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August 5, 2013

Many Catholics squirm at the very mention of the Spanish Inquisition, oftentimes conceding to claims that it was the most brutal time in Church history. But was it really as brutal as it is often described?

If you have never seen the BBC documentary The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition, I highly recommend it. At a little over forty-five minutes, it summarizes the most recent scholarship about the "Black Legend...

August 5, 2013

Not long ago, I was attending Mass at the parish where I was baptized. After Mass, I picked up a bulletin, out of habit and out of curiosity to see what had been going on at this parish since I had been there last. It turned out that week the priest administrator of the parish had an important reminder for the congregation: When coming to confession at the parish, Catholics had better get there before confessions began. Confession time would end precisely according to schedule; anyone left...

August 2, 2013

The first funeral Mass I attended as a Catholic was for a young woman named Laura who died after a long illness. She was a kind person but was lapsed from her Catholic faith. She didn't hate the Church; she was simply indifferent. Most of those who knew her and prayed for her were confident that had she lived a while longer she would have come back to the Church.

Laura's funeral Mass was beautiful—that is, up until the homily. It was then that things took a turn for the weird. After...

July 31, 2013

Have you ever had a conversation with someone in which you heard what the person said, but you weren’t really listening to him?

I remember once having a disagreement while driving with my wife in which I calmly explained to her how I thought she was mistaken. I then asked her what she thought of my response. She became startled and said, “I’m sorry! I wasn’t listening, I was thinking of my next argument!” Of course, I have been guilty of doing the same thing to her...

July 30, 2013

It all started with a clickbait headline in my Facebook news feed. Sandro Magister, a Vatican expert writing in Rome, declared, For the First Time, Francis Contradicts Benedict. Magister reported, in the tabloid fashion typical of Italian journalism:

[The] Franciscans of the Immaculate are...