ANYONE LOOKING FOR a remedy for insomnia might try working through the Instrumentum Laboris (IL), or “working document,” for the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in Rome next month on the theme “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.”
AS THIS CATHOLIC annus horribilis continues to unfold, perhaps some good news is in order; first, a little background.
In the immediate aftermath of Archbishop Carlo-Maria Vigano’s “Testimony,” and its statement that Pope Francis knew of the dereliction of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and lifted the sanctions against him that had been imposed (but never seriously enforced) by Pope Benedict XVI, the polemics within the Church immediately intensified.
Catholics filled with righteous anger over the vile behavior of the former archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick, and Catholics determined to help reform the Church in order to cleanse the Church and prevent similar wickedness in the future, have something to learn from Rabbi Fackenheim. In our case, the lesson must be: Don’t give the Evil One victories.
On the 25th anniversary of World Youth Day in Denver, Colo., I can’t help sharing one of my favorite personal memories of John Paul II.
TAKE MY WORD FOR IT: You don’t want to be around me at breakfast. I am not a chipper morning person, and it’s best to leave me to the coffee and the newspaper – and I mean newspaper, not online edition – until I become fit for human company.
JULY 25 WAS THE 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical on the integrity of love and the appropriate means of family planning. Issued during the cultural meltdown of the 1960s, and in a year when irrationality stalked the entire Western world, Humanae Vitae instantly became the most vilified act of the papal magisterium in history. And to what should have been their shame, entire national episcopates distanced themselves from Pope Paul’s teaching by a variety of stratagems, many of which exhibited some degree of theological confusion and some were downright cowardly.
ALMOST A QUARTER-CENTURY AGO, Father Jay Scott Newman, back in Rome to finish a graduate degree after his priestly ordination in Charleston, N.C., took me on an extended ramble around the Eternal City: my first hike up the Aventine; my first visit to the crown jewel of paleo-Christian architecture, Santa Sabina; my first exploration of Santa Maria in Cosmedin – and later in the evening, some essential instruction as to what you don’t put on a pasta dish featuring seafood (hint: a certain hard cheese). I had a grand time but little idea then of the impact Father Newman would have on my life and work in the future. Now, as he celebrates the silver jubilee of his priestly ordination, it’s time to do some of what our evangelical Protestant friends would call “witnessing.”
The vacation season is an opportunity to escape TwitterWorld and do some serious reading. These books will help make your summer enjoyable, instructive – or both.
The Church’s custom of reading virtually all of the Acts of the Apostles at daily Mass during the Easter season struck me as particularly apt this year, and for three reasons.