Another wave of converts to the ordinariate

A little more than a week after three Anglican bishops were ordained as priests in the new ordinariate in England, Our Lady of Walsingham, another wave of converts is announced: Seven Anglican priests and 300 members of six congregations are to join a new section of the Catholic Church, the Catholic Diocese of Brentwood says. [...]

Three Wise Men

On New Year's Day, three Church of England bishops were received into the Catholic Church. John Broadhurst, Keith Newton, and Andrew Burnham were joined by two retired bishops, David Silk and Edwin Barnes. All five had been ministering to those Anglican clergy and people who had stood apart from the liberal innovations in the Anglican [...]

The Future of the Church in England

Back in the 1980s, I was involved with a group that produced a booklet looking at the future of the Church in Britain. We were assured -- and repeated, without really thinking about it very deeply -- that the downward trend of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and ordinations to the priesthood meant that there would be [...]

The Anglican Three Ring Circus

As a boy, I was excited to hear that the circus was coming to town. Full of anticipation, we were taken to see the elephants help the roustabouts put up the big top, and when the big day came the greatest show on earth fascinated me with its variety, talent, glamor, vulgarity, and grotesquerie. It [...]

Catholic news around the Web

A few interesting Catholic news stories from around the Web:First, the pope met behind closed doors with 100 cardinals to discuss both sexual abuse by priests and religious freedom around the world: The meeting is taking place on the eve of a ceremony known as a consistory at which the pope will create 24 new cardinals, including [...]

1943: No Peace at Any Price

Germany had tried to suborn neutral countries with a dramatization of the war on the Russian front as a crusade against godless Communism. A new ambassador to Madrid was appointed with the intent of persuading Spain that the Nazis were the last defense of Catholic Europe. The former minister to Spain, Eberhard von Stohrer, had [...]

FDR among the Catholics

Once, when asked his philosophy, Franklin Roosevelt answered simply, "I am a Christian and a Democrat."   As always with Roosevelt, there was more to it than that. He was not just a Christian, but a Protestant, an Episcopalian, a descendant of Huguenot and Yankee New Englanders on his mother's side. And he was not just [...]

The Body’s Forgotten Ally: A Brief Defense of Corporal Mortification

It's an interesting question. Did Leonardo wear a cilice or use a discipline? Though not mentioned in Dan Brown's popular fantasy novel, The Da Vinci Code -- with its bizarre and misleading description of corporal mortification -- and granting Leonardo a certain religious fervor, it's possible. The cilice, a sharp chain worn around the leg, [...]

Aged Before Their Time

"You see, I am not a Christian," said the young man at lunch, chilling the conversation in an instant. He was exceptionally good looking, and obviously intelligent, but also obviously sad. His father, a former Protestant minister who was essentially driven out of his church for his faithfulness to the Scriptural directives regarding human sexuality, [...]

Humans in Britain much earlier than believed

According to The Guardian, archeologists working in Norfolk, England, have discovered "78 pieces of razor-sharp flint shaped into primitive cutting and piercing tools" in an area of sediment previously believed to have been formed 840,000 or 950,000 years ago. This means the earliest humans were living in modern-day Britain at least 80,000 years earlier than [...]

The Practical Power of Personal Piety

  Every summer I take a group of high school students on a mission trip to El Salvador. Our hosts there come from the landowning class, and over lunch a woman I'll call Rosa told me about her husband's family. "They are very wealthy landowners," she said. "They own a lot of land and run [...]

Tolkien’s Catholic Imagination

Even among fantasy devotees who recognize Tolkien as the father of the modern genre, few realize that Tolkien insisted that The Lord of the Rings is "a fundamentally religious and Catholic work." This probably comes as a surprise to most Catholics as well.   Readers of The Lord of the Rings are unlikely to find [...]

Abortion in Roman Britain?

It's tempting to romanticize the ancients, but stories like this remind us why we should not. Archaeologists in central England have been reviewing a mass burial site of 97 infants on the property of a Roman villa, and have come to an awful conclusion: Archaeologist Dr Jill Eyers said: "The only explanation you keep coming [...]

Preparing for the Pope

It sounds like something that would at one time have been every British Catholic's dream: The pope comes to England for a state visit; he is received by Her Majesty the Queen; he addresses members of Parliament in Westminster's Great Hall, where St. Thomas More was tried four centuries earlier; and he celebrates a great [...]

More bad press for Benedict’s visit to England

Press for the pope's September visit to England gets worse all the time. First, it was Richard Dawkins et al. calling for Benedict's arrest upon his arrival in the country; now, an embarrassing Foreign Office memo has come to light that sarcastically suggests the pope "be asked to open an abortion clinic, bless a gay [...]

Friday Free-for-All

So, if what the weather forecasters are saying is true, I will apparently be buried up to my neck in snow by the time you read this. Better get moving, then: Pope Benedict speaks out on England's proposed "Equality Bill," saying that it would in fact limit religious freedom and that it "violates the natural law." [...]

Gay “Marriage” Study Finds Polyamory Common

That bastion of conservatism, the New York Times, reports that "monogamy is not a central feature for many" gay and lesbian couples.  In fact, fully 50% of gay couples are involved in polyandry, according to the soon-to-be-released Gay Couples Study by San Francisco State University.  (In contrast, between 1.7 and 6% of heterosexual married couples are [...]

Booing the Bishop

American Catholics can sometimes bring a particularly democratic flavor to our faith; we historically don't like being told what to do, and we clearly have no problem telling our bishops just what we think of them. But even this little democratic Catholic was stunned by the reaction that French bishop Christian Nourrichard of Evreux received [...]

A New Patron Saint for Chastity?

When we're thinking about the Deadly Sins, it helps to use examples. It's too easy for theological writers to sling around Abstractions with Capital Letters, as if with each stroke of the pen they're tapping into Plato's realm of changeless, ineffable Forms. Or at least that they're writing in German, where all nouns start with [...]

A Confession

In 1993 I was paid a visit in my home in London by an Irish writer, Colm Toibin, who was gathering material for a book on Catholicism in Europe. Toibin himself had lost his faith and seemed surprised when I told him that I believed not just in God but also in such difficult notions [...]