Christ the King: The Feast of Our Age

Friday, November 18, 2011 1:00 PM Comments (7)

Each year the ornaments, greenery, and tinsel make an earlier appearance. One laments the distortion of autumn and Thanksgiving under the ever-growing Christmas hegemony. Still, another commonly overshadowed event will come and pass this Sunday, the feast of The Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In 1925 the celebration of Christ the King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Quas Primas. For many Catholics the feast day approaches with little to no grandeur, and the celebration of the Lord’s Kingship is another ephemeral Sunday before the dawn of Christmas. Still, the Feast of Christ the King is just that, a feast. Though a hackneyed term in the Catholic mind, Catholics must...READ MORE

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Venite Adoremus - Fitting Music for the New Translation of the Mass

Thursday, November 17, 2011 1:21 PM Comments (15)

“The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church.”  With these words Pope John Paul II opened his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia.

The Second Vatican Council said that sacred music “is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 112).

In our liturgical worship, Christians unite the sacred words of chants and hymns with our human voices lifted in gratitude and...READ MORE

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St. Albert the Great - The Church and Science Are Not at War

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 5:00 AM Comments (8)

St. Albert the Great was considered the “wonder and the miracle of his age” by his contemporaries. He was an assiduous Dominican whose accomplishments and gifts to the Church would be difficult to exaggerate. Born in c. 1206 and joining the Order of Preachers in 1223, Albert quickly became a master of almost every academic subject. Not withstanding the standards of his own time, he became a pioneer of the natural sciences –- both empirical and philosophical. His teachings on nature and theology were revolutionary, and he captured the attention of a young and taciturn Dominican –- St. Thomas Aquinas. While surpassing all his contemporaries in intellect and cogency, it was his own student...READ MORE

Filed under albert the great, aristotle, faith, nature, philosophy, reason, scholasticism, science, thomas aquinas

'Many Are Called' to Spiritual Fatherhood

Thursday, November 10, 2011 9:00 AM Comments (2)

The Greco-Roman world struggled to understand many things about early Catholicism. At first, it was simply regarded as another fertility cult. Rumors of Catholics participating in cannibalism and orgies — primarily misunderstandings of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist — were common. But perhaps it was the issue of priestly celibacy that most perplexed and held the attention of the pagan world. As early as AD 150, Justin Martyr wrote to Emperor Antoninus Pius explaining the practice, and later, the famous emperor Marcus Aurelius discussed the observance with Athenagoras of Athens. It’s recorded that the “pagan physician Galen marveled at the [masculinity] of Christian...READ MORE

Filed under celibacy, priesthood, scott hahn, paganism, modernity, marriage

St. Martin of Tours – and Our Own Call to Courage

Tuesday, November 08, 2011 12:07 PM Comments (3)

There stood Emperor Julian, the last Roman Emperor in the dynasty of Constantine. Breaking the line of Christian emperors, Julian had returned to Rome’s pagan religious roots and was desperately attempting to manufacture a revival. Before him was a young, but accomplished, soldier named Martin. Desiring to seek out St. Hilary, the bishop of Poitiers, and be ordained, the young Roman legionnaire had requested a dismissal. In reply, Julian scolded Martin as a coward. To this, the young man said, “With the sign of the cross, I shall more certainly break through the ranks of the enemy than if armed with shield and sword.” The young soldier went off to live an exemplary life and become known...READ MORE

Filed under martin of tours, paganism, secularism, legend of the cloak, saints, protestantism, french revolution, huguenots

Can a Catholic Have a Personal Relationship with Jesus?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011 2:24 PM Comments (18)

We have our deacons and our religious directors, our priests and bishops and our cardinals … and our pope. We have confession, the Eucharist, penance, indulgences, litanies and prayers repetitively prayed to Christ’s mother. Yet, what of Christ? As our protestant brothers and sisters contend, has the Catholic Church inserted a bloated bureaucracy of man-made religious practices between Christ and his people? 

In contradistinction, our Protestant brothers and sisters — especially evangelicals — speak of a personal relationship with Christ as the primary mark of the faith. There is no mountain of rituals populated by ecclesial bureaucrats.  They speak of a certain sweet simplicity. It is...READ MORE

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The Godless Delusion - Putting Atheism on the Defensive

Thursday, October 27, 2011 1:11 PM Comments (11)

Step into their world, turn it inside out, and show it to be wanting. Catholic apologetics? More like a battle plan for Catholic polemics. Whether it is war or tennis, the aggressor sets the tempo of the engagement. The defender must constantly react to his opponent’s moves, and if he fails to reclaim the offensive, he is stuck in a tiring and vulnerable position.

There are many good books handling the questions the new militant atheism lobs at Catholicism; however, how many books actually put atheism on the defensive? How many step into the principles of atheism and show that, even by their own standards, they falter? I am pleased to note that two thinkers have effectively taken up...READ MORE

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Crossing the Tiber With the Help of Sts. Simon & Jude

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 8:08 PM Comments (0)

We will be celebrating the feast of the Apostles Sts. Simon and Jude this Friday. The knowledge the Church possesses regarding these saints is sparse, save a few life details and the epistle attributed to St. Jude. However, even where there is minimal knowledge, the Church can glean great wisdom. For this task, we turn to Pope Benedict XVI’s treatment of these saints in his work The Apostles, published by OSV.

St. Simon

St. Simon is the patron saint of curriers, sawmen, sawyers and tanners. He is often depicted with mundane objects, such as fish or a boat, or as a man being sawn in half. Scripture refers to him as the “Cananean” and the “Zealot.” In illuminating the etymology of these...READ MORE

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About Dan Burke

Dan Burke
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Dan Burke is an award winning author, speaker, regular voice on Register Radio, the Executive Director of the National Catholic Register and founder of the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation. Dan has appeared on EWTN's Journey Home program, blogs on the spiritual life over at Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction and his latest book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God is available through EWTN's Religious Catalogue. Dan's journey began in Judaism, matured into a living relationship with Christ as a Protestant, and after fifteen years of exploration has found his home in the Catholic Church.