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Hawthorne’s Daughter

In 1891, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, daughter of the novelist ­Nathaniel Hawthorne, was received into the Catholic Church. She was forty years old. Within a few years of her conversion she conceived a heroic ministry to destitute cancer patients at a time when cancer was believed to be contagious. She . . . . Continue Reading »

A Paper Church

John Henry Newman joined the Catholic Church on October 9, 1845, after concluding that the via media of Anglo-Catholicism, which he had sought for years to vindicate, existed only in theory, a dream of dons. He had constructed a “paper religion”; his notion of the Church of England . . . . Continue Reading »

Two False Newmans

On October 13, Pope Francis will declare John Henry Newman a saint. Catholics from around the world will crowd St. ­Peter’s Square to see the greatest religious thinker of Victorian England raised to the altars. Amid the joy and apparent concord of that day, there will be at least two . . . . Continue Reading »

A Family of Saints

If there was one serene moment amidst all the ecclesiastical discord at the recent Synod in Rome, it was when Pope Francis canonized Therese of Lisieux’s parents, commending them to the faithful:The holy spouses Louis Martin and Marie-Azelie Guerin practiced Christian service in the family, . . . . Continue Reading »

Junípero Serra

On September 23, at a mass in Washington, DC, Pope Francis is scheduled to canonize Blessed Junípero Serra (1713-84), the Franciscan founder of the Spanish missions in California.Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988. Vatican representatives have pointed out that his sainthood will emphasize the diverse contributions to American identity of Hispanics and will recognize our Pacific as well as our Atlantic heritage. This point would seem to be politically significant at a moment when Republican Party leaders of Hispanic origin, like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and with Hispanic family relations—e.g. Jeb Bush—are vying for their party’s presidential nomination. Continue Reading »

The Making of a Misleading Metaphor

The sturdiest storyline in the coverage of the canonization of two popes last Sunday was a narrative that claimed that Pope Francis yoked the two in a single ceremony because he wanted to unite the conservative and progressing wings of the Catholic Church—as represented by John XXIII (favored by progressives) and John Paul II (ditto by conservatives). That was the narrative in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and among several Catholic pundits who really should have known better. . . . Continue Reading»

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