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Monastic Joy

There is an unfortunate stereotype out there that traditional Catholic spirituality is a dour, mournful thing; that the medieval monks and ascetics were long-faced sourpusses whose minds were bogged down by the oppressive contemplation of their own sins, and who mistakenly thought that God's pleasure in them was proportional to the amount of physical, even masochistic suffering they imposed upon themselves - essentially, the stereotype that traditional Catholic spirituality is all cross but no resurrection. Of course, this has never been the case; traditional Catholic spirituality, whether of the monastic or lay sort, was always characterized by a profound joy in the midst of ascesis. Yes, our Lord tells us we must take up our cross daily. But He also promises that His yoke is...


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Gezer Calendar

In excavations carried out in 1908 in the city of Gezer, twenty miles west of Jerusalem, Irish archaeologist R.A.S. Macalister unearthed a limestone tablet containing seven lines of inscription written in a script that is known as paleo-Hebrew. Subsequent investigation revealed that the tablet was a sort of rudimentary calendar of the agricultural year, beginning with the Israelite month of Tishri. The name Abijah appears vertically on the side of the tablet, probably indicating name of the tablet's owner. The calendar was dated to the middle 10th century B.C. - probably during Solomon's reign, when Gezer was under the control of the Israelites (1 Kings 9:16). To date, the Gezer Calendar is the earliest extant example of a Hebrew inscription and is an important piece...


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Deconstructing the Documentary Hypothesis

Are you unfamiliar with the Documentary Hypothesis? You might not know the name, but you have probably encountered it; if you have picked up a scholarly book on the Old Testament written in the past fifty years, chances are you have. The Documentary Hypothesis is a theory about the historical compilation of the Old Testament. Though there are many facets to the Documentary Hypothesis, it is best known for its assertion that the Old Testament is basically an amalgamation of four groups of editors, named the Yahwist, the Elohist, Deuteronomist and the Priestly writer - often abbreviated as JEDP. The basic idea is that the oldest parts of the Old Testament (J) were compiled in an alleged era of primitive Hebrew polytheism, which was later...


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Stone shrines of Khirbet Qeiyafa

Khirbet Qeiyafa is a hill-top site some twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem. The hill overlooks the famous Valley of Elah - where David fought Goliath - and was long suspected to contain the remains of an Iron Age settlement beneath it's hills. Excavations, beginning in 2007, confirmed the hunch of Yosef Garfinkel, an archaeologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and director of the digging at Khirbet Qeiyafa. A massive fortress and city  were discovered there during the first season of digging, which was subsequently dated to the late 11th century BC (c. 1020-980). Though there was some debate on what ethnic group dwelt in the fortress, continued research suggested that Khirbet Qeiyafa was an Israelite settlement affiliated with the Judean monarchy. The evidence was...


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Is liturgy really a big deal?

It is no surprise that liberal Catholics have traditionally placed a low value on the quality of liturgical celebrations; not on liturgy itself, because progressives think liturgy is extremely important - that is, so long as it is an anthropocentric, horizontal affair. It is not liturgy per se they disparage, but liturgy done well - that is, liturgy that is transcendent and God-centered. "Why be so finicky about the liturgy?" they say. "There are more important issues to get upset about! Issues like poverty, war, abortion and social justice!" Unfortunately, it is also common for conservative Catholics to hold dismissive attitudes towards the liturgy as well, adopting a minimalist approach that the externals of liturgical action are dispensable, can be discarded or changed without consequence,...


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Profit as Just Recompense

"A stake will be driven between fitted stones — sin will be wedged in between buying and selling." -Sir. 27:16Last summer I had a conversation with a Protestant friend of mine about the concept of profit. The question I posed was whether any financial arrangement was just so long as both parties agreed to it, no matter how much it was weighted in favor of one party. He answered in the affirmative - an agreement was an agreement, and so long as both parties entered it freely, there was no way it could be morally objectionable, regardless of how the agreement was weighted. While I got him to admit that in certain extreme situations agreements could become exploitative - like selling an apple to a starving man for $100 - he basically...


