Sunday, February 18, 2024

In Memoriam: Bob Christian (1941-2023)

I'm breaking my February hiatus from blogging to offer a eulogy to a mentor of mine who recently passed away, Mr. Bob Christian. Bob was a spiritual giant, one of the few people in life I've personally known whom I sstrongly suspect was a saint. I was graced to know him for 20+ years, from my infancy in the Church right up to the present day. In this post I will offer some reflections on his life and legacy.

Monday, February 05, 2024

February Hiatus

Hey friends! I'm probably going to be taking a blogging hiatus for February. Don't worry, I am fine, not burned out or nothing like that (if anything, I've got more writing ideas swirling in my head than ever before). I have some professional matters I need to clear off my plate and some writing commitments for other platforms I need to attend to, so I'll be busy with that for awhile. 

Take it easy, folks. Catch up with you mid-Lent.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

The Lord Weighs the Heart


In the aftermath of Fiducia supplicans, I think one of the greatest tragedies we are witnessing is the obfuscation of the way grace draws us despite our weaknesses. There are two aspects to this obfuscation, the first relating to our real capacity to obstruct grace, the second relating to the ability of grace to reach us despite our sins. We will consider each in turn.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

A Segregated Church


Last month on the Unam Sanctam Catholicam website, I published a lengthy article chronicling the segregation of the Catholic schools and parishes in the Archdiocese of New Orleans following the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore (1884), which called for separate black facilities as a means of more effectively ministering to the needs of black Catholics. It is quite an illuminating article for those interested in American Catholic history and how the hierarchy navigated the "color line" that was so prevalent in late 19th century America.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Wisdom and Folly by Rob Marco

If you read Traditional Catholic content, you've likely come across Rob Marco. Rob is probably best known for his blog, Pater Familias, but he also publishes regularly in Crisis Magazine, and has also appeared in Catholic World Report, OnePeterFive, and various other outlets. Rob is also a friend and a longtime supporter of this blog—I actually first met him in the combox on my posts.

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Recovering a Morality of Happiness

Recent events make it ever more obvious that the modern Church seems paralyzed when it comes to its moral teaching. There are so many today who openly dissent from fundamental principles of Catholic morality, many in the highest seats of power within the Church. This is old news. But even among those inclined to defend traditional morality, there seems a growing uncertainty about how to explain it. 

Saturday, January 06, 2024

A New Year and Epiphany Greeting


This is the seventeenth year I have posted one of these New Years' posts. Typically I sum up the year in blogging and highlight some of my favorite posts and projects I was involved with, then offer some concluding thoughts on the year as a whole.

Sunday, December 31, 2023

"I Carefully Block My Ears With Wax": Marcel De Corte to Jean Madiran

Today is the final day of 2023. What a momentous year it has been, for better and certainly for worse. But rather than offer my poor commentary, I'm going to post a correspondance from the respected Belgian philosopher Marcel De Corte (1905-1994) to French journalist Jean Madiran. De Corte was a neo-Thomist who taught philosophy at the University of Li├Ęge, specializing in ancient philosophy and moral philosophy. Like many Catholic intellectuals, Marcel De Corte was deeply troubled by the reforms following Vatican II. In February 1970, he wrote a letter to his friend, the journalist Jean Madiran (1920-2013), who at that time was chief editor of the traditional Catholic journal Itineraries, which Madiran had founded in 1956 to combat the errors of progressivism. The following letter was published in Itineraries, wherein De Corte describes his disgust with the New Mass as he witnessed it's early implementation in Belgium in the fall of 1969 and his disillusionment with the pontificate of Pope Paul VI, whom he sees as a man of frustrating contradictions.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Bad Humanae Vitae Parallels


In the wake of scores of bishops rejecting Fiducia Supplicans globally, popesplainers have resorted to comparing Fiducia Supplicans to Humanae Vitae as a way to deflect criticism of the document. The hyperpapalist website Where Peter Is has said that critics of Fiducia Supplicans "need to be reminded of the reception of Humanae Vitae...before asserting that the public reactions to magisterial documents are markers of its "failure.'" Then there is this little gem, which was followed by a piece from the same influencer on all of the similarities between Fiducia Supplicans and Humanae Vitae

