Apologetics Corner

Vilnius Image of Divine Mercy (detail) by Kazimierowski

My Conversion to Divine Mercy

When I first entered Mount St. Mary’s seminary in Maryland, I met some fellow seminarians with a devotion to the Divine Mercy. They would often get together and recite the chaplet together. I was invited on several occasions to join them, but I always politely declined. I thought I didn’t need another devotion and preferred to use my Rosary beads […]

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

Christ’s Divinity is the Key

The doctrine of Christ’s divinity is the central Christian doctrine, for it is like a skeleton key that opens all the others. Christians have not independently reasoned out and tested each of the teachings of Christ received via Bible and Church, but believe them all on his authority. For if Christ is divine, He can be trusted to be infallible […]

Holy Mass celebrated before the Shroud of Turin, Photography by Mark Armstrong

How the first Selfie leads us to Christ!

I have been blessed to pray and attend Mass before the Holy Shroud of Turin in both 2010 and 2015. Today, The Holy Shroud or La Santa Sindone is out of public view at Duomo di Torino; Cattedrale di San Giovanni Battista or the St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Turin (Torino), Italy. There are no scheduled public exhibitions. Never did I imagine I […]

Our Lady of Mercy

Understanding Mercy Thanks to Mary

There’s nothing quite like being in a hurry and seeing the flashing red lights that mean that a train is coming and that I have to stop. I had this happen to me recently when I was on my way from my mother-in-law’s house to town. It was at a train track that’s on a busy highway, in a place […]

“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann

Why it Matters Who Jesus Is

I have been reading, with both profit and delight, Thomas Joseph White’s latest book, The Incarnate Lord: A Thomistic Study in Christology. Fr. White, one of the brightest of a new generation of Thomas interpreters, explores a range of topics in this text—the relationship between Jesus’ human and divine natures, whether the Lord experienced the beatific vision, the theological significance of […]

Evangelizing Through the Good

Anyone even vaguely acquainted with my work knows that I advocate vigorous argument on behalf of religious truth. I have long called for a revival in what is classically known as apologetics, the defense of the claims of faith against skeptical opponents. And I have repeatedly weighed in against a dumbed-down Catholicism. Also, I have, for many years, emphasized the […]

"Into the Wild" © by Jef Murray—(Click sketch for artist's gallery.)

Biblical Truth About Fasting

Last week, I asked the question, “Are you looking for the secret to a better, deeper, more joyful life in Christ?” and responded by exploring the reasons for the Catholic practice of self-denial. We saw that “fasting and other forms of self-denial, as spiritual practices of materially subduing and controlling the physical appetites of the body, helps us, by God’s grace, to […]

"Christ in the Desert (detail)" by Ivan Kramskoy

Why Catholics Practice Fast and Abstinence?

Would you like to know the secret to a better, deeper, more joyful life in Christ? Of course you would.  We all would. Our bookstores are filled with books written to help us advance in prayer and the spiritual life. The “secret” we all look for is really no secret at all.  At its heart, the gospel message is one […]

The Crown | NETFLIX

“The Crown” and the Fundamental Values of Society

***Spoiler Alert*** The Netflix original series The Crown, which has to do with the last months of the reign of King George VI and the first years of the reign of his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, is just the kind of program that Americans in particular seem naturally to love. It features beautiful photography of palaces, processions, and formal receptions; and […]

"Supper at Emmaus" (detail) by Caravaggio

The Feast that is 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 […]