Tag: Catholicism

Loving Pain as Given: A Review of Heroes, a Dark Twist on the Grateful Acre

 

For B, and other youth whose grateful acres host, if not prairies, at least patchy meadows. And for Gary McVey.

It’s been a year since Will Arbery’s play, Heroes of the Fourth Turning, took the conservative Catholic blogosphere – or rather, that part able to see the play or a private script – by storm. Now the script is available to the public. I ordered my copy here. If you can afford to, read it. Theaters remain closed, but the theater of imagination richly rewards reading a play. Reading reveals motifs easy to miss when a play just happens to you in performance and you can’t revisit it. This review addresses unspoken pressures, like the prosperity gospel (which may not influence orthodox Christians’ theology, but can influence their social expectations), behind what conservatives speculate is Heroes’ demonic finale, the “We” who may, or may not be, Legion.

Joe Biden Says He’s Not a Catholic

 

The term “Catholic” is in countless opinion column titles as we look to this year’s election. A short discourse about what a “Catholic” is may be helpful. It’s actually quite simple, but to understand it requires one to know a bit of history.

Two thousand years ago a Jewish rabbi named Jesus was crucified outside the walls of Jerusalem for claiming that he was the Son of God. His 11 closest followers, called apostles, claimed he rose from the dead and continued to teach them for 40 days before he ascended into Heaven. They then went throughout the known world, Rome and elsewhere, telling people about this man and what he had taught them about who God is. They appointed successors to carry on their mission. Those successors are today’s bishops of the Catholic Church. For 2,000 years, the teachings of that Jewish rabbi have been handed down, illuminated, and protected by those bishops who, with the Bishop of Rome (a.k.a., the Pope) preeminent, are in communion with one another about what the Church “binds on earth” (Matthew 16:19).

Member Post

 

Here in PDF format is this year’s political guidance letter from the American Catholic bishops. For someone who has repeatedly thought about the issues in depth and has been educated about many Church teachings, the document might be more bother than aid. Ethical principles are touched on too briefly to offer much insight or to […]

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An Atheist’s Come-to-Jesus Moment

 

Pat Santy was a NASA flight surgeon during the early years of the Space Shuttle Program. She is best known for her blog, Dr. Sanity, which ran from 2004 through 2012. For years she was an avowed atheist. “Prodigal Daughter: A Journey with Mary,” by Patricia A. Santy, MD, OP, recounts her return to the Catholic faith.

To outsiders, it seemed Santy had it all. She was a successful doctor, specializing in psychiatry. She became a flight surgeon at Johnson Space Center, on track to become an astronaut. She established a successful psychiatric practice. Later, she became a nationally-known blogger.

Her success seemed more remarkable due to an unpromising start. She was the child of divorce (when it was unusual, especially for Catholics). She financed her own way through college.

Why would a loving God permit something like COVID-19 to afflict people He ostensibly loves? It’s the sort of question people have wrestled with for thousands of years. Our own Dave Carter sits down with Father Ben Bradshaw, Pastor of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Memphis, TN, to discuss this question and a great many others in a wide ranging conversation that touches on the metaphysical insights of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Socrates and Aristotle, the physical challenges of ministering in a world of social distancing, and even the world of faith and food (Father Bradshaw is also a classically trained chef).

Ricochet Member Seawriter also joins Dave in a discussion of a his latest book, “Vanished Houston Landmarks.” (He’s also authored 31 other books on a huge variety of interesting historical topics.)

Basia and the Squirrel: Scruton’s Tale of Eros Transubstantiated

 

“The apostolic church is a church of the heart. When you steal from it you steal the heart. Hence the theft is easy, and amends are long and hard.” A strange way to sum up a story of erotic love. Nonetheless, it was Scruton’s way, as he described, in the second half of his essay, Stealing from Churches, the thwarted love affair that taught him a “narrative of transubstantiation” transmuting body into soul. In truth, the love affair wasn’t thwarted at all, but one that fulfilled its purpose, a purpose his stubborn young beloved, Basia (pronounced “Basha”), saw more clearly than he did.

Scruton had organized a subversive summer school for the Catholic University in Poland, bringing together Polish and English philosophy students to resist communism. Under the codename “Squirrel” (in Polish “Wiewiorka”, for his red hair) and tailed by at least one jug-eared agent, Scruton had stumbled into more James-Bond mystique than most ginger-haired philosophy dons could hope for. It would be almost cliche, then, for an exotic young thing to throw herself at him. Wry-smiling, stunning Basia was no cliche, though. Or rather, if she were, it would be the cliche in a kind of story too little told these days to count as cliche anymore.

