March 18, 2019

Robert Mueller’s investigation into Donald Trump’s campaign for president started as a snowball. It is quickly becoming an avalanche. Mr. Trump, feeling the pressure, is lashing out at his political opponents more frequently, including, last week, hinting that police and the military—and some outfit called Bikers for Trump—would make things “very bad, very bad” for his political opponents; would “do things that are very nasty.” Then Sunday morning—two days after a white nationalist who murdered fifty Muslims in New Zealand… Read more

March 5, 2019

Lent is a dreary time. From Ash Wednesday to the Triduum, we count the days and endure our mortifications, fasts, and other obligations—or stress over failing to live up to them. But amidst the gloom are a few bright spots. Two solemnities fall during Lent, St. Joseph’s Day on March 19 and the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25. On those days the Gloria is said at Mass, even though it is not said at any other time during Lent…. Read more

March 5, 2019

I woke up Sunday morning to the below comment on Facebook, in response to the screenshot that accompanies this article, which I had posted on my wall: I laugh at this because you think AOC is logical about saving the planet but you still don’t defend the life of unborn babies and mock people who even try to defend them. So her and you together are bigger hypocrites than Hitler defending Jews. You could defend actual life on Earth but… Read more

March 1, 2019

Updated to add additional information I did not know existed when I published this – spd The Catholic Church is wild about credentials. For instance, you cannot call yourself a theologian without a licentiate or doctorate in theology from an approved university. You would be silly to listen to anyone pontificate on canon law who did not have a canon law degree. You cannot even call your nonprofit “Catholic” without permission from the local bishop. I know because when my… Read more

February 12, 2019

Fox Searchlight on Tuesday released the first official trailer from its upcoming film, Tolkien, which hits theatres May 10. It stars Nicholas Hoult as J.R.R. Tolkien and Lily Collins as Edith Bratt, Mr. Tolkien’s wife. I’ve never heard of Ms. Collins, but I liked Mr. Hoult in Warm Bodies (2013), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), and especially Dark Places (2015), an underrated adaptation of the novel by Gillian Flynn. Another interesting casting choice is Colm Meaney as Father Francis Morgan, the… Read more

January 20, 2019

NB: I have updated this post because of new information available today. –SPD Want media coverage for the March for Life? You got it. Pro-lifers complain every year about the lack of media coverage for the March for Life. That’s not true, as Deacon Greg Kandra writes here. Still, victimhood is everything for the pro-life movement. And the line still resonates inside their bubble, so they still use it. This year, however, they’re getting more media coverage than they ever… Read more

January 10, 2019

In late January, 2009, I made a retreat at Opus Dei’s Shellbourne Conference Center, outside of Valparaiso, Indiana. This was a supernumerary-only retreat (I was still in Opus Dei then) and, being in a dark place at the time, I needed the extra intensity of a members-only retreat. The priest who lead the retreat reverently celebrated Mass, gave compelling meditations each day, and dispensed expert spiritual advice in confession and in one-on-one spiritual direction outside of confession. His advice to… Read more

December 7, 2018

Holiday season in Illinois means holiday displays at the Illinois State Capitol building, under the rotunda. It’s public property, which means anything is permitted so long as no public funds are used. So while we have a Christmas tree and nativity set for Christmas, and a Menorah for Hanukkah, we’ve also had a Festivus pole and, in 2015, a gay pride Festivus pole. No Festivus poles this year, though. No, instead of one of those, the 2018 holiday displays under… Read more

December 3, 2018

G.K. Chesterton wrote beautifully of Christmas, both in poetry, such as “The Christ-Child in Mary’s Lap,” and especially my favorite, his “Christmas Poem,” which gets to the heart of the paradox of Christmas: There fared a mother driven forth Out of an inn to roam; In the place where she was homeless All men are at home.” But my favorite is his meditation on the Nativity, “The God in the Cave,” from The Everlasting Man. This is Chesterton at his… Read more

November 14, 2018

The Christmas pudding is the crown of the Christmas feast. It has no equal. Before the pudding, the beef bows and the turkey trembles. Even a robust cabernet may hesitate before taking the pudding in its warm embrace, though their kiss is the signal for fireworks, joy, and mayhem. I made my first Christmas pudding six years ago, and I have made one every year since. The pudding ripening in my basement right now is one I made last year,… Read more

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