November 2, 2015

While not every exegetical argument can be settled with the citation of a verse, some can.

I often have received letters and e-mails from non-Catholics saying, “Put up or shut up. Where does the Bible mention anything about confession?” I quote John 20:22–23: “Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them, whose sins you shall retain they are retained.” Of course, I don’t stop there. I draw the logical inference.

If a priest is to distinguish which sins are to be forgiven...

October 30, 2015

Does God still matter? This is the question that seems to be at the heart of the modern debate about God’s existence. Many unbelievers who label themselves agnostic-atheists do not claim definitively that God does not exist. They take the softer position that God probably does not exist, and even if he does exist, he is irrelevant in explaining the universe. As Dr. Richard Dawkins stated in a 2013 Cambridge debate with the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan...

October 26, 2015

Everyone grouses about death. Maybe we should take a look at the human condition and be grateful that God has provided us with an “out.” We should be grateful that, at the Fall, human nature fell sufficiently far.

It’s bad enough to find our reason impaired and our passions largely outside of our control. It would have been inconceivably worse, I suspect, to find ourselves unreasonable, impassioned, and immortal.

Yes, it’s unpleasant to be under an inescapable penalty of death...

October 22, 2015

The German-speaking members of the Synod of Bishops have made a report that some are touting as a breakthrough for the proposal to give Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

What did they really say, and what significance does it have?

Here’s what we know at present . . .

1. What was the report that the German-speaking bishops made?

After the synod opened, the bishops broke into small groups (known as circuli minores or “...

October 20, 2015

There is a good bit of conversation about how conscience may play a role in the question of whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive Holy Communion.

For example, Chicago’s Archbishop Blase Cupich discussed the subject at a press briefing in Rome during the synod of bishops.

What the archbishop said or was trying to say is not entirely clear to me from the quotations I’ve seen in the press, and I do not wish to speculate based on incomplete press accounts....