The Circles of Sin – 2 – The Wrathful

I am recording my homilies for Lent--a series on sin based on Dante's Inferno.The first week (which you can find here) was on the Vestibule of Hell--where we find the lazy and indifferent. They didn't do anything terribly wrong, but neither did they do anything wonderfully good. Then the sins of incontinence--loving good things the wrong way or too much: Lust, Gluttony and Greed.Sunday we moved on to the fifth circle: The Wrathful. You can listen to the homily here.Image Wikkimedia … [Read More...]

Ten Things to Remember About Married Catholic Priests

Pope Francis has said that he may consider the ordination of some married men.There is lots of room for confusion here. So here are ten things to remember about this matter:Celibacy for priests is a discipline not a doctrine - The Pope can't change doctrine. He can change discipline. A discipline is something like which liturgy you use, rules for fasting and abstinence and celibacy for priests. It is obviously something that can be changed because the Eastern Rite churches have married … [Read More...]

Are Married Priests the Magic Bullet?

People have asked my opinion about Pope Francis' suggestion that maybe ordaining older married men would help.Really. I've written about the topic of married priests so much already. Go here and here and here and here and here and hereand there's more. Just search my blog for "married pries … [Read More...]

Is Eternity Forever?

Someone wondered the other day why hell had to last for all eternity. Wasn't that extra cruel of God? Why couldn't the damned simply be eliminated, crushed, annihilated?Another person commented that he didn't think heaven was such an attractive idea because he thought he would probably get … [Read More...]

Slubgrip on Individualism

My Lent book, Slubgrip Instructs is laid out with one reading per day from Shrove Tuesday through Easter Monday.In it the demon Slubgrip is teaching Popular Culture 101 (known in the slang of Bowelbages University as Pop Cult 101)For a taster, here is today's reading, in which Slubrip l … [Read More...]

Catholic Schools and Dante’s Deep Divide

C.S.Lewis' friend Dorothy Sayers was one of the great translators of Dante's Divine Comedy. Her version includes excellent notes and a memorable map of hell.Sayers' map of the nine circles of hell makes visual one of the most important teaching points of Dante's great vision.Dante ca … [Read More...]

Jiminy Cricket Theology

The other day I had a conversation with an intelligent, well educated young woman who was questioning the Catholic Church's moral teaching.She said about the church's teaching on same sex attraction, "But I don't know if I really accept that."Now, I don't really object to a person who … [Read More...]

Puppies, Kittens and the Circles of Sin

It occurred to me that one of the reasons so few Catholics go to confession is that they don't really think they have done anything wrong.Then when they do come to confession many of them make very poor confessions and the first thing they say is, "I'm not really sure why I've come to confession … [Read More...]

A Schism in the Catholic Church?

Headlines last week were proclaiming that a group of cardinals believe Pope Francis should step down to avoid a catastrophic schism in the Catholic Church.Schism? What schism?In fact, the modern Catholic Church is already in schism, but it is an internal schism, hidden to most people.The … [Read More...]

The Struggles of Our Parish School

The National Catholic Register reports on President Trump's visit to a Catholic school here along with his Education Secretary, Betsy deVos.Let me share what it is like being the pastor of a small parochial school in Greenville, South Carolina.Our parish is just 500 families. That is small … [Read More...]

The Power of Simple Authenticity

Why am I a Christian today? Why am I a Catholic today? It is because of the witness of authenticity. Put very simply–I am a Christian today because of the lived witness of my parents and I am a Catholic today because of the lived witness of two remarkable women–a mother and daughter.I am a Chr … [Read More...]

Go to Hell!

OK. I admit it. The headline was an attention grabber.But during Lent a good read is Dante's Inferno. My favorite translation used to be Dorothy Sayers, but I've been converted. I am really enjoying Tony Esolen's translation. You can find it here. I'm sorry I first bought Esolen's books in p … [Read More...]

Dante’s Inferno and Moral Judgements

People seem so confused about morality.Especially sexual morality.I'm reading Dante's Divine Comedy as Lenten reading and when he encounters Francesca and Paolo in the second circle of hell where the lustful are swept around by endless whirlwinds--because they were swept away by the w … [Read More...]

What Does it Mean the Church is “Apostolic”?

One of the lines I love most about the first Eucharistic Prayer is the prayer for the Catholic Church and all bishops who ‘preach the Catholic faith that comes to us from the Apostles.’In the creed we profess “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic” Church, and in my discussions with non-Catholic Christ … [Read More...]

Top Jesuit Being Jesuitical

The term "Jesuitical" was rooted in the Jesuits' reputation during times of persecution for prevarication. They became experts in saying one thing and meaning another.It seems their reputation for intentional ambiguity, "nuanced" language and communication that resembles a smoke and mirrors … [Read More...]

Conservative Anglicans are like ISIS??

A reader has alerted me to a statement by a British MP in which he equates conservative Anglicans to the Muslim terror group ISIS. In this article Tory politician Michael Fabricant thinks the Anglican church should get with the times. The longer the Anglican Communion shies away from modern liberal … [Read More...]