papal authority

Five Lessons from the Christmas Market Attack

On December 11, a Muslim named Cherif Chekatt opened fire at the famed Christmas Market in Strasbourg, killing three and wounding thirteen. There are several important lessons to be learned from the incident. Here are five of them: I. The attack was aimed at Christians. It was no coincidence that the terrorist chose to target [...]

The Pope as Supreme Being

Pope Francis famously downplays law and doctrinal formulations, which he often associates with Pharisaism, in favor of “discernment,” which seems to involve the direct application of ultimate considerations to particular situations. As he put the matter in his address at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family, “The true defenders of doctrine are not [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

What Kind of Thing is Authority?

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them..." So quoted Malvolio in Shakespseare's Twelfth Night (albeit as he read from a letter written by Maria, so, ironically, the great lines on greatness were not even his). History, along with current events, which will comprise much of future history, is much-ado [...]

What History May Tell Us About Amoris Laetitia

Today cardinals and bishops are intensely divided over whether or not invalidly married Catholics living in adultery can receive Holy Communion. Fifty years ago, this kind of question would have boggled the minds of Catholics everywhere, because the answer would be both obvious and simple: “No!” The question has arisen today because a recent and [...]

On the Relative Unimportance of Our Leaders

To most Americans, the election of Donald Trump to the presidency was a surprise, but for a certain segment of the population, the suddenly live prospect of “President Donald J. Trump” evoked stronger reactions. Groups of people that were described as “horrified” included “climate change supporters” (presumably this means “supporters of the fight against climate [...]

The “Concern”

A relative recently wrote an e-mail to me in which he made the following off-handed comment: “What do you think of the pope’s recent course change on abortion?” Now, unless I missed something, on this subject the pope has not changed anything. He has, no doubt, indicated that he wanted to downplay its relative importance [...]

The Prophetic Voice of Four Cardinals

“We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.” ∼ St. Paul Out of “deep pastoral concern,” four cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, His Eminence Joachim Meisner, Archbishop emeritus of Cologne (Germany), His Eminence Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop emeritus of Bologna (Italy), His Eminence Raymond Leo Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order [...]

The Chair of St. Peter and the Apollo Moon “Hoax”

We live in the age of conspiracies. What, if anything, do they tell us about the world we live in today? And, what if, behind all these theories, there is indeed one monumental conspiracy? On December 10, 2015, a video purporting to be film of Stanley Kubrick appeared on the internet. Allegedly the work of [...]

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