Center

Dogma liberates and relativism enslaves. Here’s why…..

Rusty Reno’s recent book Return of the Strong Gods opened my eyes to some of the reasons why relativism has gained such a foothold in Western society. He shows how, after the second world war, a group of thinkers, philosophers, economists, political strategists, literary figures and theologians all began to believe that the wars that tore apart Europe for the last five hundred years were the fault of dogma. I can see why they thought that. Beginning with the wars of religion after the Protestant Revolution, Europe was torn asunder time and again because of opposing beliefs. Often it was religious beliefs, but then it became political, economic and social. If dogma caused division, strife and eventually war, then let’s get rid of dogma. “Can’t we just get along?”  This trend ...

The Next Pope and the Great Commission…

In The Shoes of the Fisherman, crusty old Cardinal Leone, canvassing votes for a surprise candidate just before the election of a new pope, is deeply moved by a quiet admonition from a Syrian cardinal named Rahamani: “Always you search a man for the one necessary gift – the gift of cooperation with God. Even among good men this gift is rare. Most of us, you see, spend our lives trying to bend ourselves to the will of God, and even then we have often to be bent by a violent grace. The others, the rare ones, commit themselves, as if by an instinctive act, to be tools in the hands of the Maker.” For some reason, I thought of Cardinal Rahamani while I was writing The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission, which has just been published by Ignatius Press. So perhaps the fictiona...

I saw ‘Hamilton’ this weekend and found myself wondering about his religious faith. Here’s what I found out…..

Like a lot of people with a pulse, I saw “Hamilton” this weekend. (Spoiler alert: everything you’ve heard is true. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a quadruple-threat talent and a genius and let’s just leave it at that.) When it was over, I found myself wondering about the title figure’s religious faith. Our friends at Wikipedia offer this interesting nugget — which also explains some of what happened at the end of life, which isn’t mentioned in the show: Stories were circulated that Hamilton had made two quips about God at the time of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. During the French Revolution, he displayed a utilitarian approach to using religion for political ends, such as by maligning Jefferson as “the atheist,” and insisting that Christianity and Jeffersonian democracy were incompat...

Abundant confessions and Eucharistic awe — A Christ-centered game plan for the Church after COVID …

Fostering holy gratitude for what Jesus has done for us is fundamental to making sure we don’t take a pastoral step backward in the post-Covid era. Thus, we need to support our bishops and priests in any way we can, including charitably exhorting them to holiness where needed. Indeed, a sound, sacramental approach is not only crucial to fostering increased and more reverent participation in Sunday Mass, but also to reconciling long-strayed Catholics and drawing many new members into the Church. Hearing confessions can be draining for priests, but, with a Christ-centered attitude, doing so is a surefire way to grow in holiness and help the parish faithful do the same, as Saints John Vianney and Padre Pio can attest. In that light, we must thank all bishops and priests who make available con...

An insight on hope from St. Augustine…

The word “hope” in modern English has lost much of the vigor assigned to what we call the theological virtue of Hope. In English hope often means merely a vague wish, as in, “I hope it doesn’t rain.” But the theological virtue of Hope (which I capitalize to distinguish it from worldly hope) is more vigorously defined as the confident expectation of God’s help in attaining eternal salvation. Notice therefore it is no mere wish, it is a confident expectation based on God’s promises and love for us. A reading from St. Augustine in the Breviary this week is rather well known and summons us to humility about our sins. But I want to briefly consider a subtlety in the text regarding hope. St. Augustine writes: Let us never assume that if we live good lives we will be without sin; our lives should...

The secret Soviet roots of Liberation Theology, which the future Benedict XVI called a “singular heresy” and “fundamental threat” to the Church…

History often repeats itself, and if you have lived two lives, as I have done, you have a good chance of seeing the reenactment with your own eyes. Liberation theology, of which not much has been heard for two decades, is back in the news. But what is not being mentioned is its origins. It was not invented by Latin American Catholics. It was developed by the KGB. The man who is now the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, secretly worked for the KGB under the code name “Mikhailov” and spent four decades promoting liberation theology, which we at the top of the Eastern European intelligence community nicknamed Christianized Marxism. Advertisement Liberation theology has been generally understood to be a marriage of Marxism and Christianity. What has not been understood is ...

