Pope Pius XI

A Thomist’s Guide to the 2020 Election

For many well intentioned Catholics, determining whom to vote for in the upcoming presidential election is a difficult decision. The Church has no official, clear criteria to aid in the decision. Yet, the fact is that Rome, the highest authority in the Church, has provided the faithful with contemporary, official teaching concerning political decisions. Pope [...]

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom Come

“Waiting for the Barbarians,” Constantine Cavafy’s poem about civilizational collapse, describes a geriatric Rome so desiccated and demoralized that it is almost entirely without hope. It has roused itself on one failing elbow to grasp at a last chance for regeneration—the barbarian hordes rumored to be approaching, doubtless to sack and burn, but perhaps also [...]

The Fifties: Catholic Paradise Lost?

Memory is a tricky thing, and historical memory can be trickier. For example, to many Catholic Americans, the 1950s look like a golden age of innocence, when life—especially church life—looked like a series of Norman Rockwell and Harold Anderson illustrations. As with all such reminiscences, it is not entirely inaccurate. Certainly America’s Catholics benefited alongside [...]

Acton Tends to Corrupt

Lord Acton’s dictum, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” has been getting a good airing in the media lately. “Donald Trump, Absolutely Corrupted” ran an October 11 Washington Post headline, but they’re not the only ones quoting Acton as a satisfactory explanation of the President of the United States’ disturbing tendency to run [...]

An Encyclical on Islam?

It was heartening to hear Pope Francis denounce the Armenian genocide even though he knew it would incur the anger of the Turkish government (which denies the genocide charge). Dr. Lawrence Franklin, who was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, took the occasion as an opportunity to pen an article suggesting the [...]

Reactions to the Pope’s Encyclical on Contraception

It is interesting now to look back at the various reactions when the pope issued his encyclical on contraception. I dug up the following, and I think they pretty much speak for themselves. It is hardly necessary to add any comments at all except to say how little things have changed. A leader from an [...]

Painting Catholicism with a Fascist Brush

David I. Kertzer’s Mussolini and the Pope illustrates the mindset that led me to write a book on antifascist obsessions. If we accept the axiom that no form of anti-fascist enthusiasm goes unrewarded, then it is understandable why Kertzer, a history professor at Brown University, received a Pulitzer Prize for his latest book—and the additional honor [...]

Papal Teaching Warns Against Excessive Government

We are familiar enough with left-of-center Catholics, like Catholics United and the professors who publicly opposed House Speaker John Boehner’s honorary degree from The Catholic University of America in 2011, beating the drum for governmental—especially federal government—“solutions” to problems. We also witness it, however, from some Catholics known for being committed to the orthodox teaching [...]

Cardinal Pie and the Social Kingship of Christ

Near the close of the year 1925, Pope Pius XI issued his encyclical Quas Primas, introducing the Feast of Christ the King.  By the celebration of this feast, it was thought that the teaching on Christ’s Social Kingship would more perfectly permeate the minds of men.  Among other things, attacking the increasing secularism in social [...]

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