NY Times Joins the Temple Truthers

My history column for the Register this week is on Temple Trutherism. It’s like 9/11 Trutherism, only with slightly more anti-semitism! Reporter Rick Gladstone shows us some of those high-quality skills you only get from journalism school by utterly ignoring the experts he interviewed and concocting a story about scholarly doubt as to whether the Temples were [Read More…]

Verdict on German Plan?: “Schismatical, heretical.”

At the Register this week, I write about an idea floated by the German episcopate to go their own way on matters of “pastoral care” and damn what the Universal Church has to say. Trent’s already rendered the verdict on this approach, and pretending “pastoral care” isn’t the same as “discipline” doesn’t make it any less of [Read More…]

Want Some More Catholic History and Archaeology?

No? Well tough, you’re getting it anyway. This piece (which I talk about here) marks the first of a weekly series, appearing Mondays in the National Catholic Register. I plan to use the space to explore odd corners of Church history, sometimes just for fun, sometimes in order to shed a bit of light on a present [Read More…]

Is This Synod the Most Dangerous Crisis in the History of the Church?

It is to hear some people tell it. I think it was this video that got me thinking about Pius VI, but all the daft ranting of the past year certainly played a part in my realization that people have no context for what they’re experiencing. I’ve written a bit about Pius, his times, and the [Read More…]

Luther’s Pact With the Devil

Great Moments in Reformation History! Medieval gossips claimed that Luther’s mother was seduced by a demon disguised as a jewelry merchant, and that the demon then counseled Martin throughout his wayward journey into heresy. After a visit to Rome, so the stories go, he felt shabbily treated and asked his father how he could get his [Read More…]

John McWhorter on the Death of Aramaic

Linguist John McWhorter has an interesting article in The Atlantic on the decline in speakers of Aramaic, once a lingua franca of the Middle East and the language of Jesus: Today there is no one “Aramaia” where the language is spoken. Its varieties are now used in small, obscure communities spread far apart across Iran, [Read More…]

The Fascinating Story of a Historic Cross at Papal Mass in DC

When the pope celebrates mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC, there will be a fascinating piece of history there with him: an iron cross made for the first mass in the English colonies in 1634. The Georgetown University site has the story. The cross is believed to have been forged [Read More…]

What It’s Like to Fight in Armor

You may be surprised. While there are certainly stories about knights who drowned in shallow water because they couldn’t stand up in armor, that wasn’t the norm. [Read more…]