In the latest On the Square feature , William Doino Jr. reviews John Julius Norwich Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy :

As one reads on, it becomes clear that Absolute Monarchs has no real interest in the popes, other than to mock or marginalize them, and rob them of their saving grace: their faith. “As far as possible,” writes Norwich, in an introduction, “I have tried to steer well clear of theology.” Then why write a history of the papacy at all? As Cambridge’s Eamon Duffy wryly remarked, “A history of the popes with most of the religion left out is a matter of some wonder.”

Norwich tips his hand early on when he tells us that papal history is “all too often stultifyingly boring.” Yes, to the sensationalist, ordinary goodness and decency are dull: what excites them most is scandal and sin, especially when high-ranking prelates are involved. Attracted to vice, rather than virtue, Norwich has produced a tabloid history of the papacy.

Also today, Leroy Huizenga on misunderstanding the Catholic view of the Eucharist :

As a new Catholic, I’m beginning to wonder if the way we receive the Eucharist at Mass has served to undercut our particularly Catholic understanding of the Eucharist. Lex orandi lex credendi, after all. Liturgy teaches. A Pew survey of religious knowledge taken last year discovered that 45 percent of Catholics “do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ.” (Of course, regular mass-goers seem better informed.) And of course the liturgy does more than just teach, as if religion were merely a matter of propositional doctrine; liturgy ought also inspire deep reverence for the Eucharist, because, again, we believe it’s God.

Articles by The Editors

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