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The Solemnity of All Saints: Venerating All of the Saints

The Solemnity of All Saints: Venerating All of the Saints

Why does the Church celebrate a special feast day for All Saints?  The veneration of saints had once been mostly a local phenomenon, so the Solemnity of All Saints has a great catholicizing effect.  If you really want to be Catholic, you have to venerate all the saints, not just the one’s you grew up thinking about.   Why does the Church celebrate a special feast day for All Saints?  After all, doesn’t every saint

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Let’s Not Forget What Grace Can Do

Let’s Not Forget What Grace Can Do

In a previous post, I argued that the Donatists weren’t wrong in their view that, as a matter of discipline, it was imprudent to ordain those who’d previously abandoned the Faith or to allow those who’d done so after having been ordained to exercise their orders upon their return to it.  I noted, of course, that the Church pronounced against some of the Donatists’ views on related matters, but that their main concern—that the faithful

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Rehabilitating Donatism?

Rehabilitating Donatism?

Amid of the current scandal of a systemic conspiracy of moral turpitude throughout the hierarchy and reaching to its highest offices, an old and tangentially related controversy never fully resolved in the life of the Catholic Church is reemerging.  Today we’re hearing calls from among the faithful of all states of life—laity, religious, and clerics of every rank—for mass resignations of clerics, including bishops and even of the pope, on the premise that association with

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Are People Basically Good or Basically Evil?

Are People Basically Good or Basically Evil?

When asked what differentiates a Catholic perspective from a Protestant perspective on the world, many people today are inclined to say that it lies in the way we see human beings. Protestants, they’ll generalize, see human beings as basically evil, while Catholics see human beings as generally good. But this characterization, wide-spread as it is, especially among Catholics today, is a gross distortion. It’s also an ancient heresy called Pelagianism, after an Irish monk who

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Is Humanae Vitae Irreformable?

Is Humanae Vitae Irreformable?

I was recently asked if the teaching of Humanae vitae is per se irreformable—that is, whether it constitutes an ex cathedra pronouncement.  My answer to this question is twofold in the spirit of a well-trained scholastic thinker: yes and no. First, let’s be clear that Paul VI employed a teaching instrument not normally associated with the very highest levels of authority in the Church: an encyclical letter rather than an apostolic constitution.  That doesn’t tell

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