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‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ doesn’t live up to its title...

It’s tempting to suppose that Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opening in the wake of Columbus Day isn’t a coincidence. Each year Columbus Day brings another round of controversy pitting what was originally intended as a way to validate Italian American and Catholic identity against increasing resistance to celebrating a pivotal figure in a thorny story marked by slavery...

Vatican II’s forgotten apostle of the poor stages comeback at Amazon synod...

Because Pope Francis so often cites both the substance and the spirit of Vatican II as an inspiration for his papacy, there’s a tendency to assume he’s sort of the Latin American reincarnation of St. John XXIII, the pope who convened the council and who was canonized by Francis in 2014. In reality, however, one could make the argument that the Vatican II figure to whom Francis is closest actually isn’t John XXIII but rather Cardinal Giacomo Lercaro of Bologna...

Why did Marvel Comics create a biography of St. John Paul II’s life in 1982?

Here is the story behind the remarkable comic book that has captivated millions since its first publication. The story is recounted on the final page of the printed issue. Here is a brief summary, along with some added details. John Paul II was on a tour of the Pacific in 1981 and spent 3 days in Japan, February 24-26. During that visit he had several major appearances in a country that has a very small Catholic minority...

What should Sunday Mass look like in a “missional” parish?

Full disclosure: I do not want to write this blog. I do not want to write this blog because most people read things on the Internet, not to seek genuine dialogue in pursuit of the Truth, but to see which ideological camp you fit in and whether, based on that designation, they can applaud or discredit you off-handedly. I also do not want to write this blog because liturgy conversations online are a hornet’s nest and...

Santa Muerta, don’t pray for us...

When godlessness reigns, it’s not surprising to see false gods rise in response to the human hunger for spiritual fulfillment. It is surprising, however, to see people turn to death to fulfill their lives. In recent decades, a cult has risen out of Mexico with an unholy rival to the Virgin of Guadalupe: Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte—Our Lady of Holy Death...

Amazon Synod’s controversial carved figures taken from church, thrown into Tiber River...

A video uploaded to YouTube on Oct. 21 shows two men taking several wooden figures of a nude pregnant woman from a church near the Vatican and throwing them into the Tiber River. The figures have been present at several events connected to the Vatican’s Amazon synod and have been the subject of considerable controversy: Some have characterized them as images of the Blessed Virgin Mary...

Where do Communion hosts come from?

When the sisters at the Monastery of the Sacred Passion in Erlanger, Kentucky, walk into their bakery several days a week, they are going to work at one of the most important physical labors in the Church. The cloistered sisters more than 745 miles north in Westfield, Vermont, and those 542 miles west in Clyde, Missouri, and others in a handful of monasteries from Brooklyn to Arizona will do the same...

6 things every Christian should know about prayer...

This Sunday’s readings speak to us of the power of persistent prayer. The first reading (Exodus 17:8-13) in particular depicts prayer quite powerfully. In it, we can discern six fundamental teachings on prayer. None of us like problems, but one good thing about them is that they help to keep us praying. Israel was at war and her enemies were strong; it was time to pray...

Presumption and anxiety can lead to disaster. Only trust in the Lord can help you endure a storm of destruction.....

There are periods of prayer that must endure "storms of destruction" (Psalm 57:1). These storms can be exterior events - whether meteorological or else political, sometimes familial. Currently, it seems we are in the midst of an ecclesial storm. There are also internal storms. There are tempests of temptation that, if you ever timed them...

The radical equality of Christianity...

In our world of recriminating hatreds—in which we desire more to label those we don’t like as sexist, imperialist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, and, simultaneously, mark ourselves as victims—we often forget some important historical truths. Here’s one we conveniently ignore, dismiss, or mock: Nothing in the world has brought about more equality and justice than has the Christian religion...