“The Indelible Mark”

Sacramental Character in Patristic and Scholastic Theology

The history of the development of doctrine is, in many ways, a history of language. It is a story of the perpetual struggle to adequately communicate the divine realities in human words, or at the very least, to attempt to do so without … [Read more...]

Jansenism and Ireland

Too often, writers claim that classic Irish religious culture was “Jansenistic,” or pessimistic, and that Ireland was nothing more than an island with a dark and dreary religious history. Harsh critics point to the recent “scandal” in Galway … [Read more...]

Liturgy in Bede’s World

Time-honored ritual; a space often ornate, if not opulent, used almost exclusively for this purpose; seating by hierarchy; candles; a prayer, perhaps in Latin, perhaps in English; ceremonial robes; a bevy of trained servers; wine; elegant, … [Read more...]

Fall Reading for October 2014

History of the Catholic Church: From the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium. James F. Hitchcock (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2012) 584 pages. (Reviewed by Fr. Brian Van Hove, SJ) The Word Made Love: The Dialogical Theology of … [Read more...]

Sticks, Stones, and Broken Bones: The History of Anti-Catholic Violence in the U.S.

We do not recall these instances of anti-Catholicism to foster more animosity or violence, but recall them as part of our history, a history that, like so many others, included the targeting of ethnic and religious groups for … [Read more...]

Home and School in American Catholic Life

This essay argues that understanding the historical reasons why Catholic schools and homeschooling arose can help one to see how both may contribute to the revitalization of a Catholic subculture and American society in complementary w … [Read more...]

Appreciating the Ancient Roots of Church Precepts: The “Didache” Revisited

In all ages and places, members of the Church need guidance and discipline. ... What we learn from consulting the Didache is that the first generations of Christians had many of the same concerns as we do today, and that these were … [Read more...]

The Latest Book Reviews

Late Summer Reading For August 2013   Reviews for the following books: A MYSTICISM OF KINDNESS: The Biography of “Marie Christine.”  By Astrid M. O’Brien. (Scranton: Scranton University Press, 2010). (Reviewed by Rev. John J. Conley, S. … [Read more...]

Remembering Who We Are: Recovering from Cultural Amnesia.

The western loss of the larger and smaller narratives which depicted the horizons of life, is a loss of memory on a grand scale, a sign of some deep disorder for those who see it. Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus, Western Civilization … [Read more...]

Paul Horgan’s Priests

A Catholic writer is a Catholic writing for other Catholics. ... On another level, a Catholic writer is a Catholic writing for a wider audience, but still drawing upon the biblical, classical, and patristic heritage of Christendom. Soon t … [Read more...]

Being an American Catholic Today: The Historical (and Current) Challenge

It is important to understand how the American Catholic experience is unique in the history of the Church. Rally for Religious Freedom March 23, 2012, Seattle Is it possible for one to be both an American, and Catholic, in the 21st … [Read more...]

A Review of Cullen Murphy’s “God’s Jury”

GOD’S JURY: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World. By Cullen Murphy (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012) 310 PP. ISBN 978-0-618-09156-0. Mr. Cullen Murphy never claims to be an historian. His edited c … [Read more...]

“Non Angli, sed angeli!” The Pope’s visit to Britain

The Pope’s visit to the U.K. in September may be the catalyst for a revitalized British faith.

The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Britain, September 16-19, marked a very special moment, and one which may still have wider repercussions for the rest of the world. Its high point was the beatification of John Henry Newman (1801-90) at … [Read more...]

On the beatification of John Paul II

The pontificate of John Paul II was a gift from God to the faithful entering the third millennium.

The unique significance of a recent Vatican announcement has settled on the minds and hearts of Christ’s faithful. The joyful news of the beatification of Pope John Paul II on the first of May contains layers of meaning for the Church and t … [Read more...]

The Catholic Holocaust of Nagasaki—“Why, Lord?”

The witness of the Catholics of Nagasaki shows God’s providence in the darkest of times.

On August 9, 1945, God’s inscrutable providence allowed an atomic bomb named “Fat Man” to be dropped from a B-29 into the heavily populated city of Nagasaki. The epicenter of the blast was the Urakami district, the heart and soul of Catho … [Read more...]