42 results
May 20, 2014

Church historians generally recognize two popes with the title “the Great”: St. Leo I (r. 440–461) and St. Gregory I (590–604). Some Catholic historians add St. Nicholas I (858–867). Pope St. John Paul II’s recent canonization was cause for discussion over whether he, too, should be afforded this honorary title.

Some Catholics granted the designation even before his canonization, as the names of a high school in Dumfries, Virginia...

May 5, 2014

Who among us does not long to go back and witness first-hand certain moments in Catholic history? Certain decisive moments. 

Here are a few of mine: On the eve of the battle of Lepanto, Don John of Austria silenced his quarrelling admirals without raising his voice. “Gentlemen,” he said.  “The time for counsel has passed. Now is the time for war.” Imagine the stunned—yet impressed—look on the face of the Venetian sea veteran Sebastian...

April 29, 2014

In the pantheon of great women in Church history, pride of place should be accorded the young mystic from Siena, St. Catherine, whose feast we celebrate today.

Born in 1347 to a humble wool-dyer, Catherine became one the most influential persons of fourteenth-century Christendom. After she became a Dominican tertiary at the age of nineteen she embarked on a life of intense spiritual practices. Her reputation for great holiness spread quickly, and she found herself answering letters...

February 10, 2014

I’ve been playing in rock bands since about 1987, when my father bought me my first guitar. At the time, I was heavily influenced by heavy metal musicians.

Running in these circles for many years, it was not unusual to encounter stories of an oppressive medieval Catholic Church. In fact, many a heavy-metal band wrote songs about this, and the leather-clad faithful were only too happy to assume the stories were true.

Recently, I watched a documentary on the Canadian heavy metal...

January 22, 2014

Readers always ask writers, "Where do you get your ideas?" And it is not an easy question to answer. Sometimes a thought association sparks an idea. Other times I might read an opinion piece that gets me thinking about a subject. Common questions apologists are asked might provide a springboard. When I can think of nothing else, I rummage through old Q&As I have published on other cyber platforms and re-work them into a new blog post.

Then there are the times I glance at my...