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Six Books I Worked On This Year

Happy Advent brethren! I wanted to take this opportunity to draw your attention to several excellent new books I've had the privilege of working on this year in an editorial capacity. Some of these are original works, others  reprints of Catholic classics, but all are excellent additions to any Catholic library. These were all published through my publishing imprint Cruachan Hill Press over the course of 2023.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

How to Tell Christian Prayer from New Age Meditation

A "Centering Prayer" group, encrusted with Boomers as to be expected

We live in a world which rejects Catholic tradition while simultaneously professing great interest in spiritualities influenced by the New Age. Christians have been traditionally reluctant to embrace such practices, as they contain elements that are fundamentally opposed to the most basic tenets of Christianity. Some, however, have merged various elements of eastern mysticism and New Age neo-paganism with traditional Catholic spirituality, thrown in some Christian vocabulary and are now peddling these practices as compatible with Catholicism. For example, the method of "Centering Prayer" promoted by the late Cistercian monk Basil Pennington is a good example, but there are others. These practices are promoted as Christian forms of "contemplation", and Catholics are encouraged to participate. In this article we will look at how to discern whether a spiritual practice is authentically Catholic or just New Age esoteric mysticism in a Christian veneer. We will use the 'Centering Prayer' spirituality developed by Fr. Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington as an example, but what we will say can be applied to any questionable spirituality.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

In What Sense is the Pope Above Canon Law?


A common refrain when from hyperpapalists when the pope disregards canon law by his actions is, "So what? He can do that. The pope is not bound by canon law." 

It is, of course, true that the pope is not bound by any human law, including ecclesiastical law. Not only is this due to the pope's status as the supreme juridical authority within the Church, but also because the pope himself is a source of canon law. Since canon law is subject to the authority of the Supreme Pontiff, it is clear that is cannot be bound by it in any coercive sense.

Does this literally mean, however, that the pope can break canon law at will as a normal exercise of his authority? When the pope violates canon law, is this to be understood as a legitimate exercise of his juridical authority?

Sunday, November 12, 2023

"Strict Consistency with the Past"

Whilst casually flipping through my old copy of the 1929 New Catholic Dictionary, I looked up its entry for "Pope" and found an interesting little nugget. After a rather boiler-plate explanation of papal authority (universal, immediate, perpertual, etc.), it addresses the question of whether pontifical power is to be understood in an absolutist manner. After discussing the pope's practical dependence on the curia for his governance, the article answers the question in the negative: 

Sunday, November 05, 2023

The Last Gasp of Our Akhenaten


Pope Francis's new motu proprio Ad Theologiam Promovendam has called for a "paradigm shift" in Catholic theology, citing the "profound cultural changes" of the modern world as the justification. The pope insisted on a "courageous cultural revolution" within Catholic thought, calling for our theology to become "fundamentally contextual." Among other things, he called for theology to be primarily "inductive," focused on "dialogue and encounter between different traditions and different knowledge, between different Christian confessions and different religions, openly engaging with everyone." He contrasted this new approach with "abstractly re-proposing formulas and themes from the past," which the pope characterized as "desk bound theology." 

Monday, October 16, 2023

A 1971 Proposal for a New Form of First Confession for Children

Bishop Pieter Jan Antoon Moors of Roermond, who in 1964 became one of the first bishops to revise how the Sacrament of Penance was administered to children.

[Oct. 15, 2023] Franz Heggen (b. 1930) is a Dutch theologian who was a peritus for Bishop Pieter Jan Antoon Moors of the Diocese of Roermond, Netherlands. Before the Second Vatican Council had even ended, Bishop Moors (1964) issued directives in his diocese for a reevaluation of how penance was administered, asking priests to consider preparing children for confession in stages through prayer and song rather than traditional catechesis (1). Franz Heggen was a part of these discussions and an advocate for a restructuring of the sacrament in such a way that absolution was conferred collectively in order to stress the communal character of the sacrament.