Benedict XVI’s Theology of Holy Saturday

Benedict knelt in prayer before the Shroud of Turin, then spoke on the mystery of Holy Saturday, of which he saw the Shroud to be an icon. The meaning of Holy Saturday is perhaps especially dear to Benedict—between having been born and baptized on Holy Saturday of 1927, and having collaborated so closely with Hans Urs von Balthasar, whose theological imagination was certainly captured by the same mystery… . Continue Reading »

They Call This Friday Good

For Judah, the exile to Babylon is a national death. Once Judah had a king, but now he’s a prisoner in Babylon. Once Judah possessed a land, but now it’s depopulated. Once there was a temple in Jerusalem, but Nebuchadnezzar roared through and left charred ruins behind. Everything that made Judah a nation”king, temple, people, palace, power”is gone… . Continue Reading »

Summa Contra Dowd

In “Courting Cowardice,” published this week in the New York Times, Maureen Dowd attacks the natural law argument that since marriage is for procreation, homosexual couples are de facto incapable of being married. She does this by offering several counterexamples echoing those given by members of the Supreme Court this week. … Continue Reading »

Francis Washes Feet

This morning, Pope Francis presided over his first pontifical Mass inside St. Peter’s Basilica. Previous Masses have been said outdoors beneath the basilica’s sagrato. The Chrism Mass was concelebrated with the cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, and secular and religious priests present in Rome. During the Mass, the clerics renewed their vows and the oils of the sick and the catechumens as well as the chrism oil itself were blessed… . Continue Reading »

Thine Is the Cross

When Martin Luther began work on his Small Catechism in 1528, he intended to include a section on what he called the “theology of the cross,” a theologia crucis in contrast to a “theology of glory,” theologia gloriae. Luther thought this contrast so important that he planned to include a special section explaining it. … Continue Reading »

Supreme Court Finally Asks the Tough Questions on Same-Sex Marriage

The first day of oral arguments before the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage were watched very carefully by many Americans. Up to this point, one would be hard-pressed to find any instance of any notable personage who is not known as a traditional marriage proponent asking any tough questions about the larger social and familial impact of the effort to redefine marriage. Most assume there are no good questions. But we saw something very different yesterday. … Continue Reading »

Cross-Centered Catholic Renewal

In a Sistine Chapel homily given to the cardinals who had elected him pope the evening before, the new bishop of Rome, reflecting on the dialogue between Jesus and Peter at Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:13-25), challenged those who had just laid a great cross on his shoulders to deepen their own commitment to Christ crucified … Continue Reading »

Bret Stephens Assails Celibacy

The unexpected resignation of Benedict XVI from the papacy and the subsequent conclave and election of his successor produced a blizzard of public commentary on the state of the Catholic Church, and in particular calls to abandon celibacy as a required discipline for priests, notably in Bret Stephens’ Wall Street Journal column “A Church, If You Can Keep It.” … Continue Reading »

Population Planning Won’t Balance Budgets

As states seek to balance budgets, population planning groups are touting abortion and contraception as money-saving measures. According to their crude calculus, Medicaid-paid births to poor mothers strain the social safety net and must be reduced. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, for example, claimed that money would be saved if fewer babies were born. … Continue Reading »

A Gospel Pasteurized for Our Protection

My gratitude at arriving home after a difficult trip abroad meant that my guard was down. So happy was I to be back in the bosom of my family that I consented to attend Palm Sunday Mass at a parish whose liturgical committee sometimes indulges in the painfully “creative” modernization of standard liturgies… . Continue Reading »