Features

The Church – the world’s biggest charity Comments 0

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Stalin famously said of the Church, “The Pope! How many divisions has he?” Less well known is Churchill’s response that Stalin “might have mentioned a number of legions not always visible on parade”. Indeed, the reach and influence of the Church are not easily described by statistics alone, yet the raw statistics are staggering enough. Read more

Jane Roe, legal abortion, and a change of heart Comments 0

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

When Flip Benham opened an office of his antiabortion group next door to an abortion clinic that employed Norma McCorvey, the two saw each other through the cliches of their respective ideologies. McCorvey, also known as “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, saw Benham’s group as “vicious, mean-spirited, fire-breathing, sanctimonious, self-righteous, bigoted hypocrites,” she would Read more

Pope Francis: does what he talks about Comments 0

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Whenever Pope Francis talks about the need to welcome immigrants, to build bridges not walls, and to invest in the countries from which people are fleeing, critics inevitably will ask, “Okay, but what are you doing about it?” From snarky observations about the walls around Vatican city to wry observations about all the under-utilized ecclesiastical Read more

Freedom of religion according to Thomas Jefferson Comments 0

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Much blood has been shed during human history in the name of religion. Thomas Jefferson 1743-1826) knew this all too well. Here are Jefferson’s very words: “Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned” (“Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVII,” 1781-1782). It Read more

A saint for difficult people: Dorothy Day Comments 0

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

One way to understand the saints—the radiant, aberrant beings next to whom the rest of us look so shifty and shoddy—is to imagine them as cutting-edge physicists. Their research, if you like, has led them unblinkingly to conclude that reality is not at all what, or where, or who we think it is. They have Read more

The living, the dead, and Alfred Lord Tennyson Comments 0

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

Although never fond of church going and heedless of doctrinal orthodoxy, Tennyson was profoundly religious, stating: “Two things I have always been firmly convinced of—God—and that death will not end my existence.” Early and late, Tennyson’s theme was mortal beauty.  In The Princess (1847), when he was scarcely forty, he set it to an enchanting Read more

Distorted view of celibacy leads to abuse Comments 0

Monday, February 13th, 2017

With the release of a shocking report from Australia on accusations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, the old question is bound to arise: “Is the discipline of celibacy to blame for sexual abuse of minors?” The complicated question is dealt with in historian Philip Jenkins’s excellent study on the problem. Published in Read more

Kiwis losing the faith Comments 0

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Our so-called ‘God’s own’ country is fast becoming anything but. A century ago New Zealand was one of most religious places on the planet, with the great majority of Kiwis, Pākehā and Māori alike, believing in some form of Christianity. Fast forward a few generations and not only Christianity, but belief in any form of Read more

Bruce Springsteen: crying for troubled souls Comments 0

Friday, February 10th, 2017

In November 1990 at the Shrine Auditorium in LA, a rugged, ripped Bruce Springsteen stood on stage and drawled: “This song is about the price of blind faith and what refusing to give up your illusions extracts from you.” He then launched into Reason to Believe from his first solo album Nebraska, which tells a Read more

Interview: Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller Comments 0

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Amoris Laetitia? “It should be read as a whole, in any case, adultery is always a mortal sin and the bishops who stir confusion on this should study for themselves the doctrine of the Church. We must help the sinner to overcome the sin and to repent.” The unity of Christians? “It is important, but Read more