Pope Francis in such a way as to falsely suggest [...]

When the Church “blesses” someone, it usually does so for one of two reasons: to ask God to protect that person from evil, or to confirm that person in the good. Because our spiritual lives are dynamic—at no point are we “holy” enough to rest on our laurels—those two reasons are usually two sides of [...]

After serving five years as a Catholic campus minister in the 1980s, I decided to begin graduate studies in moral theology. This was in the heyday of proportionalism when its founding fathers still held some of the world’s most influential chairs of Catholic moral theology: Richard McCormick at the University of Notre Dame, Josef Fuchs [...]

The death earlier this year of Germain Grisez, the eminent Catholic moral theologian, made me think of the last time I saw something bearing his name in the media. To the best of my recollection, it was an Open Letter addressed to Pope Francis that he and the distinguished legal theorist John Finnis wrote on [...]

The tragedy of the loss of beauty in liturgy is not something which we should dismiss lightly, for if there is one thing we can glean from Scripture, and from the Church's two millennia of Tradition, it is that we should offer the very best to God in our worship of him; yet what we [...]

Before his death in 2012, Cardinal Carlo Martini eerily called himself an “ante-pope,” a “precursor and preparer for the Holy Father.” Martini was the leading antagonist to Popes John Paul II and Benedict—a Jesuit famous for groaning that the Church was “200 years behind.” In Night Conversations with Cardinal Martini, he cringed at the “major [...]

Nearly fifty years go, my parish secretary, who was elderly even then, kept the parish accounts using an abacus. I gave her the latest kind of electric adding machine, which she used dutifully, but I noticed that she then checked the results with her abacus, an instrument that has been reliable since long before the [...]

Every so often we’re witness to a splurge of commentary about Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, as if the general populace is suddenly reminded that the man who resigned the Chair of Peter is in fact still alive. Most recently, reactions to a letter he sent to Massimo Franco of Corriere della Serra, in which the [...]

Considering how much emphasis modern churchmen put on trust, it’s worth noting that the Bible does not have much to say about trusting others. Of course, the Bible tells us to trust in God, but there is no corresponding command to trust our fellow men. Of the six references to “trust” in the RSV Reader’s [...]

Just a few short weeks after the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, spoke about Amoris Laetitia as a paradigm shift for the Church, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago has reiterated the same portentous message. In a lengthy address given to the Von Hügel Institute of St. Edmund’s College on February 9, Cupich describes Pope [...]

The accusation of modernism gets thrown around a lot, especially in traditional circles. As a descriptor of heresy, modernism is a vague term. Modernism can refer to a movement of art and architecture, as well as to the general spirit of modern thought as a rejection of the past. These are genuine usages of the [...]

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago is all for clarity. It has been a consistent theme, as when in September of 2017 he issued a decree banning guns in all parishes, schools and other facilities across the archdiocese “so there would be absolute clarity on our position.” His official statement put “clarity” in italics. When he [...]

On November 9, 2017, the Holy Synod of the Macedonian Orthodox Church—Ohrid Archbishopric sent a letter to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church with three requests: 1) recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox Church by other Eastern Orthodox Churches; 2) recognition of Macedonian Orthodox Church autocephalous status (canonical independence); and 3) readiness to recognize the Bulgarian Orthodox Church [...]

President Trump recently announced his intention to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thus reaffirming it as the capital of Israel. This raised the collective eyebrows of millions of dispensationalist Evangelical Protestants. Their eyes fixed, as they saw it, on the prophetic markers of scripture (a Jerusalem-centric book) as it has [...]

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