21 results
May 10, 2013

Forty-five years ago, a quiet gentlemen from Northern Italy named Giovanni Battista Montini caused a big stir with a little pamphlet. The stir was not because his pamphlet said anything new but because many people were hoping that it would say something new, and it did not. Instead, it courageously restated what the world had known for (I do not exaggerate) thousands of years. History remembers Giovanni Battista Montini as Pope Paul VI and his pamphlet as Humanae Vitae,...

May 3, 2013

In 1910, G. K. Chesterton published What’s Wrong With the World, a book of such insight and prescience that it is more timely today than it was a century ago. The book confronted the afflictions of Chesterton's age, which, you will not be surprised to learn, are the afflictions of our own age, only today they are considerably worse. The book contains Chesterton’s quip “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.”  (My sons love to haul that one out after cutting the grass or...

April 26, 2013

Even if you never read Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass (you should, by the way; G. K. Chesterton insisted it is adults and not children who should read Carroll), you probably at least have heard of Alice’s exchange with Humpty Dumpty about the meaning of wordsor, more accurately, about control of the meaning of words. In this case, the word glory.

“I don't know what you mean by ‘glory,’” Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty...

March 21, 2013

St. John Chrysostom, I am told, said that the floor of hell is carpeted with the skulls of priests. I have never located the source. Nonetheless, when we hear our Lord’s words about millstones and those who deserve them, and we hear his words about “to whom much is given” et cetera, it seems that some—no, a great deal—of trembling is in order. Priests, especially, should be terrified by these admonitions. The opportunities for either spectacular glory (not the world’s kind) or...

March 14, 2013

Like most of you, I knew nothing of Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio until yesterday. Yet shortly after learning the name of the man we now call Pope Francis, I found myself in an arm wrestle with Patrick Coffin over whether his last name was pronounced “Bear-GO-lee-yo” (as the Italians would say) or (Bear-GO-glee-oh), as Patrick insisted South Americans would say.

Now, just what a Canadian like Patrick knows about the Latin American pronunciation of a first-generation Italian surname is...