Category: History

 Three Common Misconceptions About the Immaculate Conception
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Three Common Misconceptions About the Immaculate Conception

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Today, December 8th, the Church would observe the feast of the Immaculate Conception. This year the feast is transferred to Monday the 9th, giving precedence to the Second Sunday of Advent. In my experience, the Immaculate Conception is one of the most misunderstood teachings of the Church. Today, I’d like to address three common misconceptions […]

The True Story of Thanksgiving: Squanto, the Pilgrims, and the Pope
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The True Story of Thanksgiving: Squanto, the Pilgrims, and the Pope

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We and the Mayflower Pilgrims owe thanks to the Pope and some Catholic priests for the Thanksgiving of 1621 with Squanto and the Plymouth Colony. Growing up within sight of Boston, Massachusetts meant lots of grade school field trips to the earliest landmarks of America. We looked forward to those excursions because they meant a […]

Castellani's Eyeglasses
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Castellani’s Eyeglasses

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I have a dear friend in Buenos Aires, Fabián Rodríguez Simón, a voracious reader and recalcitrant freethinker. Every time we meet I like to engage with him in tough (and bitter) theological disputes. In one occasion, while reviewing the great Catholic writers of the 20th century, from Chesterton to Lewis, from Bloy to Tolkien, my […]

Memorial Day
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Remembrance Day

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There is an old country graveyard near the town where I live. For years the small Clearwater Cemetery was all but forgotten and neglected. In the middle of that graveyard lies the forlorn grave of a young soldier who died six days before the end of the First World War. The decrepit fence surrounding the […]

Reformation Day: To Celebrate or Lament?
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Reformation Day: To Celebrate or Lament?

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Last year on Reformation Day (October 31) one of my cousins mentioned the Protestant “holiday” on Facebook. It was a celebratory post. “Happy Reformation Day!” Reformation Day marks the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. It highlights the Protestant reformers who began new denominations rather than remaining within the Catholic Church. I mention it in this […]

Struble's Holy Land Adventures a Generation Ago
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Struble’s Holy Land Adventures a Generation Ago

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With the Middle East in mayhem, I’ve been thinking back to my travels in Egypt and Israel during a less tumultuous time.  Upon returning to my teaching post in snowy Salzburg Austria, I found myself suffering from a fever – possibly a result of the sudden change from shirtsleeve weather to freezing cold.  From the […]

The Hope of Lepanto: the Feast of the Holy Rosary
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The Hope of Lepanto: the Feast of the Holy Rosary

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We are not to lose hope even in the face of the nightly evening news. We have Jesus and all the treasures of the Catholic Church. And on October 7, we have the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, also known as Our Lady of Victory. This feast is not just an example that […]

Treasures of Tradition:  St. Clement's Letter to the Corinthians
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Treasures of Tradition: St. Clement’s Letter to the Corinthians

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When beginning a consideration of the Church Fathers almost everyone will begin with Clement. Considered the second, third or fourth pope after Peter (depending on whose list you agree with), he marks the first post-apostolic writer whose text remains with the Church today. His identity is somewhat of a mystery running the range from the […]

June 1-2: Triumph with Messenger of The Truth on PBS
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June 1-2: Triumph with Messenger of The Truth on PBS

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This Sunday, June 1, and Monday, June 2, a miracle of sorts takes place on mainstream TV as PBS affiliates broadcast a documentary about a heroic Catholic priest. Messenger of The Truth is about Blessed Father Jerzy Popieluszko, chaplain to the Solidarity labor union that nonviolently took down the communist regime in Poland. Some efforts to […]

St. Rita of Cascia
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St. Rita of Cascia

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It is common for a child growing up in a Catholic home to know about Saints.[i] Many Catholic children are asked “to name that Saint”, or the most important question of all “what is your Confirmation name.” These questions take thinking and researching. There are times where researching a Saint can be almost impossible. According […]

A Study of Transcending Disability
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A Study of Transcending Disability

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I keep a bust of Ludwig van Beethoven on the fireplace mantle in my home. It reminds me of the human capacity to overcome adversity to achieve great things. When I doubt myself in my own acquired disability of multiple sclerosis, I listen to Beethoven — particularly his 9th symphony — written in total deafness, […]

Jesus Gets His Hands Dirty
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Jesus Gets His Hands Dirty

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Back in the mid-1990’s, before the internet ruined our lives (I’m kidding. Kidding) I was in the seminary, discerning a possible call to the priesthood. They were amazing years, and gave me a solid faith formation, an opportunity to come to know the beautiful heart of the Church from a unique and powerful perspective, and […]

The Church in the Heart of Israeli-Jewish Society
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The Church in the Heart of Israeli-Jewish Society

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With a formal Pontifical Mass the Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem inaugurated the first Catholic pastoral center for migrant workers in Israel on April 26 in Tel Aviv. Those present included the Apostolic Nuncio in Israel, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, and the Ambassador of the Philippines in Israel. Father David Neuhaus SJ, coordinator of the […]

“Santo Subito!”
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“Santo Subito!”

