Center

If you’re going to blame Columbus and Western Civilization for things that have gone wrong, will you also credit them for things that have gone right?

Some years ago, a friend told me about how he’d chosen the title of his book, which was about to appear. He wasn’t primarily a writer. He’d long worked with the homeless in San Francisco – until he saw what was really going on. He went to bed one night, praying to come up with a title, which had been elusive. He woke with what he knew was exactly right: Lying for Justice. His book argued that social justice activists claimed people were homeless because of capitalism, racism, sexism, etc. Then, as now, those were sometimes factors. But by far, the homeless suffered from psychological problems, drug and alcohol abuse, and – most commonly – family breakdown. SF policies, intended to remove the stigma from homeless people and open public spaces to them, only made things worse, inviting hordes...

Before you ask God to be “fair,” think very, very carefully about what you’re asking…..

What Jesus teaches in this Sunday’s Gospel is one of those parables that rock our world and challenge our worldly way of thinking. Frankly, that is one of its purposes. We are tempted to side with the laborers who worked the longest, thinking that their being paid the same amount as those who worked only for an hour is unfair. Think very carefully before asking God to be “fair.” What we really should ask of God is that He be merciful, for if He were fair, we’d all be in Hell right now. We have no innate capacity to stand before God in pure justice; we simply cannot measure up. It is only grace and mercy that will win the day for us. So be very careful about challenging God’s fairness. In fact, when we see Him being merciful to someone else, we ought to rejoice, for it means that we might s...

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen on 3 wounds (and 3 myths) that explain what’s happening today…

It was the mid-1960s but it might as well be today. Bishop Fulton Sheen was explaining to his TV audience the three sources of the despair and nihilism in the world — which have only multiplied — and the one solution that definitely eradicates it because he was talking about “hope for a wounded world.” But through the next five decades, people listened less and less to what he had to say, for the most part ignoring his insights and guidance as they did the prophet Jeremiah’s. Let’s listen to Sheen’s perceptive revelations in the midst of today’s constant blaring headlines and skewed news reports to see the perennial problem yet still have strong reason to hope. “There seems to be so much despair in the world,” Sheen began. Then right away he gave an image that despair does not have the fin...

Will Catholics go back to Mass on their bishops’ orders?

By Phil Lawler ( bio – articles – email ) | Sep 14, 2020 Starting this coming Sunday, it will be a serious sin for a Catholic in the Milwaukee archdiocese to miss Sunday Mass without a serious reason. Last week it was OK. It’s still OK in most other American dioceses and archdioceses. Can we expect ordinary Catholics to understand this situation? Can we expect them to come back to Sunday Mass, after a six-month hiatus? Having used their authority to stop lay Catholics from attending Mass, can bishops now invoke their authority to bring them back? Will this genie go back in the bottle? Milwaukee’s Archbishop Jerome Listecki has ended the blanket dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday, and warned the faithful of his archdiocese: “Those who deliberately fail to ...

Two quirks haunt human nature — the desire for paradise, and the demands of paranoia…

Two quirks haunt human nature. They are connected in a sick symbiosis, feeding off each other like the proverbial snakes gorging in mutual cannibalism. One quirk is the desire for paradise. The second is the demands of paranoia. One is a sweet sickness and the other sour. The desire for paradise seems to be humanity’s default setting. We want to be happy. Indeed, in the land of the free and the home of the brave we are guaranteed “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The problem is in our definition of happiness. True happiness is the result of self discipline, hard work, a deep awareness that life has eternal significance and adherence to a religion that vitalizes and makes real that awareness. Unfortunately, the desire for happiness too often takes a less traditional route and we...

St. Thérèse statue beheaded, church robbed and vandalized at Catholic parish in Utah…

Please pray for our churches! Vandals desecrated St. Therese of the Child Jesus Catholic Church in Midvale, Utah on Mon., Sept. 14, and Tues., Sept. 15. This is one of many statue and/or church desecrations throughout the United States this year. The parish posted the first announcement on Facebook. The post includes photos of the beheaded St. Therese statue, which sat in front of the main church. Here’s the post below: Sometime last night our statue of St. Therese of the Child Jesus outside of the Main Church was broken and vandalized…. Posted by St. Therese of the Child Jesus Catholic Church, Midvale on Monday, September 14, 2020 Click here if you cannot see the post above. The first post reads, “Sometime last night our statue of St. Therese of the Child Jesus outside of the Main Ch...

