Issue: May 2023
At the time of the Second Vatican Council, there was a buzzword making the rounds: ressourcement.
Often termed the “Word of God,” the writings contained in the Bible form an essential part of the infallible deposit of the Faith; they pass on doctrine which God wishes humanity to learn through the ministry and interpretation of the hierarchical Church. A precious treasure ever ancient and ever new, Sacred Scripture has captivated generation after generation of readers (and listeners), calling them to sanctity, pointing out the way, the truth, and the life: Jesus Christ.
Given the long-standing antagonism between Greco-Roman pagans and early Christians, it is somewhat ironic that the classical education movement, which is ever gaining momentum in Catholic circles, exalts pagan poets.
When we read attentively the Scriptures, we may be struck by the intermittent character of Our Lady’s presence. At first, she appears veiled in the Old Testament prophecies, but comes into full light in the first chapters of the Gospel of St. Luke. Then, she drifts back into relative obscurity during Christ’s ministry...
For the vast majority of Roman Catholics in 1950, the Catholic Church would have appeared as a singular entity, headed by a Pope as the Vicar of Christ and successor of St. Peter, with a singular liturgy in Latin. Leaving aside the liturgical revolution of the 1970s, even today most Latin Catholics know only a Latin Mass, and a vernacular Novus Ordo. A few may have heard of various other rites of Mass, usually through some study, or by relatives who belong to one of these other rites.
2023 marks the conclusion of the lectures on Church History that I have been delivering for the Roman Forum in New York City each September to May for the past thirty-one years. Although I am not yet certain what will replace our historical series, I do have a title for this year’s last talk: “My End is My Beginning.”
Two analogies seem particularly suitable to any debate over the Church Fathers’ standpoint towards pagan literature. I say debate, for the use of pagan literature was, in the infancy of the Church, a source of some conflict, and remains the subject of a similar contest. The question was and is, should the Catholic see in pagan literature Egyptian gold or a Grecian gift? The correlation of these analogies is almost paradoxical: the first analogy, favoring Catholic use of pagan literature, resides in Sacred Scripture; and the second analogy, opposing, hails from Virgil, the second of pagan poets.
When one has a conservative mindset, as I do, tradition plays an important part in the consideration of how things ought to be today. To my mind, traditionalists are not against change altogether—clearly we acknowledge that new challenges have to be addressed and the past cannot always give us the best answer. However, the first question that is asked when addressing any situation is, “How did people who thought like us deal with this in the past?” Then, assuming that there is no compelling reason to change, we try first the approaches used in the past.
Two considerations spotlight the authority of the so-called Mass of St. Pius V: its origin and the unique privilege it possesses.
I attended the Holy Cross Abbey school in Canon City, Colorado for one year as a sophomore in 1967, which was an influential social experience, but not really a religious one. We attended Sunday Mass, which was always concelebrated, and even though there were many Benedictine Monks and Sisters at the Abbey, I didn’t feel particularly religious...
By Pater Inutilis Pilate would like to free Jesus. The freeing of a criminal for them at the Pasch (18:39) failed: they chose Barabbas (18:40). He will now have Jesus punished beyond His...
“I will give unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy.” These mysterious words spoken by Jesus Christ to St. John in the Book of the Apocalypse (11:3) may be understood in various ways, for example of Peter and Paul or of Enoch and Elias. But when one reads the history of the Church, one may wonder whether perhaps they apply most of all to the Pope of Rome and the Roman emperor.
What other acts must the penitent perform in order to receive the sacrament of penance? What do we mean by "sacramental confession"? What must be confessed? Is the confession of sins necessary? Which should be the qualities of the confession?
There is a difference between the imaginative and the imaginary. That at least was the opinion of C.S. Lewis. Both are the work of the imagination, but whereas ‘imaginary’ literature does not describe reality, ‘imaginative’ literature does. Macbeth, stricken by guilt for the sin of murder is imaginative; Father Rodrigues in the movie Silence being encouraged by God to apostatise is imaginary.