Rites and Rights, in Two Churches

When directly asked by Mormon friends and family members (yep, I’ve got LDS folks in my family), I have been privately critical of the LDS church’s support of the Utah legislature’s “compromise” on “discrimination” and religious freedom last spring. I think the church, from a position . . . . Continue Reading »

What Comes After the Synod

Whatever Pope Francis does in the wake of the Synod on the Family, we have a new Humanae Vitae moment on our hands. Decades of relentless infighting over what exactly the Church teaches is on the horizon and will negatively affect the priesthood, religious life, religious institutions, parishes, . . . . Continue Reading »

Of Marriage and Orthodox Priests

If anyone had asked me what I thought about Eastern Orthodoxy before I converted, I would have said it was basically a popeless Catholic Church, except that its priests can marry. My presumption was mostly wrong. While there are certainly important similarities between the theologies of world’s . . . . Continue Reading »

An Epistolary Romp through Catholicism

In 2003, Elizabeth Maguire, publisher of Basic Books, made a proposal: I should write Letters to a Young Catholic as part of a series she was doing that included volumes like Letters to a Young Contrarian, Letters to a Young Chef, Letters to a Young Golfer, Letters to a Young Lawyer, and so forth. . . . . Continue Reading »

The Weakness of Laudato Si

Please enjoy this excerpt from “The Public Square” of the forthcoming August/September issue of First Things. To read more, subscribe here.Laudato Si addresses global warming and other environmental issues, as well as global development and economic justice. The conjunction of concerns is . . . . Continue Reading »

The Hero of Hungary

Today, we mark the fortieth anniversary of the death of Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty, a courageous Hungarian prelate who fought against communist tyranny despite great suffering, yet at the end was betrayed by Rome. As today’s Church faces threats around the world from secularists, Islamic fundamentalists and others, it is worth recalling his story to see the dangers of being excessively polite with evil ideologies.The Hungarians are an ancient, patriotic people united under one state and Christianized during the reign of King St. Stephen I (997-1038). In the subsequent millennium, Hungary had at times been a regional power (before the Treaty of Trianon of 1920, Hungary was three times its present size), and at others was subjugated and invaded by Mongols, Turks, Habsburgs, Nazis, Soviets. Continue Reading »