Maureen Mullarkey

Harrison Butker At The Podium

Harrison Butker’s commencement address at Benedictine College was a mixed pleasure. There was much in it to cheer. Nonetheless, his spotlight on Josemariá Escrivá de Balaguer, (1902-1975), founder of Opus Dei, raised a red flag. How familiar is Butker with the richness of Catholic tradition beyond the contours of a quasi-sectarian, ultra-orthodox movement hinged on a personality cult? More on that later. But first, the pleasure. Part homily, part pep talk, the address challenged young Catholics to recognize the moral bankruptcy of the culture they will inhabit as adults. Continue Reading
Francis, the Venice Biennale, and the Vacuum of Belief

Francis is the first pope to tour the Venice Biennale. May he be the last. A good deal of sugar has been spun from the unexamined conceit that art—Art—is a moral pill to treat social problems. A trademark of upper-middle and upper-upper class groupthink, it was in high relief on Sunday, April 28. That day Pope Francis helicoptered to Venice for a tour of the exhibition “With My Eyes” at the Holy See Pavilion. The word pavilion here is a moveable concept that applies to a temporary installation housed this year in the women’s prison on Venice’s Giudecca Island. Continue Reading
Cecilia's Funeral & Theology of the Beaten Dog

  We wake up every day to signs of a civilization in free fall. Cratering with it is the moral authority of the Roman Church under the captaincy of Pope Francis. One signal in particular stands out: last month’s funeral circus at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for transgender activist, prostitute, and sex-worker advocate, Cecilia Gentili. The entire production exhaled the rancid breath of Bergoglian accompaniment Much has already been said about the funeral (see here, here, here, and elsewhere). What has not been said is any recognition of the thing for what it was: an act of war. Continue Reading
Fernandez & Pizzaballa: Soft Porn v. Hardcore

In every age, the levers of power are worked with equal ambition by Church and state. Members of both assemblies inhabit the moral imagination of their time; both breathe the same compromised air. Self-justified worthies gerrymander realities without apology. They confer high awards on finesse in dissembling. Language obfuscates; clarity is penalized. Two contemporary parallels come to mind, one ecclesial, the other secular. During the COVID-19 panic, the CDC gave the word vaccine a makeover. It tweaked language in order to sell the public on an inadequately tested gene therapy being used as if it were a vaccine in the traditional sense that Edward Jenner might recognize. Continue Reading
Pro-Palestinian Zealotry & Betrayal of The West

The West is betrayed by its own children. Since October 7, what we have seen in our streets and on campuses—the pro-Palestinian zealotry—is betrayal by those who are themselves the products of Western civilization. And have been schooled in its morbid addiction to cultural guilt. No one comes to Studio Matters for political discussion. There are mountains of that elsewhere. It is not my forte. But what we are witnessing in Israel today—and by portent here at home— looms larger than politics. Continue Reading