Briefly Noted

On the Road to Vatican II: German Catholic Enlightenment and Reform of the Churchby ulrich l. lehnerfortress, 414 pages, $49 On the Road to Vatican II focuses on German and ­Austrian theological debates in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as examples of the Catholic Enlightenment. Historians . . . . Continue Reading »

Lessons from an Era of Confusion

“A man will give his life for a mystery, but not for a question mark.” Immediately after Vatican II, the North American College was a house of question marks—and worse-than-question-marks. The Catholic Church in America paid, and is paying, a heavy price for that season of deep confusion. Continue Reading »

Catholicism in an Age of Discontent

We are at a turning point. For the past fifty years the Catholic Church has taken an apologetic approach to secular culture that depicts Catholicism as the fulfillment of human civilization. The Church gives unity to the genuine social aspirations of humanity. This vision of the Church is not wrong, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Future of American Catholicism

Every practicing Catholic in America is stuck between two worlds. On one hand, he inhabits a broadly secular culture, one indifferent to claims about the transcendent, in which the currency of human exchange is always some mix of money, pleasure, and power. His participation in that culture is nearly constant—it surrounds him in mass media, on the internet, in patterns of speech, in social expectations, and in the aims and operations of his government. The modern Catholic in America is swimming in secularity. Continue Reading »

Things That Can’t Change

When the Second Vatican Council was putting the finishing touches on one of its key documents, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), Pope Paul VI proposed that it include a statement that the pope is “accountable to the Lord alone.” The suggestion was referred to the . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

Saint Aldhelm’s Riddlestranslated by a. m. justertoronto, 173 pages, $29.95 The riddle of Samson’s strength, the riddle of the eagle’s way with the sky and the ship’s way with the sea, the riddles in royal dreams of Pharaoh or ­Nebuchadnezzar, the riddle of things hidden since the world . . . . Continue Reading »