Distinctly Catholic

Is Hell Empty?


Father Robert Barron looks at the issue of hell and if anyone is there. The issue is not only fascinating, involving some of the most prominent theologians of our time, but I think Barron is doing something else that is really, really important. When was the last time you heard a sermon about hell, or heaven, or the last things? When was the last time you heard a sermon on the Creed? In this "Year of Faith" we should think about these things and we should hear sermons on these things.

"To Hell With It" - Dorothy Day


We continue our series of considering Catholic identity today by looking at Dorothy Day. Monday, I set the tone for the week by recalling the response of Flannery O’Connor to a group of erudite Catholics who thought the Eucharist was a great symbol: “Well, if it’s just a symbol, then to hell with it.” Then, I examined the counterfeit of faith known as civil religion. Yesterday, I looked at the Vatican new motu proprio regarding the Catholic identity of our charities and a different counterfeit form of Christianity, a reduction of the faith to a social justice ethic.

Mea Culpa


First, I apologize because yesterday, in my article about Fr. Rutler, I inexplicably enter the name "Butler" not "Rutler" in the title of the piece. I suppose this mistake derived from watching a Downton Abbey rerun the night before!

Second, spotty posting today as I have to fly to Chicago to give a presentation. I hope to have some links up later in the day.


"To Hell With It" - The Motu Proprio


Yesterday, I wrote about Father George Rutler’s article in Crisis magazine and how, in its tired repetition of neo-con talking points, it failed the Flannery O’Connor test, articulated in her comment about the Eucharist, “If it is just a symbol, then to hell with it.” Today, I want to look at the recent motu proprio from the Vatican about the Catholic identity of the Church’s charitable institutions. Unlike Rutler’s article, I think the motu proprio passes Flannery’s test.


KC: Somebody, Do Something


Today is December 3. On September 6, Bishop Robert Finn was convicted in civil court of failing to report an instance of child sexual abuse. Not only is Finn now serving a suspended sentence, he is in violation of the Dallas Charter the bishops adopted ten years ago to confront the sex abuse crisis. Three months. Bishop Finn is still the Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph. The Vatican is said to want the American bishops to exert fraternal correction and get Finn to step down. The US bishops are said to be waiting for the Vatican to move. Enough already.

The Self-Destructiveness of Extremists


At the New Republic, John Judis details how the extremists within the GOP are already showing themselves quite content to destroy what's left of their party. In the end, groups like the Club for Growth and their Tea Party allies will reduce their party to a bunch of bitter, angry old white men who really do not want to raise taxes. If the lessons of the last election demonstrate anything, it is that such a coalition does not fare very well in America today.

Cokie Roberts: Help the Nuns!


At the USCCB website, Cokie Roberts has penned a really beautiful tribute to the contribution women religious have made to this country. Her post comes in advance of the national collection for the retirement funds of our religious men and women. These holy men and women have been generous their whole lives with us laity, indeed, spending the entirety of their lives for us, helping them out in their latter years is truly the least we can do. Please be generous.


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In This Issue

June 16-29, 2017