Browsing News Entries

Browsing News Entries

“Lady Bird” and the Breakthrough of Grace

Greta Gerwig’s new film, “Lady Bird,” has taken the critics by storm. Having seen the coming attractions, I knew it would be a quirky, offbeat comedy, but I had no idea that “Lady Bird” would be of considerable religious interest as well.

Paul VI, Prophet

This coming July, we will mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s deeply controversial encyclical letter “Humanae vitae.” But I would like to draw particular attention to a remarkable passage in this encyclical, namely section 17, in which Paul VI plays the prophet and lays out, clearly and succinctly, what he foresees as consequences of turning away from the Church’s classic teaching on sex.

Black Elk and the Need for Catechists

At the November meeting of the United States bishops, I heard an impassioned case for the canonization of Nicholas Black Elk, a Lakota Indian medicine man who converted to Catholicism and eagerly took up the task of catechesis within his community. My prayer is that, if the cause of Black Elk moves forward, we might one day invoke him as a real icon for catechists in the Catholic Church.

The Least Religious Generation in U.S. History: A Reflection on Jean Twenge’s “iGen”

Jean Twenge’s book “iGen” about the generation born between 1995 and 2012 is one of the most fascinating—and depressing—texts I’ve read in the past decade. Her chapter on religious attitudes and behaviors among iGen’ers unambiguously indicates what is leading this most unreligious generation in our history away from the churches.

What is Happening at Mass?

Why is the Mass so important? Why is it the “source and summit” of the Christian life? It is the most beautiful encounter between friends and it is an anticipation of the play that will be our permanent preoccupation in heaven.

“Mother!” and the God of the Bible

Though it rather clearly reflects the anti-Scriptural prejudice of the cultural elite today, Darren Aronofsky's latest film “Mother!” might actually serve to prompt a re-examination of the deeply ecological themes that run right through the Biblical narrative and the great theological tradition.

George Weigel’s “Lessons in Hope”

George Weigel’s latest book, “Lessons in Hope: My Unexpected Life with St. John Paul II,” is the third panel in a great triptych he has composed in honor of the most consequential Catholic figure of the second half of the twentieth century.

Peter Claver vs. Immanuel Kant

The seventeenth century “slave of the slaves,” St. Peter Claver, dedicated his life to caring for the needs of slaves as they arrived in Cartagena from Africa. According to St. Peter Clever, social justice includes and prioritizes evangelization, a mission which flies in the face of Immanuel Kant's argument that religion is basically resolvable into ethics.

Ingrid’s Virtual Reality

Matt Spicer’s dark comedy Ingrid Goes West is a telling and penetrating critique of the iPhone culture that has swallowed up so many young people today, and it artfully explores the shadow side of living in virtual reality.

Grace or Karma?

There are two basic approaches to religion throughout the world. The first, found in much of the East, is a religion of karma, and the second, prominent in the Abrahamic religions of the West, is a religion of grace. We devotees of a religion of grace have to know that the gift is not for us alone; rather the generosity of God is meant to awaken a like generosity in us.