Italian financier at heart of Vatican scandal appeals to UK court…

ROME – According to a recent report in Corriere della Sera, Italy’s paper of record, an Italian financier now based in London named Raffele Mincione has filed two civil suits against the Vatican’s Secretariat of State before the UK’s High Court of Justice, both related to a now-infamous land deal in London’s Chelsea neighborhood he brokered in 2013. That $225 million deal, which the Secretariat of State originally financed in part out of proceeds from the annual “Peter’s Pence” collection, was to buy half of a former Harrod’s warehouse originally slated for conversion into luxury apartments. Five years later, after the Secretariat of State soured on its relationship with Mincione, it brought in another Italian financier named Gianluigi Torzi to help them buy the rest of the property outrig...

If you suffer from scrupulosity or OCD that’s interfering with key life goals, take heart…..

How is a person with scrupulosity or OCD supposed to manage going about life when their condition interferes with achieving key life goals–like getting an education, finding a spouse, or holding a job? Recently I received the following email (per my usual policy, I’ve edited it to remove any personally identifying details): Hi Mr. Akin, I am a practicing Catholic, but also very scrupulous. (I do have the mental disorder of OCD) My question is in regards to near occasions of sin. I think many things are near occasions of sin, some being real and some being scrupulous. I have decided to go to a Catholic college. The major I am going into has both a 100% on-campus option and a 100% online option. I really want to go onto campus but I feel it is a proximate occasion of sin because I have the o...

Texas hospital withheld treatment from disabled man who contracted coronavirus, says wife…

Michael Hickson, husband to Melissa and father of five children, died at age 46 on Thursday, June 11 at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center after the hospital withheld treatment from him, including hydration and nutrition, for six days. His wife was not notified of his death until the next morning after his remains had already been transported to a funeral home without her permission. Mr. Hickson became a quadriplegic in 2017 after a sudden cardiac arrest incident while driving his wife to work one morning. He had been in and out of hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and home for the last three years. “He regained his personality, had memories of past events, loved to do math calculations, and answer trivia questions,” Mrs. Hickson said of her husband in an interview with The Texan....

What ESPN’s Lance Armstrong documentary taught me about Confession…

Individual sin, however private it may have seem, always has an effect on others. During this time of quarantine, one of the biggest examples of how much things have changed has been the disappearance of professional sports. However, ESPN has been broadcasting a series of spectacular documentaries on Sunday evenings. I’m not an absolute sports nut, but something about the combination of professional athletes, especially ones at the absolute top of their game, combined with documentary style films, was just irresistible. I’ve sat down nearly every Sunday evening to watch them, including the four-hour Lance Armstrong documentary. One of the reasons these documentaries are so compelling and draw so much interest is precisely because they reveal to us something that often goes unnoticed in our...

The angels have our backs…

“For he will give his angels charge of youto guard you in all your ways” (Ps. 91:11). Angels are real — a vast variety of spirits who are more active in our lives than we might know. We should be mindful of them, particularly our guardian angels, and have a personal relationship with them. We should pray to them, speak to them whenever we think of them – and they will seek our attention if we but pay attention — whether or not we are in need. For they want to be with us in weal or in woe. They pray not just for us but with us, sharing in our spiritual and moral challenges and growth. We should thank them and bless them and honor them as the exalted yet humble fellow creatures they are, endowed by God with prodigious intelligence and powers they freely, lovingly, use for His glory and for o...

“For God’s sake, stop demonizing the NYPD,” says Cardinal Dolan…

Whenever I go back home to Missouri, family and friends ask me, “What do you like most about New York?” The list is lengthy, I reply. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is up there, of course, and nothing beats that magical feel of Manhattan around Christmastime. But near the top would be the men and women of the New York Police Department. I chat with them on their beat. I have a coffee with them in the kitchen of my home behind the cathedral. I celebrate their weddings, baptize their kids and show up at their events. And yes, I visit them in the ICU, and attend their wakes and funerals when they’re wounded or killed in the line of duty, which happens more often than I care to recall. Much too frequently of late, I have grieved with the family of an officer who took his or her own life. Our valian...