Pope John Paul II

In the Culture of Death, Abortion is a Sacrament

The feminist writer Florynce Kennedy once said, “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.” She didn’t give the left enough credit. Abortion has become a kind of “sacrament” because women can get pregnant. Abortion has morphed from a taboo tragedy to a constitutional right: a sine qua non of the Democratic Party, [...]

Out of the Ruins: Walker Percy Explains

Editor’s note: in this fascinating interview with Crisis Magazine, the acclaimed novelist Walker Percy discusses the vocations crisis, abortion, Vatican II, popes, and (of course) literature. The interview originally appeared in the July 1989 print edition of Crisis. It has been edited for brevity. CRISIS: There is tremendous intellectual opposition in the Church to Pope [...]

SSPX: Back to the Bad Old Days?

“Tomorrow I’m leaving for Mexico,” Bishop Bernard Fellay tells me, “and then on to Cuba.” I balk. “What’s in Cuba?” The question seems to confuse him. “The faithful,” he explains. “They need Confirmation, too.” What’s the SSPX presence in Cuba like? “Small,” he tells me, “and mostly underground. They’re still badly persecuted by the communists.” [...]

How to Write Your Own Encyclical

The cracks in the Axis powers became clear when the Armistice of Cassibile was announced on September 8, 1943, after the Italian government broke with the Nazis and joined the Western Allies. The National Socialists under the codename Unternehmen Alarich tried to take over the Italian zones of occupation in southern France and the Balkans [...]

How John Paul II and Ronald Reagan stopped mass murderers

Another long weekend, another mass murder. Seven were massacred in the latest rampage in West Texas rampage. It comes with the same, almost scripted reactions from all sides: punish my enemies, leave my supporters alone. Hearts aren’t changed. In the upcoming film, “The Divine Plan,’’ Ronald Reagan and St. John Paul teach today’s leaders a [...]

St. John Paul II Is More Relevant Than Ever

An informative, comprehensive, well-written, and persuasive book, The Splendor of Marriage was published by Angelico Press to mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968). In a culminating chapter, Richard Spinello lays out the argument of Humanae Vitae and makes it clear why the document is so central to Catholic doctrine [...]

Can the Church Recover Its Fighting Spirit?

The Islamic world is waging—and winning—a war on Judeo-Christian civilization. With 1.3 billion Catholics worldwide, the Catholic Church is potentially one of the most powerful centers of resistance to Islam. It certainly has been in the past. Unfortunately, that’s not the case today. What are those 1.3 billion Catholics doing in regard to the struggle [...]

On the Legacy of St. John Paul the Great

The feast of St. John Paul II was celebrated on October 22, the 39th anniversary of Karol Wojtyła’s formal installation as the Bishop of Rome. This occasion is an ideal time to reflect on St. John Paul the Great's contribution to the Church and the world. Papal biographer George Weigel continues writing about the late Pope’s legacy, [...]

Contemporary Tyranny and Catholic Social Doctrine

The usual view among Catholics is that public authority should look after all aspects of the common good. As a result, the social encyclicals have proposed a variety of responsibilities for government. The variety has grown with the range of problems under consideration, from the condition of industrial workers in Rerum Novarum to the comprehensive good of [...]

A Cardinal’s Implausible Defense of Amoris Laetitia

Many of Pope’s Francis’ closest allies have presented vindications of his troubling apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, who is the President for the Pontifical Office of Legislative Texts, stepped forward last year with a booklet concentrating on the controversial claims of Chapter Eight. This guided reading is now accessible in English thanks to [...]

Annulments: A Concession to Human Weakness

He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” (Mt. 19:8) Scripture tells us that “God hates divorce” (Malachi 2:16), and it doesn’t sound like Jesus was too thrilled with how Moses handled it, since “it was not [...]

Ronald Reagan, John Paul II, and Fatima

It was June 6, 1987. Ronald Reagan was on his way to Rome to meet with Pope John Paul II. Their first meeting at the Vatican had taken place five years earlier, June 7, 1982, whereupon the two men shared their mutual convictions that they believed God had spared their lives from assassination attempts the [...]

Fatima, Marriage, and the Theology of the Body

It has been reported that Sister Lucia of Fatima wrote a letter to Cardinal Caffarra predicting that “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.” Not long after, Pope John Paul II was in the midst of his famous “Theology of the Body” talks on [...]

Mercy: A Call to Repentance

As the Year of Mercy nears completion, I find myself bewildered by mercy’s many faces. I have listened to nearly a year’s worth of homilies and proclamations exhorting me to a life of mercy. If mercy is love, as I have heard repeatedly, one would think its renewal should address that which destroys love. But [...]

The Church Cannot Reverse Past Teaching on Capital Punishment

Pope St. John Paul II was well-known for his vigorous opposition to capital punishment. Yet in 2004, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—the pope’s own chief doctrinal officer, later to become Pope Benedict XVI—stated unambiguously that: [I]f a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment … he would not for that reason [...]

“Mutual Submission” between Husbands and Wives in Ephesians 5?

Since the promulgation of St. John Paul II’s Mulieris Dignitatem in 1988, Catholics often speak of a “mutual submission” between husbands and wives. Proponents of the idea of mutual submission between spouses, including John Paul himself and Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia, often cite Ephesians chapter 5, and particularly verse 21—“submitting to one another out [...]

On Rocco Buttiglione’s Defense of Amoris Laetitia

In the past several weeks L’Osservatore Romano has published two articles by reputable John Paul II scholars defending the teachings of Amoris Laetitia (AL). In the first article, Rocco Buttiglione, a widely respected philosopher, argues that critics of this apostolic exhortation have trouble understanding Pope Francis. Hence they fail to see that there is no [...]

Why Homosexuality is a Natural Law Issue

Melinda Selmys, familiar to the readers of Crisis as a leading voice among the gay Christian movement, recently wrote an essay she called “10 Reasons Why Homosexuality is Not a Natural Law Issue.” Her basic premise is “that trying to argue against homosexuality from a natural law point of view in contemporary discourse is about [...]

Apostasy in England and Europe

There once was an excellent Jesuit boarding school in England by the name of Beaumont, which began admitting boys back in the mid 1800s. Soon after opening its doors, it decided to challenge a neighboring school to a game of soccer. And so the headmaster sent his counterpart at nearby Eton a letter suggesting a [...]

John Paul II, Porn, and the Stanford Rapist

One need not recount again the abominable details of Brock Turner’s “20 minutes of action,” or those of his trial and recent conviction on three counts of sexual assault. Enough ink has been spilled in outrage (rightfully so) over his woefully short prison sentence, and the support for his victim’s courageous statement before the court [...]

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 [...]

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