Forgiving Ourselves for Lent

shame

Dr Greg Popcak gives some sage advice on making spiritual progress over at his blog: To forgive ourselves doesn’t mean letting ourselves off the hook.  It means refusing to give into the temptation to heap coals on ourselves for having failed.  St Francis de Sales in his Introduction to the Devout Life reveals the folly of this [Read More...]

Introduction to Mark’s Gospel for Lent

Gospel-of-Mark-Graphic

I hope you will join me every weekday during Lent for my first Blobble Study–which is of course a Bible study on a Blog. We’ll be studying Mark’s gospel. Why? Because I want to have a fresh vision of Jesus during Lent, and studying the gospel is a great way to do that. Why Mark? [Read More...]

Kissing Ugliness

POPE FRANCIS' GENERAL AUDIENCE

What was going on when Pope Francis kissed the deformed man some weeks ago? Here’s my latest article for Integrated Catholic Life — Kissing Ugliness Do you remember when the cameras caught Pope Francis reaching out to embrace the “monster” of a man covered with warts and boils? How could he kiss that ugliness? St. Francis kissed [Read More...]

God Moves in a Mysterious Way

St Paul by Pompeo Batoni

On Saturday I attended the first South Carolina Catholic Men’s Conference. At the book table a young guy said to me, “Father, I’m a convert from Baptist too.” “Great! Tell me how that happened!” “It was my mother. She messed me up at the age of seven.” He said this with a smile on his [Read More...]

More Christianity Radio Show

Real Radio

For a couple of years now I have been recording a weekly radio show for Catholic radio in South Carolina. Last month the half hour show started to be broadcast on EWTN nationwide. I can now link to the archived shows here. Here’s one of the first programs with Joseph Pearce on the Harry Potter [Read More...]

Missing Papa Benedict

papaben

Today is the anniversary with incredible memories of a frail Pope Benedict waving farewell, climbing into the helicopter and flying across the rooftops of Rome into retirement. I miss him, and here’s why. First of all, I think Pope Benedict shared my love of England and Anglicanism. He made a historic trip to England, giving [Read More...]

The Benedict Balance

Vatican Pope

On the anniversary of Pope Benedict’s departure from Rome, here is my latest article for Aleteia on his emerging role as “Behind the Scenes Pope.” What is the emerging role of Pope Emeritus Benedict? At last Saturday’s consistory, he looked alert and strong for a man of eighty-six years. Is he really in complete seclusion [Read More...]

Free Resources for a Holy Lent

Lent

There are plenty of free online resources for Lent. Sign up here for my free weekly newsletter. During Lent there will be articles on prayer, almsgiving and fasting. There are points to ponder, resources and other stuff. Fr Robert Barron is offering free Lent reflections. Go here to sign up. Dr Marcellino D’Ambrosio’s Crossroads Initiative [Read More...]

Evangelicals and Catholics Together

Commenting further on Evangelical Anglican Tony Palmer’s friendship with Pope Francis, here is my latest article for ZENIT on the strengths of Evangelicals and Catholics together. he evangelical faith is incomplete without the Catholic Church, but we are also incomplete without those Christians who are separated from us. The evangelicals have some good traditions we can [Read More...]

Jawbones and Jewels

jewelskull

Now for a little history: Go here for a gallery and fascinating article by Christopher Howse about Germany’s jewel encrusted relics of saints. It’s partly a question of taste. When Anna Eliza Bray was collecting materials for The Mountains and Lakes of Switzerland (1841) she was proudly shown the ornamented skeleton of St Alexander at [Read More...]

Read Gargoyle Code for Lent

Gargoyle Code - Book - Transparent

If you have not yet read The Gargoyle Code – my Screwtape Letters-type book for Lent you should do so. Go here for the landing page. You can get it as an e-book too! The tempter Slubgrip instructs his protege Dogwart on how to tempt his wet behind the years young Catholic. In the meantime Slubgrip [Read More...]

Read, Mark and Learn in Lent

Gospel-of-Mark-Graphic

During Lent I am trying out a new idea for blog use: a Blog Bible Study.  Would the right name for this be a Blobble Study? Anyway, it works like this. Starting on Ash Wednesday I’ll be reading St Mark’s Gospel day by day. I’ll post the reading and a few observations. It will be [Read More...]

The Subtleties of Satan

William Blake - The Brazen Serpent

Are demons and angels real? There are an increasing numbers of new stories about exorcism and the reality of the demonic. I wrote recently on how the demonic may be manifested in many ways other than the obviously shocking stuff of the exorcism movies. The Devil in Ordinary told the story of a guy I met who [Read More...]

Is Pope Francis an Evangelical Catholic?

dovefrancis

Here is my latest article for Aleteia in which I suggest that Pope Francis is the model for Evangelical Catholicism. Last week news broke of his unprecedented informal video message to a group of American Evangelical Pentecostal leaders: In his message, Pope Francis greeted the American Evangelicals warmly, recognizing a shared love for Jesus Christ [Read More...]

Pumping the Papacy for Headlines

francissmiling

A comment came up in my combox the other day which said, “Why so much time analyzing the pope and his message? Why can’t we hear more about Jesus?” I was suddenly sympathetic. My own writing revolves increasingly around the papacy. That’s because a major Catholic website, Aleteia, has commissioned me to be their “pope [Read More...]

Why a Former Evangelical Loves the Rosary

rosarybook

Here is my latest article for Catholic Online which explains why I love the rosary, how it helped me with healing and helped bring me into full communion with the Catholic Church. Evangelicals have great difficulties understanding the Catholic view of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At worst they think we worship Mary instead of God. [Read More...]

FaithWorks! -18

StandingOnMyHead_P30_bh

Here is the link to FaithWorks! –  my free weekly newsletter. With articles on prayer, the Sunday reading, Catholic artwork, Points to Ponder and more. Go here to subscribe. Also–why not help with the New Evangelization and share the subscribe link on Facebook and other social media. [Read more...]

The Return of Pope Benedict

pope-benedict2

This article from the Religion News Service chronicles the good health of 87 year old Pope Emeritus Benedict.  I think we will see him emerge from his monastery with a regularity if not a frequency. Here is my recent article on the significance of his appearance at the consistory last weekend. When Pope Benedict XVI [Read More...]

Good Red Wine in the Vatican

wine

The Religion News Service reports that the Vatican has the highest per capita wine consumption in the world. So that explains the photograph… Remember Hilaire Belloc’s hilarious line: Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!” Meanwhile this article gives us the [Read More...]

Celibacy and Cardinal Keith O’Brien

The Scotsman reports here that disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien is still facing pressure from his accusers. Three priests in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh have asked Leo Cushley, the new archbishop, to pass on to the Holy See their written complaints which characterise O’Brien as a “sexual predator” who used his authority to [Read More...]

Living Out the Romance of Religion

Single-white

Here is my latest article for National Catholic Register in which I explain what I mean by the Romance of Religion and why it is so important for us to live out our faith stories. The story of my grandfather’s death has passed into our family history. I explain that this story works on us [Read More...]

Was the UN Right to Attack the Catholic Church?

stormovervatican

John Zmirak in this article paces around in a feisty mood and asks why we should get all upset about the UN attacks on the church if we’re not going to put our own- child abusing house in order. The Church and other opponents of the UN’s children’s rights agenda, sees clearly that it is based [Read More...]