Death of a Bad Dude

In the 1980s, I was an unrefined adolescent from blue-collar Butler, Pennsylvania. I knew nothing and cared nothing about politics. I had no idea if I was a conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, or much of anything else. But I knew one thing: Moammar Kaddafi was a bad dude. This was expressed in a [...]

Finding St. Joseph

Imagine a world where no Christian is named for St. Joseph, where no church or religious organization bears his name. Picture St. Joseph absent from the Mass, the Breviary, the Church calendar, and the Litany of Saints. No shrines, no special devotions, no hymns, no solo images, no popular customs, no festive foods pay homage [...]

Secularism’s Victory through Osmosis

The German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel (1770-1831) began his education as a Lutheran seminarian during the cultural ferment that we now refer to as the French Enlightenment. Later, as a philosophy professor at Jena, in a chapter in his 1807 Phenomenology of Spirit on "the struggle of the Enlightenment with Superstition," he offered a [...]

Economics and Human Action

When it comes to economics, there is a serious comprehension deficit among Catholics. In order to understand this subject, we must first distinguish between the actions of human beings and the way those actions are perceived by those who study them. The value of any economic theory lies in how well it captures actual human [...]

The Constant Threat of the Miraculous

For the modern informed Catholic, the miraculous and the holy do not necessarily go hand in hand. Among many of the devout, confusion often exists as to whether miracles are real, whether they are from God or from somewhere else, and whether questionable people are profiting from them. In our time, places like Medjugorje have [...]

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 [...]

Tolerant Americans: Looking at the new World Values Survey

I've been enjoying the Globe and Mail's interactive presentation of the latest World Values Survey (WVS). If you're unfamiliar with the organization, the WVS is comprised of an international network of social scientists who carry out surveys in 97 countries, offering representative opinion from close to 90 percent of the Earth's population. The questions are [...]

Nuns lead the way in organic farming

Here's a story after my own heart: An exemplary organic farm run by a group of nuns. Villa Maria, on the border of Pennsylvania and Ohio is like a small town, with a Post Office, and a 23 acre plot of land housing a convent, an apartment building for seniors, and a retreat center full [...]

Lady Gaga Changing Her Tune?

Admittedly, I like Lady Gaga, or used to like her. She reminds me of a type of a younger Madonna - someone who is theatrical, a rule breaker, line crosser but talented and able to reinvent herself.   Lately, however, her theatrics have become  increasingly bizarre in a way that is following the trend toward [...]

Burka Rage?

Burqas are fast becoming a heated subject in parts of Europe, notably France and Belgium. The UK Telegraph reported an incident over the weekend where two women came to blows over the burqa: [A] 26-year-old Muslim convert was walking through the store in Trignac, near Nantes, in the western Loire-Atlantique region, when she overhead the woman lawyer [...]

Archbishop Dolan: It’s a grand time to return to confession

Lent. It's here already. My Shrove Tuesday fare was a bit subdued because I'm fighting a cold, but I managed to make my favorite pancakes. With only 7 tablespoons of flour and 1 cup of sour cream, it's the perfect food for Fat Tuesday. But I'm not posting to tell you about my pancakes. A [...]

Babies, Hyundais and economic power

A few years ago while I was attending a silent retreat, the retreat master took off his reading glasses and deviated off topic.  He had been leading a study on the Holy Family, but couldn’t help reflecting on some recent news: France was experiencing (as many countries are now) increasing unemployment, increasing immigration and decreasing [...]

‘Eldest daughter of the Church’ losing its faith?

Thanks to the American Papist, I came across this post on "The Anglo-Catholic," translating the summary of a study done by La Croix about the "de-Christianization" of France. Father Anthony Chadwick has the grim numbers: Whilst, in 1965, 81% of the French declared themselves as Catholics, they were no more than 64% in 2009. More [...]

Gluttons for Power

  At least since the lavish dinners of the decadent Roman Republic, rulers and those who aspired to rule have frequently made a point of conspicuous consumption. Now, this isn't always despicable; we expect those who represent legitimate authority on earth to express the dignity of their office. Even in the vigorous early days of [...]

1942: Life Goes On

  If our present existence were not sufficient proof, the irrefutable platitude that life goes on was evident in the summer months of 1942 in England when, coincident with the bombings and lengthening list of war casualties and stricter food rationing, Aloysius Roche published a preview of his study of the Egyptian Desert Fathers, and [...]

The Prophet of the Future

A friend who returned from a visit to France last week was enlivened by his experience of the new ecclesial communities there. He met members of the Community of the Beatitudes -- a mixed community of men and women, married and celibate, who live a life with apostolic work and evangelization, Carmelite spirituality, and beautiful [...]

The Magdalene

Lent is moving toward its object. At a certain age, one realizes that each Lenten season is its own unique season. No two seasons should be the same, as -- please God! -- we are not the same. This year I spent part of Lent in the Burgundian village of Vézelay. Where the basilica stands [...]

Mr. Lewis and Mrs. Moore

Literature offers us a rich panorama of marriages in which the woman is a shrew and the husband a victim. Not every male is a Petruchio and can "tame" his conjoint. But while not a marriage, the mysterious partnership between the great C. S. Lewis and Janie King Moore, which lasted half of Lewis's life, [...]

Bastille Day: Baptism by Blood

Yesterday probably passed without much fanfare in your home, but July 14 is a day I usually try to commemorate. Not because I carry a single drop of French blood (more's the pity -- I'd be proud to be a cousin of Joan of Arc and François Mauriac). No, it's because I think Bastille Day [...]

Lepanto, 1571: The Battle that Saved Europe

The clash of civilizations is as old as history, and equally as old is the blindness of those who wish such clashes away; but they are the hinges, the turning points of history. In the latter half of the 16th century, Muslim war drums sounded and the mufti of the Ottoman sultan proclaimed jihad, but [...]