Things Theological

candidate kissing baby

“Hello, sweetie. Can I have a Ritz cracker?” At last Monday’s noon Mass in a local Novus Ordo parish, the young woman ahead of me on line for Communion was carrying a toddler. The child clutched a Ritz cracker. The presiding priest, a baby-boomerish Dominican, dropped the host into the mother’s hand while chirping to the little one the banality above. What the mother thought of that, I do not know. But it made me flinch. Flannery O’Connor had words for this sort of thing: “Stupidity and vulgarity are harder to put up with than sin, harder on the nerves.” Continue Reading
Consecration Of Russia Served In A Whirlwind (part 1)

On March 25th, Pope Francis formally consecrated “all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The declaration raised questions more urgent than technical ones about proper wording and protocols. At stake is the efficacy of politically tinged papal pronunciamentos and, with them, the integrity of ecclesiastical authority in the Catholic Church. First, some preliminaries. Catholics are not bound to believe in private revelations. The emotional sincerity of visionaries is not evidence of divine authorship of their visions. Continue Reading
Finger Food At The Lord's Table: A Chicago Tale

Finger food at the table of the Lord. That, apparantly, is the sum of the Eucharist in Cardinal Cupich’s bailiwick. His  diktats targeting the Latin Mass were broadcast over Christmas. In his zeal to erase—by piecemeal where necessary— the ancient protocols, Cupich’s broadside included even the Canons Regular who run St. John Cantius Church in the Chicago Archdiocese. [The order’s founding Constitution commissions its priests to restore a sense of the sacred in solemn liturgies. Central to their apostolate is the Latin Mass and the treasury of Tridentine liturgies.] Continue Reading
Rachel Levine

A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, “You are mad; you are not like us.” St. Anthony the Great
A civilization in a death spiral can no longer maintain the moral demands that kept it alive. Neither can it tolerate an ability to see things as they are. Coherent authority shrinks. In The Triumph of the Therapeutic, Philip Rieff put it well: The dying order “demands less, permits more.” Continue Reading
USCCB Voter Guide: Clarity Be Damned

The USCCB’s voter guide, updated in advance of the 2020 election, was an evasive inventory of issues that, by sheer volume, effectively sidelined abortion. The manic jumble gave cover to Catholics who preferred abortion-happy Biden to Donald Trump. My essay “Politics As Spiritual Warfare”, in the November issue of Chronicles, cited a Wisconsin bishop’s slippery advice:
Doublespeak does not edify. Writing a column entitled, “How to vote according to our Catholic faith,” Bishop Donald Hying of Madison, Wisconsin repeats the USCCB’s position that “abortion surpasses all other moral issues,” though he adds a caveat.
Continue Reading