Archives for January 2012

Does Morality Inhibit Freedom?

St. Thomas Aquinas gave primacy to the natural reason as formative in our free choices—the use of reason ordered to truth, and the will ordered to the good, uniting to make a choice. “Jesus didn’t come to give us a bunch of rules.” Perh … [Read more...]

Living as a creature

Editorial for February 2012

The Bible begins with the solemn words, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).   The Nicene Creed, which we pray at every Sunday Mass, begins: “I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and ear … [Read more...]

Beyond Dallas

The “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” is still well-suited for that task, but it is essentially negative as it does not articulate very well the priestly calling.  In June 2002, the Catholic bishops of the United Sta … [Read more...]

Zeal for God’s House: An architect’s reflections on Sacred Space

Something vital has been lost in Catholic church architecture, obscuring any indication that God is truly present there. “Zeal for your house consumes me.” (Jn 2:15) The sun was setting over the vast Valley of Mexico as I climbed up to the … [Read more...]

A Man “Beloved of God”

THE DESERT FATHERS: Saint Anthony and the Beginnings of Monasticism. By Peter Gorg (Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA 2011) 131 pp. PB$16.95 plus shipping. Available through:; 1-800-652-1531.

This is a concise biography of Saint Anthony, and a short history of monasticism, in both the Eastern and Western churches. This excellent work on the Egyptian desert saint—“the personification of Christian asceticism and the father of mon … [Read more...]

A Revival of Natural Law?

WHAT WE CAN’T NOT KNOW. A Guide. By J. Budziszewski (Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2d ed. 2011), 291 pp.

Can we say that “natural law” is rather like the Loch Ness monster:  “Now you see it, now you don’t” ?  For many Americans, especially U. S. senators, the only time that natural law has been in contemplation range, or up for discussion, was … [Read more...]

The Mystery of Good and Evil

AN OCEAN FULL OF ANGELS. By Peter Kreeft (St. Augustine’s Press: South Bend, IN, 2011);; 374 pp. HB. $37.50.

A copious work that abounds in a multitude of moral themes and religious questions, the book assumes the form of a fictional autobiography of ‘Isa Ben Adam, the son of a Muslim father and Catholic mother who studies philosophy a … [Read more...]

Finding God in All Things

ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE. With Letters of Fr. De Caussade on the Practice of Self-Abandonment. By Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J. (Ignatius Press, San Francisco, Calif. 2011), 453 pp. PB $ 17.95.

Fr. de Caussade’s treatise on abandonment to divine providence is a classic on the spiritual life from the 18th century that has been reprinted many times.  The actual text is not very long, but in this edition it is complemented by the ed … [Read more...]

Letters from our readers

The new translation is clumsy, stilted, unprayable

Fr. Albright's article goes on and on about the theology of the Eucharist with eclectic citations from documents of Vatican II, Liturgicam Authenticam, etc... and never once addresses the liturgical elephant in the sanctuary: the new … [Read more...]

Scripture Is a Unique Word

This Word of God continues the creativity of our Creator. There is a tendency to reflect on Scripture as if it is “just” another word in the marketplace: one word among many, competing, like each one does, for our limited attention; but I … [Read more...]

The Catholic Faith Is Not a Noble Lie

What is needed is a real debate on religious questions providing a rational public apologetic for the faith. For we were not following fictitious tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had … [Read more...]

Cross, Altar and the Right Way of Praying

Recalling the rituals and rubrics of the past which retain their meaning today. In the Vatican, and in the pontifical basilicas of Rome (formerly called “patriarchal basilicas”), a ruling has recently been made that a standing cross sho … [Read more...]

Education as Transformation

The natural inclination to know rightly, and live nobly, is concept that was articulated by St. Thomas Aquinas, called connaturality. Education in the Church takes many diverse forms: preaching, marriage preparation, catechizing our … [Read more...]

The Ignorance of Christ?

“When did Jesus know that he was God?” We are not surprised when children and adults in our parishes, who have a healthy curiosity about their faith, ask this question. It is a good question that grows out of a desire to get to know Jesus be … [Read more...]

What is Moral Conscience?

Refuting four mistaken ideas about conscience in light of the natural law tradition. My experience as a teacher, counselor and confessor has repeatedly confirmed that there is a tremendous amount of confusion, especially among Catholics, … [Read more...]