Spadaro, Straw Men and Scapegoats

The article that everybody is talking about at La Civiltà Cattolica can be read here.Fr de Souza has analyzed it brilliantly over at CRUX. His juicy observation about the article is that "It does not rise to the level of mediocrity"Having read the article I actually agreed with some of the observations about Evangelical Fundamentalism.The problem is that the authors are commenting on something they don't know about from personal experience. It's all theory from a few books they've re … [Read More...]

From My Side of the Screen

Let me tell you something from my side of the confessional screen.Hearing confessions is not easy. Its actually hard, often tiresome work.Often the confessions are poorly prepared, badly informed or fully of all the tricks we've come to spot which allow people to confess while still retaining their dignity. You know the euphemisms, the generalities, the circumlocutions.I don't care. I'm glad they're there.They say every question is a good question. I say every confession is a … [Read More...]

On European Ignorance and Arrogance

There are few things more frustrating than ignorance and arrogance combined.I lived in England for twenty five years, and I've lived in America for about thirty.I can tell you from experience that an awful lot of Americans are pretty darned ignorant. This is not to say they are stupid. Its … [Read More...]

Falling Short of God’s Glory

Some time ago I got an anonymous email which said something like, "Get over the idea that there is such a thing as sin. Sin is a stupid idea made up by religious people like you to fleece people of their money and scare them about hell. People like you are evil and wicked and should be … [Read More...]

We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder

Today's first reading at Mass was the story of Jacob's Ladder. You remember the one--where he is traveling and he camps out by a shrine and take a rock from the shrine as a pillow?He dreams of a stairway to heaven with angels going up and down. He wakes up and calls the place "Bethel"--the … [Read More...]

Is All Sin the Same?

There is a discussion jumping around the Twitterverse in which certain gay activists are saying, "If Bishop X bans people in same sex marriages he should also equally condemn fornicators, those using artificial contraception, the divorced and remarried, people who watch porn etc. etc."Of course t … [Read More...]

Can I Judge Another Person or Not?

In  Matthew 7. 1-5 Jesus says,Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your ow … [Read More...]

Is Doctrine Divisive?

From time to time one hears from the progressives that "doctrine is divisive". We're to have "a pastoral approach" and not speak about doctrine and discipline in the church.This is a lie, and not even a very smart one, and yet it is amazing how many people fall for it.Rather than doctrine … [Read More...]

St John Fisher: A Lone Voice

Why was St John Fisher--the holy Bishop of Rochester-- the only English bishop to stand up to Henry VIII?It is easy, with hindsight, to dismiss the other English bishops as cowards and compromisers. However it is not so easy. Consider the circumstances.First of all, they were in a completely … [Read More...]

On Doctrine, Diamonds and Fluffernutters

Doctrine seems to be the church's bad boy these days.We hear progressives play the victim and say, "But doctrine is so divisive! We need a pastoral approach! We need to reach out to the marginalized who have been alienated by strict doctrine and discipline!"To go off on a tangent for a … [Read More...]

Faith, Grace and Good Works

An email came in the other day which showed some confusion about the role of grace, faith and good works in our salvation.The Catholic was worried because a friend said salvation was by grace alone. I think he confused this with the Protestant heresy that salvation is by faith alone. Then the … [Read More...]

Some Straight Talk on Sex

A couple of new books have come out which are stirring up discussion about homosexuality. Fr James Martin S.J. hopes his little book promoting "respect, compassion and sensitivity" for members of the LGBT community will engender "further conversation."Meanwhile, Daniel Mattson's Why I Don't Call … [Read More...]

Growling the Gospel

Reading a biography of Flannery O'Connor--whose stories emphasize the grit and grotesque of life it reminds me that one of the most nauseating and exhausting things about religious life in America is the pressure by all the crybaby bullies for us to be sugar cookies all the time.We are expected … [Read More...]

On Priests, Cars and Cigars

My post about a priest and a sports car raised more comments over at Facebook than almost anything I have written in the past.The opinions were about 50-50. Many saying, "Go ahead Father. The people who care don't matter and the people who matter don't care." Others were more cautious, saying … [Read More...]

Challenging Faux Poverty

I got an interesting discussion going on Facebook through a picture of the new Fiat two seater sports car.The question is, "If this car costs less than the sedate sedan he already drives, would it be terribly wrong for a priest to drive this car rather than that one?"The comments were about … [Read More...]

Anglicans and Catholics Meet at Waffle House

The Catholic News Agency reports here that the ARCIC (Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission) met in Germany to discuss ecclesiology.This is code for "let's get together and talk about the dwindling number of things on which we agree."Once again our heroes have come up with an … [Read More...]