Church

England at Prayer

In The Stripping of the Altars—the single most important book in English Reformation studies in the past 50 years—Eamon Duffy demonstrates the vitality of popular religion in England in the years leading up the Reformation. Duffy’s thesis, comprehensively researched and cogently argued, turned inside-out—or, more precisely, upside-down—the received opinion concerning the Reformation in England, namely, … Read more

Anti-Catholic Nastiness in England

  Catholics in Britain have recently begun commenting on what they see as a growing trend: Over the past couple of years it has become worryingly routine to hear crass and vulgar attacks on the Church, attacks that would be regarded as wholly unacceptable if they were made against the Jewish or Islamic faiths.   … Read more

Legislating Intolerance: Is Marriage a Dying Institution in England?

  There’s a problem at the moment in Britain with our sense of national identity. The problem is a compound of many things, of course: an all-pervasive culture of pop music and TV soaps, muddle about the way history is (or isn’t) taught in schools, a substantial and growing Islamic presence, confusion about our role … Read more

Making the Leap

It’s always touchy discussing a recent religious conversion. But there are times when a conversion is so public that talk is bound to come. Such was the case last month when Francis Beckwith, the president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), announced his return to the Catholic Church. Beckwith had been raised Catholic but left … Read more

Consumer’s Guide

As a Catholic convert in the media, I get letters from many young, smart, skeptical, “postmodern” people seeking religious advice. Many want to become Catholic, but know almost nothing about the Faith. We are called to evangelize, and in the hope that this might be useful to others, here is a stripped-down version of the … Read more

Austin Vaughan

Preparing for my priestly ordination, Bishop Austin Vaughan (1927–2000) conferred the ministries of lector and acolyte with such unassuming dispatch that one forgot the man was possibly the smartest bishop in the nation. Nothing seemed quite to fit him; he appeared not so much to be dressed as to be in the process of dressing, … Read more

The Devil’s Distraction: A Misplaced Bad Conscience

Having a bad conscience is one of the most unpleasant feelings one can experience. We dread it and understandably try to escape its sting. Anything that assuages a bad conscience will be welcome. In the meantime, the wily one—the devil—calculates what advantage he can win from it. He begins to benefit as soon as a … Read more

The Canadian Dioceses

I am overwhelmed by large statistical surveys of anything, though it strikes me that the comparative survey of American dioceses, reviewed elsewhere throughout this issue, in fact confirms what we’d expect from good sense. Bishops do make a difference, and have great power to lead their flocks toward life or toward death. I write from … Read more

Shrinking the Bishop’s Conference

When 250 or so American bishops travel to Baltimore in mid-November for a sentimental journey into the Catholic past, they may find more comfort in looking back than looking ahead. But look ahead they must. Their national organization, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has come to a historic turning point.   Since the … Read more

Love, Sex, and the Cross

Like most “reverts,” I was not initially interested in coming back to the Catholic Church. I was a committed pro-choice feminist, intellectually anti-Christian, and had every available misconception about Catholicism. All Catholicism had in its favor, as far as I was concerned, was its alleged institutional concern for the poor. I had acted out the … Read more

Don’t Bind God To Contracts He Didn’t Sign

One of the reasons I appreciate the Catholic Church is that its lifeblood is apostolic tradition, which ensures against running around after The Latest Thing. However, I am also aware of the long history of Catholics trying to bind God to contracts He has never signed. Many times people leave the Catholic Church, not because … Read more

An Evangelical Ponders the Presidency

  If you know the name Huckabee, it’s probably from the popular movie or the highly publicized weight-loss campaign of the Arkansas governor. My wife is politically astute and very knowledgeable. When I told her I was meeting with Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, she quickly replied, "Oh, he’s the guy who lost all the … Read more

Ten Things Republicans Must Do To Keep the Religious Vote

  A recent New York Times article reported a Pew Forum poll showing that significantly fewer people view the Republican Party as "friendly" to religion.   "The survey found that the proportion of Americans who say the Republican Party is friendly to religion fell 8 percentage points in the last year, to 47 percent from … Read more

The Historical Assault on Jesus

There’s big money to be made in undermining traditional Christianity. We saw it first in the phenomenal success of The Da Vinci Code, the film version of which will be in theaters later this month. You’re already no doubt familiar with the book’s unrelenting attack on the Church. And the movie looks to be no … Read more

Victims Unseen

Imagine a rash of fires, lit by fire chiefs, in certain ghettos of Eastern Europe during the 1930s. A synagogue burns to the ground in Kraków, another in Prague, a Jewish community house in Danzig, the Beth-salem Orphanage in Leipzig, and yet another synagogue in Bratislava. All are destroyed. Imagine that half of the leaders … Read more

Dismantling The Da Vinci Code

“The Grail,” Langdon said, “is symbolic of the lost goddess. When Christianity came along, the old pagan religions did not die easily. Legends of chivalric quests for the Holy Grail were in fact stories of forbidden quests to find the lost sacred feminine. Knights who claimed to be “searching for the chalice” were speaking in … Read more

Remembering the Early Church

  Lately, I have been hearing a lot about how the primitive Church was not Roman Catholic. I don’t know why it is, but this information keeps bursting upon me in the most unlikely settings—a lunch party near the sand dunes, cocktails on the upper east side—where a kindly soul informs me between sips of … Read more

Blood on Their Hands: Exposing Pro-abortion Catholic Politicians

“Pro-choice” Catholic politicians support abortion mostly for political reasons. The U.S. bishops say this is unacceptable. So why do they accept it?   “Do you know what the Negro is?” Leander H. Perez once asked in 1965. “Animals right out [of] the jungle. Passion. Welfare. Easy life. That’s the Negro.” As a state judge and … Read more

Structures of Self-Deceit

A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Garry Wills is a remarkably learned man. Graced with a powerful and confident mind and an elegant style, Wills is a forceful writer, with a clarity of conviction that is all too rare nowadays. Devoted to the rosary, the Mass, and the creed, he is deeply pious. But, above all, he … Read more

Reconsidering Vatican II

In May 1964, in the middle of the Second Vatican Council, I published a book, The Open Church, an optimistic assessment of the changes in the Catholic Church that I believed the council would produce. I had written it in white-hot haste in my room at the Pensione Baldoni in Rome during a six-week period … Read more

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