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Proselytism and Conversion

Surely no one who has been paying attention to the shenanigans of New Church has failed to note the painful double-think that comes into play whenever ecclesiastical officials discuss Catholic missionary efforts. On the one hand, we hear proclamations from the pope right on down to the local bishop about "going out into the streets" and being effective witnesses of the Gospel; we get entreaties by mail and by visiting mission priests to give to Catholic missionary efforts - and yet, we hear prelates saying that we should no longer seek the conversion of Jews, and prayers to that effect are removed from the Mass; the pope calls proselytism "solemn nonsense" and reports of missions abroad seem to suggest that our missionaries are adopting the...


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Defense of the Divine Mercy Devotion (part 3)

While I figured this would be my shortest article on the Divine Mercy, it's going to be my longest as I came across a widely read article attacking the devotion. Again, by a priest, and again, the attacks hold no merit. Whether Father was being dishonest or was simply misinformed, that is between him and God. The first part will deal with what took place at the BBQ mentioned in Part 1. The second will deal with a miscellaneous objection I was told of that took place in an internet forum, and the last will deal with the article written by Msgr. Patrick Perez, published by Tradition in Action.


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The Truth About Priestly Continence and Celibacy in the Early Church

The discipline of priestly celibacy is one of those practices of the Catholic Church that are under intense attack in the modern age. However, it happens too frequently that the discussion about celibacy is framed incorrectly, which leads to conclusions that, while sometimes true, miss the point entirely and can lead unintentionally to further errors. For example, everyone agrees that priestly celibacy is a discipline, not a dogma. This is established by the fact that for many, many centuries the Church admitted married men to Holy Orders. This fact is not disputed, or at least it should not be. Anyone who denies there were married priests in the first six or seven centuries of the Church has simply not read enough of the Fathers.


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Archbishop Cordileone Bulletin Insert

Catholics faithful to the Church's traditional moral principles found a new hero last week in the person of the Most Revered Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco. When members of the American homo-lobby, including Nancy Pelosi, bombarded the Archbishop with letters requesting he not participate in the March for Marriage, the Archbishop, rather than cave to the pressure of the American sodomites, Archbishop Cordileone stood his ground and make a very pointed public statement affirming traditional marriage and the importance of standing up against homosexual redefinition of the institution. He went on to participate proudly in the March - unlike the spineless Cardinal Dolan who has nothing better to say about homosexual relationships than "bravo."


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History of the Catholic Church

  • Crónán and Crónán (7th century)

    Today we look at two Irish saints of the middle 7th century who both went by the name of Crónán: St. Crónán of Roscrea and St. Crónán Mochua, also called Crónán mac Becain. Both were contemporaries.án of RoscreaStof Roscrea came from obscure origins in the area around Munster. Not m…

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Theology & Liturgy

  • Is liturgy really a big deal?

    It is no surprise that liberal Catholics have traditionally placed a low value on the quality of liturgical celebrations; not on liturgy itself, because progressives think liturgy is extremely important - that is, so long as it is an anthropocentric, horizontal affair. It is not liturgy per se they…

    Read more: Is liturgy...

Catholic Spirituality

  • Monastic Joy

    There is an unfortunate stereotype out there that traditional Catholic spirituality is a dour, mournful thing; that the medieval monks and ascetics were long-faced sourpusses whose minds were bogged down by the oppressive contemplation of their own sins, and who mistakenly thought that God's pleasur…

    Read more: Monastic Joy

Movie Reviews

  • Turbo (2013)

    I had seen previews for this movie several times and was pretty interested but never really caught it when it came to theaters. The idea of a snail that enters the Indy 500? Classic American underdog story. I finally had the time this week to go out and rent it, and while it was fairly entertaining,…

    Read more: Turbo (2013)

Economy & Society

  • Profit as Just Recompense

    "A stake will be driven between fitted stones — sin will be wedged in between buying and selling." -27:16Last summer I had a conversation with a Protestant friend of mine about the concept of profit. The question I posed was whether any financial arrangement was just so long as both parties agr…

    Read more: Profit as...