• What is the difference between a synod and a council?

    In the Acts of the Apostles, one of the earliest issues the Church had to confront was the admission of Gentile converts into the Christian faith (cf. Acts 15). There were differing views regarding whether converts needed to abide by the law of Moses and be circumcised first in order to become a... Read more
  • Man Is Not an Intruder in Creation

    There is a fundamental precept among climate change activists and radical environmentalists that man is an interloper in the natural world. All would be pristine if it weren’t for us. There seems to be little appreciation that humans are part of creation, that we are supposed to be here, part... Read more
  • “Il Poverello”: Saint Francis’ Piety for Man and Animals

    Some of the earliest literature in the Italian language owes its existence to St. Francis of Assisi. The Cantico delle creature (Canticle of Living Creatures), a luminous poem of praise which Francis wrote after receiving the stigmata in 1224, and the Fioretti or Little Flowers of St. Francis, a... Read more
  • Remembering John Paul II’s First US Visit 40 Years Ago

    “When the audience got a glimpse of the Pope, there was just an eruption of noise, a scream all at once,” recalled James Pellegrini, now a physician, of the moment John Paul II arrived in Boston 40 years ago this October. “The crowd lit up with flashes; cameras were going off at once,... Read more
  • Laity Are at the Heart of Archbishop Chaput’s Legacy

    Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia marks his 75th birthday on Sept. 26. As canon law stipulates, he is expected to tender his resignation to Pope Francis, but whether it is accepted or set aside, the anniversary is a time for his closest collaborators to reflect on the legacy of the... Read more
  • Turning Sauls into Pauls

    A third of the way through the Book of Acts, a man named Saul takes over the narrative. Like Israel’s King Saul, this Saul is from the tribe of Benjamin. Like King Saul, this Saul persecutes a David: Jesus. Jesus proves greater than his ancestor. The first David eluded Saul long enough to... Read more
  • Analysis: Does a Vatican decision on Brebeuf Jesuit undermine Archbishop Thompson?

    Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis announced this week that the Vatican has suspended a decree prohibiting the school from calling itself Catholic. The announcement has led to speculation and debate about the likely outcome for an appeal filed against the decree. But the canonical... Read more
  • Doing as I Please or Pleasing as I Do

    We must learn the truth about conscience, freedom, law and obligation again, if the democratic project is to survive and flourish — and if each of us, as individuals and citizens, is to live the nobility to which our God-given nature calls us. This paper is divided into three parts. First,... Read more
  • World War II and the witness of three future popes

    Amidst the bloody darkness of the Second World War, which began eighty years ago this month, Angelo Roncalli, Karol Wojtyła, and Joseph Ratzinger were remarkable examples of compassion, integrity, and heroism. This month marks the eightieth anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, the... Read more
  • How Rosh Hashanah Became New Year’s Day

    The effort to strike a balance between a particularistic loyalty to Jewish religion and nationhood and a more universalistic commitment to the human community played itself out in the struggle to set a date for the beginning of the Jewish calendar year. The two possibilities were Nisan, the... Read more