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  • On the Intellectual Offensive September 20, 2019
    For the better part of the last few centuries Christianity has been on the intellectual defensive. If we take the view that what happens in the culture largely proceeds downstream from various intellectual currents, then we can take significant hope that we are living in a period of time that precedes a theistic Christian renaissance. […]
  • The Best Lesson Ratzinger Ever Taught Me September 19, 2019
    The Pope Emeritus, whether as Benedict XVI or Joseph Ratzinger, ranks among those I call my first and best teachers within Catholicism. And because I am a needy and often recalcitrant student, I need a lot of them, so he is joined by St. Philip Neri, Francis de Sales, Thomas Merton, and the Psalmist among […]
  • Announcing the Newest Word on Fire Institute Fellow, John Allen Jr.! September 18, 2019
    The renowned Protestant theologian Karl Barth once stated that an effective evangelist needs to have the Scriptures in one hand and the newspaper in the other. An evangelist needs to have a firm grasp on the realities of daily life and be knowledgeable in the latest news regarding the Church and the culture. Further, it […]
  • St. Robert Bellarmine, Patron Saint of Catechists September 17, 2019
    The reading at Mass today from the First Letter of St. Paul to Timothy enumerates the virtues required of a bishop. Among these we find that he should be “temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach.” These traits, most outstandingly the last, accurately characterize the saint whom the Church celebrates today. St. Robert Bellarmine was […]
  • Why You Should Go to Church September 16, 2019
    This is not your grandmother. This is a guy who lived a pretty squalid life for a while and then, through the secretive, inner workings of God, alongside a fair amount of philosophical probing, came to embrace an entirely new mode of roaming the earth, one that is far more eurythmic with how life, I […]
  • A Sickness Unto Death September 13, 2019
    Saint John Chrysostom tells us that “it is not so much sin as despair that casts us into hell.” How can this be? Despair is not the most serious of sins, but in the Christian life, it can be the most dangerous, for to despair is to anticipate damnation. Saint Thomas Aquinas considers despair a […]
  • Amazon’s “Ave Maria” Ad Brings Us to a Martha and Mary Moment September 12, 2019
    So, recently Amazon.com released a new commercial advertising its fast, free delivery services. The commercial shows snapshots of an intact traditional family: A startled mother. Young kids starting up a noisy “band.” In the last image, the father is wearing noise-cancelling headphones he presumably ordered from Amazon on the first downbeat. He is undisturbed, relaxed, […]
  • Suffering in Theory, Suffering in Practice September 11, 2019
    I don’t know the first thing about suffering. Oh, I’ve read about it. I’ve cared for patients enduring it. I’ve written about it. But I don’t truly know suffering. Recently, a family medical illness has leveled me. It was midafternoon when I received an urgent call from a physician. My lovely and aging mother, who […]
  • Camille Paglia and Cultural Appraisal September 10, 2019
    No one is more entertaining and insightful than rock’n’roll intellectual and 1960s mystic Camille Paglia. I discovered her a few years ago, and I was hooked. While not completely agreeing with her views, I admire her zeal and expansive knowledge of culture, not to mention her excellent taste in music! Her writings helped me better […]
  • Reclaiming the Second Vatican Council September 9, 2019
    There are few topics in the Church today as provocative as the Second Vatican Council. Fifty years after its conclusion, many continue to discuss Vatican II’s intention and meaning. This is not entirely unprecedented. It is typical to have a period of inquiry and debate in the century following a Council. As one bishop told […]
  • How the News and Politics is Destroying Your Soul (And What You Can Do About It) September 5, 2019
    We live in a strange age. It’s an age marked by contention, strife, and factionalism. This is true in the Church and in the realm of politics (both in the U.S. and in many other countries). To take just one example, here’s some objective evidence on the terrifying and widening political chasm in America: The […]
  • Don’t Believe the Hype September 4, 2019
    When I recently watched the new music video for Twenty One Pilots’ song, The Hype, and I teared up. Not exactly sure why I did, or why I am even telling you this, but here’s what I thought later — in fact, these thoughts came to me after I spent part of an afternoon with […]
  • Why I Desire to be a Catholic Priest September 3, 2019
    The difficulty of explaining “why I desire to be a Catholic priest” is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one, rather mysterious and all-encompassing reason: I have heard a still, small voice in the silence of my heart. And I believe it to be his voice. I could fill the remaining space […]
  • Killswitch Engage and Redemptive Suffering September 2, 2019
    Killswitch Engage, the metalcore titans from Massachusetts, recently put out their eighth album, Atonement, and it is brutally amazing. Killswitch has long been one of my favorite metal outfits. Their music has a profound depth for those who enjoy heavy riffs and screamed lyrics. Admittedly, metal music is a bit of an acquired taste, but […]
  • Bishop Barron’s 10 Most Popular Homilies August 30, 2019
    Word on Fire’s story is truly a story of grace. What started in 2001 with a Catholic priest in Chicago airing his homilies at 5:15 a.m. on Sundays has grown into a global apostolate that reaches millions of people through new media. Yet to this day, Bishop Barron’s weekly homilies remain one of his most […]
  • King Herod and the Wisdom of Spiritual Detachment August 29, 2019
    Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. [At a party . . .] Herodias’ own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. […]
  • Saint Augustine: Ever Ancient and Yet Ever New August 28, 2019
    I still remember the first time I encountered the writings of St. Augustine. I was taking a class called “Augustine and Aquinas” in college and had to read Augustine’s Confessions alongside Aquinas’ Compendium of Theology. The difference between the two was striking. Compare Aquinas and Augustine on man’s last end: Our natural desire for knowledge cannot […]
  • The Inexhaustible Hope of St. Monica August 27, 2019
    Augustine’s mother trusted that God would not abandon her son.
  • Why We Need Another Catholic Journal: Thoughts on “Evangelization & Culture”, the Journal of the Word on Fire Institute August 26, 2019
    Okay. As I was burning the midnight oil, I figured we should start with the obvious question: Why do we need another Catholic journal?  Just consider the vast landscape of Catholic publications: Magnificat, First Things, Commonweal, America, National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter, Dappled Things, Image Journal, Communio, Catholic World Report, Catholic Answers Magazine, etc.—not […]
  • Announcing the New Word on Fire Institute Journal, “Evangelization & Culture”! August 23, 2019
    We’re excited to announce the brand new quarterly Journal of the Word on Fire Institute, Evangelization & Culture! It seeks to be the most beautiful, most substantive Catholic journal ever created. We wanted to establish a smart, sublime, and practical journal that was reflective of the Word on Fire ethos. However, Evangelization & Culture is […]

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