Faith and Culture

Blessed Paul VI

Paul VI, Prophet

This coming July, we will mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s deeply controversial encyclical letter Humanae vitae. I won’t bore you with the details of the innumerable battles, disagreements, and ecclesial crises that followed upon this text. Suffice it to say that this short, pithily argued letter became a watershed in the post-conciliar Catholic Church and one of […]

The Nature of Music and the Soul

The Nature of Music and the Soul by Matthew Cole Austin and Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg “…when lawlessness has established itself there [in music and poetry], it flows over little by little into character and ways of life.” Plato, Republic 424d # # # The world is changing and we have become progressively desensitized to the increasing temptations available to us […]

Black Elk and the Need for Catechists

I write these words as the annual November meeting of the United States bishops comes to a close. We bishops discussed many significant matters—from racism and immigration to the liturgy for the baptism of children. But I would like to emphasize one theme in particular that came up frequently in our conversations, namely, the catechesis of our young people. I […]

"The Taking of Christ" (detail) by Caravaggio

Modern Man and the Difficulty of Evangelizing

“Indeed, let us continue to go out and teach all nations!” As members of the Body of Christ striving for communion with the saints, we are faced with an essential mission contingent upon first picking up our crosses. Our primary duty is to cultivate our interior habits of being by prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Good works follow the cultivation of […]

The Least Religious Generation in U.S. History

A REFLECTION ON JEAN TWENGE’S “IGEN” Jean Twenge’s book iGen is one of the most fascinating—and depressing—texts I’ve read in the past decade. A professor of psychology at San Diego State University, Dr. Twenge has been, for years, studying trends among young Americans, and her most recent book focuses on the generation born between 1995 and 2012. Since this is […]

Disputa (Disputation of the Blessed Sacrament - Detail) by Raphael

Three Root Issues that stand between Catholics and the Modern World

The great philosopher Aristotle said “The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousand fold.” These modern times bear out this wisdom. When influential thinkers of the past such as William of Occam, Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, G.W. F. Hegel and several others took deviations from the truth in their philosophies, it […]

"The Taking of Christ" (detail) by Caravaggio

The Difficulty of Evangelizing and Modern Man

“Indeed, let us continue to go out and teach all nations!” As members of the Body of Christ striving for communion with the saints, we are faced with an essential mission contingent upon first picking up our crosses. Our primary duty is to cultivate our interior habits of being by prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Good works follow the cultivation of […]

"Our Lady of Fatima" (detail) by Chambers

Our Lady of Fatima and a Theological Reading of History

This past [month], we celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady to a group of shepherd children near the Portuguese town of Fatima. The series of Fatima appearances—lasting from May until October of 1917—is one of the most extraordinary in the history of the Church. It has also beguiled political and cultural commentators outside the […]

View of Monte Cassino Abbey at Dusk | (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Benedict Option and The Identity/Relevance Dilemma

Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation has certainly emerged as the most talked-about religious book of 2017. Within weeks of its publication, dozens of editorials, reviews, op-eds, and panel discussions were dedicated to it. Practically every friend and contact I have sent me something about the book and urged me to comment on it. […]

“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 […]