evangelization

The Freaks are Us

Hollywood has produced a terrific, though historically inaccurate, movie based on the life of showman P.T. Barnum. It is a singing and dancing extravaganza that is highly compelling, though the songs are of the pop variety. Even so, the opening sequence alone, which recapitulates the story of Barnum’s fictional life, is worth the price of [...]

Time for a Spiritual Health Assessment

The story of the rich man and Lazarus is more than a bracing reminder about our duty to the poor; it is a cautionary tale about misjudging our spiritual condition. In Jesus’s day, material wealth and well-being were commonly assumed to be divine blessings for personal righteousness: the rich were rich because of their moral [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

On Giving Catholic Books Away

Following Fr. Schall—who nudged me home to the Church some years back—I do a bit of evangelizing by recommending—or when feeling rich, giving—books to people. Hanging around secular universities the past 40 years, I’ve met a lot of left-liberal academics, most of whom are practical if not ideological atheists. Some of these are, like me, [...]

The Church in the Wilderness

When looking at the American Catholic Church and the surrounding culture, the honest, orthodox Catholic is left with at least two sobering conclusions: we are losing the culture war both outside the American Catholic Church and inside its precincts. The Obergefell v. Hodges decision (same-sex “marriage”) by the SCOTUS put an exclamation point on the [...]

The Consumer-Driven Church

A recent survey (August 2016) by the Pew Research Center reveals that American churches have produced a generation of spiritual consumers who want little more from their religious community than a good pulpiteer, a satisfying worship service, and a congregation filled with nice, friendly members. Researching the habits of U.S. Christians, Pew found that nearly [...]

Okay, Now I Get the Good, the True and the Beautiful

The Appaloosa Music Festival opened my eyes to something I had been vaguely skeptical about, though vaguely skeptical might too weakly describe what I actually believed about the good, the true, and the beautiful (GTB). GTB can be a mode of evangelizing a hostile culture. But I had tended to view it as a way [...]

Let Us Work Together: On Jewish-Christian Relations

Editor’s note: The following address was delivered on April 15, 2016 before the Harvard Hillel Society and is printed with permission of the author. I am so glad to be back in cooperation with the Harvard Hillel Society. Long, long ago, in about 1961, the Hillel Society and the Harvard Catholic Club almost at the [...]

Give Me That Old-Time Evangelization

Recently, The World Over host, Raymond Arroyo, interviewed Cardinal Wuerl about the Synod on the Family and asked the cardinal, in various ways, whether the Synod was changing the Church’s teaching on reception of communion by divorced and remarried Catholics. Cardinal Wuerl identified the Synod as a manifestation of the “New Evangelization.” “We’re seeing different [...]

Be Hopeful, Despite Everything

It is always a little sad when the miracle doesn’t happen. So, when the Supreme Court waved its magic gavel last summer and rhetorically ended the citizens’ debate over the newly discovered “right” to same-sex "marriage," the decision was greeted with frustration and a deep sense of betrayal on the part of many faithful Catholics. [...]

Which Papal Document will Renew the Earth?

It was my intention to offer a fulsome commentary and critique of Laudato Si. However, as I commenced my third and closest reading of the document, I found myself overwhelmed by its voluminous nature, meandering and mixture of solid proclamation of Christian teaching with incoherent detours into all manner of political controversy. My principal concerns [...]

The Crises of Saints

We don’t have to go very far to recognize that there are abundant crises in our world today. We find crises of various proportions in every corner of the globe and in virtually all sectors of society. Check the news online, read the various blogs, twitter feeds, social media, or turn on the radio or [...]

The Goal of Classical Education is Truth

“The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.” Aristotle wrote this in the fourth century B.C. in a text called On the Heavens. Sixteen hundred years later Thomas Aquinas began his treatise On Being and Essence by paraphrasing Aristotle: “Because a small error in the beginning grows enormous at the end.…” [...]

No Excuses: Catholic Schools Must Evangelize

One of the most important documents for understanding the role of Catholic education in the modern world is Vatican II’s Declaration on Christian Education. This document explains and defends the various ways in which students should be formed in Catholic schools, seminaries, colleges, and universities. The Declaration affirms that Catholic colleges are an extension of [...]

Billy Graham Had a Runny Nose

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith (Heb. 13.7). There’s a scene in Robert Duvall’s film The Apostle where the renegade evangelist, Sonny Dewey, comes upon a boat blessing ceremony on the river. “You do it your way, I’ll do [...]

Needed: A New Church Policy Toward Islam [Pt. 3]

In his book America Alone, Mark Steyn observed that “there is no market for a faith that has no faith in itself.” He was referring to Christianity’s loss of faith in itself as exemplified by the decline of Christianity in Europe and the corresponding rise of Islam—a faith that does have faith in itself. A [...]

Retrieving Apologetics

A number of Catholics, including theologians, think that the Church should not engage in apologetics. These critics claim that Vatican II made apologetics obsolete by calling for the Church to embrace, and no longer turn its back on, the modern world. They say theology is supposed to engage pressing contemporary issues that affect everyone, but [...]

The Untapped Potential of Catholic Schools Week

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the 41st annual National Catholic Schools Week. Sponsored by the National Catholic Education Association, Catholic Schools Week typically consists of open houses, themed logos, regional “all schools” Masses, and a host of other activities for families and parishes involved with Catholic schools. Harmless enough, right? Fun for students, good for [...]

Popularity of Latin Liturgy is Not “Unfortunate”

In an article on the website Millennials, sponsored by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, William Bornhoft accuses “TLM Millennials” of hindering the new evangelization by favoring the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM). Bornhoft, a recent college graduate, makes a number of groundless assertions about TLM supporters and about the liturgical reform promulgated at the [...]

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 [...]

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