Hell, Heaven, the Particular Judgment, Final Judgment, the New Heaven and Earth

11-26-2023Weekly Reflection

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) offers the following explanation: We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves . . . To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him forever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.” (CCC 1033)


Why I am now a Christian…

11-19-2023Weekly ReflectionAyaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an UnHerd-blog columnist. She is also a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Founder of the AHA Foundation, and host of The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Podcast. Her new book is Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights.

This is interesting testimony from a person who says she is now a Christian, although she does not mention Christ in her remarks. Perhaps in a future essay she will. This needs to be said, since, as the French writer Paul Claudel pointed out, Christianity is a face to face encounter with a Person, whose Name is Jesus Christ, and He lives!


Purgatory: What’s it like?

11-12-2023Weekly Reflection

What the Church teaches about Purgatory can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

III. The Final Purification, or Purgatory

1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.


On Wars Thought Holy: Interview with Marco Meschini

11-05-2023Weekly ReflectionMarco Meschini

Marco Meschini, a professor at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, explains in his book "Il Jihad e La Crociata" (The Jihad and the Crusade) published by Edizioni Ares, says that jihad and the Crusades are asymmetric. In this interview he explains why.


Chastity a Reconciliation of the Senses

10-29-2023Weekly Reflection

Vatican commentator “Vaticanista” Sandro Magister wrote on October 25: At the Vatican the synod is heading into its final phase, which then again is not final, given that it will be reconvened in a year and only afterward will the pope, on his own, decide what conclusions to draw from it, at the tail end of a debate about which little or nothing is known, protected as it is by secrecy. But meanwhile there is also a synod “outside the walls,” of which the book … is a voice, on a topic, chastity, that has almost become a taboo for those in the Church who are calling for a “paradigm shift” in the Catholic doctrine on sexuality, led by that cardinal JeanClaude Hollerich whom Francis has put at the helm of the synod.


Have We Forgotten the Hard Sayings of Christ?

10-22-2023Weekly Reflection

The context of the hard sayings: Therefore, Lord, we pray: graciously accept this oblation of our service, that of your whole family; order our days in your peace, and command that we be delivered from eternal damnation and counted among the flock of those you have chosen.

The First Eucharist Prayer/The Roman Canon

Years ago, a layman, Christian Browne, asked the question above in an essay in Crisis magazine. He quotes Jesus’ remark “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.” (Mk. 9:43)


If Elizabeth Anscombe Were at the Synod in Rome….. (Note: We left the British-spellings intact in the quotes below)

10-15-2023Weekly Reflection

Who’s Elizabeth Anscombe you ask? She was one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century and a Catholic convert in her early teens. Why Elizabeth Anscombe? A great part of the crisis in the Church and in this Synod in Rome is the amount of people, who hold themselves out to be Catholic, who, in fact, reject Catholic teachings especially, the Church’s moral teachings on sexuality, contradicting the Scriptures and the apostolic Tradition of the Church. In that regard they are no longer Catholic. This group includes bishops and clergy as well as laity.


“True Devotion to the Angels”,

10-08-2023Weekly ReflectionRoberto De Mattei

That the Angels conduct our souls to heaven is a traditional doctrine

... Today we hear a lot about angels, but from a perspective that is not that of the Church. There is a false devotion to the Angels, which consists in imagining them as mythological creatures attributing to them almost magical potentialities to fulfill our desires, appease our feelings, regardless of the observance of God’s universal law, that is, respect for the objective order of creation. In fact, according to Catholic doctrine, angels are the invisible ministers God uses to govern created things.


Synod Answers?

10-01-2023Weekly Reflection

The Church Is Not an NGO* *NGO stands for non-governmental organization. While there is no universally agreed-upon definition of an NGO, typically it is a voluntary group or institution with a social mission, which operates independently from the government.

The Church appreciates the high human and moral values espoused by democracy, but she herself is not structured according to the principles of a secular political society. The Church, the mystery of the communion of humanity with God, receives her constitution from Christ. It is from him that she receives her internal structure and her principles of government. Public opinion cannot, therefore, play in the Church the determinative role that it legitimately plays in the political societies that rely on the principle of popular sovereignty,…(emphasis added) The International Theological Commission on the Sense of the Faith 114


Four Myths about the Crusades (Continued)

09-24-2023Weekly ReflectionPaul F. Crawford (from Intercollegiate Review 46:1) - 04/21/11 (Edited)

Myth #2: Western Christians went on crusade because their greed led them to plunder Muslims in order to get rich.

Again, not true. One version of Pope Urban II’s speech at Clermont in 1095 urging French warriors to embark on what would become known as the First Crusade does note that they might “make spoil of [the enemy’s] treasures,” but this was no more than an observation on the usual way of financing war in ancient and medieval society. And Fulcher of Chartres did write in the early twelfth century that those who had been poor in the West had become rich in the East as a result of their efforts on the First Crusade, obviously suggesting that others might do likewise.


Four Myths about the Crusades

09-17-2023Weekly ReflectionPaul F. Crawford (from Intercollegiate Review 46:1) - 04/21/11 (Edited)

....Myth #1: The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and even a cursory chronological review makes that clear. In A.D. 632, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, North Africa, Spain, France, Italy, and the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica were all Christian territories. Inside the boundaries of the Roman Empire, which was still fully functional in the eastern Mediterranean, orthodox Christianity was the official, and overwhelmingly majority, religion.


Words Every Catholic Should Know and Meditate on About the Eucharist

09-10-2023Weekly Reflection

Transubstantiation: The Church makes use of this word in the Catechism to help us understand the meaning of the Holy Eucharist. A substance is what something is. Material substances have an outward appearance: color, weight, size, etc. In the Holy Eucharist bread stops being bread and wine stops being wine. At the Consecration bread becomes Jesus Christ: Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity; wine becomes Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. The appearances (species) of bread and wine remain. Only God can do this. The changing of water into wine by the Lord at the wedding in Cana was a manifestation that Jesus is God Who brings things into being through His Word but also it was preparing the disciples for the power of Christ’s word at the Last Supper changing bread and wine into Himself.


Shepherds Become Wolves? The Coming Storm

09-03-2023Weekly Reflection

The pope is not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law. On the contrary: The pope’s ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God’s Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism. Pope Benedict XVI