post-Vatican II Crisis

On the Strange Function of Absolutes

Most people today “absolutely” maintain that they do not hold or live by “absolutes.” They live by their desires and choices, which are readily changeable. No one is much bothered by the “logic” of his own views. The proposition that “No absolutes exist” is itself an absolute. If it is true, an absolute exists. If [...]

How to Save the Church’s Architectural Patrimony

There is an unprecedented crisis in our cities, yet most are not aware of it. It does not affect residents nor shoppers in our tony neighborhoods. In working-class neighborhoods some see it as a concern, but they are a minority. What is this crisis? In dioceses across the country, including Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, and New [...]

Clothing the Naked Catholic Square

Secularized man has succeeded in making himself a shadow. By eschewing every trace of moral absolutes, tradition and, indeed, the very anchor of nature itself, he has made himself a ghost. So etiolated, he can only rely upon the whimsical demands of the gaseous self. In this claustrophobic universe there is no longer need for [...]

The Tragedy of Commonplace Church Scandals

Despite curbing my online reading, scarcely a day passes without noting some new scandal caused by a theologian, priest, or bishop. It’s true, of course, that small stories from faraway places achieve an immediacy impossible without the web, but, still, the outrages are all too real. I suspect stories come readily to mind: commemorations of [...]

The Thoughtfuls and the Roughnecks

There is a way of argumentation that academics use. It goes something like, “Thank you for your valuable contribution to this exchange. You have allowed us to consider more deeply the issues before us. If I have one quibble it might be…” They could be talking about a house-fire and it would go something like [...]

Hearing the Still, Small Voice of Orthodoxy

After his confrontation with Ahab and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, where he called fire down from heaven and killed those prophets, Elijah fled for his life, first to Beersheba then to Horeb (I Kings 18:16-19:18). At Horeb the Lord appeared to Elijah, but before this appearance, the prophet experienced a powerful windstorm, [...]

What’s Missing in the New Evangelization

With great interest, I listened to the upbeat homilies and presentations online from the U.S. Bishops’ July Convocation on Evangelization. Everyone seemed to be on the same page by emphasizing our call to share the joy of the Gospel; welcome our immigrant brothers and sisters; tend to those in the periphery; accompany people one on [...]

Evangelization, Vatican II, and Censorship

Evangelization can be frustrating. After 25 years evangelizing in my personal life and in official roles with the Church, including as a diocesan Director of Evangelization, I know this well. Few Catholics, of course, would be surprised that evangelization can be arduous. They may be surprised, however, at the way censorship in the Church poses [...]

The Sexual Revolution and the Do-Nothing Church

“Abandonment of Christian sexual morality is the core of the Church’s self-secularization.”  ∼ Gabriele Kuby, The Global Sexual Revolution From time to time, the church finds itself with egg on its face because of its failure to speak out in the face of grievous injustices. The Nazi episode, the Civil Rights movement in the United [...]

The Spiritual Roots of the Church’s Crisis

In the midst of moral and sacramental debates in the Church, it is easy to focus on ecclesial politics and to look there for solutions. Without denying the importance of such debates, it is also helpful to take a step back and to examine the roots of the crisis. The Church’s Cross: A Crisis of [...]

What Real Church Reform Looks Like

During my first tentative explorations into Catholicism, some Protestant friends pointed out examples of “bad Catholics” in their attempts to dissuade me from swimming the Tiber. The type is well-represented in literature, of course, including the “here comes everybody” of James Joyce, the Flyte’s of Brideshead Revisited or Crouchback’s of Sword of Honor, and many [...]

What Will You Do When the Persecution Comes?

I know there are plenty of Catholics who are, in one way or another, looking forward to the relentless institutional persecution that is coming our way unless we surrender the One Thing Needful to the secular left, and that is the family-destroying and state-feeding beast called the Sexual Revolution, with its seven heads and ten [...]

The Profoundly Politically Incorrect John Zmirak

John Zmirak makes all the right heads explode. For that alone, we should be grateful. John caused quite an Internet kerfuffle a few years ago with a column called Illiberal Catholicism where he identified and took apart a tendency he spotted among young Catholics who were trending toward a hatred of America, a belief now [...]

School Memories During the Turbulent Vatican II Years

Let me say at the outset that I am aware that people's recollections of Catholic high schools vary—but the following are some of the memories I have of the 1960s, at the cusp of the Conciliar era and my reflections may resonate with some readers. I attended Brigidine Convent school in Randwick in Sydney, Australia, [...]

When An Opera Is Like a Vatican II Liturgy

Years (and years) ago I went to an opera in Graz, Austria—I guess the American equivalent to this is going to see the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park (if you are a huge baseball fan) or Ricky Skaggs play the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, if you are a big country-western aficionado. Anyway, [...]

How a Small-Town Parish Disposed of Its Troublesome Priest

The story you are about to read is true. The names have been changed to protect the guilty. The innocent don’t need such protection, but there aren’t any innocent people in this tale. Some years ago, I was living in a small, mid-western town populated mostly by people whose livelihood centered on agriculture. It was [...]

Teaching the Faith in a Time of Crisis

It has been a depressing month. A few weeks ago, I had brunch with my brother, a loyal Sunday Catholic. He has a vacation home which he generously offers to our extended family, and during our meal he told me that our college-age grandnephew and his girlfriend had visited. The understanding was that they would [...]

A Traditional Society of Priests That Practices True Mercy

If I remove the central reason for a thing to exist, it will slowly cease to exist, and even what it had will be lost. On the other hand, if I proclaim and reinforce that central reason, the thing will not only continue to exist, but will likely even increase and bear fruit in due [...]

The Future Church That Never Was

"The Yankees," said the Hall of Fame center fielder Tris Speaker, "will regret making Babe Ruth into an outfielder." Speaker can be forgiven that colossally errant prediction. Nobody had actually done what Ruth was about to do, changing the game forever by changing the batter’s strategy, "uppercutting" the ball to produce a lot of strikeouts [...]

Buying the Right Toys from Faiths R Us

A couple of weeks ago I was staying at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., as a guest speaker for a symposium on the role of Dominicans in the life of the intellect. The eastern province is flush with vocations, as we at Providence College know well, having in recent years sent to [...]

Should the Solemnity of the Ascension Be Moved?

Thursday, May 14 was the Solemnity of the Ascension in the ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, Newark, New York, Omaha, and Philadelphia. In the rest of the United States, the Solemnity of the Ascension was marked on Sunday, May 17, which suppressed the Seventh Sunday of Easter. Church discipline in the United States allows for [...]

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