SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Xavier Rynne II

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October 27, 2019
There’s a Pony in Here Somewhere:  A Post-Synodal Reflection According to his longtime consigliere, Edwin Meese, President Ronald Reagan must have told the “pony joke” at least a thousand times. The story involves the super-optimistic child whose parents take him to a psychiatrist, along with his super-pessimistic twin, so  the doctor can evaluate their extreme personalities.
October 23, 2019
“Inculturation” and the Culture that is the Church by George Weigel “Inculturation” has been a buzzword throughout the Catholic world – and especially the developing Catholic world – for decades. Rarely has it gotten such a workout, or taken such a beating, as at Synod-2019.  The basic idea of “inculturation” is not hard to grasp:
October 21, 2019
The Synods of 2014 and 2015, called to examine the grave challenges posed to marriage and family life in the twenty-first century, became the occasion for significant voices in the Church to advance long-stalled projects (such as the admission to Holy Communion of those whose marriages had not been blessed by the Church) while concurrently
October 18, 2019
“Guests” on Planet Earth? At a gathering of like-minded scribes and media commentators shortly after Synod-2019 began, one of our members flagged what seemed to him an ominous shift in the language some Catholics use to describe humanity’s relationship to the natural world. That shift is worth pondering, because it illustrates some of the deep
October 16, 2019
What Would John Paul II Have Said? Forty-one years ago today, the cardinal archbishop of Cracow, Karol Wojtyła, was elected Bishop of Rome, the first Slavic pope ever and the first non-Italian pope in four hundred fifty-five years. He brought to the papacy an abundance of supernatural as well as natural gifts, and the two
October 14, 2019
On Saturday, October 12, the Thomistic Institute at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (familiarly known the Angelicum) hosted a conference in anticipation of the canonization of John Henry Newman the following day.  Speakers at “Newman the Prophet: A Saint for Our Times” which was held in the John Paul II Aula Magna of
October 11, 2019
THE NEO-COLONIALISM OF BISHOP KRÄUTLER There has been considerable venting about “neo-colonialism” in the first week of Synod-2019, the neocolonialists in question being various businesses, often headquartered outside the Amazon region, which are involved in economic development projects in Amazonia. And no doubt some of those enterprises expose a face of private enterprise that needs
October 09, 2019
THE TENSIONS OF A PONTIFICATE  Formally opening Synod-2019 at Mass in the Papal Basilica of St. Peter on October 6, Pope Francis preached a moving homily focused on the nature of the episcopate, during which he drew heavily on the second reading assigned for the Twenty-Seventh Sunday of the Year (2 Timothy 1. 6-8, 13-14).
October 07, 2019
THE MANY MYSTERIES OF SYNOD-2019 Eighty years ago, on October 1, 1939, a month after the German invasion of Poland launched World War II in Europe, Winston Churchill, then the First Lord of the Admiralty, made a radio broadcast on the Chamberlain government’s war strategy, during which he famously described Russia (which had also invaded
February 25, 2019
​​​​​​​How can the success or failure of the Vatican “abuse summit,” which concluded yesterday, be measured? A week ago, your editor suggested one analytic tool: ten points which, if agreed upon by the participants, would constitute a “considerable success.” Reviewing them one by one may help get into preliminary focus a complex affair that was
February 23, 2019
At the beginning of February, a month in which an intense, global media spotlight has been focused on the Catholicism’s struggles with clerical sexual abuse, the Church celebrated the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. As February now comes to a close with a global meeting of Catholic leaders to address that abuse, it’s
February 22, 2019
“Grant, we pray, almighty God, that no tempests may disturb us, for you have set us fast on the rock of the Apostle Peter’s confession of faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” February