Basia, at 26, the oldest, most academically-advanced of the bright young things attending Scruton’s summer lectures and their unofficial leader, was an uppity young woman with a checkered past. She wasted little time with Scruton: after his second day in Kazimierz, she waylaid him in the woods to announce she noticed no ring on his finger. Such a frank admission of desire seems likely to end in embarrassment all round whether the desire is reciprocated or not, and perhaps it would have if it weren’t accompanied by her equally frank admission that consummating desire was not her aim:

Back to the Pews

 

In honor of this special day, I thought I’d write a brief (edit: I tried to keep it brief, I really did!) response to a post @westernchauvinist put together some time ago. Here, she asked the Ricochetti what it would take to bring them back to church. Though it elicited many thoughts at the time, I’m finally getting back to you, WC.

Excepting the funeral masses I’ve worked this year, this has been the first I attended all year – before I’m accused of being one of those who steals the seats of you regular attendees during the holidays, I’ll admit that I haven’t gone to a Christmas Mass in years. I wasn’t raised in the Catholic Church, but I’ve known for some time that the church of my mother’s family is the one I belong to, and that any return to a hospital for sinners would be to a Catholic hospital.

Book Recs for a Recent Catholic

 

I have recently decided I want to be Catholic after a lifetime of protesting (being Protestant, not being an anti-theist) and am looking for some great books on the history of the Catholic church, Catholic philosophy, Catholic apologia, etc. I figured Ricochet would be a good place to ask, given the founder and community here. S o what would you guys recommend?

For anyone wondering what prompted the change, Cupid’s arrow found its mark and I’m engaged to a wonderful Catholic girl and I want to raise our future children in the faith.

In another first for this podcast, Jack gets a priest onto the show, Fr. Brendan Glasgow of St. Peter’s on Capitol Hill. Fr. Brendan is 27, only slightly older than Jack himself. So Jack asks this eminently trustable (since younger than 30) fellow what it’s like to be a Millennial priest, why he became one so young, and…whether he watched SpongeBob when he was growing up. The important questions, in other words.

The Hill of Crosses

 

The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania is where rebellion and faith meet. Kryžių kalnas, or the Hill of Crosses, is a pilgrimage site north of the city of Šiauliai, in northern Lithuania. It is believed the first crosses were placed on the former Jurgaičiai or Domantai hill fort after the 1831 Uprising against Russia. Not only crosses and crucifixes, but statues of the Virgin Mary, carvings of Lithuanian patriots and thousands of tiny effigies and rosaries have been placed on the hill by Catholic pilgrims. The exact number of crosses on the hill is unknown, but estimates put it at about 55,000 in 1990 and 100,000 in 2006.

Photo by By Pudelek (Marcin Szala).

Member Post

 

In the glorious lull between the end of exams and the arrival of two friends from the States for an extended visit (I am simultaneously a kid in a candy shop, over the moon excited to see the friends that I haven’t seen in so many months and already exhausted by preparations), I have been […]

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Member Post

 

Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and other politicians who publicly advocate for legal abortions and legislate abortions into effect are not Catholic. They claim to be Catholic. Even respectable Catholic reporters, like EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, identify them as such during reports. But it’s not true.  Even non-Catholics are familiar with the “cafeteria Catholics” label which, like […]

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Member Post

 

Fifty years ago, on 3 April, 1969, Pope Paul VI gave Catholics a New Order of Mass (Novus Ordo Missae – NO) with the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum. The previous Roman Missal that gave us the mass commonly known as the Tridentine Rite or the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) had been promulgated in 1570 […]

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Returning on the Day of Ashes

 

During our liturgy today on Ash Wednesday (a colloquial name for the Day of Ashes), the priest made an interesting point. This is not a “holy day of obligation” for Catholics. Yet, like Christmas and Easter, it is among the most attended gatherings for worship every year.

Why do you suppose that is?

This is a time for lowly repentance. The beginning of Lent, the season in which we focus on the Lord’s painful sacrifice and our regret of its necessity, is marked by ashes to remind us of death.

What do young people think about abortion? Are Millennials turning into godless heathens? With abortion and religion in the headlines, Host Jack Butler explores where young people stand on these areas and speculates on how they will develop as issues in the future, with the help of National Review staff writer Alexandra DeSanctis.

