The High-Priced Spread, Revisited

Readers of a certain vintage (say, over 60) will remember the Imperial Margarine TV ad that dismissed butter as “the high-priced spread.” That image came to mind rather unexpectedly when I was addressing the parents’ associations of two prestigious Catholic prep schools several years ago.

An Open Letter to Cardinal Reinhard Marx

YOUR EMINENCE:I noted with interest your recent announcement of a “binding synodal process” during which the Church in Germany will discuss the celibacy of the Latin-rite Catholic priesthood, the Church’s sexual ethic and clericalism, these being “issues” put on the table by the crisis of clerical sexual abuse.

From Shame To Hope

I RECENTLY READ a column titled “A Frightened People” by Hosffman Ospino. He writes about Latinos’ reality in the U.S. and gives a voice to Latinos who are living in the shadows. The infamous, broken immigration system in this country is hurting Latinos, and, therefore, the church hurts as well. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

Vindicating Cardinal Pell

CARDINAL GEORGE Pell’s December 2018 conviction on charges of “historic sexual abuse” was a travesty of justice, thanks in part to a public atmosphere of hysterical anti-Catholicism – a fetid climate that had a devastating impact on the possibility of his receiving a fair trial.

Our Dreyfus Case

IN DECEMBER 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus of the French Army was convicted of treason on the grounds that he had given military secrets to France’s mortal enemy, Germany. The charge was false; Dreyfus, a Jew, was framed.

Lent Is a Time of Joy, A Time of Penance

There is a famous quote from St. John Chrysostom that draws attention to the supreme purpose of Lent; namely, the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. “Every year we celebrate Easter, the greatest and most shining feast of the Liturgical calendar.”      

Ukrainian-American Bishop Comes Home

IN THE MID-1980S, my wife and I were invited to a baptism and post-christening reception at the home of the newborn’s parents. During the latter festivities, I was introduced to a young man who was working on a doctorate in Church history at Harvard. We fell into conversation and after 20 minutes or so I had one of those rare experiences that is so precious in life: I knew, instinctively, that Borys Gudziak and I were going to be close friends for a very long time.

‘Synodality’ and the Rome Abuse Summit

Despite Pope Francis’ lecture on the subject at Synod-2015, and notwithstanding the passages on it in Synod-2018’s final report, there is little agreement in 21st-century Catholicism on what “synodality” means. In practical terms, perhaps synodality ought to mean something roughly analogous to what our British cousins mean by “horses for courses.” There, the phrase is a homely caution against one-size-fits-all remedies to problems.

Authoritative Slur to Shun Opposition: Un-American

FIRST CIRCULATED underground in communist Czechoslovakia in October 1978, Vaclav Havel’s brilliant dissection of totalitarianism, “The Power of the Powerless,” retains its salience four decades later. It should be required reading for politicians given to describing the Knights of Columbus as an “extremist” organization because of the Knights’ pro-life convictions and activism.