Sunday, September 24, 2023

Another Older Catechism on Capital Punishment

[Sept. 24, 2023] Back in June of 2019, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski published a piece at Rorate Caeli exploring on how pre-Vatican II catechisms treated the subject of capital punishment. Entitled "What Good is a Changing Catechism?", the article demonstrated a consistent teaching on the liceity of the death penalty going back to Council of Trent at least. I also published an article on the subject ("Pre-Vatican II Catechisms on the Capital Punishment") arguing the same. These collections of pre-Conciliar catechism quotes are important pieces of evidence displaying an indisputable continuity of the Church's teaching across the generations.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

An Injustice from the Beginning

[Sept. 14, 2023] I was baptized Catholic as a baby in an ethnically Catholic household (Sicilian-Irish-Polish), where getting children baptized was just what one did. But I never saw the inside of a Catholic Church, nor received any instruction or sacraments as a child. I had, in every respect, a totally secular upbringing.

Sunday, September 03, 2023

Book Review: Blosser & Sullivan's Speaking in Tongues: A Critical Historical Examination

[Sept. 3, 2023] It is getting tougher and tougher for me to get around to book reviews these days what with the sheer quantity of material that people send me, not even counting my own voluminous "to-read" pile that seems to grow larger no matter how much reading I accomplish. But when I received the book that is the subject of today's post, Speaking in Tongues: A Critical Historical Examination, by Philip Blosser and Charles Sullivan, I knew I had to make the time for it. Speaking in Tongues (published by Pickwick Publications) is the first in a three volume series dealing with the subject of tongues. Volume 1 is subtitled The Modern Redefinition of Tongues and concerns how the understanding of tongues has been revolutionized in modern Christianity.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

The Church's Historical Blindspot

[Aug. 26, 2023] If you have never read it, I highly recommend my readers pick up a copy of the British historian R.I. Moore's 1977 book The Origins of European Dissent. Moore's book focuses on the emergence of heresy in Western Europe between 1000 and 1200 and chronicles the Church's attemps to respond to the rising tide of heterodoxy, with emphasis on how the increasing challenge posed by heterodox sects went beyond the ability of local bishops to manage, leading to the eventual interventions of the papacy and civil authorities. It is a very scholarly work that I think is integral to anyone interested in the origin of medieval heresy.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

On the Superior Merit of the Traditional Mass

[Aug. 13, 2023] I just reviewed an old article by Fr. Chad Ripperger entitled "The Merit of a Mass." The article originally appeared in the Summer 2003 edition of the Latin Mass Magazine.

The article concerns the question of the "merit" of the two forms of the Roman rite. Fr. Ripperger concludes that the Traditional Rite of Mass is objectively more meritorious. He argues that
Since one of the primary obligations of those in authority in the Church is the glory of God through the salvation of souls, they have the obligation to encourage, and, in some cases, require the ritual of the Mass which is most efficacious.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Stop Using This Word So Recklessly

[August 10, 2023] Imagine the spectacle of members of the laity proclaiming, based on their own convictions and by their own authority, that Pope Francis has lost the papacy or is not the validly elected pope. How ridiculous! How arrogant! How absurd! 

Now imagine, if you will, the spectacle of members of the laity proclaiming, based on their own convictions and by their own authority, that certain fellow Catholics (who have never been censured or labeled as such by the Church) are in the canonical state of schism and under anathema. How equally ridiculous! How equally arrogant! How equally absurd! 

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

"The Pope's Authority is Bound to the Tradition"

[Aug. 8, 2023] Just a friendly reminder that the idea of the pope's boundedness to Sacred Tradition is not some invention of Trad Catholic bloggers. Going back 23 years to the publication of Joseph Ratzinger's pivotal work The Spirit of the Liturgy, we find the following:

Saturday, July 29, 2023

The Obedience of St. Padre Pio

[July 29, 2023] I was recently privileged to publish a book entitled Wounds of Love: The Story of St. Padre Pio (TAN Books, 2022). Wounds of Love is a dramatized historical fiction novella about the life of the great St. Pio of Pietrelcina, written for teens but enjoyable for adults as well. I spent months immersed in the life and writings of Padre Pio and learned a ton about this amazing modern saint. Padre Pio has been in the news a lot lately with the release of Abel Ferrara's smutty and underwhelming film; for anyone looking for a more wholesome and spiritually edifying dramatization of Pio's life, I humbly recommend getting a copy of Wounds of Love (here is an excellent review of the book on Gloria Romanorum if you'd like to learn more). It does a good job of covering the major points of Pio's life while introducing readers to his deep spirituality in a narrative format.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Tucho Fernández's "Essentialist" View of Scripture

