Catholic Living

Will Anyone End Up In Hell?

In Robert Speaight’s The Unbroken Heart, a novel sadly neglected in the long years following its publication in 1939, a character named Arnaldo has just been told of his beloved wife’s untimely death.  His reaction, by today’s standards, seems very strange indeed.  “It does not really interest me,” he confesses, “to know by what accident … Read more

Is God Dead? Have We Killed Him?

Nietzsche isn’t exactly the kind of guy you expect to show up in a papal encyclical. All the more so does it seem odd to refer to him as a prophet. Nonetheless, recent popes have referred to him somewhat often, using him as a referent for our current social and philosophical situation. In one of … Read more

Catholicism: Scandalous in Every Age

A few weeks ago, a Catholic priest caused quite a stir in one of our local diocesan high schools. He spoke the truth about sex. Pause here to sigh, and to wish that our heresies were more interesting. Some of the parents and students objected. They did not say, “The priest presented the truth in … Read more

Time for a Little Easter Cheer

When a magazine names itself Crisis, you should know not to expect sugar plums and primroses. Our culture is in a bad way, and here at Crisis we’re pretty up-front about that fact. We endeavor to diagnose the problems and determine the appropriate response. Around here, we skip the sugar coating. As faithful Catholics, we … Read more

Abortive Contraceptives and Pro-Life Rhetoric

An unforeseen, positive effect of the HHS mandate’s dramatic affront to religious liberty is to have brought renewed attention to the abortive effects of contraception. But there still needs to be far more discussion of their full moral import—for social policy, institutional behavior, conscience rights, voting behavior—and, ultimately, pro-life rhetoric. This essay makes two points. First, … Read more

On Barbarism and Benedict

For those who have the courage to plunge headlong into the great sea of history, their minds accustomed to taking long views, the attractions of Protestantism are few and never fatal.   But for those who know nothing of the past, whose minds are unwilling to travel to such places, the allure of Protestant piety with … Read more

Chiara Corbella: A Witness to Joy

In worldly terms, Chiara Corbella’s life was not a success story: two children dying shortly after birth, herself ravaged by an aggressive cancer, which killed her at the young age of 28, leaving a beloved husband and a small son behind. This is not the kind of material dreams are made of. Yet when one … Read more

Saving Catholic Culture from Destruction

What kind of mindset built all the immigrant Catholic parishes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the Americas? Was it a way of thinking predicated on practical limitations; on being “realistic” in the mundane sense of the word? This can hardly be so. Something deeply potent—and even slightly irrational to the modern mind—had to … Read more

Rebuilding Catholic Society

The Church is not part of the State. Nor is she simply a part of civil society set up by her members to advance their public and private goals. She is an independent society established by God to be a light to the world. As such, she has her own principles of existence, authority, and … Read more

The Benedict Option: What Does It Really Mean?

 “Seeking his workman in a multitude of people, the Lord calls out to him and lifts his voice again: ‘Is there anyone here who yearns for life and desires to see good days?’” (Prologue of the Rule of St. Benedict, quoting Psalm 34:14-15). The Benedict Option—what does it really mean? In my mind, it is … Read more

The Gregory Option: St. Benedict in the World

Alasdair MacIntyre’s 1981 manifesto After Virtue famously ends with the argument that we are “waiting for another St. Benedict.”  At some point, the old Roman Empire was lost.  “Men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral … Read more

Can Some Same-Sex Attractions Not Be Disordered?

Are there some same-sex sexual attractions that are not disordered inclinations? Melinda Selmys, among those dubbed the “new homophiles” by Austin Ruse, seems to think so. At the “Spiritual Friendship” blog, Selmys presents this thesis under the title “Still Looking to Desire.” Now, I consider Melinda and everyone at the “Spiritual Friendship” blog to be … Read more

The Strength of St. Patrick

In the nave of my parish church, amongst the walls of glittering glass that are as windows unto the Word of God itself, there is an image of St. Patrick. When the morning light filters inward through its translucent shape, every feature of that great saint becomes sharp and distinct. His figure looms there suddenly, … Read more

The “Poverty” of Homosexual Orientation

In my last post I made the case that sexual “orientation” as defined by secular culture today is conceptually far removed from the dignity of the human person and is an abstract and generic form of data collection that does not even accurately describe one’s total experience of sexual attraction once we have found “the … Read more

The Urgency of Infant Baptism

I recently wrote of one of my newborn son’s namesakes, Bl. Columba Marmion. My son, Colum, was baptized five days after birth (it would have been three except for the priest’s sickness), which is fast these days. In the old days it would have happened sooner. Pope Benedict XVI, for instance, was baptized on the … Read more

The Benedict Option and the Lay Vocation

“[Monasteries] kept the world’s diary, faced the plagues of all flesh, taught the first technical arts, preserved the pagan literature, and above all, by a perpetual patchwork of charity, kept the poor from the most distant sight of their modern despair.” – G.K. Chesterton The Benedict Option is, like so many saintly practices, both a … Read more

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

Sometimes the best thing you can do to a school is to raze it. The pipes leak, there’s mold in the ceiling panels, rats are nesting behind the wainscot, and a strange black stain has appeared under the basement floor near the oil line. It isn’t worth repairing. It might have been worth repairing, if … Read more

On Letting the Light Shine

As a rather observant child, I made a mental note of the fact that my maternal grandmother would ask me to “make a light” instead of asking me to switch it on. When she was a child, no one switched lights on.  At night, light was not had without effort, not in her English town nor … Read more

Sin and Purity

I once had the misfortune to watch a television program about the economic crisis. There was some attempt being made to explain why people kept investing in schemes that really were not very sound, why they kept getting bigger mortgages than they could not afford to pay back, why they kept believing that the value … Read more

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