"The Best Books I Read in 2016" | CWR Staff &
Contributors | CWR editors and contributors share their favorite reads from the last year, ranging from theology to fiction, philosophy to history, and much more.
The Pastoral and Moral Crises That Lie Ahead | Fr. Mark A.
Pilon | We are witnessing a radical adoption of the absolutizing principle of subjective judgments of conscience and private interpretation of all moral norms.
The End of Time | Fr. James V.
Schall, S.J. | Thoughts on two books, both published in San Francisco within a few years of each other, and both concerned with ultimate things.
The 20 most popular Catholic World Report stories and articles of 2016 | Carl E.
Olson | Topics include anti-Catholic history, contraception, converts from Evangelicalism, Cardinal Sarah, "Amoris Laetitia", Islam, Benedict XVI, Fatima, millennials, liturgy, and more.
My Top Ten Movies of 2016 | Nick
Olszyk | Favorites include a documentary about a "worship band", the strange story of Elvis and President Nixon, the best movie about Jesus in recent years, and, yes, the newest "Star Wars" movie.
The Saturnalia and St. John Chrysostom: A New Year's Message | Dr. Randall B.
Smith | Idolatrous events like the Saturnalia (and its modern equivalents) promise a lasting joy they cannot possibly deliver.
Militant Islam and the Year of the Mass Delusion | William
Kilpatrick | As Albert Einstein is reported to have once said, "insanity means doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
A Truly Catholic History of North America | Carl E.
Olson | Recognizing the foundational Catholic roots of North American history, says historian Dr. Kevin Starr, author of Continental Ambitions, helps put away faulty narratives and negative stereotypes.
Cardinal Burke: "No, I am not saying that Pope Francis is in heresy." | CWR
Staff | In an interview with CWR, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke discusses the current controversy over "Amoris Laetitia' and the questions he submitted with three other bishops to Pope Francis.
The Final Confrontation | Ralph
Martin | It seems sometimes as if the gates of hell have opened wide, and the demons are flying out to wreak havoc wherever they can.
Scorsese's "Silence" and the Seaside Martyrs | Bishop Robert
Barron | My worry is that all of the stress on complexity, multivalence, and ambiguity is in service of the cultural elite today--not that different from the Japanese cultural elite depicted in the film.
The Holiness of Fr. Walter Ciszek, S.J. | Dr. Edward N.
Peters | A review of With God in America, a new volume containing various writings and interviews with the remarkable American priest who spent 23 years in Stalinist prisons.
Postmodernity and the "Ideal" Jesus | Dr. Leroy
Huizenga | St. Matthew would be surprised to find himself a postmodern Gnostic existentialist progressive, which is exactly how John Shelby Spong presents him in Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy.
G.K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens, and the Joy of Christmas | Dale
Ahlquist | Why a radio broadcast from Christmas Day in 1931 still rings with the wonder of "this season of enjoyment."
Rogue One paints a grittier picture of the Star Wars universe | Andrew
Svenning | Despite problems with character development, the new Star Wars movie manages to pull off the difficult task of telling a compelling story of which we essentially already know the ending.
On the Dark and the Light in Star Wars | Thomas P.
Harmon | The grittiness of Rogue One doesn't place the story outside the Star Wars moral universe--it shows the contours of that universe in even greater relief.
Trump and the Journalists | Russell
Shaw | Are media members used to being part of the establishment and mirroring its thinking prepared to take a different approach as the Trump era begins?
Pope Francis says the Synod fathers "approved" everything in Amoris Laetitia. Is that true? | Carl E.
Olson | More thoughts, observations, and questions about the ongoing debate...
A canonical primer on popes and heresy | Edward N.
Peters | Those engaging in loose talk about popes and heresy should be very clear about what is at issue.
Mary was no ordinary woman: An anthropologist unearths the life of Jesus' mother
Available from Ignatius Press: Last Testament In His Own Words by Benedict XVI, with Peter Seewald
New book by noted historian explores Catholic influence in North America
What is the truth about the Catholic Church and the Nazis?
New: Mary of Nazareth: History, Archaeology, Legends by Michael Hesemann
New: General Escobar's War: A Novel of the Spanish Civil War by José Luis Olaizola
New: Catholics Confronting Hitler: The Catholic Church and the Nazis
A Historical Lesson in Resisting Social Pressure
Princess Leia is not dead
The Creative Catholic: George Weigel
The Christ Child and the Gift of Spiritual Homelessness
How To Appease Islam
The Great Space Escape
An unborn witness to murder
Fr. Jeffrey Kirby of the Diocese of Charleston receives the Order of the Palmetto
75 Christian leaders sign charter rejecting coercive SOGI laws
St. Joseph's doubt and the angel's gift
Three thoughts on the letter by Eastern Canadian bishops about assisted suicide
The Persecution of Professor Esolen
Our profound ignorance of the crimes of Communism
"The right man for an impossible job"? New UN head has Catholic roots
And Much More!