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The average wait to see him was 13 hours. The line was over 3 miles long. Over 150 cardinals concelebrated, 700 archbishops and bishops were present, and 3,000 priests participated. It was the largest gathering of statesmen in human history. It was the first time an Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church had attended a […]

The Solitude of St. Patrick
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The Solitude of St. Patrick

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I rise today with the strength of the sky, with the light of the sun, with the splendor of the moon, with the brilliance of fire, with the blaze of lightening, with the swiftness of wind, with the depth of the ocean, with the firmness of earth, with the firmness of rock. – From the […]

Paul in Arabia: From Messenger of Satan to Ambassador for Christ
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Paul in Arabia: From Messenger of Satan to Ambassador for Christ

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I went into Arabia (Gal 1:17b).  To Arabia, but to what part?  To Mount Sinai, to the Red Sea, and to the city of Petra, a tour of salvation history, for God through his grace equipped Paul to be the Ambassador for Christ. To prepare himself, Paul spent forty days and forty nights in the desert […]

Critiquing Moderation: Does Centrism Befit Our Times?
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Critiquing Moderation: Does Centrism Befit Our Times?

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The postmodern revolution has been transmutating America since JFK’s assassination, with cultural precursors dating back to the Korean War or earlier.  Our responsibilities as Americans oblige us to respond.  As stewards invested with some power of citizenship, a civic response to the Gospel is among our religious duties as Christians. In the process of responding […]

My Little One, Am I Not Your Mother?
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My Little One, Am I Not Your Mother?

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Today the Church celebrates the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a great appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Juan Diego, which forever changed the course of history in the Americas. Her appearance on Tepeyac Hill, Mexico in 1531 helped convert millions and millions of people in the New World — Native Americans, […]

Thousands of Lives to Give: The Philippines
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Thousands of Lives to Give: The Philippines

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By now you probably have heard that a massive typhoon hit the Philippines last Friday. Named Haiyan (or Yolanda), the typhoon is reportedly the strongest ever recorded in history, with winds of 195 miles per hour and gusts up to 235 mph. Early reports coming out of the country say that as many as 10,000 people lost […]

Three Popes, Three Missions
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Three Popes, Three Missions

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The election of Pope Francis was generally an occasion of joy around the world, especially for Catholics in Latin America. His call for simplicity and authenticity in living the Christian life has been received with enthusiasm. His intended mission as Holy Father seems to be to model Christian living in the 21st century. He urges […]

Remembering the Martyrs of Compiegne
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Remembering the Martyrs of Compiegne

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During the period between 1789 and 1799, France was deep in the throes of revolution with forces of change advocating for democratic reforms. With the downfall of the monarchy in 1792, the Committee of Public Safety became the governing body. From September 1793 – July 1794, France lived in the period famously known as The […]

Searching For Paul Revere
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Searching For Paul Revere

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Listen, my children, and you shall hear Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five; Hardly a man is now alive Who remembers that famous day and year. Other than recalling a fragment of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s wonderful, if historically inaccurate poem, many Americans, myself included, do not know much […]

What Is Social Justice?
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What Is Social Justice?

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When last we met, we looked at Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical which inaugurated modern Catholic social thought. We now continue our magical mystery tour by turning our attention to Pope Pius XI’s Quadragesimo Anno of 1931. Before we explore the major themes of this incredibly important document, however, it would serve us well […]

A New Pope and A New World: Passing the Torch Below the Equator
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A New Pope and A New World: Passing the Torch Below the Equator

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A review of the Popes in the twentieth century find them fighting a fierce battle against the forces of secularism, atheism, and malevolance that have consumed Western Civilization. Collectively these forces, referred to as “Modernity,” are merely contemporary expressions of the evils that have collapsed empires and civilizations for thousands of years. The election of […]

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