This 17th-century German Jesuit was the last man to know “everything”

Centuries before the internet, this priest was the world’s leading repository of information. In the modern era, knowledge has become so specialized that even a brilliant person can spend decades on the quest to gain expertise in one particular subject. Centuries ago, however, far less was known about math, medicine, chemistry, and basically any other field of study. So it was possible for one extraordinary intellect to become acquainted with the bulk of existing scholarly information: Athanasius Kircher, a Jesuit of colossal erudition, could “rightfully claim all knowledge as his domain.” The son of a theology professor, he was born …

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Life of St. John of the Cross

Saint John of the Cross, Confessor, Doctor of the Church December 14 is the feast day of Saint John of the Cross.  Ora pro nobis. In 1542, was born at Fontiveros, a hamlet of old Castile, Saint John of the Cross, renowned through the entire Christian world,as the restorer of the Carmelite Order. His mother, after his father’s early death, went to Medina del Campo, where John commenced his studies, and continued them until he entered the order of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel. From his early youth he had entertained a child-like devotion to the Blessed Virgin, who …

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‘Miraculous’ Novena to Protect From Papal Confusion

Faithful Catholics will be praying during the month of November in the hope that Pope Francis will uphold Church teaching. Across the world, the faithful have been scandalized by the Amazon Synod in Rome. The release of the synod’s final document has been heavily criticized by bishops and faithful alike for its focus on liberation theology, its pushing of paganism and women’s ordination, and for the ensuing confusion that it’s created.  Though synod fathers are recommending these changes, it is up to Pope Francis to decide if and how they will be incorporated into the Church. How he will implement these recommendations will be outlined in …

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Dead Theologians Society: The ‘memento mori’ youth group

Denver, Colo., Oct 28, 2019 / 03:12 pm (CNA). The movie stars the late and widely beloved Robin Williams, who plays an eccentric and unorthodox teacher that inspires his students to re-found a clandestine club called the “Dead Poets Society.” Members of the club meet in a cave to read and discuss poetry, including their own poems. In 1997, the film inspired Cotter’s youth group to found their own clandestine society. “Following watching that film, a conversation was initiated by the teens, very enthusiastically, where they talked about, ‘Wow. Instead of learning about poets and writers as they did in …

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Spiritual Classic Introduces Readers to the Wisdom of St. John of the Cross

Claire works for the Avila Foundation as editor and contributor of their website spiritualdirection.com. Her work is also featured on various Catholic sites including Catholicmom.com, Endowgroups.org, and The National Catholic Register, and on her own blog, eventhesparrow.com. She speaks frequently on the topics of saints, spirituality, respect for life, and the mission and vocation of women in the Church today. Claire has led a large women’s study group at her Phoenix parish for the last six years and has a passion for helping women see the beauty and possibility in their own interior lives and their unrepeatable place in the …

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Steady Till Sunset: Of Perseverance and Faith

Claire works for the Avila Foundation as editor and contributor of their website spiritualdirection.com. Her work is also featured on various Catholic sites including Catholicmom.com, Endowgroups.org, and The National Catholic Register, and on her own blog, eventhesparrow.com. She speaks frequently on the topics of saints, spirituality, respect for life, and the mission and vocation of women in the Church today. Claire has led a large women’s study group at her Phoenix parish for the last six years and has a passion for helping women see the beauty and possibility in their own interior lives and their unrepeatable place in the …

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What Kind of “Believers”?

George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington, D.C.’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. This past June I was in the Munich area for four days, giving a public lecture on Evangelical Catholicism and doing a lot of media interviews. My hosts were exceptionally gracious, but it was also obvious that the Catholic Church in what was once Germany’s most intensely Catholic region is in terrible shape. The numbers tell the tale. The parish in whose rectory I stayed has some 10,000 parishioners—which is to say, the pastor knows that …

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Balderdash on the Tiber

George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington, D.C.’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. Today’s first reading is from an explication of the academic program of the reconfigured Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences by Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, the institute’s rector (translation provided by the institute): The recomposition of the thought and practice of faith with the global covenant of man and woman is now, with all evidence, a planetary theological space for the epochal remodeling of the Christian form; and for the reconciliation of …

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Historical Clarity and Today’s Catholic Contentions

George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington, D.C.’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. One of the curiosities of the 21st-century Catholic debate is that many Catholic traditionalists (especially integralists) and a high percentage of Catholic progressives make the same mistake in analyzing the cause of today’s contentions within the Church—or to vary the old fallacy taught in Logic 101, they think in terms of post Concilium ergo propter Concilium (everything that’s happened after the Council has happened because of the Council). And inside that fallacy is a common misreading …

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The Cup of Salvation: Where Does Altar Wine Come From?

Producers of sacramental altar wines are a select group. When at the request of his Mother Mary, Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding at Cana, it was the finest of all wines. And it was the purest wine of all when, at the Last Supper, he “took a cup … saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins’” (Matthew 26:27-28). The wine had to be the purest from the vine because earlier Our Lord also said, “For my …

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