SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Matthew Schmitz

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July 27, 2017
In 1866, when Pope Pius IX’s secretary of state learned that the Habsburgs had lost the Battle of Sadowa, he exclaimed “Casca il mondo!” – the world is collapsing. “Good God,” he cried out as he struck his face, “what is to become of us?” For decades, the popes had positioned themselves as the spiritual
June 22, 2017
Cardinal Sarah's opponents have attacked his views and called for his sacking. His response has been a gracious silence
June 22, 2017
A growing crowd wants Cardinal Robert Sarah’s head on a platter. Open a liberal Catholic periodical and you are likely to find a call for the dismissal of the Guinean cardinal who heads the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship: “It’s past time for [Pope Francis] to replace Cardinal Sarah” (Maureen Fiedler, National Catholic Reporter); “New
March 14, 2017
How my boyhood anti-Catholicism came to an unlikely end
February 23, 2017
Post-Vatican II ugliness coincided with a collapse in the Church’s ministry to the marginalised. When beauty returns, so will Catholicism’s universal appeal
February 23, 2017
It is no secret that Catholic worship has become less beautiful. JF Powers, the impish Catholic writer, counted as dear friends many artists who were enthusiastic about liturgical reform at the time of Vatican II. As much as he loved and admired them, he could not approve their work. When he attended Mass at St
January 19, 2017
Should Christians regard the Trump presidency with hope or trepidation?
January 19, 2017
On the night of Barack Obama’s election in 2008, the Princeton campus erupted in ecstatic shrieks and sighs. I had not voted for Obama, and I hated much of what he stood for (“marriage equality”, “the right to choose”, “data”, all that). But as students streaked by the window, I felt a touch of faith,
December 22, 2016
It is embarrassing to recall that I didn’t think my grandparents were Christians. They were Catholics, you see, and so I believed that they worshipped the chipped statue of Mary that stood atop their China hutch. I must even have thought that they intended to hoist themselves into heaven with the rosaries that hung on
September 22, 2016
At the centre of the china cabinet in my grandparents’ farmhouse, amid porcelain, crystal, and family portraits, stands a plate painted with the images of Jackie and John F Kennedy. For people in their household and countless others, the Kennedys were a symbol of arrival and achievement, a sign of a time when it was
August 03, 2016
Catholic women used to wield colossal power. The Pope's commission alone can't bring back those days
July 21, 2016
You might think that progressives would be rejoicing under the current pontificate. Instead, they are fretting about the future