Did St. Joseph of Cupertino actually fly? Most certainly…..

Readers of a certain age might remember the silly TV show The Flying Nun…religious brothers and sisters who take flight are nothing new. When we lived in Wiltshire in England we learned the delightful story from the Middle Ages about Eilmer  a Benedictine monk of Malmesbury Abbey  who, in the eleventh century, jumped off the tower of the abbey church with some home made wings. Like Icarus he plummeted. The story is related by a monastic historian, William of Malmesbury: He was a man learned for those times, of ripe old age, and in his early youth had hazarded a deed of remarkable boldness. He had by some means, I scarcely know what, fastened wings to his hands and feet so that, mistaking fable for truth, he might fly like Daedalus, and, collecting the breeze upon the summit of a ...

Jared Staudt’s new book offers theological foundations for rebuilding Catholic culture…

St. Augustine argued that we are bound together as a people by a shared view of what is lovable. While it is bad enough that Americans appear to be bound together by love of creature comforts, COVID-19 has brought about an even lower common denominator: today we are bound together, not by love of easy living, but by fear of bodily death. All too many of us are willing to sacrifice liberties, friendships, and our social lives so long as we can prolong the Grim Reaper’s unwelcomed visit. Even many churchgoers reveal the dominance of this fear in their soul, and put more trust in secularists’ hand-picked experts than the prudent guidelines published by the Thomistic Institute. When fear of death dominates, one looks to the greatest earthly power, and thus our governors have been emboldened to...

We should remember our dead daily — for memory is a promise, and a preparation, for something yet to come…

“I saw them in all the times past and to come, all somehow there in their own time and in all time and in no time…”Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow Some time ago it really struck me when reading Wendell Berry’s fiction how he portrayed growing old, and the deepening connection one feels to those who have gone before you. Now years later his sentiments are much more real to me. I find myself thinking about death, or rather I should say thinking about the dead, more than I did before. There is a great Christian practice of remembering our dead in prayer. I reflect now on another aspect of remembering our dead—remembering them in our daily life. This is an aspect of memory that is a powerful gift to those of us still living, here. Memory is always about presence. And life itself is about presence. ...

This is why it’s so hard to climb an iceberg…

“Should not have eaten breakfast before climbing. … Not to be repeated.”

Top 5 Bible comic books for Christians…

The Bible is a dynamic story of adventure and intrigue, with intense scenes of action throughout the Old and New Testaments. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that is has now been adapted in the comic book format, bringing to life the pages of the Bible in a new way. While the Bible had a few adaptations in the mid-20th century, it has received a renewed interest during the last 10 years. Many different publishers have been creating their own comic book Bibles and each have their own unique take. Below is a list of the top five Bible comic books for Christians, with a few notes for parents who are interested in buying these products for their children. The Action Bible Largely regarded as the “most popular” comic book Bible, The Action Bible has quality artwork and an engaging story, often “...

Unhealthy deference and excessive honor are dangerous. They cause leaders to crave honor, and insulate them from proper correction…..

Every year at about this time we read St. Augustine’s sermon “On Pastors” in the Office of Readings of the Liturgy of the Hours. As you know, priests are required to read the Divine Office daily; St. Augustine’s sermon extends over the better part of two weeks. It amounts to a stern warning for priests who too easily live off the sheep instead of shepherding them rightly. At one point in the sermon Augustine speaks to a subtle matter: the question of honor. On the one hand we rightly respect elders and leaders, according them due honor. On the other hand there is the danger of an unhealthy deference or excessive honor that both insulates leaders from proper correction and causes them to crave honor inordinately. Of the honor we have traditionally given clergy, St. Augustine says, For every...