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 »

An Artist at Vatican II

The Memoirs of Louis Bouyer by louis bouyer translated by john pepino angelico, 272 pages, $19.95 T his memoir is a joy to read. Louis Bouyer (1913–2004) writes so beautifully about his childhood in fin-de-­siècle Paris it almost makes up for not having lived in that time and place oneself. The . . . . Continue Reading »

Dear Father: Please Stop It

In all the sixteen documents of the Second Vatican Council, is there any prescription more regularly violated than General Norm 22.3 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy? Which, in case you’ve forgotten, teaches that “no . . . person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything . . . . Continue Reading »

A Crisis of Conservative Catholicism

Let’s begin with a story. It’s one I’ve heard many times; it’s one I’ve told more than a few times myself. It’s a story about the Catholic Church in the second half of the twentieth century, and it goes something like this. Once, fifty years ago, there was an ecumenical council of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Remembering Two Great Bishops

We American Catholics are, in the main, notoriously uninterested in our own history. So it likely escaped the notice of many that December 3 marked the bicentenary of the death of John Carroll, one of the greatest who ever lived among us. The adjective “first” is applied to John Carroll more . . . . Continue Reading »

Books for Christmas

It’s been a good reading year and I highly recommend the following to the readers on your Christmas (not “holiday”) shopping list:God or Nothing, by Cardinal Robert Sarah (Ignatius Press): It was the book being discussed at Synod-2015 and with good reason, for this interview-style . . . . Continue Reading »

Neoconservative Catholicism in America

In this insightful, well-researched and thought-provoking book, Todd Scribner presents a compelling story of the development of neoconservative Catholic thought in the 1970s and 1980s. The story covers a wide spectrum of subjects, including church structure, secular political history, Catholic social thought, and public policy. Continue Reading »