Category: History

Little Lies, Big Lies, and Narratives
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Little Lies, Big Lies, and Narratives

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Recently I read a collection of essays by various Catholic historians published in a book entitled Catholicism and Historical Narrative, edited by Kevin Schmiesing. As Schmiesing says in his introduction to the book, the fundamental job of historians is to “uncover the truth about the past.” “Yet,” he reminds us, “most historical debate occurs not […]

Vatican II Quinquagenary
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Fiftieth Anniversary of Vatican II Closing

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Beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

All Saints Icon (detail)
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Is Praying to the Saints Idolatrous?

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Praying to the Saints is the opposite of idolatry.

All Saints Icon (detail)
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Does Scripture Teach Us to Pray for the Departed, and to Pray to the Saints?

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Answer: Yes.

All Saints Icon (detail)
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Three Things You’re Probably Getting Wrong About Praying to the Saints

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The Saints in Heaven are living witnesses and members of the Church.

On Obedience to "the Law."
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On Obedience to “the Law.”

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In Pope Francis’ recent meeting with Kim Davis, the Holy Father’s expression of gratitude for Kim’s courage has dismayed liberal Americans.  The LA Times editorial board felt it sent a “deeply disappointing message.” In his press conference on the plane home to Rome, Pope Francis seemed to affirm Kim Davis’ conscientious objector status, notwithstanding her […]

Enough is Enough
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Enough is Enough

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Human beings have always had an extraordinary capacity for self-delusion. We justify horrible things by telling ourselves that we are acting in the service of a noble cause, or by dehumanizing the victims of our unjust actions. History is littered with the corpses of innocent men and women who died in the name of their […]

What is Past is Prologue: Dietrich von Hildebrand’s “Battle”
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What is Past is Prologue: Dietrich von Hildebrand’s “Battle”

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Under pressure of opposition, Catholic doctrine has usually developed out of necessity. For example, much of the Nicene Creed (AD 325) was a response to the threat from Arianism. Similarly, the Protestant Revolution prompted the Council of Trent to reform Catholicism. Likewise the pressures associated with a powerful regime of political oppression and overt evil […]

Missionary Bishop Uncovered and Shelved; Report on Him Shelved and Uncovered
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Missionary Bishop Uncovered and Shelved; Report on Him Shelved and Uncovered

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Parishioners at North American Martyrs Parish in Seattle have friends in high places—in more than one sense. To be sure, St. Isaac Jogues and his missionary brothers intercede for the souls in their namesake’s parish, but parishioners who attend the 8:00 am Mass at Holyrood Cemetery’s mausoleum have an additional friend likely in Heaven, whose […]

One Nation Under SCOTUS: Some Hildebrandian Parallels
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One Nation Under SCOTUS: Some Hildebrandian Parallels

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In response to the US Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) decree on same sex marriage, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued this statement: …It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage…. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country […]

A Godly Meditation
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A Godly Meditation

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Give me Thy grace, good Lord….

Historic Prayer for the United States
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Historic Prayer for the United States

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For the welfare of the Republic.

SCOTUS
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SCOTUS

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With bluster, ink, and bray. Lawyers five, get their way. Out with God; in with sex drive. Salute Sodom; so they connive. Let them preach right prim of legality, That man’s law must be obeyed. But ‘tis base to bow, when reality Has the highest law betrayed. T’would be wrong to supersede, Against authority properly […]

Luthers Today
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Luthers Today

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From Germany yet again today rises the aroma of dissent. Whether this will ripen into schism or outright heresy will be clear after the conclusion of this fall’s Synod on the Family. Some modern-day princes of the German Church and numerous German bishops are, as did Martin Luther some centuries ago, attempting to heretically alter […]

St. Rita of Cascia
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St. Rita of Cascia

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It is common for a child growing up in a Catholic home to know about Saints.[i] Many Catholic children are asked “to name that Saint”, or the most important question of all “what is your Confirmation name.” These questions take thinking and researching. There are times where researching a Saint can be almost impossible. According […]

On the Road Again: St. Paul--Satan's Apostle to Ambassador for Christ
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On the Road Again: St. Paul–Satan’s Apostle to Ambassador for Christ

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His name was Saul. In his young and undiscovered days, before he became Paul the Apostle, he worked as lead prosecutor for the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court in Jerusalem. In those days Saul was eager to make a name for himself, to kill or to die to obtain notoriety. “Someday,” he thought, “I’m going […]

Waterboy, Where are You Hiding?
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Waterboy, Where are You Hiding?

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John Mark was only a boy when he met Jesus. His mother Mary, a prominent member of the seventy disciples who followed Jesus throughout his three-year ministry, opened her home to the Lord and his Apostles. In the upper room of Mary’s house they held the Last Supper. Six weeks later the Apostles and Mary […]

His Flesh is True Food
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His Flesh is True Food

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“Take and eat; this is my body… Drink from [the cup], all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant…” (Matthew 26:26-27). These are Jesus’ words at the Last Supper, on the first “Holy Thursday,” as he offered to his apostles what appeared to be bread and wine. As Catholics, we believe that Jesus […]

Documentary on the Shroud Airs Sunday
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Documentary on the Shroud Airs Sunday

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All four gospels mention the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. The Shroud of Turin is believed by many to be that burial cloth. It is etched with the image of a man that was scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified, and lanced in the side. If it is real, it provides archeological evidence of the most […]

The Journey of the Magi: Baby, You're Gonna Be a Big Star Someday
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The Journey of the Magi: Baby, You’re Gonna Be a Big Star Someday

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Now the shepherds were not the only ones who visited the Holy Family after Jesus was born. Stargazers from Arabia soon arrived. They stopped off at the fortress-palace of Herod the Great because they needed directions. Men are often too proud to admit when we’re lost but the stargazers swallowed their pride and entered the […]

 Three Common Misconceptions About the Immaculate Conception
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Three Common Misconceptions About the Immaculate Conception

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Today, December 8th, the Church would observe the feast of the Immaculate Conception. This year the feast is transferred to Monday the 9th, giving precedence to the Second Sunday of Advent. In my experience, the Immaculate Conception is one of the most misunderstood teachings of the Church. Today, I’d like to address three common misconceptions […]

The True Story of Thanksgiving: Squanto, the Pilgrims, and the Pope
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The True Story of Thanksgiving: Squanto, the Pilgrims, and the Pope

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We and the Mayflower Pilgrims owe thanks to the Pope and some Catholic priests for the Thanksgiving of 1621 with Squanto and the Plymouth Colony. Growing up within sight of Boston, Massachusetts meant lots of grade school field trips to the earliest landmarks of America. We looked forward to those excursions because they meant a […]

Castellani's Eyeglasses
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Castellani’s Eyeglasses

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I have a dear friend in Buenos Aires, Fabián Rodríguez Simón, a voracious reader and recalcitrant freethinker. Every time we meet I like to engage with him in tough (and bitter) theological disputes. In one occasion, while reviewing the great Catholic writers of the 20th century, from Chesterton to Lewis, from Bloy to Tolkien, my […]

Memorial Day
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Remembrance Day

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There is an old country graveyard near the town where I live. For years the small Clearwater Cemetery was all but forgotten and neglected. In the middle of that graveyard lies the forlorn grave of a young soldier who died six days before the end of the First World War. The decrepit fence surrounding the […]

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