Saturday, June 29, 2024

Septimus Decimus Anniversarius


Seventeen years of Unam Sanctam Catholicam this day. Seems like a lifetime ago when I started this blog. It has been an incredibly long time. This blog has, in fact, been one of the most constant things in my adult life, which is bizarre to think about. It is older than three of my children and outlasted my marriage and every job I've ever had. And it is one of the oldest still-functioning Traditional Catholic blogs, with the exception of Rorate Caeli and New Liturgical Movement. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Review: Unresolved Tensions in Papal-Episcopal Relations

I recently received an advance copy of the manuscript of the latest anthology published by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski's Os Justi Press, Unresolved Tensions in Papal-Episcopal Relations. This text is a series of essays occasioned by the deposition of Bishop Joseph Strickland in November, 2023, focusing on the question of the pope's relationship to the episcopate. As with previous anthologies compiled under the editorial hand of Dr. K, this work features a diverse cast of contributors tackling the subject matter from a variety of perspectives. In these pages you will find essays by José Antonio Ureta, Joseph Shaw, John Lamont, Brian McCall, and many others (by way of disclaimer, I should mention that I, too, have one essay in this book).

The fundamental question addressed by Unresolved Questions in Papal-Episcopal Relations is whether the Pope is the Vicar of Christ or the CEO of Vatican, Inc.? In other words, is the pope's relationship to the episcopate to be understood in a managerial sense, akin to a corporate CEO to whom all subordinate officers in the Church are merely vectors for the magnification and implementation of papal whims—or is there a way of understanding papal power that is more organic, capable of preserving the plenitudo potestatis of the successor of Peter while not canceling out the truth that "the bishops should not be thought of as vicars of the Pope," as taught by Lumen Gentium and the Catechism (cf. LG 27, CCC 895)?

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

A June Miscellany


Greetings friends! My mind has been crowded lately with a lot of different subjects, many of which I will likely never get around to blogging about. So, time to clear my thoughts with a miscellany of half-formed ruminations. I might develop these into future posts, or not...who knows. Enjoy my brain dump!

Sunday, June 09, 2024

Grace: Here a Little, There a Little



I recently read an article by a former Catholic turned agnostic who opined that the shortcomings and bad behaviors of practicing Catholics are indicators of the inefficacy of grace—that is, if grace does not seem to improve the behavior of those who most readily have access to it, it implies the nonexistence (or at least implausibility) of grace itself, as well as the entire supernatural order.

Sunday, June 02, 2024

The Importance of Spiritual Equilibrium


I am becoming increasingly convinced that finding an internal spiritual equilibrium is the supreme difficulty most Catholics face in their spiritual life. By spiritual equilibrium, I mean the ability to balance opposing tendencies while keeping one's peace—balancing knowledge and uncertainty, law and grace, mercy and justice, faith and seeking, suffering and redemption, sin and forgiveness, and so on. A balanced spiritual life requires these apparently contrary ideas to be maintained in a harmonious equilibrium, where nothing is overemphasized and nothing neglected. Virtue consists in finding a mean between extremes, and so does spiritual equilibrium. It requires us to have the faith fully integrated across the various facets of our lives.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

The Real Apparitions are the Friends You Made Along the Way


Long time readers of this blog will know that I have always been deeply interested in the questions of how the Church evaluates alleged private apparitions. I have written extensively about Medjugorje, Bayside, and many other smaller apparitions. My approach has generally been critical, following the traditional approach wherein an alleged apparition is presumed to be false unless overwhelming evidence suggests otherwise. I have been alarmed and annoyed at the credulousness of those who chase after every spiritual novelty, and disheartened at the sluggish inactivity of the Church in checking their proliferation. 

Thursday, April 25, 2024

The Four Griefs of Wisdom


With much wisdom comes much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow” (Ecc. 1:18). Long have I pondered the meaning of your enigmatic words , O Solomon. Why should the possession of wisdom and knowledge bring me to grief? If, as the Proverbs say, “Wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul” (Prov. 2:10), then in what sense is knowledge sorrowful? How can its attainment be a source of both delight and distress?

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Seeking Essayists for Latin Mass and the Youth Project


UPDATE: We currently have all the essayists we need. If you wish to submit an essay, you may still do so but it must be completed and submitted by July 10 and there is no guarantee it will be included in the final collection. It will be used as a backup in the event other contributors are unable to complete their essays. 

Blessed Sunday to you friends! I am working on compiling a series of essays from young people on the subject of what the Latin Mass means to them, which will ultimately be published in book form. The goal of this book is to explore the question of why the traditional liturgy is so appealing to the youth.

I am therefore asking for your help to identify young people who would be interested in contributing essays to the project. This post contains all the information about the project for those who might be interested in participating or having their children participate. If you are interested in supporting this endeavor, please read on.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

What a Piece of Work is Man


What a piece of work is a man, 
How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, 
In form and moving how express and admirable, 
In action how like an Angel, 
In apprehension how like a god.

~William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2

In the above-cited passage from Shakespeare's Hamlet, the titular character of Hamlet, speaking to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, comments on the promise and peril of the human condition, contrasting man's remarkable powers with the depravity of which he is capable. 

Saturday, April 06, 2024

Grace Blossoming Everywhere



For whosoever shall give you to drink a cup of water in my name, because you belong to Christ: amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. (Mark 9:41)

And there came a certain poor widow, and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing. And calling his disciples together, he saith to them: Amen I say to you, this poor widow hath cast in more than all they who have cast into the treasury. For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want cast in all she had, even her whole living. (Mark 12:42-44)

Friday, March 29, 2024

The Context of Cajetan's Comments on Praying for a Pope's Death


There was recently a little kerfluffle online after Dr. Peter Kwasniewski shared a quote from Thomas Cajetan (1469-1534) to the effect that Christians should pray for the removal of a bad pope (and given that popes historically reign for life, this functionally means praying for his death). Hyperpapalists, of course, were hyperventilating about the citation while traditionalists reacted with confusion as to how a quote from one of the greatest theologians of the Renaissance could occasion such vitriol.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Do Not Reproach a Man Who is Turning Away from Sin



One of the most unpleasant things I see online is whenever there is a news story about some celebrity who converts to Catholicism, Catholics will make snarky comments about the conversion. They will question the celebrity's sincerity, say it is just a fad, he's doing it for show, we shouldn't be happy about it until we know if it's "real," and in general belittle the story.

Saturday, March 09, 2024

Review of Angel Studios' Cabrini

Tonight I went and saw Cabrini with my teenage daughter. I just got back from the theater and am fulfilling a promise I made on the Unam Sanctam Facebook page to post a review of it. This is going to be long, so I ask your forgiveness for the extensiveness, but I have a lot to say here.

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.