How to Stay Catholic While Attending College and University | Paul
Senz | An interview with Aurora Griffin about her Ignatius Press book How I Stayed Catholic at Harvard: 40 Tips for Faithful College Students.
Trump, Putin, and the Wheel of Russian History | Joseph
Kremers | Russia's porous borders make external insecurity the constant companion of Russian leaders. External insecurity begets internal insecurity begets repression at home.
Trump's "Shocking" Victory and Catholicism's "Lonely Labor" | Carl E.
Olson | While I do hope and pray that Mr. Trump will exhibit an unusual wisdom in facing the many challenges before him and our country, I have my doubts. Here are some reasons.
A Moral Case for Abortion? | Fiorella
Nash | A new book by a prominent UK abortion provider fails to engage the positions of her opponents while rehashing the well-worn "my body, my choice" argument.
Rigidity in defense of the liturgy is no vice | Dr. Adam A. J.
DeVille | My students instinctively if inchoately know that sloppiness in the liturgy is connected to sloppiness in doctrine, and they want neither, because both are poison.
The Year of Mercy and the Eucharist | Richard J.
Grebenc | The Almighty showed mercy to the whole human family in no greater way than in sending the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity to become man for the sake of our salvation.
The Cross Divides Because It Demands a Choice | Carl E.
Olson | The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, is a reminder that the cross continues to be a sign of contradiction
"The Battle Against the Devil Is Still Being Fought Today" | Thomas M.
Doran | Scripture, Tradition, and numerous works of great literature all attest to the reality of the devil and his angels, even while many today dismiss such belief as superstitious and ignorant.
New Album for Advent & Christmas Melds Wide Range of Musical Styles | Carl E.
Olson | An interview with composer and pianist J.J. Wright about "O Emmanuel", a Dynamic Catholic release featuring the Notre Dame Children's Choir, Fifth House Ensemble, and Wright on piano.
"O Emmanuel": Oh, Not Just Another Christmas Album | Christopher S.
Morrissey | The new album from Dynamic Catholic is J.J. Wright's bold experiment with a Christmas album that both surprises and challenges.
Catholicism embodied: "The Pivotal Players" | George
Weigel | In Bishop Barron's new DVD series, six of the most striking personalities in Catholic history take center stage, the adventure of their lives serving to deepen our understanding of the "faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).
Dictatorship and Relativism | James
Kalb | Instead of each of us making his own moral reality, as the Supreme Court would have it, dominant social forces create moral reality for us and tell us it's for the benefit of our individuality and desire.
Mel Gibson returns to Hollywood with Hacksaw Ridge | CWR
Staff | "The Passion of the Christ" director's latest is a WWII biopic about a Christian pacifist.
Learning to Live Liturgically, Day by Day | Paul
Senz | "To live liturgically," says Dr. Chene Heady, author of Numbering My Days: How the Liturgical Calendar Rearranged My Life, "is to be aware of the divine meaning and significance of every moment."
The Quiet Courage of Cardinal Robert Sarah | Dr. Samuel
Gregg | In his new book, La Force du Silence, Cardinal Robert Sarah speaks with serene strength to a world consumed by self-referential chatter and to Christians who have lost their awe of God.
The Liberty of Dogma vs. the Tyranny of Taste | Carl E.
Olson | Those who say that doctrines must serve the Church's pastoral mission have both inverted the proper order of things and placed sentiment above shepherding.
What kind of College of Cardinals will Pope Francis create? | Nicholas
Senz | While his stated goals are praiseworthy, his methods of achieving them could in fact work against his intentions.
New film asks: Was Malachi Martin an exorcist or an exhibitionist? | K. V.
Turley | The documentary "Hostage to the Devil" lets viewers make their own judgments about whether the controversial former priest and best-selling author was a sinner or saint, an exorcist or showman, a prophet or sophist.
PDigging into Pope Francis' remarks about the "old Latin Mass", "rigidity" and "insecurity" | Carl E.
Olson | Recent remarks by the Holy Father about young people and the Extraordinary Form sound more like the words of a psychologist than a pastor.
Dawn Eden on allowing God to heal our memories | Rhonda
Ortiz | "My memory, and all it contains, binds me to the love of Christ in the most intimate way," says author and abuse survivor Dawn Eden.
The impossibility of transmitting faith | Russell
Shaw | Yes, there are things parents can do to set their children on the right path. But the rest of a child's journey of faith must take place in the free will of the child.
Where have all the new religions gone? | Dale
Ahlquist | The things that the new religions would not deal with are very things we cannot now talk about in regards to the moral responsibility in the major matters of our lives. We certainly do not talk about Heaven and Hell.
