August 6, 2016

Maybe one or two of you noticed (may God bless me with so many readers!) that I have been away for the last couple of weeks. As you probably surmised from the title, I was in Europe: Germany and Italy to be precise. I had meant to write a goodbye before my trip, but the typical pre-airport rush swept me away. My apologies! More importantly, both countries were lovely—rich in history, rife with differences, and bloated with the decadence an… Read more

July 20, 2016

Here I am proud to present part three of this three-part series on the Great Schism of 1054. Parts I and II may be found here and here respectively. However, in a letter to the Patriarch of Antioch written shortly after the document of excommunication, Cerularius does, in fact, go on to attack the entire Western Church in much stronger terms.  To begin with, Cerularius says that he has heard that Peter of Antioch considers himself in communion with the Church… Read more

July 19, 2016

Here I am proud to present part two of this three-part series on the Great Schism of 1054. Part I may be found here. Thus, through these letters, a little of each side’s perspective in this controversy is made clear.  The perspective of Cerularius and of his associates is that the West has erred grievously in adopting corrupt customs contrary to divine law and the Scriptures; thus, the Western Church must move to correct these customs at once, with the… Read more

July 18, 2016

July 16th marked the 962nd anniversary of the so-called “Great Schism.” As someone deeply invested in the reunion of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, I am happy to announce the publication of this three-part essay exploring its background, causes, and unexpected quirks. It is by a friend of mine, whose work is the fruit of a summer research project, which was then presented at a conference a couple of years ago. Enjoy! Among the supposed “great dates” of history, one… Read more

July 17, 2016

I can’t help but laugh a bit when I hear liturgists and other Catholics speak of “versus populum.” Of course, in Latin it just means “having been turned to the people,” but in English it has an adversative sense; it makes me think of a priest confronting the people, Eucharist held aloft, prepared to fight. The meaning of the word itself (versus) implies a change in previous practice; it implies that initially the priest ought to be facing somewhere or… Read more

July 16, 2016

Unsurprisingly, I am surrounded by Catholic bloggers: opponents, friends, frenemies, and every other color of the proverbial Apostolic rainbow. And, frankly—for a long time and from all sides—the sheer intensity of it all has troubled me. Why is everyone yelling so much? What’s with the name-calling? Obviously anger can easily overcome us; being charitable can be very hard. And yet, God promises us more than pettiness and the gnashing of teeth. Mark Shea recently (and very bravely) admitted both his… Read more

July 15, 2016

My intensifying dalliance with social-media criticism is no secret. I’ve blogged about it before, and, if you know me in real life, you know my issues with the quality of much digital communication run deep—sometimes, some might say, to the point of condemnation. Yet, I find myself asking—how constructive have I been? Aside from counseling abstinence, what have I contributed? Well, to some extent, I think frustration, mistrust, and derision are endemic to the platform—how can people overcome a lack… Read more

July 11, 2016

I am a convert (or a revert, depending on how you ask). Unlike some Cradle Catholics, I have a past—and not just forgetting to say grace before dinner or having a lustful thought in 2006. For good and for ill, I have born many a mistake, an error—really a sin. What’s oddest though is how thankful I’ve always felt for those experiences. Some make for good stories—even opportunities to spread the faith—some I recall with a wince, and others are… Read more

July 8, 2016

The topic of this post is the word “liberal”: its meanings, its misuses, and what it ought to mean to Catholics. For some, this post might seem redundant. Among certain groups, the word’s origins and contemporary obfuscation are a well-known fact. Forgive my boorishness. But too often I encounter people, usually well-meaning, who want to, or do, debate whether Catholics ought to be “liberal” or “conservative.” This is the wrong question, but even so, the only valid answer is “neither.”… Read more

July 6, 2016

Pope Francis mystifies—and aggravates—many Catholics; his talk of mercy, of suspending judgment has a tendency to attract charges of ambiguity, to draw ire from those who prefer the steady hand of a John Paul or the theological acumen of a Benedict. In short, Francis is a true servus servorum Dei—clearly more comfortable advising than, well, pontificating. This has its obvious drawbacks—drawbacks which have been both rightly clarified and examined and which have also elicited scrutiny so intense that one is… Read more

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