Guardians of the Galaxy – Too Much of a Good Thing?


My fifteen year old son is the one who encourages me to see superhero and science fiction films. Really. So today on my day off we tootled off together to munch popcorn and enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy. Think Star Wars meets The Avengers. It was corny, but the corn popped. In other words it [Read More...]

Did I Experience a Miraculous Multiplication of Food?


When I was a young Anglican minister I lived in an apartment with my younger brother. I complained to him one day that when I was a theology student I lived by faith. I really had no money and was living from hand to mouth with the little I could earn while I studied. Now [Read More...]

Let Me Out of My Cage!


One of the joys of being a Catholic is that we should be able to open up to the strength of many different Christian traditions. When somebody leaves the Catholic church looking for some other spiritual good we have failed them because all the good things in all the other religions and all the other [Read More...]

To Androgyny and Beyond!


This article from the New York Times reports on the growing gender confusion in the younger generation. To summarize L.G.B.T (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender) is not broad enough to express people’s sexual proclivities. At a student meeting at one college someone stood up to express their (you’re not allowed to say ‘his’ or ‘her’ anymore) frustrations. [Read More...]

History and Heresy

The Cowper Madonna by Raphael

“To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant” wrote Bl. John Henry Newman. As part of my research for a book on married priests I am reading Christian Cochini’s tome Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy. It’s a masterful piece of scholarship which examines the early church’s views on marriage for the clergy. As [Read More...]

Honey or Vinegar?


My combox this week has been filled this week with self righteous, negative and sour comments from a certain type of Catholic. How some people love to throw anathemas at the heretics, condemn people and take a lofty tone correcting everyone in sight. If you don’t believe me just jump over to the combox and [Read More...]

Spare Me the Severed Heads

David with the Head of Goliath

Holy Deacon Kandra doesn’t appreciate pictures of severed heads, videos of murders and clips of Iraqis being herded off for extermination. He posts on Facebook One more time, for those who missed it: you post on Facebook pictures of decapitated heads, or videos of people being murdered, or the bloody aftermath of an execution, you [Read More...]

The Rise of Conservative Cafeteria Catholicism

Brothers in Arms

When Benedict XVI and John Paul II were pope the conservative Catholics loved to throw around the phrase “cafeteria Catholic” as a term of derision. It’s a name I used a fair bit to parody those Catholics who would pick and choose what bits of Catholicism they liked and rejected the bits they didn’t like. [Read More...]

All That Really Matters is How Much You Love Jesus?

rembrandt head of christ

When I resigned from my position as an Anglican priest one of the ladies in the parish was very upset. She couldn’t figure out the point of my decision. “Surely!” she cried, “All that really matters is how much we love Jesus?” This is the response from many non-Catholics when faced with the doctrinal claims [Read More...]

The Five Stages of Persecution

"Nazarene" symbol painted on targeted Christian properties in Iraq

Seeing the rise of persecution against Christians in Iraq, the far East and Africa, Mgr Pope has a great archived article here on the five stages that precede outright persecution. Can it happen in the USA – land of religious freedom? Mgr Pope observes the five stages. I. Stereotyping the targeted group - To stereotype means [Read More...]

Playing the Blame Game


You know the old playground rebuke, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me.” Well, that’s a lie. Names do hurt you. Calling other people names is the first symptom of genuine hatred and the first step toward violence against that person. When I disagree with a person the worst [Read More...]

Is Proselytism Solemn Nonsense?


Pope Francis has been criticized in some quarters because he has said, “Proselytism is solemn nonsense.” He has also told Evangelical Christians and an atheist interviewer that he “doesn’t want to convert them.” In a meeting last week in Caserto he explained to his priests that their job was not “proselytizing” and he quoted Pope [Read More...]

Ten Things to Remember if You Hate Ecumenism

Passionplay Oberammergau 2010 - Premiere

When I was training to be an Anglican minister I remember going to my first “Ecumenical Evensong”. It was in a village church in England in February. The weather wasn’t the only thing damp and cold. The Methodists sat on one side of the church and the Anglicans on the other. For the most part [Read More...]

Pope Says to Anglicans “Come on Over!”


Pope Francis has waved a welcome to Anglicans who are still shivering on the banks of the Tiber . They don’t even have to swim the Tiber anymore. They can walk across the bridge called “Ordinariate” In the wake of the Church of England’s decision to ordain women bishops the Ordinariate of Our Lady of [Read More...]

Why is Pope Francis’ Visit to Philly Important?

This report says that while the Vatican has yet to confirm the date, Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia has indicated that Pope Francis will visit the city for next September’s World Meeting of Families. If the pope is planning to visit the City of Brotherly Love next fall what’s the big deal? Kathy Schiffer reports here that the [Read More...]

Demonic Infection and Victory Over Sin


Is there a demonic element to seemingly ordinary human problems? Sometimes. While full blown demonic possession is rare, it is much more common for souls to be troubled by what might be called “demonic infection”. In counseling people spiritually I have come to believe that there is a state of demonic influence in our lives which [Read More...]

Thundering Through With St James


Here is my latest article for Catholic Exchange. It’s unlocks an interesting detail about St James and the dating of the New Testament. Bible scholars piece together details of evidence to build up a full picture of the New Testament authorship and dates. Their work is like that of a detective—picking up a hint here and [Read More...]

Coming Up: An Ecumenism of Blood


Pope Francis has appointed Enzo Bianchi the prior of the new ecumenical monastic community of Bose in Italy to join the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. For those who are unfamiliar, the community of Bose is one of the new ecclesial movements in the church. Like the community at Taize, it is composed of both [Read More...]

Watch Out For the Weeds


A detail from tomorrow’s reading at Mass will be missed by many people because of the translation of “tares” as “weeds”. Most people don’t know that this particular kind of weed called “tares” actually looks just like wheat. When they are first growing together they are both green and they are very hard to tell [Read More...]

Explaining Transubstantiation


I’m often surprised at the number of good, faithful Catholics who are well informed about their faith, who do not understand the doctrine of transubstantiation. In my experience they fall into two categories. The first do not believe the Eucharist is anything more than a symbol. The second believe the bread and wine become the [Read More...]

The Curse of Adolescent Progressivism


I was reminded this week of one of Pope Francis’ most memorable homilies from  last November in which he warned of “adolescent progressivism. There is a good report on the homily here. ” In the long run that phrase will become one of his memorable “one liners” which holds hands with Benedict XVI’s warning about [Read More...]

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Gorillas vs. Guerrillas


I was going to write a review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes which I saw earlier this week, but this review by Tim Robey at the Daily Telegraph says what I would have said and it coins the very smart summary of the film: “Gorillas vs. Guerillas.” Steven Greydanus also sums up what [Read More...]