Debunking the Myth of St. Francis as a Modern Ecumenist | Benjamin J.
Vail | A new film, "The Sultan and the Saint," apparently depicts Francis as a proponent of interreligious dialogue, not as a bold preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
How St. John Paul II changed the Church and the world | Filip
Mazurczak | In celebrating the feast day of the Polish pope, it is fitting to consider the profound and multifaceted impact of his papacy.
The Prophetic Challenge of St. John Paul II | Carl E.
Olson | Pope John Paul II's rich teaching is a remarkably rich and cogent whole, a mosaic that rewards repeated study and contemplation
Fake Catholic Groups and the "Catholic Spring" Emails | Dr. Anne
Hendershott | It is now impossible to deny that Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United have worked for years to undermine and manipulate Catholic leadership
Mercy is a Serious Matter | Fr. Regis Scanlon,
OFMCap | We need to call attention to aspects of this Holy Year of Mercy which represent the "tough" side of God's mercy which is easily overlooked and often misunderstood.
God, Money, and Catholicism | CWR
Staff | Those wishing to equip lay Catholics to think through economic issues should spend more time explaining principles of Catholic social teaching and how they relate to each other.
Faith in Putinism: A Church-State Symbiosis | Joseph
Kremers | Putin is building political power around vertical state power, central control of the economy, and reinvigoration of the military, relying on the support of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Abp. Alexander Sample Discusses His Pastoral Letter about Amoris Laetitia | Carl E.
Olson | "As difficult as it can be," says the Archbishop of Portland, Oregon, "and as much of a cross it might be for us at a time in our life, God's grace enables us to overcome our struggles, even with sin."
A cradle of early Christianity, Turkey is often unwelcoming to today's Christians | Derya M.
Little | How a land that still hosts hundreds of ancient churches became a country where less than 0.5 percent of the population is Christian.
Re-assessing the Role of the Pharisees in the New Testament | Fr. Dempsey Rosales Acosta,
SSL, STD | It is very important to emphasize that the relationship between Jesus and the Pharisees was not always characterized by hate, controversy, and antagonism.
Crazy clericalism at Houston's University of St. Thomas | Dr. Randall B.
Smith | Some clerics in leadership at Catholic universities give lip service to "empowering the laity"--when their real agenda is enforcing their own ideology.
Serving the Divorced and Remarried Well | Thomas J.
Nash | The perils of using subjective standards in interpreting disputed sections of Amoris Laetitia indicates the pressing need for a new Vademecum to help guide confessors
Padre Pio: The Second Pillar of the Jubilee of Mercy | Fr Nicholas
Gregoris | Padre Pio was misunderstood and even maligned during his lifetime, but ultimately his authentic sanctity and heroic virtue prevailed over any forms of cynicism and skepticism in his regard.
Scientist, Theologian, Mother | Nicholas
Senz | "Science is a love affair with Creation," says Dr. Stacy Trasancos, author of Particles of Faith: A Catholic Guide to Navigating Science, "and therefore a love affair with Christ."
Christians in Syria: "Help us pull our country back from the brink of the abyss" | Alessandra
Nucci | Many Christian leaders of Syria are speaking out, asking world leaders to preserve their ancient, war-torn homeland.
Evangelization in Modern Ireland | Bishop Alphonsus
Cullinan | The creative minority is the way in which God has throughout history brought about reform. He depends on the few. That has always been the way change occurred in the Church.
"I Think I am a ___, Therefore I am a ___." | John Lawrence
Hill | Thoughts on Descartes, gender identity and the demise of the Reality Principle.
William Byrd and the beckoning of beauty | Rev. Peter M.J.
Stravinskas | Style and class have been banished from most Catholic sanctuaries in our land; the transient, the ephemeral, the cheap have replaced the beautiful, the uplifting, the inspiring.
Harry Potter and the Magical Gravy Train | Fiorella
Nash | The temptation to milk the lucrative Harry Potter franchise for all it's worth appears to be nearly irresistible.
Pope Francis, new cardinals, and European bishops' leaders | Filip
Mazurczak | It's been decades since the world's Catholic episcopate has been so polarized, a byproduct of the Francis pontificate.
Pope Francis and Martin Luther | Russell
Shaw | At a time when sentimentality sometimes undermines ecumenical thinking, what difference does doctrinal differences among Christians make--isn't God pleased with all of us?
More Catholic schools are making the switch to classical curricula | Leslie
Fain | Most schools today are geared toward college and career-readiness. But are these schools forming children to be saints?
The 2016 Vote: What is an Informed Catholic to Do? | Fr. Richard
Gribble, CSC | The US bishops, in "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," can give Catholic voters some helpful guidelines.
