What Happened at the Synod and Why It Matters

11/19/2015 Comments (32)

Inside the Synod Hall during the meeting of bishops and cardinals on October 14, 2015. (Daniel Ibáñez/CNA)

“After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

Thanksgiving is upon us, and you know what that means: family squabbles. Ever have any? Ever overhear any? Say at the airport or the mall? Or how about the hospital? I teach nursing, and sometimes I overhear heated arguments between family members and patients, or just family members (or maybe sometimes the staff nurses and their families via cell phone). “Yikes,” I think, “I’m glad I’m not in on that,” although I know I could be.

“In families, there is commonly discord,” Samuel Johnson wrote. “If a kingdom be a great family, a family likewise is a little kingdom, torn with factions and exposed to...READ MORE

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What G.K. Chesterton Never Said

11/19/2015 Comment

Some quotes are so good and make the rounds so widely because they are both startling and creatively illustrate a profound point.

After finding the quote or its source to be fiction, it leads us to respond, “Well if Roscoe didn’t actually say it, he should have!” An example for me was a wonderful quote I heard that C.S. Lewis was to have uttered about hyper-spirituality.

A journalist from an evangelical magazine had come to England to do a story on the famous Inklings, who gathered regularly at the “Bird and Baby” pub at Oxford to enjoy a pint (or three) together and share their recent writing projects. The journalist, after conducting his interviews, wanted to get a few photos of this...READ MORE

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You Have the Rite to Sing, Sing, Sing

11/19/2015 Comments (8)

Leaf from the 13th-century Beaupré Antiphonary, Walters Art Museum (CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

I can’t sing. I actually took voice lessons as a graduate student and the professor, a priest, said to me as politely as possible: “Why don’t we concentrate on your public speaking voice instead of singing.” He was really on to something.

Elsewhere I have written about the Tridentine Low Mass providing Catholics with the “Rite To Remain Silent.” This is, of course, one of the most salient and unmistakable features of Low Mass: the unbroken contemplative silence.

But what of High Mass? Or Solemn High Mass?

These are, of course, occasions not for silence but for singing, or more specifically, chanting—usually Gregorian, though there are wonderful variations such as Praemonstratensian chant...READ MORE

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Thoughts From the Foot of the Cross

11/19/2015 Comments (8)

Gaston Lenthe (1805-1860), "Mary Magdalene Kneeling at the Cross"

It started as a routine mammogram.

I re-scheduled it several times for various trivial reasons, not the least of which is that I don’t like going to the doctor. I never did like going to doctors all that much, but since I spend a huge portion of my life dealing with my 90-year-old mother’s medical care, I like it even less.

I guess it would be safe to say that I’ve got medical care exhaustion. In fact, I’ve got care exhaustion. In fact, I’m just plain tired.

So I put the mammogram off. I scheduled and re-scheduled and dithered and delayed. I thought it was a bother and a waste of time and that there was no real reason for it since it would be negative on all counts.

I was bored and...READ MORE

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Pray for Charlie Sheen, and Lift Him Up

11/18/2015 Comments (17)

(Angela George, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

It's tragic to see someone ruin his life. Charlie Sheen has been doing it publicly for years, with drugs, pornography, divorces, prostitutes, violence and drinking. Hurt children, siblings, parents. Not many are surprised that he's now HIV positive.

If anyone needs to learn that lots of money won't help you one bit if you're truly desperate, Sheen is that lesson. Narcissistic comments like:

The only thing I’m addicted to is winning. This bootleg cult, arrogantly referred to as Alcoholics Anonymous, reports a 5 percent success rate. My success rate is 100 percent. Boom, crush. Night, losers. Winning, duh.

Our pop culture extols partying, jokes about pornography, encourages "hookups," and...READ MORE

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The Feminine Face of God’s “Media Army”

11/18/2015 Comments (1)

Blessed James Alberione is an unlikely model of sanctity.

He was an Italian farm boy. James had a bad habit of reading way too much, to the detriment of his studies, and he had a terrible temper. His classmates called him “Matchstick.” He hoped to be a priest but was kicked out of one seminary, only to finally finish his education in another.

Like all of us, Blessed James was a work in progress.

Perhaps this is why St. Paul chose him to found ten religious congregations and institutes that would be dedicated to being St. Paul in the modern world.

The Daughters of St. Paul are one of these religious congregations. We are celebrating our centenary this year: 100 years of spreading the...READ MORE

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"Bridge of Spies" and the Path to Virtue

11/18/2015 Comments (2)
My great mentor Msgr. Robert Sokolowski told a class of eager philosophy students many years ago that we should read Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics every year of our lives. As we grew older, he explained, new dimensions of the book would continually present themselves. I can't say that I've followed Sokolowski's advice perfectly, but I have indeed returned often to Aristotle's great text for inspiration and clarification. One of the Philosopher's principal insights is that the best way to understand virtue is not through abstract study but rather by watching the virtuous man in action. Learning the moral life is, for Aristotle, something like acquiring artistic skill through apprenticeship...READ MORE

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Vatican Envoy to Jesuits and Bishops: Reform Education

11/18/2015 Comments (4)

(David Kerr/Catholic News Agency)

The Vatican ambassador’s message, delivered during Monday’s gathering of U.S. bishops in Baltimore, was crystal clear: place priority on the renewal of Catholic identity in Catholic education and restore the great legacy of Jesuit institutions.

It’s an appeal that should make every Catholic parent stand up and cheer!

When Pope Francis was elected, I openly wondered whether our Jesuit pope would acknowledge the elephant in the room: the crisis of Catholic identity at many of America’s Jesuit colleges, especially the disregard for papal authority and doctrinal fidelity by some professors.

We now seem to have an answer.  While it’s not clear to what extent, if at all, Pope Francis...READ MORE

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