The “Experience” of Modernism

The Instrumentum Laboris (IL), or working document, of the recently concluded synod on youth states quite starkly that “personal experiences cannot be placed in question” (IL 55).[1. Instrumentum laboris, XV Ordinary General Assembly of Syn … [Read more...]

Fr. George Rutler’s Calm in Chaos: Catholic Wisdom for Anxious Times

A Review Essay

In his introduction to his book of essays titled Calm in Chaos: Essays for Anxious Times (Ignatius Press, 2018), Father George W. Rutler writes, “These essays touch upon confusions in the Church that are not without precedent but that are o … [Read more...]

Patience a Spiritual Sign

Pope Francis and Tertullian on Patience

Pope Francis set forth the vision for his pontificate in his first apostolic exhortation Evangellii gaudium, a clarion call for evangelization through joy in the modern world. A fitting diptych to this first document is his most recent … [Read more...]

Finding Christ in the Beggar, Finding Christ in the Chalice

If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the church door, you will not find Him in the chalice. – St. John Chrysostom.[1. Attributed to St. John Chrysostom, this may be a short paraphrase of Homily 50.4 on the Gospel of Matthew.] The m … [Read more...]

Book Reviews for Winter 2018

Minor Setback or Major Disaster? The Rise and Demise of Minor Seminaries in the United States, 1958-1983 By Robert L. Anello, MSA. Reviewed by Fr. Scott Jones. (skip to review) One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, … [Read more...]

A Spirituality of Advent

Advent is a time of preparation. It has many parallels to Lent: we don the purple, we suppress the Gloria (awaiting the angels to sing it again for the first time at Midnight Mass), and we are given weeks to allow the Holy Spirit to prepare … [Read more...]

The Necessity of Confession and Its Seal

Any Catholic reading the report of Australia’s Royal Commission of Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse must be appalled by the multiple instances of child abuse in ecclesial institutions perpetrated by priests, religious, and l … [Read more...]

Book Reviews for Late Autumn 2018

The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order By Scott Hahn. Reviewed by Matthew Rose. (skip to review) In Praise of the Useless Life: A Monk’s Memoir By Paul Quenon. Reviewed by Matthew K. M … [Read more...]

Intensive or Extensive Religious Education?

Why do parish religious education programs so often seem to be one-size-fits-all? Whether a parish’s program is dubbed religious education, faith formation, or good ol’ CCD, parish-based catechesis of children tends to be rather coo … [Read more...]

Culture of Encounter in Ferguson

Ferguson, Missouri has become a touchstone of contemporary discourse on race relations, usually juxtaposing African American and white populations. Yet, this Missouri town is also home to a Catholic parish that serves, among others, over a … [Read more...]

Corrupt Pastoral Practice Means Corrupt Doctrine

Amoris Laetitia’s Dirty Little Secret

When Amoris Laetitia (hereafter AL) was first published in March 2016, Pope Francis’s episcopal cheerleaders insisted that the document has introduced no changes to Church doctrine: it merely explores how we are to understand the “pastoral a … [Read more...]

Briefly Revisiting Pre-1983 Canonical Practice for a Better Response to Marriage Issues

The juridical significance of mental illness and psychic anomalies in marriage has shifted over centuries from a description of an illicit act to one of invalid consent. Early pronouncements on insane individuals who contracted marriage … [Read more...]

Understanding Anger in Those We Care For

A friend of mine conducted an informal survey of priests in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul to find out which sins were heard most often in the sacrament of reconciliation. No surprise that #1 transgression for men involved … [Read more...]