The Loser Letters, Adapted for Stage | Aurora C.
Griffin | Author Mary Eberstadt discusses how a theatrical production of her 2010 book raises important questions about belief, atheism, and spiritual dangers.
Catholics in an Age of Secular Moralism | Dr. Samuel
Gregg | How do Catholics avoid reducing the faith to the pursuit of fundamentally secularist causes?
Lazarus, the Rich Man, and the Sin of Pride | Carl E.
Olson | The famous parable of Lazarus and the rich man is surely a renunciation of greed, but it is primarily focused on the evil of pride.
The Catholic Conscience, the Argentine Bishops, and "Amoris Laetitia" | E. Christian
Brugger | Chapter 8 of Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation is characterized by a false dichotomy between the objective and subjective realms of morality.
A Different Perspective on Amoris Laetitia | Richard P.
Maggi, Esq. | From the perspective of the Church, the deeper and primordial significance of marriage is revealed--the family is an imitation of the Trinitarian communion of persons.
New chaos and confusion over Amoris Laetitia | Mary Jo
Anderson | If the Church does not uphold the teachings of Christ and the sacredness of the sacraments, what then is the purpose of the Church?
New film about James Foley isn't without controversy | K. V.
Turley | "Jim: The James Foley Story" is deliberately ambiguous on questions of the murdered photojournalist's faith.
An Unlikely Hero | Thomas M.
Doran | He is flawed, and many of his flaws persist throughout his life. He can be petty and petulant. Nonetheless, he is a hero.
Oklahoma City's archbishop on Satanists, vocations, and a unique canonization case | Jim
Graves | Abp. Paul Coakley received international attention after high-profile clashes with Satanists, but that's not the whole story of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City today.
On the Poetry of Kathleen Hart: Everything that Rises Must Converge | James Matthew
Wilson | Like Marianne Moore and Gerard Manley Hopkins before her, Hart is one of our literature's great eccentrics.
For Catholics, Trump's and Clinton's family policies leave much to be desired | David R.
Upham | Both candidates' proposals seem at odds with Catholic teaching in various ways.
My Two Years as a Catholic in Oxford | Aurora C.
Griffin | Catholic life and faith is alive and well in Oxford.
A conversation with Fr. George Rutler | Paul
Senz | "In my experience," says the accomplished and prolific priest and author, "there are few things less common than common knowledge."
The Technocratic War on Traditional Identities | James
Kalb | What makes identity a problem today is that influential people now think about society in a way that breaks the link between traditional identities and legitimate social functioning.
The Gender Identity Mandate: The latest threat to health care rights of conscience | Sister Renée
Mirkes | US citizens must unite on behalf of conscience protection in all public services, including health care.
Benedict the Brave: The Regensburg Address Ten Years Later | James
Day | On September 12, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI offered a few "memories and reflections" at the University of Regensburg. Contrary to the resulting rebukes, the 79-year-old pontiff knew exactly what he was doing.
Showing Mercy to Creation? | Mark
Brumley | Is Pope Francis correct in saying we extend mercy to the earth by linking human life to the planet?
War, Hospitality, and the Current Refugee Crisis | Fr. James V.
Schall, S.J. | Home once meant a place exclusively for one's family and occasionally guests. It is becoming conceptually a place where everyone belongs except what is meant by a family.
Time for Catholics to Reconsider Islam and the "Prophet" Muhammad? | William
Kilpatrick | Islam is inseparable from Muhammad. If Muhammad was a false prophet who presented a false picture of Jesus, then Islam, despite whatever truths it contains, is a false religion.
Pope Francis, Henri de Lubac, and the Decentralizing of Church Authority | Dr. Samuel
Gregg | The Holy Father wants to enhance the authority of episcopal conferences. But one of his theological lodestones warned of the dangers of such an approach--dangers come to fruition in countries such as Germany.
Labor Day Lessons from St. Teresa of Calcutta | Michael J.
Nadar | The newly canonized Saint teaches us that work must be based in love in order to be truly fruitful. This truth applies to all work, whether one is building a Manhattan skyscraper
or serving the destitute in Calcutta.
A thriving Midwestern diocese's secrets to success | Jim
Graves | Bishop James Conley of the Diocese of Lincoln discusses religious freedom, Catholic education, and what has made his diocese a powerhouse for priestly vocations.
Cardinal Raymond Burke on Life, Truth, Mother Teresa, Islam, and Cardinal Sarah | Carl E.
Olson | The American prelate goes on record about Christians and Muslims (they don't worship the same God) and Cardinal Sarah ("I agree with him completely...").
After devastating earthquake, Norcia Monks begin to rebuild | Dorothy Cummings
McLean | Monks who originally took shelter in Rome following the August 24th earthquake have returned, and a makeshift chapel and a tent-monastery have been completed.