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He scrubbed the trough and filled it with fresh hay.The midnight sky was bright and hard and raw; The constellations danced above cold clay. That night the heavens put on a displayThat froze wise man and shepherd mute with awe.He scrubbed the trough and filled it with fresh hay And wondered how long . . . . 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 »

But What of Us?

The saints are quick to give their hearts awayAt every gentle prodding from above,And bear the scars that visit mortal clayThat dares to venture near God’s burning love.So grateful for the price that has been paidTo change mankind’s infernal destiny,They joyously accept the holy tradeOf . . . . Continue Reading »

Pro-Life Liturgy

An icon of the Annunciation appears on the central altar doors of every Orthodox Christian church. The “royal doors” are double doors, so the icon is a diptych, with Gabriel on the left and Mary on the right. As a young child, I found the movement of this icon mesmerizing as the doors opened and . . . . Continue Reading »

Callistus I

Tertullian tore his dalmatic.Hippolytus had a cow.Both became schismaticwhen Callistus stood the prow. He had a heart for sinners,for concubines and such.His patience with beginnersthey found a bit too much. They fled from the forgiving,the laxity and taints.But there’s hope for all us livingif . . . . Continue Reading »

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