The Fundamental Option

For years now in the post-conciliar period, the concept of the fundamental option—which some have likened to St. Thomas Aquinas’s notion of a commitment to an “Ultimate End” as the first principle of moral action (see Benedict M. Ashley, … [Read more...]

Preaching to the Young Casualties of the Sexual Revolution

For over 40 years, it has been my privilege, challenge, and joy to teach Catholic theology. I began with the somewhat maligned Junior High level (seventh grade in my parish elementary school lingo), and then Catholic high school (Grades … [Read more...]

The Family: Expanded Sacrament

It has become a trite truism to say that the traditional family is under attack. The sources of the onslaught may be traced back at least to the 19th century’s exaltation of Romantic infatuation and its accompanying insistence that the … [Read more...]

Conscience, Freedom, and the “Law of Graduality” at the Synod on the Family

Ideas have consequences—we well know. My concern here is a series of problematic and closely related conceptions of conscience, human freedom, the moral qualification of human acts, and progress in moral living that might be operative in … [Read more...]

To Give Up One’s Cloak

When St. Martin of Tours encountered a poor, naked beggar, he tore his own warm cloak in half, to share it. Later, he discovered in a dream that the beggar was Christ. The story of St. Martin and the beggar provides a key to an area of … [Read more...]

Witnessing to Truth

The Vatican II declaration Nostra Aetate revolutionized the Catholic Church’s relations with non-Christian religions, especially Judaism. The fourth part of this short declaration marked a decisive shift in Catholic-Jewish relations, … [Read more...]

Preaching the Homily and the New Evangelization

Preaching in all its forms is indispensable to the Church’s mission given to her by Jesus Christ: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching … [Read more...]

Theology of the Body: Insights for the Synod on the Family

Introduction The upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family, in October 2015, faces a huge challenge. The preparatory document for the synod reminded us that many families find themselves crushed and abandoned. [1. Holy See, "The Vocation … [Read more...]

Summer Reading for June 2015

Our Father, Who Art on Earth: The Lord’s Prayer for Believers and Unbelievers. Jose Tolentino Mendonca, with a Foreword by Enzo Bianchi. (Mahwah, New Jersey/New York: Paulist Press, 2012) 114 pages; $14.95. (Reviewed by Brandon … [Read more...]

Words Written on Ice and Wind

At the turn of the century, I graduated from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier.  Armed with an MFA in creative writing, I set out to write the Great American Novel. I taught writing at the University of Central Florida in … [Read more...]

St. Joseph: His Increasing Importance in Our Times

In his Apostolic Letter Le Voci of March 19, 1961, the “Pope of St. Joseph,” St. John XXIII, invoked that saint as the Patron of the Second Vatican Council. Shortly after the beginning of that Council, he inserted the name of St. Joseph … [Read more...]

Winter Reading for January 2015

New Evangelization: Passing on the Catholic Faith Today. Cardinal Donald Wuerl.  (Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 2013) 91 pages. (Reviewed by Dr. Edward Peters) ______ A Future Built on Faith: Religious Life and the Legacy … [Read more...]

Breaking Free of Our Metaphysical Winter

In diagnosing the philosophical mentality of modernity, the Catholic novelist-physician-philosopher, Walker Percy, once wrote the following: The distinction which must be kept in mind is that between science and what can only be called … [Read more...]

Questions Answered

Is there some Catholic teaching on the morality of the nanny state and its tendency to try to control all of life through federal law? Can you give me some guidance as to the use of the media? We used to have a Legion of Decency which … [Read more...]

The Sacramentality of Human Love according to St. John Paul II

Vatican City, November 17, 2014 Dear Friends, It is my distinct honor and personal pleasure to be with you at this important Colloquium on the complementarity of man and woman, and to share with this august assembly the perspective of … [Read more...]