African Catholics: Future Church

Stephen Beale writes here on the solid stance of the African bishops at the recent synod on the family. In an excellent article he chronicles the youth, strength and vigorous orthodoxy of the African bishops in contrast to the aging, moribund and weary progressivism of the Kasperite-Daneels coalition. On the whole, the some 54 African [Read More…]

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Your Daily Dose of Monastic Spirituality

The Suburban Hermit is my new blog dedicated to monastic spirituality, book reviews, poetry, prayer and inspiration. Today at Suburban Hermit: On the Ordering of Time and Place – a selection of quotes from monastic wisdom on the properly ordered life Reverse Thunder – George Herbert’s beautiful poem Prayer Read Old Books – The first [Read More…]

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What’s the Point of a Pilgrimage?

Last Summer I served as chaplain for a pilgrimage to England. My friend Joseph Pearce had invited me to visit the sites of the English martyrs and Catholic literary figures. At first I was unenthusiastic. I could think of better things to do than tromp around English ruins with a group of American tourists. My [Read More…]

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Is There a Template for the Temple?

On this feast of the dedication of St John Lateran, my latest blog post for National Catholic Register asks if there is a God given plan for church buildings In the Scriptures we are called to be temples of the Holy Spirit, all of us are living stones built up into God’s temple. The church [Read More…]

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OLR Greenville in London’s Catholic Herald

Here is the article about our new church in Greenville, South Carolina in London’s Catholic Herald Why build a Romanesque church in the 21st century in America’s Bible Belt? The answer is simple: “Because it looks like a Catholic church.” The Southern US is mission territory for Catholics, and our people wanted their new church [Read More…]

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Study History for Stability

One of the most troubling things about American Catholics is their tendency to go off the deep end. Conservative Catholics who are upset about the condition of the church and think Pope Francis is evil incarnate seem to be proliferating. David Mills writes about the increasing tendency here. “Here’s a suggestion for everyone,” wrote a Jack [Read More…]

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Kim Davis and a Sixteenth Century Nun

You’ve heard about Kim Davis the ordinary government clerk who stood up for what she believed in the face of powerful opposition. Maybe you have not heard about Elizabeth Barton. She was a nun in sixteenth century England who stood up to Henry VIII when he planned to marry Anne Boleyn. There are interesting similarities [Read More…]

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Three Vows for Following Christ

Today’s post over at The Suburban Hermit explains how the three Benedictine vows are interwoven and interdependent like a three stranded rope. The Benedictine monk or nun takes vows of Stability, Obedience and Conversion of Life. There is much that can be learned from the three vows not only for the life of the professed religious, but [Read More…]

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Was the English Reformation a Disaster?

Go here to vote on the question in the Daily Telegraph. [Read more…]

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Today at Suburban Hermit

Have you seen my new blog The Suburban Hermit? It fosters monastic spirituality and is meant to inspire with all that is beautiful good and true. There are no ads. There are very few broken posts with “Continue Reading”. There are lots of beautiful pictures and inspiring thoughts. Here is what you will find on [Read More…]

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The New St Thomas Institute

Taylor Marshall’s work is highlighted here in my latest article for Aleteia. My friend and fellow former Anglican priest is doing fantastic work for the church Ten years ago Taylor Marshall resigned from his ministry as an Episcopalian priest. He was a young married man with no idea what God wanted him to do next, [Read More…]

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Obedience? What Me?

Over at The Suburban Hermit is a post on the vow of obedience. In the present world the suggestion of obedience is met with incomprehension. That one should submit one’s entire will to another individual is not only a social error, but an anti-social horror. Obedience is a blasphemy in a world of individual freedom, [Read More…]

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Do Beautiful Churches Produce Beautiful Priests?

My latest blog post for National Catholic Register wonders if there is a connection between architecture, prayer and priests. I know a young priest who was brought up as a Baptist. He went into a beautiful old Catholic Church during the liturgy. This was a classic neo-Gothic church with stained glass windows and a beautiful [Read More…]

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The Oldest Hymn to Mary

One of the things that maddens and amuses me about Protestants is something called “primitivism”. I’ve written about it here. “Primitivism” is the ambition to return the church to the simplest form as it was in the “early church”. The little fundamentalist church in which I grew up worked on this assumption. They were going [Read More…]

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Today at Suburban Hermit

Have you checked out my new blog yet? I’ve taken the opportunity to create a blog free from ads and flashing lights and the distractions of Patheos. It focusses on monastic spirituality, book reviews, prayer, work and reading. Today at Suburban Hermit is the biography of St Benedict from my book St Benedict and St Therese-The [Read More…]

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The Catholic Roots of England

I was watching the service of Evensong from Westminster Abbey the other night that took place during Benedict XVI’s visit to England. It was all very splendid and you could tell Benedict was impressed with the Anglican music and ceremonial. His speech emphasized, however, the Catholic roots of both Westminster Abbey and England itself. In [Read More…]

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Is the Pope Out of Control?

Damian Thompson aka “the blood crazed ferret” launches a scathing attack on Pope Francis here at the UK’s Spectator. After the latest disastrous interview with ninety one Italian journalist Antonio Scalfari, Thompson argues that the Pope is unpredictable, out of his depth and a dangerous loose cannon. Last Sunday, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica carried an article by [Read More…]

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Arians, Aliens and Body Snatchers

Do you remember that creepy movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Some kind of alien bug invades earth and takes over people’s bodies replacing them with soul-less replicas. The horrible thing about the film is that the aliens are not huge hybrid insectoid lobster monsters, but just as ordinary as the guy and girl next [Read More…]

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Is Communion with Lutherans on the Way?

The ecumenical teams for Lutherans and Catholics have been hard at it and produced a new document on Church, Eucharist and Ministry called Declaration on the Way. It’s all full of enthusiastic and optimistic language about how Lutherans and Catholics are all starting to agree after 500 years. I hate to be a party pooper, [Read More…]

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Welcome to My Hermitage

For some time now I have been feeling the need to have another outlet for more personal stuff. So today I launch my new blog: The Suburban Hermit. This blog will be notes on reading, prayer and work. As a Benedictine oblate I try to follow the threefold vows of obedience, stability and conversion of life [Read More…]

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The Devil and the Democrats

WaPo reports here on a new survey that informs us that the largest religious grouping among registered Democrats is “None” Yes, that’s “None” not “Nun”. In other words, the Democrats are the party of the godless. People who do not identify with any organized religion (aka the “nones”) comprise the largest chunk of self-identified Democrats [Read More…]

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Don’t Be Scared of Spirituality

My latest blog post for National Catholic Register is here. It analyzes why we’re sometimes a bit leery of spirituality. Why is it that among ‘conservative Catholics’ there seems to be so little interest in spirituality? We’re big on apologetics. We’re big on dogma. We’re big on the moral teaching of the Church. We’re big [Read More…]

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