Category: Commentary

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Fratelli Tutti and a fresh perspective on tradition

It has become common in certain Catholic circles to label Pope Francis (and the post-Conciliar Church) as “modernist.” This term is applied to stand in opposition to “tradition,” a fundamental Catholic value. After all, Tradition (with capital “T”) is one...

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A New Pacem in Terris

Fratelli Tutti, the newly-published encyclical, must be read carefully to be properly understood. We must avoid the risk of trivialization that focuses on two or three points and reduces the document to little more than a series of pious intentions....

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The Revenge of Pan: A Short History of Moral Panic

What did Archbishop Viganò mean when he declared in a recent interview that “Trump is fighting pedophilia and pedosatanism”? Even for Viganò, whose descent into conspiratorial and apocalyptic thinking should by now be obvious to everyone, this is a jarring...

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The inanity of CTRL-F criticism

“This document has 43,000 words. 43,000 words. So that’s a lot. This is—I believe this is his longest encyclical. I didn’t compare it, but it feels like the longest. And I’m going to throw something up on the screen that...

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Fraternity: A dirty word?

In his new encyclical Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis warns about how the word solidarity, “is not always well received; in certain situations, it has become a dirty word, a word that dare not be said.” (#116). I believe something similar...

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Vatican II and “weaponized ambiguity”

It has become common among critics of the Second Vatican Council to use the expression “weaponized ambiguity” to describe certain conciliar teachings. This expression assumes that language in the Vatican II documents is ambiguous, in the sense that teachings can...

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Conscience and the Sunday Obligation

When the pandemic hit the United States earlier this year, bishops across the country made the necessary but unprecedented decision to dispense the faithful from their traditional obligation to attend Mass every Sunday. Six months later, we are slowly beginning...

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Breakfast of Scandals: Chaput adds to Barr fiasco

William Barr, a Catholic, has generated controversy since he began his tenure as Attorney General of the United States in February 2019. Among other things, on July 25, 2019, he ordered the Federal Bureau of Prisons to execute five federal...

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The Appeal and Danger of Integralism

In the past five years or so, discussion of Catholic political currents, especially online, has increasingly included an ideology called integralism. Prominent and influential jurists and law professors such as Harvard’s Adrian Vermeule have increasingly begun describing themselves as integralists;...

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Fr. Michel Rodrigue: When will no mean no?

Following up on this week’s article by Emmett O’Regan discussing the enormously popular website Countdown to the Kingdom, which promotes the dubious apocalyptic messages of unapproved prophets and visionaries, there is breaking news regarding one of their featured visionaries, Fr....

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Moral discernment or (evil) genius?

On August 26, 2020, Crisis Magazine published an article entitled, “The Genius of Father Martin,” a title that was later edited to read, “The (Evil) Genius of Father Martin,” as shown in the title’s current form. The article suggested that...

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Some think Benedict is still pope

If you follow the world of radical Catholic traditionalism at all, then certainly you’ve come across people who believe the resignation of Pope Benedict wasn’t legitimate. Their case is usually based upon a strict reading of Canon Law, and it...

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Worried your baptism might be invalid? Don’t be.

On August 6, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a response to two dubia (questions) about clerics performing baptisms with the words “We baptize you” instead of “I baptize you.” According to their response, changing the...

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The Matter of Words

Let us consider the matter of words, specifically the terminology and argumentation used by extreme critics of Pope Francis.  Words matter. Words are symbols of underlying meaning.  Words set tone and establish context.  What is striking is the tone of...

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Bishop Barron on the Existential Periphery

Recently, Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron delivered a keynote address at this year’s Napa Institute Conference. For many Catholics, especially those who love and support Pope Francis, this annual meeting has come to be seen as a gathering of...

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Reacting to Archbishop Viganò: A Pastoral Reflection

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive opinions. (2 Peter 2:1 NRSVCE) In the context of my previous essay on Vatican II, we turn...

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Reaching Crisis Levels

On August 18, 2020—the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote in the US—Crisis Magazine published an article entitled “Against Women’s Suffrage,” by editor-in-chief Michael Warren Davis. When the...

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Sacramento priest: Horrifying details emerge

Providing greater perspective to the disturbing recent revelations from Sacramento that continue to unfold, Christopher Altieri of the Catholic Herald spoke to the woman who made allegations of sexual abuse against the now-excommunicated priest Jeremy Leatherby. The details of her...

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Is the schism upon us?

By now you’ve probably heard the news about Fr. Jeremy Leatherby, the Sacramento priest whose latae sententiae excommunication was announced by Bishop Jaime Soto last week. Bishop Soto explained in his letter to the faithful that Leatherby “placed himself and...

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