church and state

Ryzard Legutko’s Critique of Western Liberalism

For quite some time now, American intellectuals have taken a particular interest in Poland. During the Cold War, the Polish people's resistance to communism was held up as an example of fidelity, and Pope John Paul II's leadership of the Church was taken to be a quintessential example of the Polish spirit. The honeymoon is [...]

Politicizing God

Whatever their conception of God, politicians seem ever intent on convincing others that he is on their side. For if God is with them, their principles, policies, and practices must be right, and their competitors’ must be wrong. In the ongoing immigration debate, Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the practice of separating immigrant families at [...]

Justice Kennedy Enshrines into Law the Infamous Legacy of JFK

As Catholics, we want to be treated fairly and we certainly need the freedom to live our faith outside of our mind, our home and our church buildings. What progressives seem to presume is that we want an advantage over other faiths and ideologies. This is not the case. We believe that non-Catholic Christians, Buddhists, [...]

Britain’s Next Catholic Prime Minister?

To most of Britain’s Catholic population, Jacob Rees-Mogg is, to say the least, a curious figure. Unlike many Catholic Parliamentarians, not only does Rees-Mogg say he is a Catholic but he votes in Parliament the way a Catholic should on certain—non-negotiable—issues. Furthermore, he is quite happy to tell the world this, and, refreshingly, without apology [...]

Beware of False (Political) Prophets

In Acts 5, we read that Peter and the Apostles have been brought before the Sanhedrin, whose high priest chastises them for preaching in the name of Jesus, which they had been forbidden to do. Peter and the other Apostles respond that “We must obey God, not men” (v. 29). The Sanhedrin, furious, want to [...]

Reducing Religion to Politics

What do political expressions like Right and Left have to do with religion? Nothing, some people say. The terms are misleading enough in politics, and carrying them over to religion stretches them beyond reason. Politics and religion are complex, and each has its own concerns, methods, and issues. So why use expressions like “right-wing” and [...]

Where Are the Churchmen With Chests?

To have been the proverbial fly on the wall during a conversation, one good time would have been during dinner in the White House on September 2, 1943 when Franklin Roosevelt was hosting Winston and Clementine Churchill with their daughter Mary and the newly appointed ambassador to the Soviet Union, Averill Harriman. The other dinner [...]

Anniversary Reflections on the Last Days of King Louis XVI

Early on the morning of January 21, 1793, King Louis XVI heard his last Mass. Following Mass, the king was taken from his prison to the Palace Louis XV, where he would suffer the same fate on the same date as Agnes of Rome, the ancient martyr commemorated in the Mass of the day. This [...]

Time to Reassert the Church’s Spiritual Role

Poor old Philippo Argenti languishes in the fifth circle of his Inferno, among those condemned for the sin of wrath. He treads water in the Styx, jostling with other damned souls to stay afloat; others sink beneath the surface, forever drowning but never dying. A contemporary of Dante’s, Argenti tries to climb aboard the boat [...]

Has Government Become Too Big?

Thomas Jefferson is said to have quipped, "a government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take away everything that you have." While history does not support the Jeffersonian attribution, it does support the conclusion—witness Soviet Russia, Communist China, and North Korea. But how big is too big? [...]

The Injustice of Social Justice

Affordable and accessible health care is a right, was the line. And it worked. By shoving the partisan healthcare bill through the straw of “social justice,” Obamacare was passed, if barely, adding to the already ponderous government programs for health and welfare. But what was touted as social justice, as so many things are, is [...]

To Whom Do Democrats Pray?

On June 14, 2017, James Hodgkinson, a staunch Bernie Sanders supporter and volunteer for the Sanders presidential campaign, opened fire at a Republican baseball practice in Virginia for an annual congressional charity baseball game. Hodgkinson had a list of Republican lawmakers in his front pocket, and was apparently attempting to kill as many Republicans as [...]

Catholics and the Revolutionary State

To what extent should Catholics support an essentially evil government? The question is unaccustomed. The Church views government as natural and necessary, and normally favors obedience even to tyrannical governments as long as the specific command is not at odds with divine or natural law. That’s why Paul told Christians to honor and obey Nero’s [...]

Vatican Ostpolitik and the Death of Fidel Castro 

Upon the passing of Fidel Castro, the mainstream media are presenting the Cuban tyrant, the longest-reigning dictator in human history, in a much more benevolent way than they would the passing of any other strongman. For example, the headline in The New York Times reads: “Fidel Castro, Cuban Leader Who Defied U.S., Dies at 90.” [...]

Catholic Ties to the American Public Order Continue to Unravel

It has been clear for quite some time that a new and different public order is taking shape in America in which Catholics (or at least Catholics faithful to the magisterium of the Church) will have serious difficulty finding a comfortable place. The recent election does nothing to change this fact because it does not [...]

The Confessional State, Catholic or Liberal?

Why am I allowed to attend Mass on Sundays? Is it because God has commanded that I worship him, and having a social nature I must do so in union with my fellows within the bounds of the Church founded by Christ for that purpose, on the day he rose from the dead? Or is [...]

The Narrowness of Martyrdom

A broad justification for martyrdom is preferable to a narrow one. A person would prefer to die for something grand, sweeping, and generally held. Perhaps world peace, or what used to be called the fellowship of man. Martyrdom is in practice narrow. When St. Thomas More died on a scaffold in Henry VIII’s kingdom, it [...]

Liberalism, Conservatism, and Catholicism

We all talk about liberalism and conservatism, and about liberal and conservative Catholics, but what does it mean? Some say it doesn’t mean much at all. They say these are labels attached to arbitrary and even contradictory collections of positions. Liberals say they want lots of freedom and lots of regulations. Conservatives say they want [...]

What a Pastoral Church Looks Like

Now more than ever, there are calls for a more pastoral Church. That's a good thing. It's the clergy's job to be our pastors, and who could object to priests, bishops, and popes doing their job? “Pastor“ means shepherd, so we find what pastors should do by looking at what shepherds do, especially in the [...]

The Best Way Forward For the Church

Things look bad in the Church and Western world just now. The Church, humanly speaking, seems to be destroying herself through unresisted absorption in a secular world with which she has ever less in common. What was once her real, though imperfect, reflection—the civilization of the West—is also destroying itself through willful rejection of moral [...]

Why Thomas More is the Patron Saint of Statesmen

Wolf Hall, the recent novel-turned-television-series, raises the question of who is right about the actions and legacy of Thomas More (1478-1535) and Thomas Cromwell (1485-1540). The stakes are higher than many realize. As Mark Movsesian explains: In its biased portrayal of More, British history’s great example of religious resistance to state orthodoxy, Wolf Hall is [...]

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