Galileo, the Catholic Church, and the impact on science...
Four hundred years after the trial, the mere mention of the name “Galileo” is often considered a powerful one-word refutation against the Catholic Church. Why? Because, according to the popular telling of the “Galileo Affair,” it was Galileo who: 1) proved heliocentrism, despite a Church that officially declared heliocentrism to be a heresy; 2) was tortured and martyred by the Church, and; 3) discovered that Scripture—and by extension, the Catholic Church—was a fraud.
The need for God’s fire and water in our lives...
A few weeks ago we considered the words of Gaudentius of Brescia, who pondered the image of bread as a symbol for the Church. Like individual grains of wheat, we are brought together by water (baptism), but flour and water are not truly bread until they are baked in fire (the Holy Spirit). Last week in the Breviary, another Church Father, Didymus of Alexandria, combined the images of fire and water, comparing the Church to a vessel of clay...
Meet the contemplative Carmelite nuns known in London as ‘the heavy artillery’...
There is a community of enclosed Carmelite nuns who are gaining a reputation in London. The community, the Carmelite Sisters in Tangiers, lives in Morocco, however, many miles from the British capital. So how have these contemplatives attracted a devoted and grateful group of supporters and friends in London, centered mainly in the capital’s business district known simply as: “The City”? In recent years, bankers, stockbrokers and City lawyers have started talking of these Carmelite nuns as “the heavy artillery.”
How St. Philip Neri defeated the devil’s attacks...
St. Philip Neri was a holy priest during the 16th century who was widely known for his sanctity. After his death, the effectiveness of his ministry even gained him the title of “Second Apostle of Rome,” showing how much he positively influenced the city. However, his activity did not go unnoticed by his fiercest enemy, the devil. Satan tried with all his might to tempt or scare St. Philip away from his apostolic activities.
The pastoral costs of the lockdown will, I fear, be enormous. But our Lord can bring good out of any evil...
This morning, in an effort to shift my thoughts away from the epidemic and the lockdown, I thought I’d look back a few months, to remember what I was writing before this unhappy subject began to dominate our consciousness. I came across a column I’d written in February, “Want a Liturgical Renewal? Start with Repentance.” Immediately my mind flashed back to an excellent column that I had read just a few minutes earlier...
Till we have faces...
I miss the human face, don’t you? Isn’t it interesting how that is? Did you think you would ever miss the human face? Who would ever have guessed it? What is about the face that is so important? I suppose it’s the mouth and the cheeks and the chin. It really is difficult to communicate with other people who do not have a mouth or cheeks or a chin. What is it exactly? Obviously, it is difficult to communicate with someone who has no mouth or an obstructed mouth.
Working by hand helps us reconnect with our humanity...
We have lost something today, but we can get it back. Our very humanity calls for living and working in our bodies, with natural things, regularly. This means all of us. We have been separated from our own humanity, from our proper homeland, and we are suffering, even if we have never known anything else. I say we can ‘get it back’—not because we ourselves have necessarily had it before, but because it is our birthright. Our own ancestors had it; we need it; and we can still do it, even if differently, and by fits and starts.
Extraordinary evangelization in extraordinary times...
I’d heard about Father Alexander Sherbrooke long before we met in June 2011; Father Sherbrooke had been a mentor for young friends of mine who had worked at St. Patrick’s Church in London as pastoral assistants and catechists. When we finally got to know each other in person, I had that wonderful experience of knowing, almost instantly, that here was someone on whose friendship I could rely as spiritual ballast.
How St. Philip Neri discerned God’s will — no scrupulous anxiety, no paralysis...
In these days between the two great solemnities of the Ascension and Pentecost, the Church holds its breath in anticipation—an anticipation greater than any except Holy Saturday and the Easter Vigil. What we look forward to is the great gift of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the Church as we know it. The sacraments, the priesthood, the apostolic succession of bishops, the papacy, the magisterial teaching authority, the preservation of sacred tradition — all this depends on the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The strange account of the day “angels” saved British troops during World War I...
Nations and their armies have often gone to war believing “God is on our side.” In a little-known incident at the outset of World War I, that sentiment seemed to have been visibly affirmed for a number of British soldiers. In early August 1914, soon after tensions on multiple fronts and levels erupted into war, Great Britain dispatched the British Expeditionary Force
The Lord of the Flies and the Lord of All...
Rutger Bregman’s excellent article The Real Lord of the Flies: What Happened When Six Boys Were Shipwrecked for 15 Months was published in London’s The Guardian a few days ago. The article explored the real-life case of a group of schoolboys who were marooned on a deserted island in 1965. Fortunately, life doesn’t always imitate art as the real case of the marooned boys turns out well and not all like British author William Golding’s magnificent 1954 bestseller, The Lord of the Flies.
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