American Catholicism: A Renewed Call to Action — A Second Post Reposted

 

Six years ago, on 14 February 2012, I posted a piece on the state of the Catholic Church in the wake of the so-called pedophilia scandal. I regret to have to say that it remains pertinent now — one month after the death of Richard Sipe, the foremost expert on clerical abuse, whom I quote at length below. Most of the links are functional — apart from the one that once led to Sipe’s website, which can now be found at awrsipe.com. As Sipe put it 25 years ago, “The problem of sexual abuse we see today is only the tip of the iceberg. If we follow the problem to its foundations it will lead to the highest corridors of the Vatican.”

Last Friday, I posted on Ricochet a piece entitled American Catholicism’s Pact With the Devil. In it, among other things, I traced the crisis now faced by American Catholicism to the reign within the American Church of Joseph Bernardin, Cardinal-Archbishop of Chicago. In my haste, I got a detail or two wrong, and I was challenged not only with regard to the Cardinal’s cursus honorum but also with regard to the role he played in the scandal concerning the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic clergy. This post is meant to correct the record with regard to minor details, to flesh it out with regard to the profound damage done the American Church by Cardinal Bernardin, and to suggest that we might be witnessing a turning of the tide.

A Lavender Mafia Within the Vatican? A Post from 2013 Reposted

 

What follows is a post first put up on 6 March 2013. I repost it now because of its pertinence to the current crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. At least some of the links are still functional. I particularly recommend your reading the letters of Father Gerald Fitzgerald.

Some weeks after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, the Italian press went wild, reporting that his decision had been prompted by his receipt of a report issued by a commission of three Cardinals whom he had asked to investigate the so-called Vatileaks affair. That report, we were told, revealed the existence within the Curia of a network of sexually active homosexual prelates who were being blackmailed by outsiders.That such a commission was appointed and that it issued a report is true. The members were Julián Herranz of Spain, Salvatore De Giorgi of Italy, and Jozef Tomko, from Slovakia. Initially, the Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi refused to comment on the contents of the report. Later, however, he denied that the press account was correct.Soon thereafter, The Observer in Britain reported that three serving priests and a former priest had lodged a formal complaint with the Papal Nuncio in Britain, charging Keith O’Brien, Cardinal-Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh and Primate of the Catholic Church in Scotland, with having tried, in some cases successfully, to take advantage of them sexually some 30 years ago when he was spiritual director in a seminary and after he became a bishop. It was later revealed that last year another priest had made similar allegations about O’Brien’s conduct 11 years before. Soon after these revelations, O’Brien was forced to resign from his post. At first, he denied the truth of the charges. Later, he confessed his guilt.If Cardinal O’Brien’s misconduct were an isolated case, I would be inclined to believe Father Lombardi’s dismissal of the reports in the Italian press. A close friend who knows the Vatican very well indeed suspects that the focus of the report issued by the three Cardinals is graft. “In Italy,” as he put it, “theft is a way of life.”

Member Post

 

A few years ago, C.W. Strand published a long, three-part essay on Tradinista, a now-defunct website “devoted to a synthesis of Marxis[m] and traditional Roman Catholicis[m].” The essay seeks, in its own words, to explore “the possibility and nature of Catholic socialism.” The first two parts largely consist of a systematic redefining of “socialism” — an attempt […]

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Amy Coney Barrett’s “Cult”

 

When Notre Dame law professor and possible Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was nominated for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, her affiliation with a religious group called People of Praise raised red flags. It was some sort of cult, they implied. Sen. Dianne Feinstein famously reproved the nominee by intoning that “the dogma lives loudly within you and that’s of concern.”

It was an echo of the kind of anti-Catholic bigotry that characterized American life for centuries. When the Democrats nominated the first Roman Catholic for president, Al Smith in 1928, opponents warned that all Protestant marriages would be annulled and all Protestant children declared bastards if the Catholic were elected. Republicans circulated pictures of Smith posing before the almost-completed Holland Tunnel with a caption declaring that instead of emptying into New Jersey, it really led 3,500 miles under the Atlantic Ocean to the basement of the Vatican. After his loss to Herbert Hoover, Smith was reputed to have quipped that he had sent a one-word telegram to the Pope: “Unpack.”

But Feinstein’s comment and others’ insinuations that her religion is somehow creepy or suspicious reveals a broader anti-religious bias.