Church hierarchy

Defy Mob Justice by Celebrating the Life of Robert E. Lee

On October 12, 1870, a good man closed his eyes on this world. Although loved by many, and respected by most at the time of his death, history has since laden Robert E. Lee with abuse and hatred. The change has been long coming, but Dylann Roof's 2015 racist shooting raised disgust to a fever [...]

Running the Church on Hail Marys

“This attitude of resignation with regard to truth lies at the heart of the crisis in the West, the crisis of Europe.”  ∼ Pope Benedict XVI "You can’t run the Church on Hail Marys.”  ∼ former Vatican Bank president Archbishop Paul Marcinkus As jarring revelations about the contemporary episcopacy continue to come to light, it [...]

Strengthening Faith in a Time of Crisis

A crisis that strikes so centrally at the integrity of the Church necessitates a response from each one us. There must be general reform in the Church, but I’d like to explore how each one of us can respond to the Church’s crisis with a commitment to stronger faith and personal reform. In focusing on [...]

Where Are the Bishops Who Will Defend Faithful Priests?

August 4, 2018 The Memorial of St. John Marie Vianney. It is hard to communicate to people the life of a priest. The inexpressible joys that we experience every day are so difficult to express, as is the privilege of journeying with people through the dark valleys in their lives with hope that we can [...]

When Bishops Lose Their Authority

While on the scaffold awaiting his execution, St. Thomas More famously declared, “I die the king's faithful servant, but God's first.” Throughout the controversy surrounding King Henry’s divorce and remarriage, More was adamant about one thing: he was a servant of the king, and accepted the king’s authority over the land. Although he could not [...]

What Scripture Says About the Reliability of Religious Leaders

The majority of saints canonized by the Church over much of her history are priests and bishops. I used to quip that this proves it is possible for a priest or bishop to get to heaven. This is no longer a playful quip but a wry truth. You may know by now that within the last month, [...]

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 [...]

Honoring Rulers, Honoring Truth

Public opinion matters a great deal today. That situation creates a way in which all of us participate in public affairs, even in hierarchical settings like the Church. So we should try to understand what’s going on. But if we are to sit in judgment over public affairs, what attitude should we take toward social [...]

Sed Contra, Bishop Barron

Bishop Robert Barron’s work is the gold standard for Catholic evangelization. I met him while he was the theologian-in-residence at the North American College in Rome during my deacon year (2006-2007). He gave some outstanding conferences during his stay. I have read many but not all of his books and have seen quite a few of his videos. His [...]

Evangelization, Vatican II, and Censorship

Evangelization can be frustrating. After 25 years evangelizing in my personal life and in official roles with the Church, including as a diocesan Director of Evangelization, I know this well. Few Catholics, of course, would be surprised that evangelization can be arduous. They may be surprised, however, at the way censorship in the Church poses [...]

What Hierarchy Really Means

What is Pope Francis doing, with his gestures, interviews, and wild synods? To understand this pope, we first need to understand the papacy. To do that, let us consider two versions of what “hierarchy” means. In the first version, hierarchy simply means authority. Hierarchy means that the Pope is the main guy in the universal [...]

Are Church Leaders Unwittingly Promoting a Secularist Agenda?

Recent developments make me wonder if Church leaders and Catholic institutions in the U.S. are not, “on the unawares,” helping to further crucial parts of the secularist-leftist political and cultural narrative. Several months ago, on a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border one high-ranking prelate criticized “the xenophobic ranting of a segment of the population” on [...]

Is There Growing Confusion over Church Teaching?

I begin with a piece, spotted by Fr Tim Finigan and reported in his indispensable blog The Hermeneutic of Continuity, which had been published in Sandro Magister’s blog—not his English one, Chiesa, but his Italian language blog for L’Espresso, Settimo Cielo. A few days ago, Magister told the story of a parish priest in the Italian diocese [...]

Is the Church Inherently Conservative?

The great issue that separates progressive from more traditionalist Catholics is whether the Church will return to type. To answer that question “yes” is to say that the Church has an essential nature—a basic structure, set of beliefs, and way of functioning—that is sometimes obscured by corruptions or distortions but can be counted on to [...]

The “New” Tone of U.S. Bishops Sounds Very Familiar

In a frank interview with the Wall Street Journal last year, Cardinal Timothy Dolan conceded that the post-Vatican II Church in America has “gotten gun-shy” on hot-button moral issues. The Church’s encyclical on artificial birth control, Humanae Vitae, “brought such a tsunami of dissent, departure, disapproval of the Church, that I think most of us—and [...]

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