Discerning the Truth in our times is critical

Discerning the Truth in our times is critical

In our city, accustomed to protest demonstrations of all sorts, a recent one was particularly dismaying and even frightening. The anarchistic chants were bad enough, but the frightfulness was in the glazed eyes of the expressionless marchers, like the “pod people” in the 1956 cult film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Carrying signs supplied for…
The Prince of Lies, Our Modern Times, and the Power of the Rosary

The Prince of Lies, Our Modern Times, and the Power of the Rosary

The Prince of Lies cannot lie in the presence of Christ: “I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Luke 4:34). And Christ who is the Truth knows him, too: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18).   Satan does not want anyone to know him, and yet in the present…
Chivalry, Courtesy, Honor, and Merciful to the Absurd

Chivalry, Courtesy, Honor, and Merciful to the Absurd

It may not be long before “Ladies and Gentlemen” ceases to start a speech, as the result of blurring the distinction between man and gentleman, and woman and lady. We may not hear at banquets, “Gentlemen, charge your glasses,” or understand the Victorian-era ballad: “My mother was a lady like yours, you will allow.” Putting…
We are now in a spiritual combat as monumental as World II

We are now in a spiritual combat as monumental as World II

As a psychosis, “self-mutilation syndrome” is rooted in self-loathing and obsessive-compulsive behavior. Whole cultures can be afflicted with a similar compulsion to injure themselves. Nowadays it is called a “cancel culture.” To topple statues and burn churches is a metaphor for self-loathing rather than reason.  In  their modern aesthetic recklessness, nations begin to disdain what Matthew…
The Bottom Line Remains the Same

The Bottom Line Remains the Same

July waves Old Glory and Le Tricolore. Jacques-Louis David based the French flag on the cockade of the Marquis de Lafayette, who had been urged to help the American colonists by the Duke of Gloucester, in a funk because his brother, King George III, disapproved of his marriage. At least there was no Reign of Terror…
Perspective Amid Cultural Chaos

Perspective Amid Cultural Chaos

Stalin, killer of at least 20 million people, said “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” In mid-nineteenth-century China, the civil war known as the Taiping Rebellion cost upwards of 30 million lives. The feast of Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and his 119 companions, on July 9, is a reminder…
The Present Culture War

The Present Culture War

As the local churches gradually open again, one is reminded of the persistence of Benjamin Stoddert Ewell, president of the College of William and Mary, ringing the school bell during seven years of closure after the Civil War. It is yet to be seen how many return to our churches after the quarantine, but the…
The Cruelest Illiteracy

The Cruelest Illiteracy

After the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the Jews relied on literacy to preserve their culture, with the Mishna as the written record of what until then had been an oral tradition of rabbinic commentaries. While functional illiteracy seems to have been common, our Lord asked his listeners at least…
Christian, Remember Your Dignity

Christian, Remember Your Dignity

Robert Gould Shaw was born into an abolitionist Unitarian family in Boston in 1837. When he was ten, they settled on Staten Island. An uncle who became a Catholic priest paid for his tuition at what is now the Fordham Preparatory School.   As a somewhat distracted student, Shaw never completed his studies (who does?)…
The Holy Spirit and the Tranquility of Order

The Holy Spirit and the Tranquility of Order

Celebration of the Most Holy Trinity follows Pentecost, because it is through the Holy Spirit that the sublime truth of God as Three in One expands the limits of human intelligence. The perfect harmony of the Triune God is like music whose sound frequency cannot be registered by unaided hearing, but it reverberates in the…
I do not give to you as the world gives…

I do not give to you as the world gives…

In a letter Sigmund Freud wrote to his friend Edoardo Weiss on April 12, 1933, he reminisced about a visit to the Roman church of San Pietro in Vincoli: “Every day for three lonely weeks of September 1913, I stood in church in front of the statue, studying it, measuring it and drawing it until there…
A light in the cultural darkness

A light in the cultural darkness

In these days of closures, which must soon end, I am able to offer Mass quietly for the intentions of parishioners and others, and I often take the opportunity to use the Extraordinary Form, whose beautiful cadences end with the “Last Gospel.” This Johannine Prologue in hymnodic verse concluded the Liturgy from the earliest days…
The Power and Beauty of Love

The Power and Beauty of Love

The French theoretical physicist Pierre Duhem (1861-1916) was amazingly prolific and contributed much to hydrodynamics and thermodynamics, but his most important influence may be his philosophy and history of science. He refuted the superficial analysis of the relationship between physical science and religion as distorted by rationalists since the eighteenth century. Drawing on the qualifications…
Mentors of Perseverance and Hope: Athanasius, Matthias and more

Mentors of Perseverance and Hope: Athanasius, Matthias and more

“As I was saying…” That, more or less, is how Saint Athanasius began his homily each time he returned from exile. Over seventeen years, he was banished five times by four Roman emperors for reasons political and theological, but he persisted in defying the heresy of the powerful Arians who had a flawed idea of…
How Mary is indeed Mother of the Church, even amid today’s pandemic

How Mary is indeed Mother of the Church, even amid today’s pandemic

Eyebrows were raised when Queen Victoria commented that of all her predecessors, she would most enjoy a conversation with King Charles II. In the arrangements of their domestic lives they could hardly have been more unlike, but Charles was a man of attractive wit, and that was her point. In most ways, Voltaire was the…
Cabin Fever: The Truth Shines Forth Radiant in Quiet Solitude

Cabin Fever: The Truth Shines Forth Radiant in Quiet Solitude

Among logical fallacies, the argument from authority, “argumentum ad verecundiam,” means accepting a proposition because its source is authoritative, even though the matter is outside that source’s competence. Such a fallacy, for instance, might approve Einstein’s view on politics or religion because he was such an important physicist. However, precisely because of his inventiveness, it…
Supernatural combat, Mantle of Victory and the Weight of Glory

Supernatural combat, Mantle of Victory and the Weight of Glory

Normally each Easter, the Resurrection Sermon of Saint John Chrysostom replaces my regular column, with his paraphrase of Saint Paul’s “Death, where is thy sting? Grave where is thy victory?” (Corinthians 15:55). But these are not normal times. Their abnormality includes my own difficulty in not preaching the Three Hours on Good Friday for the…
Fr. Rutler’s Good Friday Meditation – video

Fr. Rutler’s Good Friday Meditation – video

Worth watching, listening — Father George W. Rutler’s Good Friday reflections — recorded live today at Noon ET.   See here:  https://vimeo.com/406005872
Now the Passion will be more powerful with the gates of the Temple closed

Now the Passion will be more powerful with the gates of the Temple closed

The term “parochial” is frequently used in a condescending sense, but no one today can get away with thinking that to be parochial is to be isolated from reality. As I write, the Navy hospital ship “Comfort,” last seen here on the Hudson River after the World Trade Center horror, is passing by our rectory…
Bon Courage: True Hope conquers Fear

Bon Courage: True Hope conquers Fear

I have a rule never to begin a paragraph with a first-person pronoun. I do this not because it would be inappropriate to use the monarchical “We,” as in “We have a rule,” or the princely “One,” as in “One has a rule,” but because self-reference confines the argument to personal experience. That is somewhat…
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