A question on divorce and excommunication

Updated 01/17/2015 I have a quick question on divorce and excommunication:  was it ever the case in the United States that Catholics who obtained a civil divorce were excommunicated?  I am not talking about barring from communion those who are divorced and then remarry outside the Church.  Rather, was the act of getting a civil [Read More…]

On Divorce: Ratzinger Then and Benedict Now

It seems that Pope Emeritus Benedict has changed his mind, and wants to make it  known that he is repudiating an argument he made forty years ago.   Six years ago the Pope asked Gerhard Mueller, then Bishop of Regensberg, to oversee the publication of his collected theological works.  Benedict was  a prolific theologian, and his [Read More…]

Contra Traditionalists: Engaging With Tradition

With the close of the Synod of the Family, there is much discussion in the blogosphere about the outcomes.  My own post on St. Augustine has attracted for more commentary than I expected, and Julia recently posted the Pope’s insightful speech that closed this year’s synod.   To continue this discussion, I want to share an [Read More…]

There is a new Sheriff in Town

Last year I asked the rhetorical question:  “Is there a new sheriff in town?” in response to the news that Pope Francis had suspended Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the Bishop of Limburg, Germany, because of questions about his finances and ostentatious lifestyle.  The bishop later resigned his see.   My answer was yes.  At the time I [Read More…]

Two Perspectives on Two Vexing Questions

I think it would be fair to say that two vexatious questions for the Catholic Church today (or at least the Catholic Church in the West) are contraception and divorce and remarriage.  They are not the most important issues facing the Church:  both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis are correct that the central problem for [Read More…]

The Revised Translation: Once More Into the Breach

I ran across something today that got me thinking about the revised English translation of the liturgy again.  I guess I should let this go, but things I read keep bringing it back up.   Maybe I am obsessed, or maybe this is a case of a process Richard Feynman described:  you keep a bunch of [Read More…]

Eight Brief Stories of Conversion

Sandro Magister provides a translation of one of eight stories of conversion compiled by an Italian journalist, and brief English bios of the other seven people.  The interview is quite uplifting.  Here is a beautiful quote: I converted to Christianity because of Christ! As I have already said, what still fascinates me is the love [Read More…]

It’s Not Just About Sex

A common criticism advanced against Catholics by secular society, and also by “liberal” Catholics against “conservatives” is that they are obsessively concerned with sexual morality.  In my personal opinion I think there is a bit of truth to this, though like any demagoguery it is often overstated and lacks nuance.  Today, however, I found a [Read More…]

Remarks of Pope Francis

In the last congregation meeting before the conclave, Cardinal Bergoglio made some impromptu remarks that apparently very much impressed the other cardinals.  The Cardinal of Havana, Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, asked Bergoglio if he spoke from a written text.  He had not, but the next day Bergoglio gave him a set of handwritten notes [Read More…]

A Priest to Remember

For the past few years I have been hearing about “John Paul II” priests.  This appellation, sometimes self-applied and other times applied to others, refers to a loosely defined group of priests ordained during the long years of JP II’s pontificate.  They are usually defined in opposition to the priest ordained in the years just [Read More…]