Liturgy & Sacraments

"The Sermon on the Mount" (detail)
Carl Bloch, 1890"The Sermon on the Mount" (detail) Carl Bloch, 1890

To Hear and Receive the Word Proclaimed

In paragraphs 135 – 144 of Evangelii Gaudium, the Holy Father speaks about the importance of the homily within the liturgical celebration. Right off the bat, Pope Francis describes what the homily can and should be, “an intense and happy experience of the Spirit, a consoling encounter with God’s word, a constant source of renewal and growth” (¶ 135). In […]

Mission Dolores Altar (San Francisco)
Photograph © by Andy CoanMission Dolores Altar (San Francisco) Photograph © by Andy Coan

King of the Universe—Cause of My Hope

“Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Today is the final Sunday on the Church’s annual liturgical calendar.  Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King—King of the Universe. Not only is Jesus Christ the Messiah and our Savior, not only is he our brother and our friend, Jesus Christ is our Lord and King. To […]

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What does the Catholic Church Teach About Holy Orders?

In Defense of the Sacraments of Service—Marriage and Holy Orders On Sunday, we looked at the teaching of the Church on Christian Vocation and answered common objections to its teachings regarding marriage. Today, our focus is on Holy Orders. Common Objections Concerning Holy Orders Objection to Holy Orders #1: There is no need for priesthood. Jesus is the one mediator between […]

Marriage: The Union of One Woman and One ManMarriage: The Union of One Woman and One Man

The Essential Nature of Marriage

In Defense of the Sacraments of Service—Marriage and Holy Orders Our Vocation In His infinite love and goodness, God created man and woman in freedom to know, love and serve Him in this life and to spend all eternity with Him in the life to come. This call to holiness is our vocation and dignity. “Man is by nature and […]

"Baptism of Christ" (detail) by Perugino"Baptism of Christ" (detail) by Perugino

Why We Need the Sacraments

Four elements stand out in the traditional Catholic doctrine of what a sacrament is. Fundamentalism is suspicious of all four. A sacrament is “a sign that effects what it signifies, instituted by Christ to give grace.” 1. Sacraments are signs and symbols. Fundamentalism is temperamentally wary of symbolism. It has a plain, “no-nonsense” mentality. Symbols are too poetic for its […]

"King David in Prayer (detail)" by Pieter de Grebber"King David in Prayer (detail)" by Pieter de Grebber

Allegri’s Miserere

Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652) was an Italian priest and composer of the Roman School of composers. Allegri’s masterpiece was composed in 1638 for an annual celebration during Holy Week. It was two times during Holy Week, on Wednesday and Friday during a 3:00 a.m. service, that twenty-seven candles were extinguished one at a time until there remained a single lit candle. It was said […]

Marriage: The Union of One Woman and One ManMarriage: The Union of One Woman and One Man

Answering Common Objections to Catholic Teaching on Marriage

In Defense of the Sacraments of Service—Marriage and Holy Orders Our Vocation In His infinite love and goodness, God created man and woman in freedom to know, love and serve Him in this life and to spend all eternity with Him in the life to come. This call to holiness is our vocation and dignity. “Man is by nature and […]

"Adoration of the Lamb" (detail) by van Eyck"Adoration of the Lamb" (detail) by van Eyck

Holding Hands During the Our Father?

This is going to be fairly a controversial topic, so fasten your seatbelts. I know this isn’t everyone’s opinion, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and research about it and feel strongly enough to finally step out of the shadows to speak my mind. I don’t think we should hold hands during the Our Father. If you try to […]

Photograph © by Andy CoanPhotograph © by Andy Coan

On Resisting Protestant Megachurches and Fighting Catholic Boredom

On a recent Saturday morning my 14-year-old son said: “Dad, I’m bored. What are we going to do for fun today?” Knowing my youngest son well, I translated this to mean that he was looking for something new and exciting and I was supposed to provide it. This all too frequent discussion with my children has been the cause of […]

ConfessionalsConfessionals

On Heavy Burdens and Negative Patterns

I have been thinking a great deal about my recent experience at Reconciliation. I felt an intense and unexplainable urge to go and confess my sins when I woke up that morning. I try to go every six weeks or so, but this was no routine visit to the priest for me. I needed to unburden myself of the numerous […]