"There are biblical texts that should not be interpreted in a 'material' way, I don't want to say 'literal'. The Church has long understood the need for a hermeneutic that interprets them in their historical context. This does not mean that they lose their content, but that they should not be taken completely literally. Otherwise, we would have to obey St. Paul's command for women to cover their heads, for example." (Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández, July 15, 2023)

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

[July 17, 2023] It is, of course, true that the Sacred Scriputres need to be interpreted in context, with attention to the literary genre being employed and the intention of the sacred writers. This is nothing new; St. Augustine says as much, and so affirms the entire Catholic tradition. And this is emphatically not what "Tucho" Fernández is suggesting in his now infamous July 15 statements to the journalist Ale Villegas, as reported by Rorate Caeli (here are the English and Spanish translations of his comments).

Saturday, July 15, 2023

The Cardinalate's 80-Year Rule—A Critique

[July 15, 2023] Most Catholics are familiar with the rule that cardinals lose their right to vote in papal conclaves if they turn 80 before the papal throne falls vacant. [1] This rule comes from Paul VI's 1970 motu proprio Ingravascentem Aetatemwhich stated that cardinals "lose the right to elect the Roman Pontiff and therefore also the right to enter the Conclave" upon the completion of their eightieth year. [2] According to the motu proprio, this rule was instituted because—

Sunday, July 09, 2023

A Template for Great Homilies

[July 9, 2023] I was vacationing this week and attended the diocesan Traditional Latin Mass at St. Anne's in Hamilton, Ontario. The celebrant was Fr. Ian Duffy. I have been to the TLM in Hamilton before, but this was my first experience with Fr. Ian. I am happy to say that Fr. Ian not only delivered a splendid homily, but that it was so solid that it could serve as a template for good homiletical practice in general. I wanted to highlight the four qualities I found so refreshing about Fr. Ian's homily:

Saturday, July 01, 2023

Pius XI, Pope of the Missions

Pius XI presides over the inauguration of the Collegium Urbanum in 1926

[July 1, 2023] Today I am happy to present a guest post by my friend and brother in the Lord, Konstantin Stäbler, on the missionary work of the great twentieth century pontiff Pius XI (1922-1939).

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Anniversarius Sextus Decimus

The Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul has always been a special day for Unam Sanctam Catholicam, being the anniversary of the day I launched the blog in 2007.

Over the years, many of you have reached out to me and expressed gratitude in particular for the articles on subjects like spirituality, maintaining faith, and dealing with disappointment or doubt. I am humbled that the reflections posted here have been a source of edification to many.

It is especially fitting, on this 16th anniversary of Unam Sanctam, therefore, that I take a moment to speak about the first ever compilation of USC essays in book form. Arouca Press (which has been a luminary of traditional Catholic publishing since its launch in 2018) has taken a collection of the spiritual essays published here over the years and compiled them into a book called The Way of Life: Spiritual Essays from Unam Sanctam CatholicamThe Way of Life is a collection of forty short essays on spirituality, faith, and Christian life. Most are taken from articles published here over the years (reworked, expanded, and re-edited), although it does include several never before published essays, as well as a few from my friend and sometimes contributor dom Noah Moerbeek, CPMO.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Death Penalty: Miscontextualizing Pope Nicholas in Fratelli Tutti

In this essay, I will demonstrate that Pope Francis's 2020 encyclical Fratelli Tutti miscontextualizes a quote from Pope Nicholas I (858-867) on the subject of capital punishment, making it look as if Pope Nicholas affirmed something beyond what he actually did. Our study will take us through a fair amount of history and textual analysis, but it will all serve to make the point clear in the end.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Post-Conciliar Turmoil Memorialized in Stone

I recently paid a visit to Belmont Abbey in Belmont, North Carolina. Belmont Abbey was founded as a Benedictine monastery back in 1876; there is still a functional Abbey there, though today it is better known as the site of Belmont Abbey College.